Monday, October 13, 2008

My Friends: The Manchurian Candidate

In the second debate between John McCain and Barack Obama, McCain's verbal tic of beginning or ending every statement with "my friends," was on full display. By my own count he used the expression at least 17 times and I have seen counts of up to 23 by other writers. Anyone who has seen McCain speak is aware that his pace in the debate, whether it be 17 or 23 times, was well below his usual frequency of use for this phrase.

Whether he uses "my friends," unconsciously, and it reflects mild neurological damage, or he uses it deliberately as a bit of neuro-linguistic programming to make audiences identify with him, the phrase has begun to grow tiresome and invites questions of his sincerity and/or mental status. In any event, it has become standard fare for McCain jokes.

But it was not the continued overuse of "my friends," that I most noticed at the debate. I expected it, again, as did anyone who has seen McCain speak more than once. However, what grabbed my attention, was a phrase McCain used in his last response, in one of the last sentences he spoke during the debate. He was wrapping up his answer, when all of a sudden, instead of "my friends," he said, out of the blue, "Comrades." While it was a change of pace, "comrades" seemed a bizarre choice of words for an individual tortured by communists.

Can you say "Manchurian Candidate?" Could it be that McCain's verbal gaffe is a tell-tale sign? Recently, the McCain campaign has attempted to smear Obama through a "guilt by association" campaign that nearly accuses him of being in a sleeper cell. This is a dangerous tactic for anyone with McCain's background.

Thus far, it has been considered out of bounds to question McCain's war record. The fate of the world is too important for politeness. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has destroyed the lives of numerous individuals forced to endure war and torture. Why should we believe that John McCain is any more immune to PTSD than anyone else? McCain has demonstrated a volatile temper over the years, he seems trapped in his thinking about winning wars, and as his comments in the debate suggest, my friends, he may not be over the trauma of those years in confinement. Perhaps his hostility to veterans issues is explained in part by his efforts to minimize or deny any suggestion that he was damaged in captivity in any way except physically.

I admire John McCain for his stand, while a POW, that others had to come home first. However, I am also CONCERNED that his time as a POW may have rendered him unfit for office. It may be impolite and impolitic to suggest that his mental health should be questioned, however, it may be ruinnous not to do so.

If there's nothing to worry about, why won't McCain release his health records? How about his debriefing after he came back from Vietnam? He frequently refers to his time as a POW. It is time that the record be made clear and fully examined.

Can America afford to elect any more presidents whose mental abilities are questionable?

British Petroleum Gulf Oil Spill Costs

  • 11 workers killed in initial blast
  • Damage to Ocean Ecosystem
  • 35,000 to 60.000 Barrels of Oil Per Day. That's somewhere between 1,500,000 to 2,500,000 gallons a day or 150 to 300 million gallons already spilled into the ocean as of July 27th by that estimate.
  • Gulf Fisheries Industry
  • Gulf Tourism (ongoing costs)
  • Long Term Health Effects to Humans and Wildlife (to be determined)

Worst Oil Spills

  • Kuwait 1991 - 520 million gallons: Gulf War I
  • Gulf of Mexico 2010 - 206 million gallons: BP Oil
  • Mexico, Bay of Campiche 1979 - 140 million gallons: Pemex Oil
  • Trinidad & Tobago 1979 - 90 million gallons: Greek Oil Tanker Atlantic Empress
  • Russia 1983 - 84 million gallons: Leaky Pipeline collapsed into Kolva River
  • Iran 1983 - 80 million gallons: Tanker collided with Oil Platform
  • South Africa 1983 -79 million gallons:Tanker Castillo de Bellver sank
  • France 1978 - 69 million Gallons: Amoco Cadiz ran aground and broke in half.
  • Angola Coastal Waters (700 miles at sea) 1991 - 51-81 million gallons: ABT Summer exploded at sea.
  • Italy 1991 - 45 million gallons: M/T Haven Oil Tanker exploded.
  • Source: Mother Nature Network. The 13 largest oil spills in history. by Laura Moss. Friday July 16, 2010.

Nuclear Accidents (Under Construction)

  • 1957 Windscale, UK
  • 1961 Idaho Falls, Idaho, US
  • 1979 Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, US
  • 1984 Athens, Alabama, US
  • 1985 Athens, Alabama, US
  • 1986 Plymouth, Masachusetts, US
  • 1986 Chernobyl, Ukraine, USSR
  • 1996 Waterford, Connecticut, US
  • 1989 Griefwald, Germany
  • 1999 Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
  • 2002 Oak Harbor, Ohio, US
  • 2004 Fukui Prefecture, Japan
  • Source: Benjamin Sovacool

Mining Disasters (Under Construction)

  • China 1942 - 1549 deaths
  • France 1906 - 1100 deaths
  • Japan 1963 - 447 deaths
  • Wales 1913 - 438 deaths
  • South Africa 1960 - 437 deaths
  • Source: Epic Disasters Website
  • Note: Do not look at the dates herein and conclue that mining disasters are a things of the past. Every year thousands of miners die worldwide in largely unreported accidents.

OIL IS OVER! - Resources

  • Hibbert's Peak - "The" source that explains why Oil is Over.
  • Tragedy of the Commons -Garrett Hardin
  • The Land Ethic - Aldo Leopold
  • Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight - Thom Hartmann
  • Eco-Defense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching


  • The Dirt People - Ray Bawarchi (yes, that's me)
  • The Razor's Edge - Somerset Maugham
  • Demian - Herman Hesse
  • Black Elk Speaks - Black Elk (as told to R. Neimur)
  • The Quiet Don - Mikhail Sholokov
  • Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
  • Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
  • 1984 - George Orwell
  • Delicious Laughter - Jallahudin Rumi
  • The Sybil - Par Lagerksvitz
  • The Fixer - Bernard Malamud
  • Spirits Rebellious - Khalil Gibran
  • The Quiet American - Graham Greene
  • Midaq Alley - Nagib Mafouz
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Farenheit 451- Ray Bradbury
  • We - Yevgeny Zamyatin


  • John Coltrane - St. John the Divine
  • Patti Smith
  • The Clash - the only band that matters
  • Billy Bragg
  • Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band
  • Art Blakey
  • Death - pre-punk visionaries from Detroit
  • PJ Harvey - Polly Jean, Polly Jean
  • Woody Guthrie
  • Michael Franti (Spearhead)
  • Public Enemy
  • Ray Charles - the Genius
  • Bob Dylan
  • Velvet Underground
  • Flaming Lips
  • John Doe & X
  • The Beatles

opiate of the masses

  • God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh. - Voltaire
  • I do not feel obliged to believe that the same god who has endowed us with sense, reason and inellect has intended us to forgo their use. - Galileo Galilei
  • The ink of a scholar is worth far more than the blood of a martyr.- Mohammad
  • If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. - Sheldon Kopp
  • No one will be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. - Louisa Mae Alcott
  • When it is a question of money, everyone is of the same religion.- Voltaire
  • If God were alive today, he'd be an athiest. - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The god I worship is not short of cash, Mister. - Bono
  • Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine. My sins they only belong to me. - Patti Smith
  • God sure baked a lot of fruitcake baby, when Adam met the Eden lady. - Joe Strummer