Friday, September 05, 2008

Transparency Denied?

I had heard about how the Internet is being manipulated by people who back McCain. The official Palin for Governor website disappearing the day they came to seek her Highness' presence in DC. Other information and pictures suddenly were not available. "So what", I thought, "There are enough dogs on her trail, if there is anything of real importance, it will find the light of day." But I wonder.

Last night John McCain's wonderfully scripted walk down memory lane while a POW reminded me of a post on demeur's blog. Do not get me wrong here, John McCain went through Hell and back. There is no denying that. I had an uncle who suffered as a POW during WWll in the Philippines. I would not wish that kind of existence on anyone. But John decided long ago to use his POW experience to help advance his political career. So it is open for discussion.

The post demeur had put up was actually just a link to an open letter written by Dr. Phillip Butler. Dr Butler had been at the Naval Academy with McCain. He lived across the hall. As fate would have it, Dr. Butler also shared time and space with John at the Hanoi Hilton as a fellow POW some years later. If anyone knew the John McCain of that period, it was Dr. Butler. Anyway, his open letter or op/ed was Titled "Why I cannot vote for John McCain." In a very respectful and low key manner, Dr Butler outlined his experiences with Senator McCain during their time at the Academy and their time as POWs. I came away from reading the letter feeling that Dr. Butler could not vote for John because of some flaw in his character he did not like. If memory serves it might have been a temper issue.

Okay fine, just more anti-McCain rhetoric. But it does not end there. This morning, when I sought to find the letter written and posted at http:military dot com it had been pulled. I looked hard for it and had no luck. It had disappeared as if it never existed.

Which brings me to my point here. With the McCain crew tying their wagon to the idea of shaking up things in DC and transparency in government, it seems odd they are doing everything they can to control the transparency before they even get into office. Whether these timely disappearances of information and opinions from the Internet is part of their strategy or not, it is wrong. If they are so Hell bent on proving they will shake things up In DC then they should walk the walk before they get there. I find this attempt to control what we read and hear about both McCain and Palin to be a disturbing juxtaposition to the image they are putting forth in public. They want to run their campaign on the idea of change, then it should start with their campaign. Continuing to block attempts to ferret out information they feel may be embarrassing is not the way to do it. Aren't the voters supposed to decide?

Now here is my disclaimer and attempt to be fair

If for some reason, this letter was not written by Dr. Butler and is a fake, I will be the first one to offer my apologies about this specific situation. But, the trend of controlling the message goes deeper than this one letter. So my discomfort over the whole transparency thing they seem to have embraced still stands.

If anyone who might read this can link me to a copy of it, I would be most appreciative. I think it is of some importance in the overall decision any of us make about a potential Presidential candidate.

Post Script - Apparently I was indeed wrong about the letter having been yanked. It is still available. I stand corrected. The original site was gone, as the letter apparently was archived but is still available here. Thanks to Snave, 1130 and demeur for straightening me out. It is obvious they are sharper than I at ferreting out information from the web.

A video by Dr Butler can be seen here


El Cerdo Ignatius said...

Hi Mike. I agree with you that politicians should be as transparent as possible - even though you and I sit on opposite sides of the partisan divide (don't worry though - you have a vote, and I don't :-D), there is much in your writing with which I agree.

A few points/questions:
1. Every single political campaign does everything it can to control information. I wouldn't expect much else from any party or candidate. It used to be easy. Today, with the 'net and bloggers and YouTube, it's nigh to impossible. If you're running on a transparency theme, though, I can understand the accusation of hypocrisy.
2. You mention the Palin for Governor website disappearing. I don't personally find this too strange - if it was a website related to her gubernatorial run in 2006. (Guber... hahahahahaha!! Seriously, who came up with that word?) In fact, I am surprised that a two-year-old campaign website (if that's what it was) would still be online. Now, if it was deliberately left online for the benefit of the people of Alaska once Mrs. Palin was in office, and then pulled because the McCain campaign thought there was something in there, like a statement or policy position expressed by the Governor that they thought would cause them problems... well, that's a different kettle of fish. (Have I read you correctly here? Is this your concern?)
3. The letter from John McCain's former Naval Academy and POW colleague, if in fact it focusses mostly on John McCain's temper, does not express anything not previously known about McCain. The Senator has a vile temper. (President Bush has a short temper but is said not to be too severe; President Clinton was known to fly off the handle. Kennedy and Johnson had short fuses; Nixon's temper was not short but it was horrible when unleashed. On the other hand, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush Sr. all had reputations as fairly even-tempered presidents.) McCain's temper is said to be particularly short and sharp. That itself doesn't cause me trouble (YMMV), but the odd disappearance of this letter does. I think McCain would be better off saying that he's aware that he has a harsh temper, but that he's no different than many other presidents, and that Phillip Butler is entitled to his opinion but he (McCain) hopes he (Butler) might change his mind when weighing all the factors, etc. Certainly better than making a letter disappear, which is the sort of thing that would properly be blamed on someone working on McCain's campaign - not the candidate himself. I certainly acknowledge that the buck stops at the top, though.
4. If it makes you feel any better, the election circus looks like its about to get cranked up north of your border. Parliament is about to be dissolved (so says the rumour mill) and we are said to be going to vote on October 14th. Simultaneous political follies - why not? We did the same in 1984, 1988, and 2000.

MRMacrum said...

El Cerdo Ignatius - Your reasonable and knowledgeable approach is the one reason I keep coming back to your blog and your comments. We are often at odds, but hey, that's politics.

I understand the attempts by any candidate to control what information they can. It is understandable and logical. But as you say, it is the apparent hypocrisy of what they say and what they may be actually doing that bothers me. It goes to what I feel may be the type of administration they will run.

I will never understand why pols do not get out in front of the slips and mishaps of their past. The one that was so very stupid in this regard is Bill Clinton. You would think the others would have learned from his mistake. But no, so many have aides rushing around putting out fires from their past. Obama actually started to impress me the day he came out and said, "Yeah, I smoked pot, did drugs. I regret it, but I did it." The issue died right there.

1138 said...

Snave posted it here.
I don't know if pulled it because of policy, traffic or what, my old account doesn't work anymore and I can't access it because of changing email addresses.
the way accounts operate are rally stupid on almost all sites.

Do I believe it's real?
I have no basis to evaluate it.
I've seen nothing countering it to date.

1138 said...

BTW hast the article here in archives

Demeur said...

El cedro
I'd agree with you on several points. McCain does have a bad temper and yes other presidents as well. But McCain was tortured for some two years and we all know the possibilities of the effects of PTSD. Add to that the fact that the senator is taking Ambien and this is someone I do not want any where near the white house. For McCain to admit he has a bad temper is the politics of a long time ago. McCain like Bush would never admit to any short comming but blame the other party for their own mistakes.
I must say I do like the way politics are handled north of the border. Seems a bit easier to remove a scoundrel when needed.
I did find a copy of the Dr's article and posted it on my blog.

annie said...

Hello. I saw your great comment about
the Palin choice on Morning Martini, and wanted to send a shout your way.

the fact that he has voted against things that assist his fellow veterans makes me sick. the words do not match the deeds, as usual.

Gary ("Old Dude") said...

Politicians are politicians, worse both parties employee full time PR experts---look past all the hype people look for the real facts, look for the details of HOW they want to make changes---blow past the high faluting lanquage, add up the numbers of what things might cost, where is the money coming from for these changes they want to implement---remember the only money the government has comes from us the tax payers----then with these facts in hand you can make a good decision. I have said it before, the devil is in the details----seems the real choice here is do we want MORE government directing our lives or Less----ARE YOU dependend on Government handouts or paying your own way?

Snave said...

I posted this one also on Aug. 25. I think the letter is real. If it is still in archives, then good. Why it isn't seeing the light of day and why more Americans aren't hearing about it? I would imagine there is indeed some kind of campaign to keep this one quiet. There is probably a similar campaign to keep Anne Kilkenny's letter about Sarah Palin quiet (and I posted about that one yesterday).

El Cerdo is correct, any campaign is going to control information. How the information is presented is control of that information, I suppose. I know what you mean though MrM, about the hypocrisy. They all seem to like to say or do something to pump themselves up and make themselves look bigger, but then they go out and say or do the opposite. It is this kind of hypocrisy, particularly when it is used to manipulate voters, that I find disturbing.

I believe Demeur is correct in suggesting that the GOP is, as usual, engaging in the use of "projection". If you know you have a flaw, and it's obvious and potentially damaging, you label the opponent as having that flaw. Anymore, I think it has gotten to where if the GOP accuses a Democrat of something, it is usually something the GOP itself has a problem with. That can go for issues around policy, character, whatever. Annie is right, the words are not matching the deeds.

I don't want to know about Palin's teenage daughter's pregnancy or about her husband's DUII 22 years ago. I want to know about how Palin dealt with people in Alaska, how she reversed positions about the bridge, how she cut funding for a program that provided housing for unwed teen mothers, etc. THOSE are the kinds of things the media needs to report on when it comes to Palin, NOT that she likes to eat moose meat, likes to fire guns, and likes to ride snowmobiles. The media seems to have become little more than a vehicle for promoting entertainment and sensationalism anymore... and by doing things this way, they aid the cause of those politicians who wish to run less-than-transparent campaigns.

Larry is right, the devil IS in the details... and because we all seem to have such a fear of "the devil", I guess a lot of the details either don't matter or just get swept under the rug.

I think that the more McCain/Palin try to squash investigative reporting and the revealing of things they don't want known, the more obvious it should become to Americans that these people have things to hide. What is it that they don't want us to know? If the mainstream media is responsible, it will help us learn some of these things, but I fear it has been taken over by corporations long ago... and that maybe there never really was such a thing as the "liberal media". The GOP still seems to get a lot of mileage out of the myth anyway, eh...

NucMEd is Hot said...

I read it when Demeur first posted the link. Wonder where it went.

1138 said...

It didn't go anywhere the original link wasn't the permanent link.

Snave now that I've seen the original article and attribution at I believe it.
Second hand gets iffy, even when it's a trusted, trustable individual like you.
The author himself put it up on, and he's been there for some considerable period of time.

1138 said...

Psst... I found Dr Butler's video and put it on my blog.

BBC said...

Do not get me wrong here, John McCain went through Hell and back.

For a stupid fucking reason because he was brainwashed into fighting in someone else's war.

And now he is trying to brainwash others into fighting in the Iraq war, another stupid fucking war.

And believe me, it's as much a religious war as it is about anything else. Think about it.

And then get ready to find some place to hide just in case things go to hell in the near future.

The near future of course being the next 20 years.

BBC said...

Friends, the more you waller around in that monkey shit called politics, the more your brains will start looking like a bowl of mush.

Don't try to understand it, just blow it the fuck up and start over again.

You know damn good and well that you wouldn't run your planet this way, and deep down inside you know that yow can't fix shit just because they keep telling you that you can because you are part of it and have a vote.

Fuck, they just say that so that you will join them in their game. All you are trying to do is to figure out who is the lessor evil that you can use your vote on.

Even Obama has his own agenda, and you shouldn't forget that for a minute.

I'll vote for him of course, I'd rather catch him and his wife fucking on a White House couch than McCain and Palin.

I will admit though that catching McCain and Palin fucking on a White House couch would be more entertaining and give us taxpayers more bang for the buck. :-)