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Author Archive for ZP Heller

Posted on October 30th, 2008 by ZP Heller - Comments -

More of the same bigoted language from McCain supporters.  This time from the predominently white town of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, where McCain supporters could be seen yelling, “Bomb Obama!”

Urge McCain and Palin to reject the politics of hate!

Posted on October 24th, 2008 by ZP Heller - Comments -

Looks like what Joe the Plumber and Wendy the Waitress need are tax cuts for the wealthy and offshore drilling.  The only person John McCain isn’t talking about is George the President.

Posted on October 21st, 2008 by ZP Heller - Comments -

John McCain hasn’t released his medical records, so netroots rock band Max and the Marginalized goes inside McCain’s body a la “Innerspace” to see what’s going on.

For more, check out McCain’s Health Records Must Be Released.

Posted on October 17th, 2008 by ZP Heller - Comments -

By far the most successful video in the REAL McCain series, “John McCain’s YouTube Problem Just Became a Nightmare” just passed the 7 million view mark!  An astonishing number, considering we only launched this video back in May.  It is currently #14 on YouTube’s all-time most matched list of News and Politics videos; by comparison, Will.I.Am’s “Yes We Can” is #6, Barack Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” speech is #30, and way way down at #82 is Newt Gingrich’s “Drill Here, Drill Now” lecture.  (The McCain campaign’s own videos don’t even crack the top 100, though Sarah Palin’s gaffe-ridden CBS interview is down at the bottom of the list.)

Like all of our videos, “McCain’s YouTube Problem” is only as popular as you’ve made it.  When the corporate press was giving McCain a free ride earlier this year, you understood the urgent need for the public to have an accurate portrayal of McCain.  That’s why you took this video and ran with it, forwarding it to friends and coworkers, posting it on blogs and networking sites.  You’re the ones who made it a viral sensation.

Posted on October 10th, 2008 by ZP Heller - Comments -

It’s getting to the point where the only songs the McCain campaign will be able to use at rallies are the ones written specifically for them, like John Rich’s pseudo-country trifle “Raisin’ McCain.”  A couple of days ago, the Foo Fighters issued a statement telling McCain to stop using their song, “My Hero.”

The band said in a statement:

“The saddest thing about this is that `My Hero’ was written as a celebration of the common man and his extraordinary potential.  To have it appropriated without our knowledge and used in a manner that perverts the original sentiment of the lyric just tarnishes the song.”

The Foo Fighters join a slew of artists who have complained of McCain’s copyright infringement.  Others who have told McCain to quit usurping their music for political gains include Van Halen, John Mellencamp, Heart (sorry Sarah “Barracuda”), Frankie Valli, the owners of the theme song from “Rocky,” and Jackson Browne, who even filed a suit against the campaign.

Clearly, fewer and fewer artists want to be associated in any way with McCain.  But what’s particularly ironic in the case of the Foo Fighters is that McCain couldn’t be further from the ordinary hero mentioned in the song.  He continues to put himself before the country, which we saw most recently with his closing remarks at the second debate (as compared to Barack Obama’s) and his theatrics with the economic crisis.  He’s desperate to prove himself as the common man who rises to the occasion, but the reality is that he has NEVER been the common man and he has RARELY IF EVER risen to the occasion.

If you want to know what I mean, read Tim Dickinson’s scathing Rolling Stone piece on McCain, “Make-Believe Maverick.” Use that evidence, race it around.  There goes my hero, he’s ordinary.

Posted on October 7th, 2008 by ZP Heller - Comments -

Looks like we’re not the only ones concerned about McCain’s health records being released.  On The Beltway Boys, FOX’s Mort Kondracke conveyed his apprehension regarding the possible recurrence of McCain’s melanoma.  Kondracke told Fred Barnes that he wouldn’t be satisfied if someone as unqualified as Sarah Palin had to take over because McCain’s cancer had returned, and he said the American people shouldn’t be either.

I wonder if Kondracke saw Brave New PAC’s ad or read the open letter signed by over 2,800 doctors, urging McCain to provide full disclosure of his medical records.  Probably not, considering Kondracke’s FOX crony Bill O’Reilly bitterly objected to the ad, and CNN and MSNBC refused to run it on hypocritical grounds.

But it doesn’t matter, since the movement surrounding the corporate media’s censorship of the Brave New PAC ad has been big enough for people like Kondracke to take notice from all the way down at the other end of the political spectrum.  Maybe Kondracke saw Meet the Bloggers last Friday, in which Dr. Richard Sagebiel, co-director of the UCSF Melanoma Clinic, explained the dangers of McCain not releasing his medical records in full.  Maybe he saw Brave New PAC’s full-page ad in Friday’s NY Times or Frank Rich’s column on Sunday.  Or maybe Kondracke just saw the non-partisan actuarial math circulated by the Associated Press, which revealed McCain stands a 25 percent chance of dying in office.

As Dr. Sanjay Gupta told Sam Stein on The Huffington Post — another piece that drew from the Brave New PAC ad censorship — that math unfortunately likens McCain to Senator Paul Tsongas, who would have died in office if he’d been elected to a second term.  Shouldn’t McCain heed Tsongas’s call requiring candidates to provide full disclosure of their medical records?

Shouldn’t a candidate come clean to the public about his health history, especially when that candidate has a history of invasive melanoma?  We think so, and FOX’s Kondracke does too.

Posted on October 6th, 2008 by ZP Heller - Comments -

John McCain has called his Keating Five experience “the worst mistake of my life.”  The Obama campaign, however, insists McCain has learned nothing from this mistake.  Today at noon Eastern, they are launching a 13-minute documentary highlighting McCain’s involvement in the savings and loan scandal: www.keatingeconomics.com

In the 1980s, McCain strong-armed federal regulators to protect Charles Keating, the crooked banker at the center of the S&L crisis.  McCain had accepted $112,000 in campaign contributions, gifts, and trips from Keating, a McCain family friend.  Keating went to prison; McCain was only rebuked by the Senate Ethics Committee for his “poor judgment.”

While McCain has tried to rebrand himself as a reformer since the darkest days of his congressional career, his hand in the current economic crisis echoes his Keating Five experience.  McCain and his economic adviser Phil Gramm led the charge on the deregulation that helped cause the financial collapse, and McCain’s campaign manager Rick Davis was on Freddie Mac’s lobbyist payroll from 2005 until August 2008.  And both the 1980’s S&L scandal and the current economic meltdown resulted in massive bailouts at the taxpayers’ expense.

Check out www.keatingeconomics.com at noon Eastern to learn more about McCain’s unethical pattern of pushing for deregulation.  Politico has more on this story.

UPDATE: McCain’s own strategist admits, “If we keep talking about the economic crisis, we’re going to lose.

Posted on October 3rd, 2008 by ZP Heller - Comments -

John McCain had the nerve to go on Scarborough and joke that he’s “not a rich man.”  That’s rich!

Now, I know McCain can’t remember just how many homes he owns, and I know McCain thinks being rich means having at least $5 million, but I had no idea McCain didn’t consider himself wealthy.  I mean, check out this mansion the McCains are selling if you want a better idea of how ridiculously affluent they are.

McCain’s definition of “rich” calls into question his understanding of the middle and lower classes in our country. With so many people facing economic hardships and the class gap increasing by the moment, McCain needs to stop joking about what it means to have so much wealth.

Posted on September 30th, 2008 by ZP Heller - Comments -

John McCain does not have the ability to fix this economic crisis.  After declaring the fundamentals of the economy strong, he created a political circus in Washington last week by mucking up bailout negotiations; a deplorable stunt, considering he and his political cronies helped cause the current meltdown.

It was McCain and his economic adviser Phil Gramm who pushed for the deregulation that helped lead to the banking crisis, and it was McCain’s crony Rick Davis who had deep lobbyist ties to Freddie Mac.  Don’t let others be fooled by McCain’s economic grandstanding because the reality is his policies and principles will only exacerbate our financial hardships.  That’s why you must spread this video.

McCain is being deceitful with his sudden populist message and support for regulation; his economic policies still favor our nation’s wealthy elite.  Call out McCain’s economic dishonesty.  Send this video to friends and ask them to sign up for a free Brave New Films video subscription to know the latest on TheRealMcCain.com.  Then, post it on your blogs and spread it on networking sites like Digg and Reddit.  These are some of the best ways to reach people who are not following this debate closely.

Let’s make sure everyone knows McCain can’t get us out of the mess he got us into in the first place

Posted on September 29th, 2008 by ZP Heller - Comments -

When over 2,500 doctors come forward, urging John McCain to provide full public disclosure of his medical records, it warrants national discussion.  McCain severely limited access to his medical records back in May (20 reporters had only 3 hours to review 1,173 pages without any cameras, cell phones, or photocopying), giving rise to serious doubts about his already questionable health history.  His secrecy and evasiveness were eerily reminiscent of the egregious dishonesty and manipulation of information we’ve seen from the Bush administration for the past eight years.

That’s why Brave New PAC followed up on Brave New Films’ initial video about McCain’s health records by creating its own ad featuring two of the 2,500 doctors; they wanted to alert the public to the concerns of these medical experts and stress the importance of this issue.  But so far, the possibility of having a frank discussion about McCain’s health records has been hampered by attacks from the right and corporate media censorship.

Soon after Brave New PAC and Democracy for America launched their ad, the right countered by unleashing attack hounds like Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh.  These are two of the most contemptible, bloviating shock jocks on the air.  They have attacked Barack Obama with lies and hate and bigotry, not to mention the other liberals they have slandered in the past, and their smears have spread like a virus to other mainstream outlets, warping public opinion.  And yet they have the gall to go after Brave New PAC and Democracy for America with a holier-than-thou attitude!

O’Reilly used the ad to continue his assault on NBC, and he also brought in Megyn Kelly to label the ad a “personal, vile attack on McCain.”  Kelly, of course, is an expert on personal attacks, considering she recently ran a segment on FOX that referred to Michelle Obama as “Obama’s Baby Mama.”

But while it’s easy to dismiss the right’s blatant hypocrisy, their cries actually resulted in MSNBC removing Brave New PAC’s ad.  There were concerns about the ad’s content, particularly some of the more graphic images of McCain’s scars from melanoma treatments–ironic considering those pictures came from CNN, which aired them many many times earlier this year.  CNN refused to run the ad on similar grounds.

This is censorship at its most dangerous and disheartening.  How can the public dissuss this crucial issue when MSNBC won’t run the Brave New PAC ad or bring the doctors who have signed the open letter on to express their concerns about McCain’s health records?  And how can MSNBC legitimize O’Reilly and Limbaugh’s objections by refusing to air Brave New PAC’s factual ad, but gladly pass along the right’s distortions as they have in the past?

By pulling the ad, MSNBC comes across as more concerned with its own image to advertisers than having a substantive discussion of election-related issues.  And both MSNBC and CNN’s actions further reinforce the need for a healthy, vibrant blogosphere capable of shedding light on subjects the corporate press is unwilling to touch.

As Bob Ewegen wrote in an Op-Ed for the Denver Post, “The health of anyone running for the job we call ‘leader of the free world’ is very much the public’s business.” The public ought to have the full facts and be able to talk freely about a candidate’s physical abilities to lead.  What’s more, the public has every right to cry foul when a candidate has clearly gone out of his way to keep us in the dark about his checkered health history, and the corporate press has attempted to keep any discussion about this under wraps.

What does McCain have to hide?  And what do these networks stand to lose by having an honest, open conversation about McCain’s health records?  As Amy Poehler joked when she played Hillary Clinton on the premiere of Saturday Night Live, “I invite the media to grow a pair.  And if you can’t, I will lend you mine.”

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The REAL McCain Bloggers

Robert Greenwald
director/producer/activist
produced/directed Iraq for Sale
ZP Heller
editorial director
Brave New Films
Jonathan Kim
story producer/blogger
FOX Attacks