From A POW Prison, John McCain Emerged A 'Maverick'



John McCain is treated in a Hanoi hospital during the Vietnam War in November 1967.

Handout/Getty Images

John McCain, a titan in the U.S. Senate, was a consistent conservative, though unafraid to buck Republican Party leadership on issues ranging from campaign finance reform to the GOP-led effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

He died Saturday at age 81.

While the Arizona senator and two-time presidential candidate will be remembered for his self-proclaimed "maverick" persona, it was his military bloodlines and 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam that shaped much of McCain's legacy.

McCain was the son of an admiral and grew up on naval bases both in the United States and around the world. McCain's grandfather was also an admiral, making them the first father and son four-star admirals in history of the U.S. Navy.

McCain followed his father and grandfather into the family business. He was a member of the U.S. Naval Academy's Class of 1958. While at the academy, he developed a reputation as a rambunctious and insubordinate student who received more than his share of reprimands.

He also maintained another family tradition while there, earning mediocre grades in the classroom.

"My father was here and his father before him. Like me, their standing was closer to the bottom than the top of their class," McCain told a 2017 class of Naval Academy graduates.

McCain finished fifth from the bottom of his class.

Despite his poor classroom performance, he was able to become a naval aviator. By the mid-1960s, the Vietnam War was raging and McCain's squadron was drawn into battle. At one point in 1967, McCain was almost killed after a wayward rocket from a nearby bomber hit his aircraft's fuel tank just before he was to take off from the USS Forrestal.

John McCain (front, right), with his squadron in 1965, McCain, was captured by the Vietnamese, tortured and imprisoned for more than five years.  Library Of Congress/AP

Explosions and fires from that incident killed more than 130 people aboard, but McCain managed to escape unscathed.

On Oct. 26, 1967, while on a bombing run over the North Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, his aircraft was struck by a Vietnamese ground based anti-aircraft missile.

"Just as I released the bombs and started to pull back on the stick, a surface-to-air missile took the right wing off my airplane. My airplane violently gyrated. I ejected," McCain recounted to C-SPAN in 2003.

The impact from the ejection knocked Lt. Cmdr. McCain unconscious, and he landed in the lake below.

Both McCain's arms were broken, so was his shoulder, and his knee was shattered. He was pulled out of the water by a Vietnamese mob and was stabbed, beaten and taken to a prison commonly referred to as the "Hanoi Hilton."

Years later, as McCain reflected on this period, he said he held no ill will toward his captors.

"I don't blame them. We're in a war," McCain said in a separate interview with C-SPAN in 2017.

"I didn't like it, but at the same time when you are in a war and you are captured by the enemy, you can't expect to have tea," McCain said.

Because of the prominence of McCain's family, his captors saw in him potential for propaganda and offered him early release. But McCain repeatedly refused the offer because his fellow POWs would not be released as well.

John McCain is escorted by Lt. Cmdr. Jay Coupe Jr. to Hanoi's Gia Lam Airport on March 14, 1973, after 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war.

Horst Faas/AP

He spoke about that shortly after his release in 1973.

"A number of times they were strong in their tactics trying to get me to possibly embarrass my father and our country," McCain said.

He spent most of his time in solitary confinement and endured incessant torture.

His ordeal as a POW, however, helped fuel his political career. As a senator, he could speak with authority on military matters. Perhaps the most striking example was when he challenged the George W. Bush administration and its "enhanced interrogation" of terrorism suspects. McCain decried the practice as torture.

McCain has visited the prison where he had been a POW.

"I still despise those who inflicted pain unnecessarily on me and my fellow prisoners, but I hold no ill will toward the Vietnamese people, either North or South," he said.

The former prisoner then talked about his many friendships with many Vietnamese in the years since, adding that he always admired and respected the Vietnamese people.

The Life And Legacy Of John McCain

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., participates in a women's town hall style campaign event in Denver, Thursday, Oct. 2, 2008. (Gerald Herbert/AP)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., participates in a women's town hall style campaign event in Denver, Thursday, Oct. 2, 2008. (Gerald Herbert/AP)

With Meghna Chakrabarti

Tributes from around the country and the world are pouring in for Sen. John McCain. We’ll look at his remarkable life, courage and message for America.


McKay Coppins, staff writer for The Atlantic. (@mckaycoppins)

Amy Silverman, Arizona-based journalist. Former editor and writer for the Phoenix New Times for 25 years. (@amysilvermanaz)

Elaine Povich, senior correspondent for Stateline and author of "John McCain: A Biography" and "John McCain: American Maverick." (@espovich)

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. Representing Oklahoma's 4th Congressional District. (@TomColeOK04)

From The Reading List

Phoenix New Times: "Vintage John McCain: Dead at 81, He Was America's Senator, Not Ariz..." — "McCain, who died Saturday at age 81, was widely viewed as a maverick — and an opportunist.

"He was a family man with a lovely wife and kids, including sons who served in the military and a daughter adopted from India.

"He was also the guy who ditched his first wife after she’d been seriously injured in a car accident, ultimately marrying a beautiful young beer heiress who held the ticket to his political future.

"He was a tireless champion of campaign finance reform who made enemies with his establishment-bucking efforts. Or he was the shyster trying to rehabilitate himself after his starring role as a member of the Keating Five, an aggressive candidate who never did stop taking millions of dollars in campaign contributions from special interests."

Rep. Tom Cole's Statement: "Cole Mourns the Passing of Senator John McCain" — "'John McCain was a patriot, a genuine war hero, a dedicated public servant in and out of uniform and an American original,' said Cole. 'While Senator McCain and I did not always agree, I never doubted his personal and political integrity and his deep love for America and the American people.'

"'I was proud to work with Senator McCain on many important matters, including defense and Native American issues. His knowledge of and commitment to Native American people and issues surpassed that of almost every other member of the Senate.'"

NPR: "From A POW Prison, John McCain Emerged A 'Maverick'" — "John McCain, a titan in the U.S. Senate, was a consistent conservative, though unafraid to buck Republican Party leadership on issues ranging from campaign finance reform to the GOP-led effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

"He died Saturday at age 81.

"While the Arizona senator and two-time presidential candidate will be remembered for his self-proclaimed 'maverick' persona, it was his military bloodlines and 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam that shaped much of McCain's legacy."

Washington Post: "'A great defender of liberty’: World leaders mourn Sen. John McCain" — "If anyone ever doubted John McCain’s global stature, the outpouring of condolences from across the world on Sunday should convince them otherwise — easily.

To world leaders, the 81-year-old Arizona Republican — who lost his year-long battle with brain cancer this weekend — was a 'hero,' an 'inspiration to millions' and a man 'of great courage.' To democratically elected politicians across the globe, McCain embodied a U.S. role model they were able to rally behind without hesitation. But McCain wasn’t afraid of confronting illiberal regimes — be they U.S. allies or foes — with facts and criticism, earning him respect in some quarters but tense relationships in others."

Vox: "Who could be appointed to replace John McCain in the Senate, and th..." — "Sen. John McCain died on Saturday at the age of 81, his office said in a statement. On Friday, McCain announced his decision to discontinue treatment for the brain cancer that eventually led to his death.

"Even as McCain is mourned, attention will also soon turn to the process for replacing him in the Senate, where he spent so much of his career.

"The former Navy pilot, Vietnam prisoner of war, and Republican presidential nominee spent 30 years as a senator. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, is legally required to fill vacancies in Arizona’s US Senate delegation and will therefore appoint McCain’s replacement. Whoever Ducey chooses will stay in office until 2020."

This program aired on August 27, 2018.

John McCain is an American hero shares the Manifest Destiny imperialism of the American elites.  Within his patriotism unknown to him is located the colonizer that wants freedom for the Native, but at Native’s expense of his own freedom: occupation and submission.  White Americans are taught to believe in American Exceptionalism—but because of experience, Blacks and other peoples-of-color know better—but suffer under the same delusion.  The Native knows bourgeoisie class will be the only beneficiary of freedom granted by the United States heroic efforts which usually involve selling weapons and other WMD such as Christian missionaries.  Frantz Fanon declares that “when the bourgeoisie is strong, when it can arrange everything and everybody to serve its power, it does not hesitate to affirm positively certain democratic ideas which claim to be universally applicable.  There must be very exceptional circumstances if such a bourgeoisie, solidly based economically, is forced into denying its own humanist ideology.  The Western bourgeoisie, though fundamentally racist, most often manages to mask this racism by a multiplicity of nuances which allow it to preserve intact its proclamation of mankind's outstanding dignity.”

The Forgotten History Of A Prison Uprising In Vietnam


Prisoners on work duty, filling sandbags in the "Big Red" work area.

Paul Grossheim/Courtesy of Forsyth Library, Fort Hays State University

Jimmie Childress had been sitting in a Kansas City jail for two months, waiting to be tried for transporting stolen property across state lines. It was the spring of 1967, and Jimmie was 18 years old. When he finally walked into a courtroom for his hearing, the judge gave him an ultimatum.

"Either go into the military or go to prison. Which is it going to be?"

Childress was tired of being locked up. "So naturally, I chose going into the military."

Jimmie Childress was an inmate at Long Binh Jail in South Vietnam.

Courtesy of Jimmie Childress

Childress was trained to be a paratrooper and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. He landed in Vietnam in November 1967. "I knew nothing about the war, I knew nothing about Vietnam," he said.

Just a year earlier, Jimmie's criminal history might have been made him ineligible for the armed forces. But in August 1966, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara announced "Project 100,000," an initiative that was intended to simultaneously lift men out of poverty and provide troops for the war in Vietnam. Between 1966 and 1971, Project 100,000 sent more than 400,000 men to combat units in Vietnam - 40 percent of them, like Jimmie Childress, were African American.

Protesters of the Vietnam War, led by civil rights activists Stokely Carmichael and Floyd McKissick, marched in New York City.

Courtesy of LeRoy Henderson

The Vietnam war was the first completely integrated American war. Only two decades earlier, during WWII, black and white troops were segregated. At the beginning of the Vietnam conflict, African American troops re-enlisted nearly four times more than whites. Many black people volunteered to fight in dangerous combat units, which received higher pay. But by 1967, African American leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Stokely Carmichael were speaking out against the war.

As the war dragged on and casualties piled up, the mood among troops stationed in Vietnam soured. Black reenlistment rates plunged from 66.5 percent in 1967 to 31.7 percent in 1968. Black soldiers spoke openly about the discrimination they felt within the military, and racial tensions between black and white troops.

Cover of The Black Panther in September 1969.

Emory Douglas/Courtesy of Houghton Library, Harvard University

Wallace Terry, an African American journalist for Time magazine, recorded black GIs talking about how southern white soldiers were allowed fly the confederate flag, while black soldiers were reprimanded for displaying symbols of the black power movement.

In 1968, there were half a million troops in Vietnam, a quarter of them drafted to fight. As discontent with the war grew, discipline started to fray. More and more soldiers were rebelling by going AWOL (Absent Without Leave).

Jimmie Childress was one of them. After months of fierce combat, he got disillusioned with the war, and decided to quit fighting. He disappeared from his unit with a group of other black soldiers and lived for months underground, staying with Vietnamese peasants in the countryside and hiding out in Saigon's "Soul Alley," a neighborhood where many black GIs congregated in their off hours. "During that time, I was stealing from the military M-16s, grenade launchers, I even stole a couple jeeps," he told Radio Diaries. He then sold these items on the black market to make money.

Eventually, he was caught and sent to the army's notorious Long Binh Jail - LBJ for short - on the outskirts of Saigon. This military stockade held American soldiers who were serving short sentences before being sent back to the field, as well as soldiers who had been convicted of serious crimes who were waiting to be shipped back to jail in the United States.

The reasons soldiers were serving time at LBJ varied greatly. Some were there for serious crimes, like murder. Others were there for small infractions, such as refusing a direct order to get a haircut. By the summer of 1968, over half were being held on AWOL charges.

Guard searches prisoners at the gate to the pre-trial compound.

Paul Grossheim/Courtesy of Forsyth Library, Fort Hays State University

Originally built to house 400 inmates, in August of 1968, LBJ was crammed with 719 men. And - in a mirror of the U.S. justice system - black soldiers were greatly overrepresented in the jail. Despite representing 11% of the troops in Vietnam, more than 50% of the men incarcerated at the stockade were black. Many black soldiers felt they were more severely punished than white soldiers for similar offenses.

Conditions at LBJ were notoriously harsh. "Long Binh [Jail] was the kind of place that from the moment you walked in, you were trying to figure out a way to get out. Here you are in a war zone, in a jail, just at their mercy," remembers Scott Riley, another black soldier who sent to the stockade after getting caught with "a whole lot of marijuana."

Former inmates cite mistreatment by guards, particularly in solitary confinement. The military rehabbed shipping containers as jail cells. "The temperature in the box was 100+ degrees, the light was constantly on, 24 hours a day, and you were in there, naked," remembers Riley.

As LBJ grew more crowded, tensions along racial lines deepened. "Black and white being in Vietnam was no different than black and white being in America," said Childress. Richard Perdomo, a white inmate, remembers stark self-segregation among the inmate population. "We weren't separated by the military, we were separated by the want to be separated."

Radio Diaries spoke with the Deputy Commander of the stockade, an African American officer, who would only talk on the condition of anonymity. "There's always tension between races in a prison. You can control this with adequate staff. When you have control, the tension becomes dormant." According to him, a major problem was that the number of guards had not kept apace with the inmate population explosion. "We needed more people. None came," he said.

Prisoners on work duty, making aircraft security blocks.

Paul Grossheim/Courtesy of Forsyth Library, Fort Hays State University

Simultaneously, news was trickling into the prison about the turbulent events in 1968 in the United States. The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. was a turning point for many black soldiers in Vietnam. "A new burst of anger was afoot in the prison," said Riley.

Sitting in LBJ, Jimmie Childress could no longer ignore the irony of putting his life on the line for a country where African Americans still faced deep racism. "Why am I even over here? When you can't even go back to America and sit a lunch counter, you know?" He and other black soldiers felt that their real fight was in America, not Vietnam.

Frustrated about being in Vietnam, and angry about their treatment in the stockade, Childress and many other black soldiers in the prison had reached a breaking point. "We were hot, and crazy, we were fed up. So we decided, we're going to tear this M***F*** down."

Aerial shot showing destruction at Long Binh Jail after the August 1968 riot.

National Archives/Courtesy of Displaced Films

Close to midnight on August 29, 1968, a group of inmates overpowered the guards, and with homemade weapons and bare hands, started tearing down the stockade.

Childress set his sights on the administrative building, where all the records of the incarcerated soldiers were kept. He and a few other inmates kicked the door in and started lighting papers on fire. "I figured the records were the key to causing more confusion for the military," he said.

Scott Riley was locked up in solitary confinement on the night of the riot. "Out of nowhere, this black guy opens the door and says, 'come on out man.'" The man then handed Riley a piece of cake that had been liberated from the kitchen. "The euphoria of being free, that moment was a beautiful moment. Knowing all the while that this is not going to end well."

Meanwhile, the guards at the stockade were terrified. "Everything just sped up in fast motion. I saw 6-8 prisoners running toward me. They threw me to the ground, started kicking and pummeled me with fists," said Larry Kimbrough, who was on duty that night.

Larry Kimbrough was a Military Policeman assigned to the night shift at Long Binh Jail.

Courtesy of Larry Kimbrough

The deputy commander, the highest ranking black officer at the stockade, entered the melee to try to diffuse the riot. "I was surrounded by about 100 inmates. I think I talked to them for a good 15-20 minutes. But then I heard two or three of them saying, 'you outta kill the Uncle Tom.' They stopped listening to what I was saying so I left. They opened the gate for me and let me out."

The riot escalated. A white inmate, Richard Perdomo, said it devolved into a frightening chaos. "Everybody went to fighting everybody. People were just knocking each other in the head, starting fights, swinging shovels and picks and stuff. It wasn't just blacks on whites, it was everybody, just lashing out," he said. "It was the only time I was ever scared the whole time I was in Vietnam."

During a riot on Aug. 29, 1968, inmates burned down the Mess Hall Building at Long Binh Jail.

National Archives/Courtesy of Displaced Films

By the early morning hours of August 30, 65 soldiers were injured, and one white inmate had been killed, Edward Oday Haskett. He was struck in the head with shovel by a black inmate. Much of the stockade had been torn down, including seven buildings and 19 tents. The stockade commander, Vernon D. Johnson, had also been severely beaten.

The military told reporters that the riot had been suppressed and order was restored. But that wasn't the whole story. Three weeks later, the military revealed to reporters that 12 black soldiers still controlled a section of the stockade.

"The military was literally throwing boxes of C-rations over the fence for us to eat. So we kind of knew they weren't going to kill us. People started pulling out drugs from god only knows where, and we're literally laying in the yard in the hot sun getting high," remembers Riley.

Peter Arnett covered the story for the Associated Press. "At any point the military could have overwhelmed this group of resisting black prisoners. The decisions were made not to do it. The high command realized the story could grow much bigger. And with the resistance to the war growing, they just didn't want to start drawing even greater attention to this whole racial issue in Vietnam," Arnett concluded.

At the end of September the military sent in a company of armed Military Police with tear gas in a riot control formation. That brought a decisive end to the riot at LBJ. The military did a thorough investigation and wrote a report about the riot. They concluded that the cause lay in racial tensions, along with overcrowding and understaffing. The ringleaders were charged with a litany of charges including murder for the man who was killed, assault and arson. The stockade was rebuilt, and a new commander was brought in, Ivan Nelson, nicknamed "Ivan the Terrible," who maintained strict discipline at the stockade.

Destroyed building at long Binh Jail.

National Archives/Courtesy of Displaced Films

"After the riot, I felt bad about it. I had regrets," said Childress. "And I felt disappointed because we didn't accomplish anything, other than tearing something up. Like a child would tear up a toy. We just blew off steam. And we only made our bed harder than it was before."

LBJ continued to house American soldiers until 1973, when American troops left Vietnam. At that point it was transferred to the Vietnamese government, which converted it into a drug treatment facility. The area where the stockade stood is now a manufacturing center.

The story of the uprising made a few headlines, but was largely overshadowed by other news in 1968. It doesn't appear in most history books about the Vietnam war. The people interviewed for this story are speaking publicly about the riot for the first time.

"It's not like describing a battle. There's nothing heroic about it. Families just don't like to think about their sons marching off to war, and instead of marching off to war, they march off into a stockade," said Perdomo.

The experience of being in jail in Vietnam continues to haunt Jimmie Childress. "I'm still angry about the way the military treated its own citizens. I still feel that something hand to be done," he said. "I guess I was just trying to prove that I was a human being. I'm over it now, but it took a long time. It took a long time."

This story was produced by Sarah Kate Kramer of Radio Diaries, with Joe Richman and Nellie Gilles. It was edited by Deborah George and Ben Shapiro. You can hear more Radio Diaries stories on their podcast. Thanks to Gerald F. Goodwin, whose New York Times op-ed led us to this story, and to historian Kimberley L. Phillips. Also thanks to David Zeiger of Displaced Films and and James Lewes of the GI Press Project for sharing their photographs with us of the LBJ. Lastly, thanks to Thomas Watson of the 720th MP Reunion Association and History Project for sharing the Military's CID Report.


I must admit that I have a push and pull against the song/hymn Amazing Grace.  I love the melody and the message but the story behind its creation is about slavery and a slaver.  Its author prayed for and got grace, but after his recue by “divine intervention” he went right back to the slave trade until health prevented him from doing so.  Thereby the song is about a failure to learn a lesson from errant behavior.  Like the US has not learned from Vietnam.  The song is a curse on liberty and freedom.  But that is only my point of view.

"Amazing Grace" is a Christian hymn published in 1779, with words written by the English poet and Anglican clergyman John Newton (1725–1807).

Newton wrote the words from personal experience. He grew up without any particular religious conviction, but his life's path was formed by a variety of twists and coincidences that were often put into motion by his recalcitrant insubordination. He was pressed (conscripted) into service in the Royal Navy, and after leaving the service, he became involved in the Atlantic slave trade. In 1748, a violent storm battered his vessel off the coast of County Donegal, Ireland, so severely that he called out to God for mercy, a moment that marked his spiritual conversion. He continued his slave trading career until 1754 or 1755, when he ended his seafaring altogether and began studying Christian theology.

Ordained in the Church of England in 1764, Newton became curate of Olney, Buckinghamshire, where he began to write hymns with poet William Cowper. "Amazing Grace" was written to illustrate a sermon on New Year's Day of 1773. It is unknown if there was any music accompanying the verses; it may have simply been chanted by the congregation. It debuted in print in 1779 in Newton and Cowper's Olney Hymns but settled into relative obscurity in England. In the United States, however, "Amazing Grace" was used extensively during the Second Great Awakening in the early 19th century. It has been associated with more than 20 melodies, but in 1835 it was joined to a tune named "New Britain" to which it is most frequently sung today.

With the message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of sins committed and that the soul can be delivered from despair through the mercy of God, "Amazing Grace" is one of the most recognisable songs in the English-speaking world. Author Gilbert Chase writes that it is "without a doubt the most famous of all the folk hymns",[1] and Jonathan Aitken, a Newton biographer, estimates that it is performed about 10 million times annually.[2] It has had particular influence in folk music, and has become an emblematic African American spiritual. Its universal message has been a significant factor in its crossover into secular music. "Amazing Grace" saw a resurgence in popularity in the U.S. during the 1960s and has been recorded thousands of times during and since the 20th century, occasionally appearing on popular music charts.

As a youth, Newton began a pattern of coming very close to death, examining his relationship with God, then relapsing into bad habits. As a sailor, he denounced his faith after being influenced by a shipmate who discussed Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, a book by the Third Earl of Shaftesbury, with him. In a series of letters he later wrote, "Like an unwary sailor who quits his port just before a rising storm, I renounced the hopes and comforts of the Gospel at the very time when every other comfort was about to fail me."[7] His disobedience caused him to be pressed into the Royal Navy, and he took advantage of opportunities to overstay his leave and finally deserted to visit Mary "Polly" Catlett, a family friend with whom he had fallen in love.[8] After enduring humiliation for deserting,[a] he managed to get himself traded to a slave ship where he began a career in slave trading.[b]

Newton's conversion was not immediate, but he contacted Polly's family and announced his intentions to marry her. Her parents were hesitant as he was known to be unreliable and impetuous. They knew he was profane, but they allowed him to write to Polly, and he set to begin to submit to authority for her sake.[16] He sought a place on a slave ship bound for Africa, and Newton and his crewmates participated in most of the same activities he had written about before; the only immorality from which he was able to free himself was profanity. After a severe illness his resolve was renewed, yet he retained the same attitude towards slavery as was held by his contemporaries.[e] Newton continued in the slave trade through several voyages where he sailed up rivers in Africa – now as a captain – procured slaves being offered for sale in larger ports, and subsequently transported them to North America. In between voyages, he married Polly in 1750 and he found it more difficult to leave her at the beginning of each trip. After three shipping experiences in the slave trade, Newton was promised a position as ship's captain with cargo unrelated to slavery when, at the age of thirty, he collapsed and never sailed again.[17][f]

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Comment by mary gravitt on September 7, 2018 at 1:15pm

We all need grace and of course respect.  John McCain had both.  He was human and perhaps too much of a patriot, but lovers see no blemishes in what they love.  If Vietnam was his only sin, then he is forgiven.  However he stood up to the worst domestic enemy that America has ever produced and save health care for the middle/working classes and for me this forgives any sin committed by this great American hero.

Comment by moki ikom on September 7, 2018 at 1:52pm

Too much of a patriot, McCain?  What was patriotic about his being u.s. Senator, presidential candidate against Obama and agent provocateur in the Georgia/Russia crisis?  In that affair McCain was no less treasonous than was Reagan's presidential campaign committee negotiating with Iran to ensure detained u.s. embassy staff/prisoners were not released until Reagan's election was assured.

Comment by mary gravitt on September 7, 2018 at 2:56pm

Saving what was left of Obamacare was enough for me.  I lived through all the Vietnam protests.  I am a product of the '60s.  I see too many Americans in my own state of Iowa, a 97% White state--that seems like a 99% Black state in its suffering is even too much for a Democratic Socialist like me.  A littler mercy is better than a whole lot of hate.  This is what I see in the hope of Amazing Grace, although I know it is both a benediction and a curse.  You gotta' be liberal and go on.

Comment by koshersalaami on September 7, 2018 at 3:50pm

We’ve gotten to the point where when a Republican shows conscience it has become notable. The party has gotten that bad, and the scariest thing about them is that they don’t appear to have limits - they will betray anyone and anything for power, including the process of confirming a Supreme Court justice. See Mitch McConnell. John McCain had limits. George F. Will had limits. I know at least two former Republicans on this site who switched parties because earlier in the process they had limits, but Trump pushed others over the edge. McCain had to oppose most of his own party. That is not the behavior of a sheep and that is behavior that takes guts and conscience. I have to respect that. 

In other words, Mary, I agree with you.

Comment by moki ikom on September 9, 2018 at 3:56pm

John McCain's Family Ties to Organized Crime Syndicates in Arizona

His support for pro-Israel, anti-Russian American foreign policy was zealous, verging on fanatical. This explains part of that puzzle.

Michael Collins Piper Mon, Aug 27, 2018

This is a reprint of an article from August 2008 by the excellent Michael Collins Piper. Vladimir Putin once famously speculated that he thought McCain suffered from mental instability caused by his long detention in Vietnamese prisons, when trying to explain why McCain was so fanatically pro-Israel and hostile towards Russia. Perhaps Putin's vaunted intelligence resources hadn't filled him in on McCain's family ties.

IF YOU STILL DOUBT that the big media  is determined to keep under wraps the organized crime origins of the $200 million fortune of John McCain and his wife Cindy, take note of how the prestigious Washington Post touched on the issue in its July 22 edition. Rather, instead, note how the Post covered up the matter.

The Post did not mention that Mrs. McCain’s father was a highly-placed fixture in the Arizona branch of the national organized crime syndicate: He was the chief henchman of the late Kemper Marley, Arizona point man for infamous mob chief Meyer Lansky and his powerful partners-in-crime, the super-rich Bronfman family of Montreal. ...In that capacity—for 40 years until his death in 1990—Marley was undisputed political boss of Arizona, acting as the behind-the-scenes power over both the Republican and Democratic parties.

As such, his wealth and connections played the primary role in advancing John McCain’s political career from the start. ... Newsweek said Mrs. McCain’s family “was deeply rooted in Arizona,” and that her father “was one of the most prominent men in the state,” who was “a World War II bombardier . . . shot down over the English channel,”—in other words, a war hero like McCain.

Newsweek did not mention (or even hint of) the racketeering, corruption and murder associated with Hensley and his patrons.


One seemingly honorable political moment i conceed to McCain the Third's legacy is his support finally enabling the end of twenty years of U.S. maintenance of hostile relations toward Vietnam after the United States' military was forced by both American and Vietnamese populations to abandon its ecocidal, genocidal anti-Communism campaign to hegemonically advance corporatUSt$' fascism. 

I remember when the Fox News mindset propagandist tried out substituting the term "homicide bomber" for the term "suicide bomber".  Can there a better term to describe a "military aviator" than "homicide bomber". 

I tend to agree with President Putin's initial assessment of Senator McCain, which at least for me explains why it was John ditched first wife as he was engaged in an adulterous affair with Cindy Hensley.


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