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Posted on September 25th, 2008 by ZP Heller - Comments -

From Politico’s Ari Melber:

John McCain, like everyone else, will die someday.

Unlike the rest of us, however, he could die in the White House, where he would be 80 at the end of two terms. So it’s rather surprising that as the general election hits the homestretch, the McCain campaign has effectively squashed efforts by journalists, medical experts and the political class to fully examine his medical records.

The most recent review of McCain’s records cannot be described as independent or thorough. In May, the campaign gave a limited group of reporters only three hours to review thousands of documents. Aside from the time limit, the selected reporters were “ensconced” in a cone of silence, as CNN reported. The campaign banned the use of cell phones or e-mail for journalists, who might have consulted with experts while assessing the medical information. It’s not clear why so many news outlets consented to such terms.

A little access went a long way for the McCain campaign.

The cone of silence document review spawned articles reporting that McCain was not only healthy but also “cancer-free,” as The Boston Globe put it. Reporters who reviewed the records and testimonials from his doctors also indicated that McCain’s cancer, thankfully, had not recurred since a melanoma operation in 2002.

However, there were also diverging accounts of how long McCain had been cancer-free. The AP reported that he “had an early-stage squamous cell carcinoma, an easily cured skin cancer, removed” in February.

Some independent doctors say that even if McCain is perfectly healthy, the three-hour cone of silence review was insufficient.

“It certainly would have helped the reporters’ review if they could have had access to expert opinion while they had access to the medical records,” Dr. Daniel Vlock said.

“At the very least, it would seem that the press should have been afforded the same type of review an outside physician would expect — unhindered access and the ability to consult with experts,” added Vlock, a former melanoma clinic director who advocates a full, “updated” review of McCain’s records.

Of course, no one doubts McCain’s personal tenacity, from braving torture to overcoming cancer.

Yet plenty of nonpartisan observers doubt his credibility.

McCain’s recent repetition of falsehoods and lies on the campaign trail have drawn corrections from independent experts (The Annenberg Public Policy Center), news organizations (The Washington Post) and even conservative allies (Bill O’Reilly, Karl Rove).

Now, just because the McCain campaign lies about lipstick and earmarks, that doesn’t mean the campaign is lying about his personal health. But many politicians do hide their medical problems.

During the 1992 presidential campaign, Democratic candidate Paul Tsongas downplayed the cancer that would soon take his life. His doctors “first said he was free of all cancer,” as The New York Times explained in November 1992, but after he dropped out of the race, they did “acknowledge” he had experienced a relapse. “It would be wise to require all presidential candidates to make their full medical records available for evaluation to an independent panel,” the Times editorialized, or to ensure “all serious candidates … undergo examination by independent experts.”

McCain, along with the other candidates, should provide all of his medical records for complete, independent review. No time limits. No cone of silence. No exceptions.

Americans should not hold McCain’s age against him — I really don’t think they will — and if he has nothing to hide, an independent review will only fortify his argument that he is not only healthy but also candid about his health. Barack Obama’s aides have been careful on this topic, and it’s hard to imagine them using the records for trumped-up complaints.

Yet if McCain continues to withhold his most recent medical records, these legitimate questions will fester. In May, much of the media were easily intimidated. By September, many of the same beat reporters were indignant at the McCain campaign’s deceit and overbearing press management. By October, they might even call some doctors who aren’t on McCain’s payroll.

Finally, there’s the politics. The Obama campaign praises McCain’s service and rarely raises the issue of his medical records. Yet other groups are dialing up the pressure.

Brave New Films, the liberal firebrands behind “OutFoxed,” just launched a viral campaign pressing McCain to release his records. More than 2,000 doctors and 45,000 people have already signed a petition backing the effort.

Sen. Chuck Schumer recently weighed in, declaring that “when you’re running for president, everything should be public, including your full medical records.” Majority Leader Harry Reid added that McCain owes the public “total transparency” about his records. Both senators were speaking in response to interviews with the blog OpenLeft, which is pressing the issue along with MoveOn.

Finally, if McCain keeps stonewalling, at the coming presidential debates any moderator worth his makeup will be asking why McCain won’t come clean and release all of his medical records.

McCain won’t have a good answer, because there is no good reason to deny people this basic information as they weigh whether to make him the leader of the free world. If McCain doesn’t feel any duty to be straight with the public during the pressure of a campaign, don’t count on his being any more open, candid or honest if he’s elected.

Posted on September 25th, 2008 by ZP Heller - Comments -

John McCain canceled his appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman” yesterday.  He claimed it was part of the plan to suspend his campaign in order to return to Washington and “fix the economy”-a desperate move considering McCain was slipping in the polls in the last few days over an economic crisis his campaign helped cause, not to mention the fact that McCain has spent so little time actually voting in Congress recently.

But as it turned out, a funny thing happened to McCain on the way to the airport because he turned up for an interview with CBS’s Katie Couric.  Relentless mocking ensues!

Posted on September 24th, 2008 by thejedreport - Comments -

Here’s a new video taking a look at John McCain’s Keating Five problem in just 97 seconds.

The video combines archival footage of CBS and NBC News (including a report from Andrea Mitchell!) with reporting by CNN’s John King aired just last month.

The bottom-line is that two decades after his role in the savings and loan crisis, John McCain is still the same old guy, more focused on deregulation than on delivering the sensible protections we need.

Progressive Accountability has much more on the Keating Five scandal, including its similarities to the current economic crisis.

Posted on September 23rd, 2008 by ZP Heller - Comments -

Confused? Forgetting what you stand for or even how many houses you own?  Sleeping on the job?

Barely Political thinks you need the Age Card.

Posted on September 23rd, 2008 by thejedreport - Comments -

CNN exposes Sarah Palin’s $26 million pork barrel “Road To Nowhere,” the three mile road that was supposed to lead to the “Bridge To Nowhere” — until Congress killed the earmark funding for the bridge in 2005.

Also, I’ve got two other posts up at HuffPost, both on short video clips. First, CNN’s Ed Henry says McCain is playing politics on bailout. Second, CNN’s Tom Foreman calls out another McCain campaign lie. In fact, Barack Obama does have a plan for the financial crisis. I’ll get those videos into the vodpod soon, but here’s the “Road To Nowhere” one.

Posted on September 22nd, 2008 by The Real News - Comments -

Pepe Escobar: From his lobbyists to the economy and foreign policy, McCain’s express is off the rails.

Posted on September 22nd, 2008 by ZP Heller - Comments -

While soaring gas prices and the energy crisis are major concerns for Americans, this economic debate is inextricably linked to the environment.  How can we get our country off a crippling dependence on costly oil without considering environmentally safe energy alternatives?  This was the topic of Friday’s Meet the Bloggers, in which environmental journalist Simran Sethi spoke with show host Cenk Uygur about sustainability, as well as the battle between Big Oil and innovation.

Sethi addressed the urgent need to create a green economy, and she recommended tapping into the diversity of natural resources in our country.  Sethi suggested that energy independence is possible if adequate measures are taken immediately, which is why the upcoming election is all the more crucial.

Friday’s show came in conjunction with the launch of our video, McCain’s Green Economy: Drill, Baby, Drill, which we partnered with the League of Conservation Voters to produce.  As the title suggests, Drill, Baby, Drill reveals McCain’s deep ties to Big Oil.  Specifically, McCain has over 22 Big Oil lobbyists advising him, and he received over $1 million dollars from Big Oil for his recent flip-flop on off-shore drilling.  But as Meet the Bloggers guests Kevin Grandia (DeSmogBlog.com), Brad Johnson (ThinkProgress.org) and Kate Sheppard (Grist.org) pointed out, McCain’s abysmal environmental record goes far beyond his recent flip-flops.

Posted on September 21st, 2008 by DJK - Comments -

Not many people (including myself) know a lot about John McCain and how he is a member of the Keating 5, a group of senators largely responsible for the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s. But here’s a hint — it’s almost exactly like what is happening in our economy right now, only on a smaller scale. An industry making outrageously risky deals, a lack of oversight, and politicians (including McCain) fighting for less regulation over the offending industry, claiming the magical “free market” would take care of any improprieties. And the ending was the same, too — a massive taxpayer bailout.

Progressive Accountability has produced a new documentary, Third Term, which explores McCain’s involvement in the Keating 5 and how McCain’s economic policies are identical to or worse than Bush’s. Third Term won’t come out until September 25 (can’t they bump that up a little sooner?), but the preview makes a nifty summary of McCain’s involvement in one of the nation’s biggest economic/ethics scandals. That is, until this week.

Posted on September 19th, 2008 by robertgreenwald - Comments -

When it comes to the environment, John McCain only has the interests of Big Oil at heart.  That’s why he has over 22 Big Oil lobbyists advising him.  That’s why he favored lifting the moratorium on off-shore drilling — a move that prompted Big Oil to donate over $1 million to his campaign.  And thanks to the League of Conservation Voters, we’ve got the proof!

The senate will likely be voting next week on these issues.  Please call Senator McCain’s office in Washington (202-224-2235), and tell him to stop siding with Big Oil and start supporting clean energy.  Make everyone aware of McCain’s deep ties to Big Oil by forwarding this video to five people and telling them to do the same. Don’t forget to Digg it!

Then, tell everyone you know to tune into Meet the Bloggers today at 1pm ET/10am PT, when our topic will be the environment, sustainability, and Big Oil vs. innovation.  Our special guest, environmental journalist Simran Sethi, will be joined by bloggers Kevin Grandia (DeSmogBlog.com), Brad Johnson (ThinkProgress.org) and Kate Sheppard (Grist.org) to discuss <font>where both of the Presidential candidates stand on the environment</font>.

Check out some of the articles below to learn more about the raging battle between sustainability and Big Oil, and then join us at 1pm ET/10am PT to be part of the conversation.

If you missed a previous episode of Meet the Bloggers, you can always find them in the archives.

Posted on September 18th, 2008 by WakeUpWalMart - Comments -

John McCains economic plan calls for a $1.5 billion tax cut for Wal-Mart, and millions more for their CEO, Lee Scott.

Isn't that part of the problem?

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Robert Greenwald
director/producer/activist
produced/directed Iraq for Sale
ZP Heller
editorial director
Brave New Films
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