So, what really is important?  Honesty, Affiliation, Power, Wealth, Marital Fidelity, Lying?

I heard someone on the radio talking about the recent outing of John Edwards alleged affair and heard the host adamantly saying that the point was not the infidelity, but the lie.  (Sound familiar?) 

 

But is it?  Reflect back on all the lies.  Look over even this site and see how many instances of corruption and fraud, and lying have occurred, sometimes outed by whistleblowers, sometimes found by reporters or others.  Lies, cover-ups based on fraud, theft, manipulation of situations generally to satisfy the greed of someone or a group of someone’s, perhaps even a company, seem to be the norm now days.  Why?  Some of it I’m sure is political positioning and strategy.  I envision Karl Rove’s long lists of things he’s got on nearly everyone.  Juicy little factoids ready to be used to sway or if that fails, destroy the opposition to his employers and long time conspirators. Usually this thought waves through as I am again wondering why Congress won’t stand up and do something about all of this crap and corruption, because with the neutering and corrupting of the Justice Dept. and the intentional perverting of not only the interpretation of our Constitution by the Executive Branch and their associates, but the strong armed control of nearly every government agency by Presidentially appointed socially and politically prejudiced directors at the top, Congress, as dysfunctional as it is, and as fraught with corrupted people as it may be, is at this time kind of the last stop. 

 

It seems to me that the rest of our government has given up and has crawled into the kitchen cupboard whimpering, waiting for the smoke from the destruction to bring an end to its suffering.  And while all of this is going on the fear mongering aimed at the public also goes on, and the destruction of quality of people’s lives in every possible way continues. 

 

So, in the interest of finding a path through all of the stuff that is coming out, is one kind of lie worse than another?  Should someone be drawn and quartered who lied about marital fidelity, but someone who lied about whether information or required testimony was about national security, or someone who lied about information used to back up certain kind of political or legal actions be allowed to continue with impunity?  This seems to be something all of us, the public need to clarify for ourselves.  Justice is supposed to be blind, but fair and be applied with integrity.

I post this here for your consideration.  Think about the issue, of character, not restricted specifically these particular players.  Perhaps you can contribute other examples of note.    What can be done about all of this?  It seems like the citizens really do need to play a large role in stopping the flood.  Influence and lead how you can.  -GFS

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From NPR via Huffington Press

Cindy McCain’s Half Sister ‘Angry’ She’s Hidden

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Kathleen Hensley Portalski displays newspaper clippings of her father in World War II, as well as snapshots of herself as a child with her father.

 

 

 

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Courtesy Nicholas Portalski

Portalski is shown with her late father, Jim Hensley, who also was Cindy McCain’s father.

 

 

 

Read the original profile on Cindy McCain.

 

 

 

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Ted Robbins/NPR

Nicholas Portalski, whose mother is McCain’s half sister, says it’s “very, very hurtful” that he and his mother haven’t been recognized.

 

 

All Things Considered, August 18, 2008 · Last Tuesday, NPR broadcast a story about Cindy McCain‘s business and charity work. In it, Ted Robbins described McCain as the only child of Jim Hensley, a wealthy Arizona businessman. The next morning, NPR received an e-mail from Nicholas Portalski of Phoenix, who heard the story with his mother.

“We were listening to the piece about Cindy McCain on NPR, All Things Considered, and it just struck us very hard,” Portalski said.

His mother, Kathleen Hensley Portalski, is also Hensley’s daughter.

The Portalski family is accustomed to hearing Cindy McCain described as Hensley’s only child.

She’s been described that way by news organizations from The New Yorker and The New York Times to Newsweek and ABC.

McCain herself routinely uses the phrase “only child,” as she did on CNN last month. “I grew up with my dad,” she said then. “I’m an only child. My father was a cowboy, and he really loved me very much, but I think he wanted a son occasionally.”

McCain’s father was also a businessman — and twice a father.

“I’m upset,” Kathleen Portalski says. “I’m angry. It makes me feel like a nonperson, kind of.”

Who Is Kathleen Hensley Portalski?

Documents show Kathleen Anne Hensley was born to Jim and Mary Jeanne Hensley on Feb. 23, 1943. They had been married for six years when Kathleen was born.

Jim Hensley was a bombardier on a B-17, flying over Europe during World War II.

He was injured and sent to a facility in West Virginia to recuperate. During that time, while still married to Mary Jeanne, Hensley met another woman — Marguerite Smith. Jim divorced Mary Jeanne and married Marguerite in 1945.

Cindy Lou Hensley was born nine years later, in 1954.

She may have grown up as an only child, but so did her half sister, Kathleen, who was raised by a single parent.

Portalski says she did see her father and her half sister from time to time.

“I saw him a few times a year,” she says. “I saw him at Christmas and birthdays, and he provided money for school clothes, and he called occasionally.”

Jim Hensley also provided credit cards and college tuition for his grandchildren, as well as $10,000 gifts to Kathleen and her husband, Stanley Portalski. That lasted a decade, they say. By then, Jim Hensley had built Hensley and Co. into one of the largest beer distributorships in the country. He was worth tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars.

Sole Inheritor To Hensley’s Estate

When Hensley died in 2000, his will named not only Portalski but also a daughter of his wife Marguerite from her earlier marriage. So, Cindy McCain may be the only product of Jim and Marguerite’s marriage, but she is not the only child of either.

She was, however, the sole inheritor of his considerable estate.

Kathleen Portalski was left $10,000, and her children were left nothing. It’s a fact Nicholas Portalski says his sister discovered the hard way.

“What she found in town — on the day of or the day before or the day after his funeral — was that the credit card didn’t work anymore,” Nick says.

The Portalskis live in a modest home in central Phoenix. Kathleen is retired, as is her husband. Nicholas Portalski is a firefighter and emergency medical technician looking for work.

They say it would have been nice if they were left some of the Hensley fortune.

They also say they are Democrats, but Nicholas Portalski says he had another reason for coming forward.

“The fact that we don’t exist,” he says. “The fact that we’ve never been recognized, and then Cindy has to put such a fine point on it by saying something that’s not true. Recently, again and again. It’s just very, very hurtful.”

Kathleen Portalski says she’d like an acknowledgment and an apology.

NPR asked the McCain campaign — specifically, Cindy McCain — to comment or respond. Neither replied.

 

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First Ladies Pursue Women Voters

  • June 27, 2008

From NPR via Huffington Press

 

Original Profile for John McCain’s Wife: 

Cindy McCain: Private Heiress And Philanthropist

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Correction: The story said Cindy McCain’s father, Jim Hensley, left his company to “his only child.” In fact, Hensley was also survived by a daughter from a previous marriage, Kathleen Anne Hensley Portalski.

 

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Cindy McCain arrives at her husband’s campaign headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 2. AP

 

 

 

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After wrapping up the GOP nomination fight, Sen. John McCain and wife Cindy McCain thank supporters in Dallas. AFP/Getty Images

 

 

 

Read the companion profile on Michelle Obama, the wife of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

 

 

 

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Hoang Dinh Nam

Cindy McCain meets with 11-year-old Le Thi Phuoc and her father, Le Van, in Vietnam in June. McCain helped arrange for Phuoc to get surgery in the U.S. for her cleft palate. AFP/Getty Images

 

 

All Things Considered, August 13, 2008 · As the wife of Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, Cindy McCain has a high public profile and she’s often at her husband’s side.

But she is also heiress to the Hensley and Co. beer distributorship in Phoenix. And when it comes to the family business, Cindy McCain resolutely refuses to comment.

“I don’t think I’m very mysterious,” she said on ABC’s Good Morning America. “I’m not the candidate. I’ve never been front and center. I do the things I enjoy and that are important to me. And [I] do them in the way I like to do them.”

Hensley and its board’s chairman, Cindy McCain, declined to participate in this story. The company, which distributes brands including Bud Light and Budweiser, has a 60 percent share of the Phoenix market and had $370 million in revenues last year.

McCain’s father, Jim Hensley, founded the beer business in 1955. He built it into the third-largest Anheuser-Busch distributorship in the country. When he died in 2000, he left it to his only child.

The Private Prenuptial

Cindy Hensley met John McCain more than 20 years earlier at a party in Hawaii. He was a 43-year-old naval officer, married at the time. She was 25. They married a year later — in 1980 — and they signed a prenuptial agreement, which was fairly rare at the time.

The agreement has never been made public, but tax attorney Lee Sheppard, who writes for the nonpartisan publication Tax Notes, says there could only have been one reason for the prenup: Cindy had money and John didn’t.

“She was an heiress … who was marrying, and she was very young at the time,” Sheppard says. McCain was “an old military guy who didn’t have a job and went to work for the father-in-law right after they got married.”

John McCain’s job with Hensley didn’t last long. In 1982, he ran for Congress, financing his campaign partially with loans from Cindy. After he won, Cindy McCain went with him to Washington, D.C. She left two years later because she was homesick for Arizona.

Separate Tax Returns For Privacy

The McCains have always filed separate tax returns. That was a problem earlier this year, when Cindy McCain refused to release her return.

“This is a privacy issue. My husband is the candidate,” Cindy McCain told NBC’s Ann Curry. “I’m not the candidate.”

Eventually, she released a partial 2006 return. It lists income from salaries as just under $300,000. And it lists income from businesses, real estate holdings and trusts at $4.5 million — with no other details.

This year, McCain has benefited from holding stock in Anheuser-Busch, which is being acquired by Belgian brewer InBev. Her family also owns a stake in the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team.

Congressional financial disclosure forms list the McCains’ assets together, making John McCain the third-richest member of the Senate. But Sheppard says Congress devised the forms so they don’t offer much detail, either.

“The federal financial disclosure [form] says things like, well, are you worth somewhere between $1 million and $100 million?” she says. “In her case, it doesn’t tell us much, because family businesses don’t have to be valued, and Hensley is a family business.”

Sheppard says that despite Cindy McCain’s privacy protest, businesses have interests that ought to be scrutinized.

“Let’s go back in time,” Sheppard says. “Lyndon Johnson was married to a very rich woman in the broadcasting business. Well, that has a little bit of political effect. And that is a business with a lot of political interests. And beer is a business with a lot of political interests, too. Beer is affected by all kinds of legal questions.”

Hensley and company executives have lobbied the federal government on a number of issues, including successfully opposing rules to put alcohol content on beer labels.

When he was chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, John McCain recused himself from alcohol-related issues. If he’s elected president, recusal will not be an option. The campaign says McCain will deal with that if he’s elected.

A Passion For Philanthropy

Cindy McCain is Hensley’s chairman, and she’s not involved in day-to-day operations. Those who know her say what she truly enjoys is philanthropic work.

She had her own charity providing emergency medical care to children, but it disbanded in the mid ’90s after McCain admitted she illegally obtained painkillers from that charity for a back problem. Now, she is active in three charities.

As recently as this spring, she traveled to Vietnam with Operation Smile, a charity that provides surgery for children with facial deformities.

“Cindy always scrubs and goes into the operating room,” says Vonnie Wray, the organization’s development director. “She’s very, very hands on with comforting the parents who are anxious — and perhaps shows them pictures of her own daughter.”

The McCains adopted a child with a cleft palate, Bridget, who is now 16.

Through much of the 1990s, Cindy McCain stayed out of the public eye, raising four children at home. Now, as when her husband first ran for president in 2000, Cindy McCain is at his side. She supports his career — and doesn’t reveal too much about her own.

 

Related NPR Stories

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Michelle Obama: The Exec, Mom And Campaigner

  • July 9, 2008

First Ladies Pursue Women Voters

  • June 27, 2008

Candidate’s Wives Put Under the Microscope

  • June 17, 2008

Wives of McCain, Obama: Hurting or Helping?

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