McCain shameful behavior roundup

It’s hard to keep up with all the reasons to oppose John McCain. Last night I wrote about his opposition to a bill that would make it easier for victims of job discrimination to seek legal redress.

If you care about that issue, you can sign the petition on “Equal Pay for Equal Work” at

Meanwhile, I learned from this diary by TomP that Friends of the Earth Action is running an ad against McCain on CNN. The ad highlights McCain’s support for the nuclear power industry:

TomP’s diary also includes this great quote from Friends of the Earth Action president Dr. Brent Blackwalder:

You know how self righteous John McCain can be when he talks about corporate pork and earmarks, but do you know why he opposes the Lieberman-Warner global warming bill?  He plans to vote against it not because it could lavish $1 trillion on the profitable oil, gas and coal industries, but because he wants to add hundreds of billions of dollars more in earmarks for the nuclear industry!

On a related note, I got an e-mail today from the Sierra Club slamming McCain’s proposal to suspend the federal gas tax between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The Sierra Club notes that the real effect of that policy would be to

[r]aise oil company profits by another 18 cents per gallon — by eliminating the federal gas tax without guaranteeing that Big Oil won’t just keep prices high and take the difference to grow their record profits even more.

The Sierra Club also has an online petition you can sign, which sends this message to McCain:

The best way to deal with high gas prices is to cut, not expand, giveaways to Big Oil. Please vote to end taxpayer-funded subsidies and tax breaks for Big Oil and use that money to invest in clean, renewable energy.

Earlier this week, I got the latest newsletter from Smart Growth America, which also blasted McCain’s proposal to declare a summer holiday from the federal gas tax:

An artificial and temporary reduction of gas prices will simply guarantee that absolutely no money goes towards having suitable roads and bridges for those filled-up cars to drive on – not to mention alternatives to congestion, like commuter rail and transit. Instead, we can send the full price of gasoline directly into the pockets of oil companies. (An estimated $10 billion in transportation revenue would be lost, or enough to fully fund Amtrak rail service for 6 years or so.) Meanwhile, we fall farther behind in maintaining our infrastructure: Rust doesn’t take the summer off.

But that’s not all. To coincide with McCain’s photo-op in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward today, Political Action launched its own online petition calling on McCain to reject the endorsement of right-wing pastor John Hagee. I knew about Hagee’s anti-Catholic bigotry, but I wasn’t aware that Hagee once said, “Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.”

Surely there couldn’t be any more shameful news about McCain to emerge within this 24-hour period, right? Wrong. I learned from Natasha Chart’s post at MyDD today that during a recent visit to Alabama, McCain’s campaign used free prison labor to get out of paying to set up for a private fundraiser.

I guess a campaign that is way behind its Democratic rivals in fundraising has to save money wherever it can.

But it would be more honest for McCain to curtail all campaign spending between now and the Republican National Convention this summer, because he is not complying with limits imposed by his decision to take public financing last year.

If I’ve missed any recent disgraceful behavior coming from the McCain camp, please let me know in the comments section.

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What every woman considering McCain needs to know

One of the worst rulings the Roberts Court has handed down was in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. The five-member conservative majority ruled that the plaintiff lost her right to file a discrimination complaint related to unequal pay because she didn’t file the lawsuit within 180 days of the first discriminatory action by her employer.

Never mind that Lilly Ledbetter didn’t know for many years that she was being short-changed by her employer, which was paying male colleagues substantially more for doing the same job.

The U.S. House passed a bill seeking to remedy this egregious ruling last July. The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

would put into law a clarification – wage disparity based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, and disability is not a one-time occurrence. Every discriminatory paycheck represents an ongoing violation. Employees would still have 180 days to challenge the discrimination, but from the last check, not the first.

You would think everyone would recognize the value of this bill. Does it make sense for the courts to grant legal immunity to employers that manage to keep their discriminatory behavior a secret for many months? Or does it make sense to allow employees to file a lawsuit within 180 days of the time they have learned about the violations?

The U.S. Senate took up this bill today, and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama took time off from the presidential campaign to go back to Washington and vote for it.

But John McCain skipped the vote. Though 56 Senators voted in favor, Republicans were able to block it with a filibuster. McCain confirmed today that he would have opposed this bill if he’d been in the Senate chamber:

“I am all in favor of pay equity for women, but this kind of legislation, as is typical of what’s being proposed by my friends on the other side of the aisle, opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems,” the expected GOP presidential nominee told reporters. “This is government playing a much, much greater role in the business of a private enterprise system.”

Right, he’s “all in favor” of equal pay–he just doesn’t want women who are denied equal pay to be able to seek legal remedy for that discrimination.

Clearly wage discrimination doesn’t bother McCain nearly as much as the idea that we might have more women filing lawsuits against employers who have been cheating them for years.

If you know any women who might lean toward McCain because they think he is a reasonable moderate, let them know about his stand on this issue.

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