Friday, May 30, 2008
from Libertarian Republican by Eric Dondero
From Adam Brickly:According to Kevin Aylward of WizBang, Arthur Culvahouse, the head of John McCain's VP search, has been spotted in Juneau! If this is true, it would confirm that the McCain campaign is SERIOUSLY considering a Palin nomination.From Clifford Thies:http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2008/05/mccain_vp_search_heads_to_alas_1.asp
The ballot for the DCAbloob Republican vice-presidential poll is linked here. Enjoy.
This site has not endorsed any one candidate for VP, but Sarah Palin is sure an interesting option. Fun to watch while we wait and watch the Democrats beating each other up all summer.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
from M E N O R A H by Menorah Menorah
Looks to create defensible borders before pressured into concessionsThe diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Israel is seeking to create "defensible borders" within months, fearing if territorial negotiations were held during an Obama administration, Israel would be pressured into more dangerous concessions. More
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Written by Chris Riley an Indiana attorney, in St. Joseph County, and Indiana Republican Party Chairman for that county
In an unusually specific campaign video, Obama promises to “slow the development of future combat systems.” He vows that he will not weaponize space and will instead “cut investment in unproven missile defense systems.” And, in Mondale-like manner (I once thought no one would ever duplicate Mondale), he will “not develop new nuclear weapons” and will “reduce our nuclear arsenals” by negotiating with Russia. (You can view the video simply by visiting website here.)
So much for peace through strength.In the waning days of his indolent presidency, James Buchanan introduced himself as the “last president of the United States”–a tacit acceptance of the confederacy to come. He said nothing while the House tabled a resolution authorizing the president to call out state militias. He acquiesced when the Senate requested funding reductions in the War Department. He failed to see the most pressing issue of his day. Andnearly three percent of the nation’s population died in the four years that followed ...
Thanks for the highlight Brian. Follow link to read entire article.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
From Wrong Book from ARRA News Service
by Paul Jacobs, Common Sense: Last November, Keith Sampson, a college student, was found guilty of “racial harassment.” He’d been caught reading a book while on break from a part-time job with the school. Uh-oh. The book is titled Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan. It recounts a conflict between Irish Catholics and the Klan back in the 1920s. The book is clearly anti-Klan.Reading such history cannot amount to “racial harassment,” even if somebody complains that it does. But such a complaint was all it took to get Sampson in hot water with the hall monitors at his school, Indiana University/Purdue UniversityThis is where foolish liberal political correctness ends up, fascism and legalism. We must cave in and negotiate with terrorists and dictators ... but we cannot read a book without approval from the "PC" police. I'm pretty embarrased by this story, since I went to the school.
(Indianapolis). According to Sampson, the “affirmative action officer” found him
guilty without ever talking to him or inspecting the book. The official accusatory letter states that “repeatedly reading the book . . . constitutes racial harassment in that you demonstrated disdain and insensitivity to your co-workers.”I’m sure Keith Sampson felt the university was being insensitive to his need to have the bogus accusation properly investigated. Months later, the university is finally reversing itself, thanks to a lot of bad publicity and the involvement of outfits like the ACLU and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). But the school admits no wrongdoing. If you ask me, the affirmative action officer has way too much time on his hands. Maybe he could spend it reading a book?
Friday, May 23, 2008
This follows closely on the heels of all the hub-bub over twitter and the ability to converse, but it's limited to 140 characters which may not be enough for the follow-up conversations.
P.S. Follow JohnMcCain2008 on twitter for great starts to conversations
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Turns out all the "unprecedented crowd of 80,000 who came to hear Barack
Obama at a Campaign Rally" was all pure liberal media hype. Little Green
Footballs is reporting that the crowd was there for a rock concert by the group
The Decemberists. Obama was just there as a visiting celebrity taking advantage
of the event ...
He goes on to say that the band plays the Soviet National anthem at their concerts. Barack can have the Leninists niche.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
PRESIDENT - VIRGINIA
- John McCain (R) 44%
- Barack Obama (D) 36%
- John McCain (R) 47%
- Hillary (D) 38%
This poll was done May 12-18 among 852 registered voters.
Meanwhile, a new poll from Survey USA has McCain also ahead of Obama by 8% in North Carolina. Interestingly, Hillary would actually beat McCain in North Carolina. Does that mean that Democrat voters in North Carolina actually handed McCain the election by voting instead for Obama when given the chance to execute Operation Chaos?
PRESIDENT - NORTH CAROLINA
- John McCain (R) 51%
- Barack Obama (D) 43%
- Hillary (D) 49%
- John McCain (R) 43%
What's the verdict? John McCain is beginning the long slow growth of his voter base that will only escalate when Obama shoves Hillary off the podium at the convention.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
VP Madness Voting
Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska, faces off against the conserevatives darling Mike Huckabee. Even if you haven't voted so far, you can still vote in the Finals.
Head over, it take a couple minutes, no big investment of time.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Why can't we drive our SUV's? Will he take them as President?
Back in April in a televised debate with Hillary Clinton, Obama revealed details about why he will seek to increase long term capital gains rates from 15% to 28%, affecting anyone who owns stock. We all think of taxes as a revenue generator needed to run our country, but Obama thinks of taxes as a fairness axe, meant to cut down anyone who is more successful than he is ...
Great chart too, showing capital gain tax increases and their outcome. I won't rip it, head over and read the article.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
How did you think he did? Funny? Serious?
The AP has a good article about Sarah Palin. You can read it here.
I wanted to bring this to the attention of redstaters who might feel that Sarah cannot be a VP choice because she recently gave birth. As the article says, Sarah was already back at work a few days after giving birth. Just like Cathy McMorris (R-WA), Sarah proves that new mothers can take care of their young kids while pursuing a career.
It’s Final Four Time !
CQ Politics VP Madness “Final Four”
Looks highly likely that it will be Pawlenty v. Palin in Finals.
Barack Obama's wealth has more than doubled during his presidential campaign -- and has shot up tenfold since he entered the U.S. Senate three years ago, his financial disclosure filed Friday shows.
Thanks to LA Times wields the "elitist" hatchet
from Daily Kos
Friday, May 16, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
the GOP Nominee outlines his First Term as President!
and John McCain's First Term - New TV Ad - "2013"
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Obama's negatives are increasing. He loses badly to McCain according to the polls in Kentucky and West Virginia, where Hillary would fare better.
5/14/08: Clinton Looking to Pull a Repeat of WV in KY
Clinton holds a better than 30% lead among white voters in Kentucky -- looking
to pull a repeat of West Virginia in Kentucky next week. If electability is of
concern to you, Clinton definitely has it in Kentucky. According to the latest
poll, she is in a statistical dead heat with John McCain in Kentucky while Obama
trails by over 30% against McCain. White voters in Kentucky, like West Virginia,
have made it clear that they will not vote for Obama in either the democratic
primary nor the general election.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
from Redstate - Conservative News and Community
"...When Indiana and North Carolina voted last week, the MSM was gleeful pointing out that McCain, the GOP nominee, was still seeing double digits worth of votes go to Huckabee, Ron Paul, and others.
Here now, this week, and next week, Barack Obama, the presumptive Democrat nominee, will have lost every election since February except North Carolina and Guam, and lost nearly two thirds of the vote in West Virginia, and yet the media will sweep it all under the rug, flailing about wildly to find burning crosses and white sheets instead of recognizing Obama's significant general election vulnerabilities ..."
A remarkable etymology has been brought to my attention by the indefatigable aldiboronti at Wordorigins.org: "the word surly is
no more than an alteration of sirly, which meant lordly, haughty, imperious,
acting like a sir in fact." A couple of citations for the original form:1579
SPENSER Sheph. Cal. July 203 Sike syrlye shepheards han we none, They keepen all the path. 1600 HOLLAND Livy XXXV. xxxviii. 911 Syrly lords (say they) were the
Macedonians, and rigorous.
This article asks a key question though, can Obama have any hope against McCain if he can't hold the key Dem states?
Can Barack Obama win West Virginia?
from Salon by Mike Madden
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Obama Backs U.N. Bill to Disarm Americans
From Four Winds 10: This is just in from Sen. Coburn’s office. Obama has authored a bill, and it is now in the Senate, to give the UN .7% of our GNP to be used to feed hungry 3rd worlders, AND to use UN force to disarm you and me and all gun owners. No one in the media has brought this to the attention of the general sheeple out here.
Sent: Monday, May 05, 2008 12:48 PMSubject: RE: Obama’s bill S2433 passed the committee and going to the Senate
John McCain on His Vision for Defending the Freedom and Dignity of the World’s Vulnerable
from McCain Blogs by William Teach
McCain speech from Wednesday Thank you. Last year the world celebrated the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British and American slave trade in 1807. Nearly fifty-six years would pass before Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, signaling the end of slavery in the United States.
One man cares more about the United Nations, and keeping dictators elsewhere happy with us. The other cares more about the impoverished and the slaves of society, yes they still exist and right here in the U.S.
You will have a choice in November.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Here are some ideas, in random order, ranging from obvious to creative, easy to challenging! Report back which ideas worked!
1. Put a McCain bumper sticker on your car. Order McCain merchandise and advertising on the official site www.johnmccain.com
2. Put a McCain sign on your lawn (or in your apartment/dorm window or office/cubicle.)
3. Change your email signature to promote http://www.johnmccain.com/ or the Porter County Politics blog.
4. Change your voicemail message (may help avoid unwanted Obama supporter calls too!).
5. Support McCain on Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/johnmccain.
6. Support McCain on Facebook
7. Join the John McCain 2008 Ning network (there is participation from campaign volunteer staff on this board too)
8. Participate in LinkedIn discussions with McCain folks.
9. Add a McCain widget to your webpage.
10. Invite 10 friends to join http://www.mccainnow.com/
11. Find the Google Group for your state for updates on local events, volunteering, etc. at http://www.mccaingooglegroups.com/
12. Leave pro-McCain comments at YouTube, official campaign videos are posted by ‘Johnmccaindotcom’.
13. Check out the McCain video channel at http://www.veoh.com/
14. Write letters to the editor of national and local papers http://www.johnmccain.com/ActionCenter/WriteNewspapers.aspx
15. Call in to radio shows: Michael Medved
16. Call in to radio shows: Laura Ingraham
17. Call in to radio shows: Rush Limbaugh
18. Call in to radio shows: Sean Hannity
19. Call in to radio shows: Dennis Prager
20. Call in to radio shows: Hugh Hewitt
21. Call in to radio shows: Mike Gallagher
22. Call in to radio shows: Bill Bennett
23. Call into radio shows: Michelle Malkin
24. Join the John McCain Meetup group to meet other supporters online and in person!
25. Volunteer with your local Republican party – getting voters out to support McCain.
26. Share your convictions with people you trust, via e-mail, letter, or face-to-face. There's no substitute for 'straight talk!'
27. Ask your friends if they are registered to vote.
28. Doorbell for McCain prior to primaries and elections in your state (usually coordinated through local Republican party).
29. Email a letter of support, including a link to johnmccain.com to anyone/everyone in your address book.
30. Make http://www.johnmccain.com/ your homepage so you’re up to date on the campaign.
31. Vote for McCain in online polls. Here's one for this week.
32. Contact cable stations running false and offensive ads to complain.
33. PRAY for wisdom for McCain, his campaign staff and volunteers, and American voters.
34. Forward a blog post you like to 5 friends a day (if you feel like you’re bugging people, pick different friends each day.) Check out www.mv08.info or http://mccainblogs.com for some good ones.
35. Buy and read McCain's biography, Faith of Our Fathers.
36. Come to a McCain event.
37. Thank Sela Ward for her support of McCain and Hope Village for Children, her charity serving children in Mississippi.
38. Sign up to volunteer for the campaign in your state.
39. Join the CafeMom John McCain for President Group!
40. Digg pro-McCain articles.
41. Support pro-McCain articles and blog posts at Delicious.
42. Find pro-McCain blogs at http://www.wonkosphere.com/.
43. Share sites with good news about McCain, such as Citizens Against Government Waste.
44. Support future first lady Cindy McCain's entrepreneurship by drinking Budweiser Beer!
45. Register for http://www.mccainnow.com/ - a forum for McCain supporters.
46. Wear a McCain lapel pin or button.
47. Buy a McCain coffee mug to drink in at your office. Those who don't care won't comment. May bring a few McCain supporters out of the closet (or their cubicles!)
48. Wear a McCain t-shirt to the gym.
49. Carry a McCain water bottle (good for you, the environment, and the campaign!)
50. Post pro-McCain comments on CNN
51. Post pro-McCain comments on FoxNews
52. Post pro-McCain comments on MSNBC
53. Post pro-McCain comments on ABCNews
54. Post pro-McCain comments on CBSNews
55. Post pro-McCain comments on NBCNews
56. Post pro-McCain comments on Yahoo!
57. McCain key chain - every cashier, valet, carpool Mom will see it, only $5.00!
58. Wear your work badge (or, summer travelers, your ID/ticket) on a McCain lanyard.
59. Host a screening of 'Faith of My Fathers' DVD, based on McCain's biographical book about his captivity in Vietnam and the character that experience forged.
60. Wear a McCain baseball cap to kids' sports events and practices.
61. Treat baby to a McCain onesie! Who could resist an adorable, right-thinking cherub?!!?
62. Attend a local GOP meeting to network with fellow McCain supporters.
63. Shake hands with a veteran (or current soldier, sailor, airman) and tell them you’re a McCain supporter who appreciates their service.
64. Tell friends about media appearances by John and Cindy McCain - lately they have each been on The View, David Letterman, Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
65. Create your own blog to support McCain. It’s easy – I did it, you can too! Instructions at http://mccain08olc.blogspot.com/
66. Make a "Victory Jar" or "Freedom Fund", put in your loose change, and donate to the campaign once a month.
67. Find the McCain group for your religious affiliation - including Evangelicals for McCain, Catholics for McCain and more. See http://www.mv08.info/ for some listings (don't find one? Start one!)
68. Make a pro-McCain avatar (online picture identifier thingie) at http://www.meez.com/.
69. Add a pro-McCain button to your Yahoo homepage. http://news.yahoo.com/elections
70. Request McCain events at http://www.eventful.com/ .
71. Get up-to-the-minute messages from Twitter - John McCain 2008McCain News
72. Active Rain Group http://activerain.com/groups/JohnMcCain
73. Provide pro-McCain comments at http://www.huddlez.com/74. Leave pro-McCain comments on http://www.blogher.com/
75. Leave pro-McCain comments at http://politics4moms.blogspot.com/
76. Leave pro-McCain comments at http://www.momsbuzz.com/
77. Put a McCain sticker up in your business.
78. Leave pro-McCain comments at http://www.youdecide2008.com/
79. Respond to editors of major magazines reporting on McCain: Time
80. Respond to editors of major magazines reporting on McCain: Newsweek
81. Respond to editors of major magazines reporting on McCain: US News & World Report
82. Include John McCain quotes as your 'quote of the day' or email signature.
83. Check out McCain-friendly forums at http://www.patriotscorner.com/forums/
84. Check out McCain-friendly forums at http://mccaintalk.com/
85. Check out McCain-friendly forums at http://disc.yourwebapps.com/Indices/240445.html#6
86. "Buzz" up Yahoo! articles on McCain http://buzz.yahoo.com/
87. Post a sticker or pro-McCain flyer featuring the website at your supermarket, library, senior center, or other public bulletin board.
88. Leave pro-McCain comments on Politico http://www.politico.com/
89. Leave pro-McCain comments on Little Green Footballs http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/
90. Leave pro-McCain comments on Instapundit http://www.instapundit.com/
91. Leave pro-McCain comments on http://www.townhall.com/
92. Register for updates from http://www.gop.com/
93. Join a McCain group representing you:r ethnic group: Latino, African-American, etc.
94. Leave pro-McCain comments on http://www.eyeon08.com/.
95. Leave pro-McCain comments on AOL.
96. Leave pro-McCain comments on MSN.
97. Leave pro-McCain comments on http://www.realclearpolitics.com/.
98. Treat your stickered car to a McCain license plate holder http://store.johnmccain.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=LCR3024
99. This Mother’s Day, tell Dad you want your own Mom for McCain gear!!Oh, and yes,
#100: You can donate to the campaign!!
#101: For those here in NW Indiana post Pro-McCain comments and threads on NWi.com message board, I know it's web 1.0 but the political junkies in NW Indiana haven't moved to blogs yet. http://nwi.com/interact/
Friday, May 2, 2008
By ERNEST C. BRACE
It was May 24, 1973. Almost five years previously I had met John under harsher circumstances. We had been confined as POWs in solitary confinement in adjacent cells at a camp the prisoners of war had named "The Plantation" in Hanoi, North Vietnam. We talked to each other through a wall for over a year, of family, our capture, girlfriends, troubles we'd been through, and on Sunday we told each other a movie.
John had been shot down over the center of Hanoi by a Soviet surface-to-air missile. Upon ejecting at near the speed of sound from his A4E attack jet, John dislocated his shoulder and broke his arm in several places.
He landed in a lake and would have drowned except that a group of civilians waded into the lake and dragged him ashore. There they proceeded to beat him and at one point stuck him with a bayonet. Soldiers rescued John from the civilian mob and delivered him to Hoa Lo Prison in central Hanoi, where he was thrown into a cell in the part of Hoa Lo the American prisoners had named "Heartbreak Hotel." John had passed in and out of consciousness several times since his capture, and awoke lying on a dirty concrete floor. An American tune was playing over a loudspeaker somewhere. It took a few moments before John realized it was "Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley."
When an interrogator entered the cell John would only reply to his demands with name, rank, serial number and date of birth. The interrogator told him he would die in that cell unless he started answering the questions. John lost track of the days he had been in the small cell. One day the interrogator entered the cell with two other guards and asked John why he had not told them his father was Admiral McCain. Without any further questioning they moved John to the local hospital and gave him medical treatment for his broken bones and puncture wounds. John was heavily sedated and awoke in a body cast.
John was now in solitary confinement because he refused to co-operate with the North Vietnamese efforts to exploit his father's position. His father, Admiral John Sidney McCain II, was Commander in Chief of Naval Forces Europe when John was captured. Since John's capture in 1967 his father had become Commander in Chief of Naval Forces Pacific, (CINCPAC), a much more significant posting considering John's captivity. John was considered a valuable prisoner by the Hanoi Government and they occasionally tried to use him to their propaganda advantage. John refused to cooperate. They had even offered John early release, but he refused because he knew it would not only embarrass his father, but he felt there were other prisoners in much worse shape that should be exchanged before him.
I was in solitary because I was a civilian pilot working under contract to USAID/CIA when captured in Laos. Since I had been captured by North Vietnamese troops in Laos in May 1965 I was kept hidden from other prisoners. I was never listed as a prisoner and never allowed to write home or receive mail or packages. The Vietnamese were not supposed to be in Laos in 1965. The Americans used civilians and Thai Special Forces for counterinsurgency forces in Laos.
My first three years and six months of captivity had been spent in total solitary in a small bamboo cage in a valley near Dien Bien Phu in western Vietnam. The last two years and six months I was confined in stocks, irons and ropes because of four attempted escapes, two from the cage. In August 1966 I made my last attempt to escape. Punishment from that attempt crippled me to the point I could not walk. Two years later, when they took me into Hanoi in October 1968, I was in poor health and could walk only by leaning against a wall or some other support.
I had not seen or heard an American since my capture. I had no idea of what had happened in the war or to what extent the Americans were now involved. During the trip in a Russian truck from Dien Bien Phu into Hanoi I observed road and bridge construction There was no air activity and I was under the impression the war was over. What I did not know was that President Johnson had gone to limited bombing in the autumn of 1968 in an attempt to get the peace talks in Paris moving again.
I was taken to a camp the prisoners had named the "Plantation." A rice mat and a change of clothing were on the bed. Rubber-tire sandals were on the floor near the bed. The dim light was from a single bulb dropped by its cord from the ceiling. It must have been about 25 watts at the most. The guards did not enter the room. They slammed the shutters closed and dropped the bar into place.I heard a padlock snap closed. Then a very oriental voice came through the louvers, "Sleep."
I crawled over to the bedboard. Pulling myself up onto the bed I sat and looked around. It was the largest cell I had been in since my capture. I picked up the black pajama-like shirt and trousers and saw that I had a set of underwear or shorts of the same black cotton cloth. The rice mat was new and I rolled it out onto the board. I let the mosquito net down around me and tried to get some sleep. It had been a full day and then some.
I woke to someone opening my louvered window. It was the guard from the night before. He pointed at my bucket and grunted for me to set it outside. I hadn't used the bucket yet and indicated so in broken Vietnamese and Thai. He scowled and slammed the shutters closed.
I could hear a radio playing off in the distance and tried to make out what it was saying. It was some oriental woman speaking English and hard to follow. Then I heard what sounded like the Kingston Trio singing "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" Strange place!
The guard was at the shutters again and handed me a jug of hot water and half a bread roll. I made motions like eating with chopsticks and asked if he had some rice. I was hungry. He scowled and shut the louvers with a bang. I sat on the bed and ate what had been given to me. I could hear other cell doors being opened and closed and then it got quiet in the camp.
I was sitting on the floor with my back against the inside wall when I heard a tapping on the wall behind me. It was the rhythm of "Shave and a haircut" but the "two bits" was missing. The officer had warned me about making noise in the room or tapping on walls. I sat there thinking, "That's nice; there must be an American next door."
The "Shave and a haircut" was tapped again. This time I replied with the "two bits" which seemed the natural thing to do. A rapid series of tapping in some kind of rhythm ensued and I scooted away from the wall thinking that I had been tricked by the guards. There was silence after the tapping stopped. A few minutes later the tapping started again. I did nothing.
After some time a slow, steady thumping started that had no rhythm. I started counting. The thumping stopped and I tried to convert the number of thumps to a letter of the alphabet. The thumping resumed before I got my letter. I then realized I should be saying the alphabet rather than counting. I got "wal" on the last series of thumps. I didn't know what to do. The thumping resumed after some time, and I said the alphabet, and got "out ear to wal." I figured it must mean "put ear to wall" and shuffled along to where the tapping was coming from. I tapped twice on the brick wall with my knuckle as I pressed my ear against the wall.
A voice on the other side, obviously an American, said "If you hear me buddy tap twice."I tapped twice in reply.He got excited then and said he had been trying to contact me all morning, since morning was best while the guards were occupied with the buckets and morning water. He rattled off a couple questions and when I did nothing he slowed down and told me how to reply.
One tap was "no" – two taps was "yes" or "copy" – three taps was "I don't know" – and a rapid series of tapping was "repeat." I tapped twice that I understood.
He told me that his name was John McCain, he was a Navy Lieutenant Commander and had been shot down about a year prior, in 1967. He told me he was talking by wrapping his shirt around his cup and pressing the bottom of the cup against the wall. I tapped twice.
He asked me if I had a cup. I tapped once.
A lot of questions followed, "Are you an American? Are you a Pilot? Are you Navy? Airforce? Army? Civilian?" He got excited again when I replied "yes" to civilian."CIA?" he asked.
I tapped "no" and he immediately apologized for asking.Had I been a prisoner long was the next question. I tapped slowly four times. I Should have tapped three, but did not know how I could get the half in there.
John explained that the "Shave and a haircut" rhythm was the call-up signal for a tap code the prisoners were using. The "two bits" was the go ahead. Since he could use his cup on the wall there was no need to tap, but he would teach me the tap code anyway. A solid thump was a danger signal and meant get away from the wall. Even though we had voice communications I started practicing the tap code.
Put simply, the tap code was to divide the alphabet into five groups of five letters each, dropping the letter "K."
1 2 3 4 5
1 A B C D E
2 F G H I J
3 L M N O P
4 Q R S T U
5 V W X Y Z
Tap vertically down first and then horizontally until you reached the letter you needed. For example, my name Brace would be tapped: B=1-2; R=4-2; A=1-1; C=1-3; E=1-5. Two taps at the end of each word meant you copied, and a "roger roger" – 4-2,4-2 – was usually sent back at the end of the message to indicate you understood. We signed off with a "GBU" for "God Bless You."
A couple days later I was given a cup and communications were wide open. John brought me up to date on the war, what Johnson had done, and the fact Nixon was running for president again. That was the biggest surprise. John had a loudspeaker in his room and heard The Voice of Vietnam with "Hanoi Hannah" every day. John initiated all communications because his cell looked out on the courtyard and he could keep track of the guards through a small nail hole in his door.
The lights were out in the cells during the day and the guards' eyes couldn't adjust to the darkness from the bright outdoors when they threw open the peepholes to check into the cell. A thump on the wall out of nowhere meant that guards were coming into the cell so stay away from the wall. Next to John were two Air Force officers. They communicated with John somewhat, but weren't as thirsty as I was for news. They had a speaker in their room, too.
My cell on the back of the warehouse building turned out to be an excellent place to establish communications with the north end of the camp. A group of officers living three men in one cell did the dishes for the camp. After each evening meal they would come down between the outside wall and the back of the warehouse to get to the washroom area. One would stride out ahead of the two carrying the basket of plates and say a few words to me as he passed by my louvered windows. On their return trip I would answer him as he again distanced himself from the guard escorting the dishwashers.
At other times I could talk to the men in the first stall of the washrooms, after the guard left the area to pick up another prisoner to put into the next washroom. The men in the washroom could clear the washcourt and would cough a warning if the guard was returning. Communications were absolutely forbidden and punishment could be severe; caution was required. I passed news to John about the happenings in the other parts of the camp and John kept me informed of what was happening in the world – according to the Voice of Vietnam anyway.
Occasionally John would get called up to the "Big House." That's what the prisoners named the building where I was taken the night I arrived in the camp. Sometimes he had news that was not on the speakers in the camp. In September 1968 John had gone through a particularly bad session at the Big House where they had broken his left arm again by bending it beyond its limited mobility. After almost four days of beatings and torture John had signed a "crime confession." In the years to follow in Hanoi I found that most prisoners had been tortured to the extent that many had signed "crime confessions, letters requesting amnesty, or early release, and letters to their buddies not to fly in this cruel and senseless war."
Some had been tortured into reading propaganda over the camp radio. They had tried this on John also, but he screwed it up so bad they could not use the tape they got from John.
The year 1969 passed quickly. John was certain we would be going home this year because they seemed to be bringing in prisoners from the outlying camps. Richard Nixon had won the election, and John felt Nixon would not let us sit there much longer.
In April 1969 I made contact with a Navy Seaman, Douglas Hegdahl, one day out of the louvered window. He was cooking the chopped bamboo and weed mixture they fed the pigs in a large wok over an open fire. The guards thought he was pretty ineffective because he was only about 18, and not an officer, when captured. Hegdahl told me he had fallen off the stern of a Cruiser in the Tonkin Gulf one night when he was dumping garbage. After swimming for the rest of the night he was picked up by a Vietnamese fishing boat. The Vietnamese beat him pretty badly, at first thinking he was a commando trying to swim ashore.
Doug could watch the entry to the washcourt where he was cooking the pig's chow, and I could clear the area back to the left of the window while we talked. A cough meant there was a guard coming.
Doug gave me a lot of news about what was going on in the camp. He explained that the Senior Ranking Officer had given him orders to take early release if it was offered and he would probably be going home in July or August. Doug had memorized some three hundred names of prisoners that were not publicized. Prisoners had been sorted after their capture according to their significance to the North Vietnamese propaganda value. Fully one-half the prisoners were not acknowledge as being alive and were not allowed to write or receive mail.
This did not change until after Doug's release and the Vietnamese turned a list of prisoners over to McGovern to be read at an antiwar rally back home.
Doug would be sure to tell our government that I was alive and in Hanoi. I thought to myself that that would be a great surprise to a lot of people. He asked about John and said to tell him his father was now Commander in Chief of the Pacific. I told him John already knew. A guard came and we had to break off our conversation.
I spent the next hour telling John about the Hegdahl conversation. Of course John had a hundred questions I should have asked Doug, but it was too late. Doug was released that summer and did let the CIA know I was alive and in Hanoi.
My family was warned not to say anything about what they now knew because it might jeopardize my position. My wife, I found out after my release, had remarried. She decided at that time not to tell my four sons that their father was still alive in Hanoi.
There was a communication bust in the building known as the Corn Crib in early fall of 1969. An Air Force pilot, Mel Pollack, and a Navy pilot, Tom Hall, were taken out of the Corn Crib and moved into my old cell behind John. I was moved into the corner cell on the backside of the warehouse. At least this cell had a door. We soon learned we could hold a three way conversation by using our cups in the adjacent corner.
It took about a week to get caught up on family, military careers and shoot-down stories. Then we started playing chess through the wall. We scratched a board on our bedboards and used chips of bricks and pebbles we smuggled back into our room from the washcourt for the pawns. Pieces of toilet paper with characters on them made up the major pieces. John got upset one day when the game was going hot and heavy and told us to cool it for a while or we would be caught. John's warning did not slow us down much.
In December 1969 there was another big communication bust in the camp. The guards found out that everyone knew my name. I was taken up to the Big House and told I must confess my crimes. John had told me to deny, deny, deny, if I was ever caught communicating. To me it was a matter of survival to let the Vietnamese know that I was well known in the camp and that I had talked to Douglas Hegdahl before he left. The interrogator was angry and told me I was to be sent back to the jungle.
Earlier in captivity I would have been beaten severely, but President Ho Chi Minh had died in September 1969 and since his death the treatment had improved.
I was still in solitary four years and six months after my capture. As I was taken back to my cell I thought, "I'll never know what is going on in the jungle." I told John, and the others, what the officer said. They all sympathized of course, but we had no control.
I spent the next week waiting for something to happen. One night they threw open the door to my cell and told me to prepare to move. I rolled up my rice mat and bundled together what clothes I had. Someone coughed out a "GBU" – God bless you – as I was picking up my bundles. I was blindfolded and led into the courtyard on the other side of the warehouse.
I was leaving friends and could hardly hold back tears as they dragged me across the courtyard. They pushed me up into a truck and told me to keep silent. I was up against another prisoner on the floor of the truck. I felt something hit my thigh and then a hand slowly tapped, "MCCAIN, who U." I smiled as I realized I was not being sent back to the jungle after all. I tapped back "EB GBU." Later I was to find that there were four prisoners on that truck leaving the Plantation: John McCain, Swede Larson, Ted Guy and me. Swede tried to join in on the tapping of names, but started his tapping on a guard's leg and received a hard kick for his efforts.
It would be Christmas 1969 in a few days. Little did we know we would see three more Christmases after 1969, still in Hanoi, still in prison.
Mr. Brace is the author of "A Code to Keep," St. Martin's Press, 1988, and Hellgate Press, 2000.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
When it comes to choosing a president, the American people want to knowmore about a candidate than policy positions. They want to know about character, the values ingrained in his heart. For Mr. McCain, that meansthey will want to know more about him personally than he has beenwilling to reveal. Mr. Day relayed to me one of the stories Americans should hear.
It involves what happened to him after escaping from a North Vietnameseprison during the war. When he was recaptured, a Vietnamese captor brokehis arm and said, "I told you I would make you a cripple." The break was designed to shatter Mr. Day's will. He had survived inprison on the hope that one day he would return to the United States andbe able to fly again. To kill that hope, the Vietnamese left part of abone sticking out of his arm, and put him in a misshapen cast. This wasdone so that the arm would heal at "a goofy angle," as Mr. Dayexplained. Had it done so, he never would have flown again. But it didn't heal that way because of John McCain. Risking severepunishment, Messrs. McCain and Day collected pieces of bamboo in theprison courtyard to use as a splint. Mr. McCain put Mr. Day on the floorof their cell and, using his foot, jerked the broken bone into place.Then, using strips from the bandage on his own wounded leg and thebamboo, he put Mr. Day's splint in place.
Years later, Air Force surgeons examined Mr. Day and complemented thetreatment he'd gotten from his captors. Mr. Day corrected them. It wasDr. McCain who deserved the credit. Mr. Day went on to fly again.
Another story I heard over dinner with the Days involved Mr. McCainserving as one of the three chaplains for his fellow prisoners. At onepoint, after being shuttled among different prisons, Mr. Day had foundhimself as the most senior officer at the Hanoi Hilton. So he tapped Mr.McCain to help administer religious services to the other prisoners. Today, Mr. Day, a very active 83, still vividly recalls Mr. McCain'ssermons. "He remembered the Episcopal liturgy," Mr. Day says, "andsounded like a bona fide preacher." One of Mr. McCain's first sermonstook as its text Luke 20:25 and Matthew 22:21, "render unto Caesar whatis Caesar's and unto God what is God's." Mr. McCain said he and hisfellow prisoners shouldn't ask God to free them, but to help them becomethe best people they could be while serving as POWs. It was Caesar whoput them in prison and Caesar who would get them out. Their task was toact with honor.
Another McCain story, somewhat better known, is about the Vietnamesepractice of torturing him by tying his head between his ankles with hisarms behind him, and then leaving him for hours. The torture so badlybusted up his shoulders that to this day Mr. McCain can't raise his armsover his head. One night, a Vietnamese guard loosened his bonds, returning at the endof his watch to tighten them again so no one would notice. Shortlyafter, on Christmas Day, the same guard stood beside Mr. McCain in theprison yard and drew a cross in the sand before erasing it. Mr. McCainlater said that when he returned to Vietnam for the first time after thewar, the only person he really wanted to meet was that guard. Mr. Day recalls with pride Mr. McCain stubbornly refusing to acceptspecial treatment or curry favor to be released early, even when gravelyill. Mr. McCain knew the Vietnamese wanted the propaganda victory of theson and grandson of Navy admirals accepting special treatment. "Hewasn't corruptible then,"
Mr. Day says, "and he's not corruptible today." The stories told to me by the Days involve more than wartime valor. For example, in 1991 Cindy McCain was visiting Mother Teresa's orphanagein Bangladesh when a dying infant was thrust into her hands. Theorphanage could not provide the medical care needed to save her life, soMrs. McCain brought the child home to America with her. She was met atthe airport by her husband, who asked what all this was about. Mrs. McCain replied that the child desperately needed surgery and yearsof rehabilitation. "I hope she can stay with us," she told her husband.Mr. McCain agreed. Today that child is their teenage daughter Bridget. I was aware of this story. What I did not know, and what I learned fromDoris, is that there was a second infant Mrs. McCain brought back.
She ended up being adopted by a young McCain aide and his wife. "We were called at midnight by Cindy," Wes Gullett remembers, and "fivedays later we met our new daughter Nicki at the L.A. airport wearing theonly clothing Cindy could find on the trip back, a 7-Up T-shirt shebought in the Bangkok airport." Today, Nicki is a high school sophomore.Mr. Gullett told me, "I never saw a hospital bill" for her care. A few, but not many, of the stories told to me by the Days have beenwritten about, such as in Robert Timberg's 1996 book "A Nightingale'sSong." But Mr. McCain rarely refers to them on the campaign trail. Thereis something admirable in his reticence, but he needs to overcome it.
Private people like Mr. McCain are rare in politics for a reason.Candidates who are uncomfortable sharing their interior lives limittheir appeal. But if Mr. McCain is to win the election this fall, he hasto open up. Americans need to know about his vision for the nation's future,especially his policy positions and domestic reforms. They also need tolearn about the moments in his life that shaped him. Mr. McCain cannotmake this a biography-only campaign - but he can't afford to make it abiography-free campaign either. Unless he opens up more, many voterswill never know the experiences of his life that show his character,integrity and essential decency. These qualities mattered in America's first president and will matter asAmericans decide on their 44th president.
Mr. Rove is the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff toPresident George W. Bush.