McCain’s skeleton closet

John McCain is a maverick senator, Vietnam veteran and former prisoner of war for 5 years in North Vietnam. In 2000, he nearly beat George W. Bush by being an outspoken, even honest politician, which stunned everybody, and only a vicious, fraudulent campaign of lies and racial attacks by George Bush and his political hit men stopped him. McCain is also known for crafting bipartisan approaches to issues such as smoking and campaign reform.

This time around though, at 72, he apparently decided “now or never” and seems to have sold his soul, kissing up to his enemies, hiring the same sleazy political aides who defeated him in 2000, and even abandoning his principled opposition to torture, which was based on his own POW experience. Now, conveniently, he’s even claiming to be a Baptist instead of an Episcopalian, and picked a far-right Christian running mate to make peace with conservatives.

It didn’t look like anyone was buying it for a while there, but danged if he didn’t come back and taken the lead in the race for president. McCain went from Republican front runner to 3rd or 4th in various polls, spent all of his huge pile of cash and lost most of his staff, and worked his way back to win the nomination and lead for president at the beginning of September. Now, it’s not looking all that good, and the REAL test of John McCain’s character will be how he responds.

And let’s not forget his old fashioned regular scandals — adultery, gambling, the Keating 5, religious pandering, mafia ties, and his junkie wife.


– “The thought of McCain being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me.” — Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi, who has known McCain for 35 years.

– “Look, is this guy, Bin Laden, really the bad guy that’s depicted? Most of us have never heard of him before.” McCain in 1998, after Clinton shot missiles at Osama

– “Craps is addictive. … This is a very, very supersitious game.” — John McCain

– “You know why Chelsea Clinton’s so ugly? Because her dad is Janet Reno.” — McCain


For a guy campaigning on family values, John McCain has broken up a lot of marriages. When he met his first wife (a swimsuit model), she was married to naval academy classmate of his. After he broke that marriage up, she stuck by him loyally as he went off to war and was a prisoner for 5 and a half years. When he returned to America, though, he found out that she had been in a car wreck and wasn’t as pretty. So he had a series of affairs, by his own admission, and dumped his wife and adopted family for a younger, very rich blond (now Cindy McCain.) Cindy, the daughter of a wealthy Budweiser beer distributor, was addicted to prescription narcotics and even stole hard drugs from a medical charity that she ran. In February, 2008, the New York Times ran a big article about the unusually close relationship between John McCain and a young telecommunications lobbyist named Vicki Iseman (who looks uncannily like Cindy McCain did when SHE was 25). They became so close that his staff, convinced they were having an affair, confronted both McCain and Iseman, telling them to back off. Now, a lot of people have criticized the Times for hinting without actually saying that McCain had sexual relations with that woman. But really, it doesn’t matter. It’s a matter of record that he accepted money and favors from her, spent a lot of time for her, and did favors for her clients. Among other things, McCain wrote two letters — from a draft provided by Vicki Iseman — to the head of the Federal Communications Commission — which was way out of line, since McCain headed the Senate Commmerce Committee, which controls the FCC. McCain’s pressure was so outrageous that, even though McCain was in charge of funding his commission, the FCC commissioner wrote a letter back rebuking him for his interference, at the height of McCain’s “ethics in government” campaign.

So, was McCain sleeping with her, hoping to sleep with her, or being subconsciously manipulated by a cute young woman? It doesn’t really matter. He was being led by his groin into ethical violations. Let’s face it, he was 64 at the time and is 72 now. Whether he is still cheating or not, he seems to be led by his dick; witness the videos of McCain checking out Sarah Palin’s butt during the speech where he introduced her.

Gambling at the $15 dollar minimum-bet tables if not higher (in some cases, he has been seen betting $100 chips). This has been confirmed by his top campaign aides over the years (Mark Salter and John Weaver). His longtime friend Wes Gullet says they would play in Vegas for 14 hours at a time, (10am to midnight), and that McCain is superstitious, blowing on the dice and such. It’s not hard to see his love of gambling in his political choices, such as Sarah Palin for VP. All very exciting when he’s gambling his own money or his campaign; but if America has a showdown with Russia over some neighboring country, that might be a bit less charming. And McCain’s entire presidential campaign has been a series of high-risk, high-stakes gambles, which is not a good sign for what his presidency would be like.

Founding Member of the Keating 5 Back in the old days, defendants in famous trials got numbers — the Chicago Eight, the Gang of Four, the Dave Clark Five, the Daytona 500. McCain was one of the “Keating Five,” congressmen investigated on ethics charges for strenuously helping convicted racketeer Charles Keating after he gave them large campaign contributions and vacation trips.

Charles Keating was convicted of racketeering and fraud in both state and federal court after his Lincoln Savings & Loan collapsed, costing the taxpayers $3.4 billion. His convictions were overturned on technicalities; for example, the federal conviction was overturned because jurors had heard about his state conviction, and his state charges because Judge Lance Ito (yes, that judge) screwed up jury instructions. Neither court cleared him, and he faces new trials in both courts.)

McCain intervened on behalf of Charles Keating after Keating gave McCain at least $112,00 in contributions. In the mid-1980s, McCain made at least 9 trips on Keating’s airplanes, and 3 of those were to Keating’s luxurious retreat in the Bahamas. McCain’s wife and father-in-law also were the largest investors (at $350,000) in a Keating shopping center; the Phoenix New Times called it a “sweetheart deal.”

McCain was not convicted of any crimes, though the Senate concluded that he exercised “poor judgment.” (Furthermore, he got off on some charges by a technicality — that he was still in the House when he took those vacation trips, and so the Senate couldn’t prosecute him. The House concluded that THEY couldn’t prosecute him because he had moved to the Senate.)

That New Time Religion John McCain grew up Episcopalian. He went to an Episcopalian high school. For at least 15 years, he has been listed as an Episcopalian in authoritative directories such as the Almanac of American Politics and Congressional Quarterly’s Politics in America 2008. He told a reporter from McClatchy News Service in June 2007 that he was an Episcopalian.

Suddenly, in September 2007, he’s campaigning in South Carolina, the heavily Baptist state where George W. Bush barely managed to stop McCain’s presidential campaign 8 years ago. And guess what? McCain tells a reporter “By the way, I’m not Episcopalian. I’m Baptist.”

When pressed, he said he’s attended the North Phoenix Baptist Church in Arizona for more than 15 years, though he has never been baptized in that church. Now see, that’s exactly the problem. Baptism is kind of a big thing in the Baptist Church. (That’s how they got the name.) No baptism, not Baptist.

Anyway, details aside, this is one very clear indication of how McCain has changed. Now, he’s just another hungry politician, happy to pander if it helps him win. Which eliminates the very reason people were excited about him in 2000 — his honesty.

Mafia Ties Arizona (which borders Nevada) has long had a serious presence. In the 1970s, a reporter was assassinated for looking into them. In 1995, McCain sent birthday regards, and regrets for not attending, to Joseph “Joe Bananas” Bonano, the head of the New York Bonano crime family, who had retired to Arizona. Another politician to send regrets was Governor Fife Symington, who has since been kicked out of office and convicted of 7 felonies relating to fraud and extortion.

Junkie Wife Cindy McCain, McCain’s frighteningly skinny second wife, is quite a presence in his campaign. She is out giving speeches and attacking Barack Obama on ethical grounds. But her only record is far from clean, not even counting the fact that she seduced McCain when he was a married father of four. Cindy and her father — who have hundreds of millions of dollar from her dad’s Budweiser distributorship — invested in one of convicted banker Charles Keatings projects, even as her husband was helping him fight off bank regulators in the days before Keatings savings and loan went bankrupt. Cindy has refused to release her tax returns, making it impossible to tell what other conflicts of interest she may be hiding.

But most dramatically, Cindy was a serious narcotics addict who created a charity for sick children (American Voluntary Medical Team or AVMT), then used it to get fraudulent prescriptions for Vicodin and Percocet. And a whistleblower from her staff says that John McCain and his senate staffers helped Cindy smuggle her ill-gotten narcotics through customs.

Tom Gosinski was fired from AVMT after expressing concerns about her addiction and habit of writing prescriptions in other people’s names to get drugs. He says that John McCain himself got her a diplomatic passport, which prevents customs officials from searching her bags, and his aides Mark Salter and Torie Clarke coordinated with him (Gosinski) on Cindy’s logistics for his trips abroad. (Mark Salter is still one of McCain’s top aides.) In 1993, Gosinski told the Drug Enforcement Agency that Cindy wrote false prescriptions in his name that year. McCain claims he didn’t know Cindy was an addict when he got her a diplomatic passport, but that’s hard to believe since she had a stretch in rehab back in 1991. Cindy McCain faced 20 years in prison for obtaining “a controlled substance by misrepresenting, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge.” With a wealthy father, high-priced lawyer and Senator husband, she got the lightest possible punishment — charges were dropped in return for her entering rehab. Any regular, much less poor person who had written fraudulent prescriptions, stolen narcotics from a charity and smuggled them around the world would have received several years in prison. Her doctor, for one, lost his license and never practiced again.

Ironically, this incident was a rare care where John McCain was NOT able to control how the press reported about him. (While his supporters are now claiming the media is biased against McCain, he has been the biggest media favorite of any candidate in either party for 20 years.) In the Gosinski case, he was fired in January of 1993, and he thought it was because he raised the issue of addiction. He went to the DEA first, then a year later filed suit for wrongful firing. The McCains went to the police charging that Gosinski was blackmailing them, because he offered to settle for $250,000. This doesn’t really make sense, because a blackmailer doesn’t go public or go to the police — that’s what you try to get money for NOT doing. But the heavy-handed effort launched investigations which put the whole business in the public record, which allowed the media to get hold of it.


“For McCain, Self-Confidence on Ethics Poses Its Own Risk”, New York Times, February 21, 2008, pA1

“McCain Says He’s Been Baptist For Years”, by Bruce Smith, The Associated Press, September 12, 2007

Candidates’ Vices: Craps and Poker, by Michael Sherer and Michael Weisskopf, Time Magazine, July 2, 2008

“Profiles: McCain’s Party”, by Connie Bruck, New Yorker Magazine, May 30, 2005

“Candidates invite questions about their faith”, by Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, September 18, 2007

“The Pampered Politician”, by Amy Silverman, The Phoenix New Times, May 15, 1997

“See John Run Off at the Mouth”, Phoenix New Times, October 1, 1998

“Opiate for the Mrs.”, Phoenix New Times, September 8, 1994

“Flashes: What’s Up, Murdoch?”, Phoenix New Times, September 17, 1998

the US Veteran’s Dispatch web site.

“Symington Gets Slammer”, Phoenix New Times, February 2, 1998

Election 98: Arizona Governor, Fox News web site, 1998 coverage (no longer on web)

“Keating Gets New Trial”, CNNfn Web Site, December 2, 1996

“No More Wagging,”, (editorial) by Maureen Dowd, The New York Times, January 3, 1999

“John McCain, rock-and-roll dad”, by Andrew Essex, The New Yorker Magazine, December 6, 1999 p52

“Unmasking Darth McCain”, by William Cleeland, The Daily Illini, March 9, 2001

“Interview: John McCain”, By Jason Vest, Mother Jones Magazine, November/December 1998

“Famed McCain Temper is Tamed”, By Michael Kranish Boston Globe, January 27, 2008

“How Cindy McCain was outed for drug addiction “, by Amy Silverman,, Oct. 18, 1999

Dealing with a Drug Demon”, by Kimberly Kindy, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, September 14, 2008


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Stick on November 3, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Excellent! Well written!


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