Fact Checking Donald Trump's Criticism of John McCain

I like fact checking. I do a fair amount of it here on the blog (for example, yesterday) so I like to read fact checking articles on topics of interest. On such topic for me was Donald Trump’s criticism of John McCain’s record on veterans.
USA Today ran an article a couple of days ago fact checking Trump’s USA Today op-ed defending his criticism of McCain. I link to it here and recommend it to interested readers.
It takes a special kind of hubris to criticize a former POW. Trump is riding high now but he will not be the GOP nominee.
John McCain is up for reelection to the Senate and referred to Trump’s criticism indirectly in a recent support email:

My Friend – 

I’m not a hero, but the great honor of my life was to serve in the company of heroes. 


There is 
nothing that anyone can say to take that away. 

All those who went through the POW experience, and their families who are so proud of their service and sacrifice, deserve the utmost honor and respect. 
To denigrate them is offensive to all who have worn the uniform. 

Anyone who questions their service owes 
a sincere apology to these heroes and their families. 

I have always been proud to stand up for our nation’s veterans and active duty armed forces. They represent the best of our nation – our bravest and finest. America’s veterans need our support, and addressing their concerns will always be among my top priorities in the Senate. 


As I face a tough campaign for reelection, I need to know if I can count on your support. 

I agree. Trump should apologize.
Meanwhile, can there be any doubt that the biggest benefactor of the Trump phenomenon is Hillary Clinton? Trump is still leading the GOP field but it is early and he may suffer from his mouth.

Year in review: Top ten stories of 2008

As in year’s past, I have enjoyed reviewing the posts from the year and coming up with the top ten stories.
1. Cancelation of the American Psychiatric Association symposium – Amidst threat of protests, the APA pressed to halt a scheduled symposium dedicated to sexual identity therapy and religious affiliation. Whipped up by a factually inaccurate article in the Gay City News, gay activists persuaded the APA leadership to pressure symposium organizers to pull the program. Gay City News later ran a correction.
2. The other APA, the American Psychological Association, released a task force report on abortion and mental health consequences. Basing their conclusions on only one study, the APA surprised no one by claiming abortion had no more adverse impact on mental health than carrying a child to delivery. I revealed here that the APA had secretly formed this task force after a series of research reports in late 2005 found links between abortion and adverse mental health consequences for some women. New research confirms that concern is warranted.
3. Golden Rule Pledge – In the wake of Sally Kern saying homosexuality was a greater threat to the nation than terrorism, I initiated the Golden Rule Pledge which took place surrounding the Day of Silence and the Day of Truth. Many conservative groups were calling for Christian students to stay home. This did not strike me as an effective faith-centered response. The Golden Rule Pledge generated some controversy as well as approval by a small group of evangelicals (e.g., Bob Stith) and gay leaders (e.g., Eliza Byard). Some students taking part in the various events were positively impacted by their experience.
4. Exodus considers new direction for ministry – At a leadership training workshop early in 2008, Wendy Gritter proposed a new paradigm for sexual identity ministry. Her presentation was provocative in the sense that it generated much discussion and consideration, especially among readers here. It remains to be seen if Exodus will continue to move away from a change/reparative therapy focus to a fidelity/congruence ministry focus.
5. New research clarifies sexual orienatation causal factors – A twin study and a study of brain symmetry, both from Sweden and a large U.S. study shed some light on causal factors in sexual orientation.
6. Letter to the American Counseling Association requesting clarification of its policies concerning counseling same-sex attracted evangelicals. Co-signed by over 600 counselors (many of whom were referred by the American Association of Christian Counselors), I wrote a letter to the ACA requesting clarification regarding how counselors should work with evangelicals who do not wish to affirm homosexual behavior. The current policy is confusing and gives no guidance in such cases. Then President Brian Canfield replied affirming the clients self-determination in such cases. He referred the matter back to the ACA ethics committee. To date, that committee has not responded.
7. Paul Cameron’s work resurfaces and then is refuted – Insure.com resurrected Paul Cameron’s work in an article on their website about gay lifespans. The article was later altered to reflect more on HIV/AIDS than on homosexual orientation. Later this year, Morten Frisch produced a study which directly addressed Cameron’s methods.
8. Mankind Project unravels – This year I posted often regarding the Mankind Project and New Warriors Training Adventure. Recently, I reported that MKP is in some financial and organizational disarray.
9. Debunking of false claims about Sarah Palin’s record on support for social programs – I had lots of fun tracking down several false claims made about Sarah Palin during the election. Her opponents willfully distorted her real record to paint her as a hypocrite. I learned much more about Alaska’s state budget than I ever wanted to know but found that most claims of program cuts were actually raises in funding which not quite as much as the agencies requested. However, overall funding for such programs increased.
10. During the stretch run of the election, I became quite interested in various aspects of the race. As noted above, I spent some time examining claims surround Sarah Palin’s record. I also did a series on President-elect Obama’s record on housing, including an interview with one of Barack Obama’s former constituents.
I know, I know, number 10 is an understatement. (Exhibit A)
Happy New Year!

Top ten posts by number of comments and page views – 2008

Time to wrap up 2008 with a review of the stories told and topics covered. I also will give the top ten posts based on page views.
By far the election was the broad topic which generated the most page views. Aside from the Berg vs. Obama thread, readers prefer to comment on the sexual identity related posts. As in past years, I will pick out my top ten themes in a later post.
Top ten by number of comments (fluctuation should be minimal since most of these threads are quiet now)
1. Berg vs Obama: Response to Supreme Court due December 1 (796)
2. New study casts doubt on older brother hypothesis and reparative drive theory (460)
3. Gay City News prints letter clarifying sexual identity therapy (282)
4. New Direction for Exodus? (277)
5. Day of the Golden Rule? (264)
6. Sally Kern: What should she do? (248)
7. Study examines brain differences related to sexual orientation (239)
8. Multiple factors involved in sexual orientation, part 2 (221)
9. Sexual orientation theorizing: Is change possible? (219)
10. 60 Minutes Science of Sexual Orientation: An update from the mother of twins (217)
Top ten by page views are:
1. Berg vs Obama: Response to Supreme Court due December 1
2. Hey Florida, is this ok with you?
3. Ohio plumber Joe Wurzelbacher talks about his dialogue with Obama and spreading the wealth
4. Berg vs. Obama: Update and current status
5. Michelle Obama likes upscale clothes too
6. Donofrio vs. Wells: NJ Obama citizenship case slated for SCOTUS conference
7. What Might Have Been – The Man Who Could Have Reversed Roe v. Wade, Part two
8. Some light on Sarah Palin’s church affiliation
9. Did Barack Obama vote to withhold treatment to infants surviving abortion?
10. Day of Silence and Golden Rule Pledge on Appalachian State University
The top post has been viewed over 15,000 times with the other posts gradually decreasing from there. These numbers are constantly changing.

Borowitz: McCain sends Biden to key swing states

Said as only Andy Borowitz can:

October 22, 2008
McCain Sends Biden to Key Swing States
‘Just Keep Talking,’ Says Mac
In a move unprecedented in the annals of presidential politics, Republican presidential nominee John McCain announced today that he was sending Democratic vice presidential nominee Joseph Biden on a campaign trip to several key swing states.
“I told Joe, I will pay your plane fare, hotels, all your expenses,” Sen. McCain said. “Just get out there and say whatever’s on your mind, my friend.”
Sen. McCain added one small caveat: “Whatever you do, don’t edit yourself.”
The Arizona’s senator’s unusual proposal is part of what one aide called the campaign’s “Two Joes” strategy.
“For the next two weeks, this campaign is going to be all about two Joes,” said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds. “Joe the Plumber and Joe the Blabber.”
But the McCain campaign’s plans were short-lived as Sen. Barack Obama today announced plans of his own for talkative running mate: “Between now and the election, Joe Biden will be reaching out to voters in Antarctica and possibly the Moon.”
Sen. Biden said he was grateful for the assignment, adding, “I will be proud to serve under Barack Obama, especially when one of our enemies tries to test him with a full-on nuclear attack. Kerblooey!!!!”

Andy writes referring to Joe Biden’s prophecy of a significant international test for a newly minted President Obama.
Here is what Biden said:

Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking,” Biden said.
“Remember I said it standing here. if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy. And he’s gonna have to make some really tough — I don’t know what the decision’s gonna be, but I promise you it will occur. As a student of history and having served with seven presidents, I guarantee you it’s gonna happen,” Biden continued.

However, to my knowledge no one is reporting Biden’s attempt to reframe his comments.
Biden added, “What I meant was the Obama will receive a very hard written test from the world, and he will pass it with flying colors. When Jack Kennedy was tested like that during the Korean war, he logged on to the Internet and assured the American people that he could pass that test, and he did!”
And if you wonder why this hasn’t been reported, see this: Joe Biden’s fun with history!

McCain suspends campaign to focus on economic crisis

I am not student of presidential campaigns but this seems unprecedented.

NEW YORK (CNN) — Republican presidential candidate John McCain announced Wednesday that he is suspending his campaign to return to Washington and focus on the “historic” crisis facing the U.S. economy.
McCain said it was time for both parties to come together to solve economic crisis.
The Arizona senator called on his Democratic rival, Barack Obama, to do the same. He also urged organizers of Friday’s presidential debate at the University of Mississippi to postpone the event.
“I am calling on the president to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself,” McCain told reporters in New York. “It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.”
There was no immediate response from the Obama campaign.

UPDATE: John McCain’s campaign just sent out this email:

John McCain’s Remarks on the Economic Crisis
New York, NY
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
America this week faces an historic crisis in our financial system. We must pass legislation to address this crisis. If we do not, credit will dry up, with devastating consequences for our economy. People will no longer be able to buy homes and their life savings will be at stake. Businesses will not have enough money to pay their employees. If we do not act, ever corner of our country will be impacted. We cannot allow this to happen.
Last Friday, I laid out my proposal and I have since discussed my priorities and concerns with the bill the Administration has put forward. Senator Obama has expressed his priorities and concerns. This morning, I met with a group of economic advisers to talk about the proposal on the table and the steps that we should take going forward. I have also spoken with members of Congress to hear their perspective.
It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administration’s proposal. I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time.
Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. I have spoken to Senator Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me.
I am calling on the President to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.
We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved. I am directing my campaign to work with the Obama campaign and the commission on presidential debates to delay Friday night’s debate until we have taken action to address this crisis.
I am confident that before the markets open on Monday we can achieve consensus on legislation that will stabilize our financial markets, protect taxpayers and homeowners, and earn the confidence of the American people. All we must do to achieve this is temporarily set politics aside, and I am committed to doing so.
Following September 11th, our national leaders came together at a time of crisis. We must show that kind of patriotism now. Americans across our country lament the fact that partisan divisions in Washington have prevented us from addressing our national challenges. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.

More from Obama as well:

“It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the administration’s proposal,” McCain said. “I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time.”
McCain said he has spoken to Obama about his plans and asked the Democratic presidential nominee to join him.
Obama’s campaign did not immediate say whether he supported a delay of the debate or would also stop campaigning.
The Obama campaign said in a statement that Obama had called McCain around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday to propose that they issue a joint statement in support of a package to help fix the economy as soon as possible. McCain called back six hours later and agreed to the idea of the statement, the Obama campaign said. McCain’s statement was issued to the media a few minutes later.
“We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved,” McCain said. “I am confident that before the markets open on Monday we can achieve consensus on legislation that will stabilize our financial markets, protect taxpayers and homeowners, and earn the confidence of the American people. All we must do to achieve this is temporarily set politics aside, and I am committed to doing so.”

Joe Biden speaks his mind, says McCain attack "terrible"

Stock market crash. Franklin Roosevelt. Television. Ok, I understand the point he was trying to make…

Watch CBS Videos Online
It was a little strange to hear him say, “if Barack had…” in relation to the ad. So did Obama approve the ad or not?
I admire Biden for saying the McCain attack was terrible and I agree with him that it is wrong for either camp to knowingly distort the other candidate’s positions. The differences between candidates is great enough without embellishing.

Obama tells a whopper about McCain and Social Security: Factcheck.org

For a candidate who says he is different kind of politician, Obama is looking pretty predictable. Go to Florida and tell retirees the other guy is going to take away your Social Security. Common tactic.
According to Factcheck.org as reproduced in Newsweek, Obama’s claim about John McCain and Social Security is just plain false. Check it out:

In Daytona Beach, Obama said that “if my opponent had his way, the millions of Floridians who rely on it would’ve had their Social Security tied up in the stock market this week.” He referred to “elderly women” at risk of poverty, and said families would be scrambling to support “grandmothers and grandfathers.”
That’s not true. The plan proposed by President Bush and supported by McCain in 2005 would not have allowed anyone born before 1950 to invest any part of their Social Security taxes in private accounts. All current retirees would be covered by the same benefits they are now.

and then…

In our “Scaring Seniors” article posted Sept. 19 we took apart a claim in an Obama-Biden ad that McCain somehow supported a 50 percent cut in Social Security benefits, which is simply false. Then, on Saturday Sept. 20, Sen. Barack Obama personally fed senior citizens another whopper, this one a highly distorted claim about the private Social Security accounts that McCain supports.

Factcheck has some ink on McCain’s claims as well so they are pretty objective it seems. How many days until the election?
I am not sure what is most amazing, Obama’s claims or his campaign worker’s tortured effort to defend it.

Obama's misleading new ad on Born Alive Infant Protection Act

It is hard to know where to start with this one.
Ben Smith at Politico posted this new ad from Barack Obama blasting McCain for another ad by Gianna Jessen, abortion survivor.

First, the Jessen ad is not John McCain’s ad. Second, McCain does support the availability of abortion in cases of rape and incest (Sarah Palin does not). And third, Barack Obama voted against legal recognition to infants of quesionable viability while an Illinois state senator. Obama has yet to clarify his conflicting statements about why he said he would vote for the federal version of the BAIPA but did not vote for it at the state level.
I recently had an op-ed published in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin on this topic: When does a baby get human rights?

Who's the centrist in the 2008 election?

Both McCain and Obama want the mantle of a change agent and one capable of reaching across party divide. This article in the Philadelphia Inquirer from John Lott, research scientist at University of MD, contests the Obama charge that McCain is McSame, or a clone of George Bush. He writes:

Does John McCain represent a third Bush term? The Obama campaign claims the two are almost indistinguishable. It was the mantra during the Democratic convention, and it is the theme of new ads Barack Obama is running. The ads claim that McCain is “no maverick when he votes with Bush 90 percent of the time.”
This week Obama has begun a constant refrain that there is “not a dime worth of difference” between Bush’s and McCain’s views. It is a consistent theme of Democratic pundits on talk shows.
Is this the same McCain who drove Republicans nuts on campaign finance, the environment, taxes, torture, immigration and more? Where has McCain not crossed swords with his own party?
As it’s being used, the 90 percent figure, from Congressional Quarterly, is nonsensical. As Washington Post congressional reporter Jonathan Weisman explained, “The vast majority of those votes are procedural, and virtually every member of Congress votes with his or her leadership on procedural motions.”
Obama might want to be a little careful with these attacks, as the same measure has him voting with Democrats 97 percent of the time.

Anyone who has followed McCain’s career knows that he has not been an easy vote for the Republican leadership on certain issues. Dr. Lott details some of those issues. Attempts to paint McCain as a lock-step Republican fail when scrutinized.