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Want to get your mind off the economy for a minute? Check out what one of our potential next-Presidents says about Montana grizzlies and water boarding:

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McCain, during the first debate, on Montana bears: “We spent $3 million to study the DNA of bears in Montana. I don’t know if that was a criminal issue or a paternal issue, but the fact is that it was $3 million of our taxpayers’ money. And it has got to be brought under control.”

McCain’s been doling out these “facts” for two years now, but he’s got his numbers wrong. Congress has actually spent $4.8 million on the Northern Divide Grizzly Bear Project (run by the U. S. Geological Survey).

And unless good ol’ Yogi and company have been defaulting on their child support payments, the issue is neither “criminal” nor “paternal.”

The grizzly bear has been on the Endangered Species list since 1975. Two Montana Republicans, Governor Judy Martz and former Senator Conrad Burns, pushed Congress for the funds to study the bears’ DNA, so as to conduct an accurate census.

Martz and Burns want to move the grizzly off the list. They believe that because the bear is considered endangered, several million acres of wilderness can’t be exploited for their natural resources.

Governor Martz is a fervent McCain supporter. Burns runs McCain’s campaign in Montana. But grizzled McCain can’t hold his tongue. Is he for the bears or against them? Is he for the destruction of the wilderness or against it?

Maybe subjecting Yogi and his pals to a little water boarding would help. Or is that a no-go?

Here’s McCain, during the debate, on torture: “We have to do a better job in human intelligence. And we’ve got to make sure that we have people who are trained interrogators so that we don’t ever torture a prisoner ever again.”

Does that mean he concedes that the United States did indeed torture prisoners in Afghanistan, Guantanamo and Iraq?

McCain used to be opposed to torture. Then in February 2008, he voted against the bill that expressly forbids water boarding. He claimed that while he opposed the tactic, “…we’ve always supported allowing the CIA to use extra measures.”

As the Boston Globe put it: “Extra measures? Then what are rules for?”

The Bush administration refuses to accept that it has allowed torture. McCain went along with that line as well.

Then in August he told Fox News, “Water boarding to me is torture, okay? And water boarding advocated by the administration, and according to a published report, was used. I obviously don’t want to torture any prisoners.”

I’m not saying that he will personally torture anyone. But short of any legislative checks and executive balances, water boarding and what not continues.

If McCain becomes President, Yogi better head to Canada.

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