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June 07, 2005

Comments

Appalled Moderate

Part of the Kerry "mystique" was that he was smarter and more apprciative of subtlty than Bush. The lousy report cards in the navy records would have undermined the narrative.

Hence, the reason the 180 was not signed during the campaign. Because the "I'm smarter" narrative was deemed important by John Kerry and was under imminent threat by the report card.

As political decisions go....Well, it's what you'd expect based on the report card.

By the way, who's going to get the Geek that beer?

Geek, Esq.

I'll in turn buy a beer for whomever persuades Kerry not to run in 2008?

I mean, why the f@ck would you not release this in the final two weeks of the campaign?

*Looks at Kerry's freshman report card* Ahhh, now it makes sense.

This should put to final rest that discharge angle--unless there's some sort of super-duper secret file that only gets released with a special handshake and the code word phrase "Vince Foster was an Illuminati."

Al

The question I haven't seen asked: why does the Boston Globe get to look at the records and none of us?

Tollhouse

This is a scam and whitewash. "Appear to be identical" seems to be the operative phrase here.

Patrick R. Sullivan

Obviously Kerry controlled what was released. The navy has his college grades, but not his AA report on the first Purple Heart? Nothing on the six year delay in getting his discharge?

ed

Hmmm.

Sorry but this does NOT meet the definition of *released*.

He "released" these files to his biggest MSM supporter? Yeah that's impressive.

What's still not answered is why Kerry didn't get an Honorable Discharge until 1978. Until that question is firmly answered, with real proof rather than assumed proof, then this will not go away.

This is nothing more than preemptive damage control by Kerry for 2008. But it won't work.

Neo

4 D's as a freshman and 1 as a sophomore.

"I always told my Dad that D stood for distinction," Kerry said yesterday

John Kerry is obvious a man of distinction

TM

Was the refusal to release his grades and reveal himself to be painfull average the reason for this belated disclosure? C'mon, Steve Sailer broke that as an October surprise!

Miracle Max

You all are way behind the curve on fly-specking Hillary's record. You have miles of nits to pick before you sleep.

spongeworthy

Do you understand what we're being told here? "It's because of the mediocre grades that we didn't release these earlier. There's nothing behind the curtain, move along people." Kerry even had a homely little press release complete with Dad-as-grade-scold all ready for us.

Who's buying this?

Harry Arthur

TM, I thought "C" was painfully average.

JLawson

I'm beginning to wonder if 'nuanced' isn't simply shorthand for "too damn dumb to understand what's going on so waffling is attempted to cover all sides of a given situation".

And that yearbook photo - man, did they do a job on him or what? He REALLY ought to sue on that one.

J.

Geek, Esq.

Ed:

The evidence all points to an administrative discharge as part of a larger reduction in forces. The double-discharge theory is pure speculation.

Appalled Moderate

TM:

Any other explanation -- other than fear of exposing his mediocre grades -- has an Oliver Stone feel. After all the blather about Kerry the nuanced thinker of great thoughts, the revelation that he was a worse Yale scholar than drinkin' man Bush could have been a disaster. It's likely Kerry, who seems rather impressed with his sense of nuance and the importance of his brilliance, would have thought so.

Brother. That 2004 choice we had really did just stink.

Appalled Moderate

By the way, the "big story" did not break until October 24, and never made it into the consciousness of MSM. (Mickey and John Tierney just don't count.) Kerry might well have been unaware that his cover had been blown. By the time he would have figured it out, it would have been too late to file the 180 before the election.

Sorry, TM. Order Geek up a Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Corky Boyd

What a sneak. To satisfy his January promise to sign the Form 180, he specifies it be released only to the Boston Globe and probably only to his official biographer and pal, Kranish.

Of course we will never find out about the reason he didn't receive his honorable discharge (after a Presidential review board) until 1978 when he should have had it in 1972 or 73. We will never see his 1970 and 1971 fitness reports after his negotiations with the VC and North Vietnamese. We will never see his security clearance status after he consorted with our enemies.

But he did sign the Form 180. And that we will be reminded about by the press and News Networks.

Geek, Esq.

AM:

Are you a fan of the film Blue Velvet?

As another theory, don't disregard the power of pure obstinacy. His political enemies goaded him to release it, and he very well could have just dug in his heels.

I know I once accused him of having good political judgment, but I've been forced to withdraw that charge.

ATM

Please people, you really think this partial release of his record to sycophantic Boston Globe reporters is the whole story? That Kerry wanted to hide his poor grades. Sorry, but there is more to John Kerry than this. Until Kerry authorizes a full record dump that is accessible to anyone, he is not off the hook.

Geek, Esq.

Some of my conservative friends forget that journalists are self-serving more than they're liberal. If Kranish could serve Kerry up on a platter and earn notoriety, he would.

Patrick R. Sullivan

"We will never see his 1970 and 1971 fitness reports..."

There aren't any. His last day of duty was, iirc, January 3, 1970.

I remember this curious statement to Tim Russert:

"I'm going to sit down with them and make sure that they are clear and I am clear as to what is in the record and what isn't in the record and we'll put it out,"

And that's apparently what he did. He released what he wanted 'in the record'.

gt

Sad really. Kerry is a moron.

Not only did the Navy records show nothing incriminating he could have easily used them to attack the Swiftie Liars, who it turns out back then were writing commendations.

Cecil Turner

Blogs for Bush has an interesting point on possible selective release via a form 180. More interestingly, it has a comment from John O'Neill, who says there are still questions about:

  • Cambodia
  • discharge status between 1970 and 1978
  • late citations for medals
  • Hostile Fire Reports for the first Purple Heart
ISTM Cambodia would be negative info and hardly damaging (since practically nobody believed it anyway), I see no reason to believe the initial take on the discharge was wrong (involuntary honorable separation), the personnel record would normally only have the latest version of citations, and the absence of a fire record wouldn't prove much. I don't see any of them as likely.

Kranish says Kerry authorized an "undeleted" copy of the "complete military service record and medical record." Glancing at the 180, "undeleted" specifically refers to discharge characterization:

This normally will be a copy of the full separation document including such sensitive items as the character of separation, authority for separation, reason for separation . . .
If that part's correct, it wouldn't seem to be about the discharge. If he's also correct about the "complete" part, Kerry's earlier obduracy is hard to credit. A couple things seem odd: why not sign the form 180 in public; why not allow full access to the records? (The first would be a particularly nice PR touch.) Many, including OpinionJournal, are convinced it's all about the grades . . . which I find unpersuasive. Personally, I think the Globe ought to post 'em--starting with the 180.

richard mcenroe

Al -- Because the Boston Globe will casually and cheerfully lie for the Democratic machine in Massachusetts. Remember, this is the newspaper that ran the bogus Abu Ghraib porn photos, AFTER they had not only been debunked, but even the British Daily Mirror (a rabidly anti-Bush pub) had been embarrassed enough to fire their editor for publishing them.

The Globe says there's nothing new in the files. The Navy says there were over 100 pages of documents that Kerry never released. The Globe says all the additional forms were glowing evaluation reports. 100 pages of evaluation reports in what, three years' active service, tops? Not possible. Did not happen.

Of course the Globe also weasel words it nicely, saying the documents had been "made available" to the paper. Says nothing about having actually looked at them.

When the WSJ or hell, even the WAPO gets access to the whole file, then I'll be impressed.

Patrick R. Sullivan

"Sad really. Kerry is a moron.

"Not only did the Navy records show nothing incriminating he could have easily used them to attack the Swiftie Liars, who it turns out back then were writing commendations."

Actually, I'm revising my impression of Kerry's intelligence upward, if he can this easily fool a guy with a Phd in economics (or at least claims to have one) into believing there's nothing incriminating in his records by not fully releasing them.

gt

Really cecil, you gotta give this up. There is nothing there. And I mean nothing.

Chester White

What struck me is that the incredible nuanced genius never made a single "A" in college. His max grade was an 89, and an "A" was 90+.

And, for God's sake, he LIVED in France and Switzerland and only got a 77 in French!!

John Boyle

"If you can't convince 'em, confuse 'em."

The SF 180 is actually a request for "Report of Separation" which document is in the sole custody of the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis - not the branch in which the veteran served (in this case the Navy). And the character of Kerry's "separation" (discharge) from the Navy is obviously the document(s) to hide.

The SF 180 directs the National Personnel Records Center to release records. What is the Navy doing in the middle of this? The Navy must have been the first directed recipient of the NPRC release in the SF 180 (not the Boston Globe). As a Federal entity, the Navy is then subject to Privacy Laws and any release by them had to be additionally waived by Kerry. He could then easily not waive specific documents for release that he found damaging. What the Boston Globe got was the remainder of whatever the Navy received from NPRC, less what Kerry wished to withold.

A real shell game. Kerry may not be very bright, but he as enough money to buy very slick advice.

Les Nessman

qt:"There is nothing there. And I mean nothing."

You may be right, but after this strange, self-inflicted saga of Kerry not releasing these records for so long, let's not make hasty pronouncements. I'd rather see the complete records in the public forum, not just the Boston Globe.


TM:"I suppose Kerry's target audience is Tim Russert, but if Tim thinks Kerry is trying to gull him..."

Tim will do what exactly? Ask Kerry a couple of tough questions and then let the matter sleep for yet another 6 months?

Cecil Turner

"There is nothing there."

In that case, failing to release them earlier is inexplicable, and Kerry is clearly too stupid to be a presidential contender (in fact, it's a wonder he remembers to keep breathing). And while his grades don't refute that hypothesis, I'm unwilling to take Kranish's word for it.

One of the commenters on Blogs for Bush left a link to this research company who support the shell game theory. (They also make a better case for an irregular discharge than I've seen elsewhere.) Unless the new records contains something that has yet to come to light (e.g., unflattering evaluations), Kerry sitting on this non-event makes little sense. I suspect there's more to come.

gt

It's stupid but it's not inexplicable. Maybe he got caught up in the "it's my privacy dammit" part of this and didn't realize he was hurting only himself. Happens a lot.

But the anti-Kerry crowd has long crossed into X Files conspiracy territory. I didn't think Tom wanted to be there.

Jim Glass

Why didn't he release these? They gave him a natural campaign slogan: He's de man! He's de man! Vote for De Man!"

(It coulda been the best thing since "Volt for Eagleton!")

John

Since when has the 100+ pages claim become the Gospel truth? From what I've read, it was a number thrown out by a spokesperson for the Navy. Has their been a confirmation that there actually are that many pages out there?

Cecil Turner

"Maybe he got caught up in the "it's my privacy dammit" part of this . . ."

That's possible, but it strikes me as unlikely. For one thing, running for president has obvious privacy ramifications. For another, releasing military records is hardly a novel step for candidates (especially for those who make service the centerpiece of their campaign), and he was not shy about demanding information about Bush's service. Besides, as you pointed out earlier, it would have provided some very effective ammunition against the SwiftVet attacks . . . which effectively torpedoed his campaign. I suppose a professional politician could be unable to see what a bunch of us amateurs find obvious--but Occam's Razor suggests there's another, simpler answer--and that we still don't have the full story.

equitus

Regarding Kerry's discharge, I don't believe his military records include Kerry's trips to the campus health clinic. ;-)

sf

...Suggests there's another, simpler answer indeed. Couple of easy observations may help figure out the answer:

1. Obviously, in the last election Kerry didn't think his failure to release *all* his mil records (via the 180) was gonna' cost him anything of significance. He'd clearly gone to great lengths to give the appearance of having his entire mil record open to voters, as if he had released , and undoubtedly thought this would be good enough.

2. Kerry and his advisors almost certainly believed--correctly--that few voters would learn what the 180 meant, and even fewer would understand the significance of Kerry's refusal to submit one. And before the '04 election they'd have been right. But in 2004 something was Significantly Different from past elections: a lot more households were using the Internet for news, and a lot of them were reading political blogs. Kerry's people were confident that their friends in the Fossil Media would ignore his military critics--like the Swifties. And initially that was what happened. But after bloggers publicized the Swifties, and O'Neil's devastatingly effective appearances on Fox news shows, the Fossil Media had to grudgingly tell the story. Kerry's people--unaware of the new paradigm--never even considered that this could happen.
Hell, if you could have given them the detailed narrative of how the dust-up would unfold, every one of them would have laughed out loud.

3. Clearly, Kerry plans to run again. And by appearing to release all his records now, then if he's asked about the topic in '07 he'll say "Come on, I did all that two *years* ago. Weren't you paying attention? Let's move on."

4. Lots of people are good at shading words to allow them to avoid having to answer tough questions in an 'honest, human, plain-English' sense. (Anyone recall what the meaning of the word "is" is?) As a couple of commenters noted, the precise wording used both by Kerry and in the Globe article re this matter seems to be absolutely filled with loopholes. It's clearly designed to give the impression that there's been a full release of the senator's records. But once again the power of the Net is intervening, as the handful of experts in these matters--who normally would never be heard by the public--quickly point out the weasel-words and not-quite-right sources for the released records: A full 180 release would have resulted in the records coming from the National Records agency rather than the Navy. So once again, Kerry and advisors try a time-honored political dodge that's always worked in the past--but with Net and blogs, lots of those dodges will no longer work.

5. We can expect veteran pols to "misunderestimate" what the Net can do for another 5 years or so, but eventually most of 'em will adapt, and we won't see so many spectacular misjudgments. But until then...enjoy!

--sf

Paul Zrimsek

"It's my privacy, dammit. That's why I couldn't go for thirty seconds during the campaign without talking about it."

opine6

Why would Kerry try to hide a "reduction in force" discharge? There is nothing shameful about that.

What's missing is the original DD214 from 1972, the year he actually got out of the Navy. That original would characterize his service.

Patrick R. Sullivan

I hope gt takes the time to read the Lyon Research summary that Cecil has linked to, it is verrrry interesting:

-----------quote-------------
1) The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) is the custodian of records of discharged Navy personnel who served in 60’s and 70’s. All requests for navy personnel records of both officers and enlisted should be made to the NPRC, not the Navy. .... We see no reason why, Senator Kerry would choose to have the Navy release his record when the NPRC is the custodian of his full record. ....

Kerry was discharged from active duty on Jan 3rd 1970. He entered the inactive reserve at that time. In July of 1972 he entered the standby reserve. ....Typically participation in the Standby Reserve is limited to a couple of years. We have never seen a Veteran in any branch of the military that had a 6 year standby reserve obligation, unless it was part of their enlistment contract. ....Every year, the Navy reviews members of the Standby Reserve to see if they are still needed.

3) Why is there a statement of service from a JAG officer in Senator Kerry’s personnel file?

3) The Judge Advocate Generals Office is the legal branch of the military. In the hundreds of personnel files we have reviewed, we have never seen a JAG summary in such a format and have only seen summaries when they are used in sentencing or pretrial investigations. The presence of this statement in Senator Kerry’s file is certainly unusual.
----------endquote----------

gt

Cecil,

Occam's razor suggests that simple stupidity and bad judgement explain a lot more than conspiracy theories.

With the possible exception of Cambodia every single Swiftie Liar accusation has been either proven false or shown to have nothing to back it up, once the documents have been made public. This is simply one more example.

I know that's not going to stop many from coming up with ever loonier conspiracy theories, but that's life.


Sadly Kerry turned out to be a pretty mediocre candidate, one who didn't realize what he needed to do. It's way too late for 2008 for him. He had a chance and he blew it.

There is nothing strange or uncommon about a politician misjudging reality. Heck, just look at Bush and SS. The good news is that Bush's horrible plan is going down in flames and with any luck will mean no conservative will dare touch it for a couple of decades. Bush somehow thought his election in November mean people agreed with his policies and the fact is that in many cases they don't.

Like I said, politicians make mistakes all the time. Hopefully the next President Clinton won't make so many.

ed

Hmmm.

"The evidence all points to an administrative discharge as part of a larger reduction in forces. The double-discharge theory is pure speculation."

Sorry man but it doesn't work like that. If he got separated in 1970-1972, he'd have gotten his Honorable Discharge right then and there. How **long** has this contraversy been simmering? How long have we been discussing this? How many times has this been used, like a club, to beat Kerry about the head and shoulders?

To refute any of this all Kerry would have had to do is walk up to a podium with his Honorable Discharge and show it off.

And he has NOT done so.

TM

Occam's razor suggests that simple stupidity and bad judgement explain a lot more than conspiracy theories.

What conspiracy? Kerry wouldn't release his records - that is pretty much a conspiracy of one (OK, include his advisors, and so what - where is the conspiracy?)

A conspiracy theory would be something like believing that friends and supporters used their influence to secretly shred incriminating files years later - Dan Rather has more, with film at 11!

As to "every single Swiftie Liar accusation has been either proven false or shown to have nothing to back it up, once the documents have been made public", well, let's see the documents for his first Purple Heart. Or his discharge.

Otherwise, this defense amounts to praise for Kerry's ability to selectively release documents.

bob

getting three purple hearts w/o spending any time in a hospital is nothing short of a miraculous!

Geek, Esq.

After leaving active service, he entered the Reserves (just in case). Ex post Vietnam, there were way more Reserve officers than would be needed, hence the administrative purge.

The NY Sun tried to spin this into something, but they had nothing to back it up.

Think about it--this theory requires:

1) A super-secret discharge

2) A super-secret reversal of that discharge

3) A supremely effective cover-up that left not a single document or witness behind

In other words, about as plausible as Vince Foster's 'murder.'

Geek, Esq.

TM:

Kerry has released his discharge documents already--the ones discharging him from the reserves in 1978. And he's released the docs changing his status from active to reserve in 1972.

ed

Hmmm.

"Kerry has released his discharge documents already--the ones discharging him from the reserves in 1978. And he's released the docs changing his status from active to reserve in 1972."

Interesting. The only problem is that Kerry signed up for the USNR to begin with, i.e. the United States Naval Reserves. What you're talking about is the INACTIVE reserves. What we're talking about is his tour in the USNR.

A very different sort of animal.

RogerA

I don't understand why this comment thread is even going on! John Kerry proved he was an idiot, his grades confirm his mediocre intelligence--He may seek the nomination in 08, but he is already toast--Just let him go home to Te-ray-sah in peace!

There are other more important issues: Zimbabwe, Syria, North Korea--and we are wasting bandwidth confirming what we already know: Kerry is an empty suit (and head)

Les Nessman

"Think about it--this theory requires:

1) A super-secret discharge

2) A super-secret reversal of that discharge"

It doesn't require a secret anything, super- or otherwise. It just requires Kerry to refuse to release his records to the public. That's all.

Someday, perhaps Kerry will release his records to the public and we will see what's in there.

Patrick R. Sullivan

"After leaving active service, he entered the Reserves (just in case). Ex post Vietnam, there were way more Reserve officers than would be needed, hence the administrative purge."

Then why wasn't he purged in 1973, when the actual glut of officers occurred. That's how Bush got his early out--a point that apparently is too intellectually strenuous for a number of economist Phd's to grasp.

Geek, Esq.

Les: You forgot about the evil Boston Globe reporter ignoring the "discharge for being a pinko Commie traitor" documents.

Ed:

Kerry went from active duty to reserve duty in the early 1970's, and stayed there until 1978. Not sure what you're looking for.

Harry Arthur

"The good news is that Bush's horrible plan is going down in flames and with any luck will mean no conservative will dare touch it for a couple of decades."

Yep, that's good news all right. But you're wrong about it not being touched for decades. In about 12-15 years the "do nothing" crowd will have egg all over your collective faces, we will all become accutely aware that our inaction has resulted in a true funding crisis (SS and general fund), we privatizers will get to say "I told you so", and the young folks will suddenly understand that they've had a royal number done on them as their income and FICA taxes climb and their projected SS benefits dive.

Meanwhile I'm happy to go back to sleep and not fret over any of this any more since mommy Hillary will soon be taking care of us all.

gt

Tom,

I was referring to the conspiracy outlined above where Kerry is supposedly releasing just some documents so he can run again in 2008 and say he's released all.

harry,

SS has no problems for decades, maybe even ever. In fact SS may end up running surpluses even if we do nothing. It's very godo that we do nothing today and, hopefully, this silly Bush plan will come crashing down. I'm glad Americans saw through the deceit this time (as they are beginning to in Iraq).

BTW if you followed the SS debate you may know that the proposed solutions would do nothing, absolutely nothing, to change the amount of money we will need in the next 12-15 years. So I have no idea what "I told you so" you have in mind.

ed

Hmmm.

"Kerry went from active duty to reserve duty in the early 1970's, and stayed there until 1978. Not sure what you're looking for."

The difference is active reserve vs inactive reserve.

Cecil Turner

"Occam's razor suggests . . ."

There's something in there that has yet to come to light.

"You forgot about the evil Boston Globe reporter ignoring the "discharge for being a pinko Commie traitor" documents."

I tend to agree it's not a discharge, but that assumes Kranish saw the entire record--which hardly proven. It's also worth remembering that Kerry is likely to have more than one discharge (I have 3).

Appalled Moderate

Save time on this thread. Here's the summary!

There once was a Kerry 180
That finally was signed -- lately
"But that's not enough
There's just got to be stuff"
Say most comments irately.

ed

Hmmm.

Here's probably a better explanation than I have the patience for:

http://www.lyonresearch.com/html/john_kerry_mil__records.html

Short version:

You DO get a formal Discharge from active duty.
You do NOT get a formal Discharge from the IRR.

Kerry got "discharged" from the USNR in 1972.
Kerry got "discharged" from the IRR in 1978.

What throws people is that Kerry signed up for the USNR and NOT the USN. What also throws people is that there are different versions of "reserve" in effect at any one time, though not for any one person.

Forbes

That's right, "There's nothing to see here folks, now just move along, nothing to see at all." LOL

I guess that's why people are looking for after action and medical reports, and discharge documents that would sustain Kerry's claims about his experiences in the Navy. And why his record request is/has been (apparently) directed to the Navy Department, rather than the National Personnel Records Center in St, Louis.

Kerry's response to Tim Russert's question regarding the complete release of his military record is giving the Boston Globe access to the records? All while Kerry's previous disclosures were on his web site?

Question: Why is getting documents that would supply the answers like pulling teeth?
Answer: Well, it's not because the process of signing SF 180 is so painful--so, what is it?

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

No, really, there's nothing to see here folk, nothing at all, just move along now.

Cecil Turner

competing summary:

He says he signed it, Kranish agrees.
Howzabout showing us evidence, please?
They've said other stuff that just wasn't true.
They're saying "trust us"; sounds like "f--- you."

A Senior Administration Official

The release of the records has created a secondary story -- about how some of the MSM are blowing their coverage (no surprise!). We blogged about the LA Time's oblivious piece here.

Sweetie

Did Bush sign the 180 and allow all comers to see his records? Isn't that the 'standard' then? If Kerry wants this to go away it seems like he has to meet this standard. There may not be anything there, but I think he owes an explanation as to why he can't mirror Bush's release......if he wants to clear this as an issue.

gt - A conspiracy needs two parties. The only conspiracy theory that might 'fit' is a Boston Globe-Kerry conspiracy but I haven't seen any such allegation. I am seeing allegations that Kerry duped the Globe - it seems perfectly understandable that the Globe may not understand the ins and outs of military record releases. It's not like the Globe, or any major American newspaper, has a lot of ex-military types running around the newsroom.

Les Nessman

Geek: "Les: You forgot about the evil Boston Globe reporter ignoring the "discharge for being a pinko Commie traitor" documents."

No, I'm just waiting for Kerry to make his complete records public, like he promised a long time ago. He hasn't yet. (Releasing some records to the Boston Globe doesn't count. Let the public see all of the docs and we can finish this story.)

How difficult is that?

Patrick R. Sullivan

"I was referring to the conspiracy outlined above where Kerry is supposedly releasing just some documents so he can run again in 2008 and say he's released all."

Which is, as already pointed out to you, a conspiracy of ONE.

icemaniceman

This is a whitewash and cover-up and will blow up in the Globe's face. If there were misled by Kerry then they will be very mad. If they were in on it then bad things will happen to both the Globe and Kerry.

This story is far from over.

They still don't get the blogs, the MSM still thinks it can pull the wool over the eyes of the public. The blogs have enboldened the MSM and also have done a lot of the legwork for them. The MSM is playing catch-up and all news shows have blog segments and get a lot of their stuff from A list bloggers like andrew sullivan, instapundit and jeff jarvis.

My take is that Kerry is a lying scumbag who is fiddling with the records. I am sure the full records will show that he got an other than honorable discharge or a dishonorable discharge due to his consorting with the enemy when he was an officer, as well as not reporting the assassination plans of his vet group. and that this discharge was expunged during the Carter amnesty.

This, the American people would never forgive, and would have immediately lost him the election which is why he did not release the documents before the election and why he is releasing redacted and incomplete documets now.

Look for the MSM to begin challenging Kerry using information from the blogosphere. Tim Russert will chase after Kerry if he thinks he is getting his chain pulled.

Harry Arthur

gt, re: SS. I guess we'll see in 12-15 years, won't we? I sure hope you're young enough to be a full participant in the system for the next several decades. Perhaps the light will come on at some future point.

"SS has no problems for decades, maybe even ever. In fact SS may end up running surpluses even if we do nothing. It's very godo that we do nothing today and, hopefully, this silly Bush plan will come crashing down. I'm glad Americans saw through the deceit this time (as they are beginning to in Iraq).

"BTW if you followed the SS debate you may know that the proposed solutions would do nothing, absolutely nothing, to change the amount of money we will need in the next 12-15 years. So I have no idea what 'I told you so' you have in mind." I have followed the debate, I have participated in the debate, I have listened to the debate, and I've read everything I can get my hands on from both sides - the "do-nothing" dog don't hunt. I guess Bill "fix SS now" Clinton was also wrong in the mid '90s.

I'll be more than happy to argue this again the next time TM opens a SS thread, and if I'm around in 12-15 years I hope to have this discussion again with you and your "everything is fine, we may even run a surplus" friends. Remember well, you heard this from a wise old guy (or an old wise guy, whatever) - if right now you're younger than about 50, your SS FICA taxes are going up, way up; your federal income taxes are going up, way up; and your SS benefits are going down, way down. It's just not possible to work any other way, and that, my friend as they say "ain't nothin' but good ol' fashion common sense."

But I digress, for now, I'm in agreement with the sentiment that John Kerry's original discharge was very likely other than honorable. Like Cecil, I have a few discharges myself, and I can tell you that none of them state "subject to review of a Board of Officers" on them. Additionally, you always receive a discharge when released from active duty, so where is the 1972 active duty discharge that Kerry received when he was discharged from active duty?

I received a discharge when I completed flight training as an enlisted soldier to become an officer and I have many friends who returned from Viet Nam with me in 1972 and were released from active duty because their Military Occupational Specialties were over strength requirements due to the wind-down of the war. They were immediately discharged from active duty and placed either in the IRR, or joined the Active Reserves or National Guard, but they received an active duty discharge in the process. Same time frame, same circumstances, not a one had to wait 6 years or even 6 months for a discharge. So why did Kerry have to wait?

Walt Lindgren

Kerry's discharges are a problem for Army/Air Force folks because the naval/sea services use a radically different system. When a person from the Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard completes active duty, he or she then gets a "release from active duty," the well known DD-214. This is NOT a discharge. Unless the person served a full 6-year committment, he/she goes into the reserve and may or may not attend drills, etc. There are active and inactive reservists. Beyond these, the further complication: naval/sea service officers, high rank enlisted (chiefs, master sergeants), and certain technical specialists are members of the "Fleet Reserve" until disabled, age 60 (this changes sometimes), or dropped from the list by a review board. From what I've read, Kerry changed status several times, and may never have been "regular" Navy. It is also common for the administrative procedures to change from time to time. Only an expert in the "BuPers Manual" could figure it out. Most of the negative comments appear to be silly, stupid, or fabricated. This is truly a non-issue.

Harry Arthur

Walt I hope you're correct - you've certainly made a reasonable and logical argument. It does pass the "common sense test" that the Navy might operate differently than the Army or the Air Force.

I guess most of us at least thought we smelled a rat because of our familiarity with the way things happened for us in those years and the reluctance of the Kerry people to at least appear to be forthcoming with all the files, something they had no trouble at all demanding from Bush.

Perhaps we'll find that this actually is a non-issue and get on with truly important things like Social Security, health care, national defense, the deficit, etc.

Thanks

Cecil Turner

"Most of the negative comments appear to be silly, stupid, or fabricated. This is truly a non-issue."

I was with you right up to this point. Generally concur on the discharge issue, but the negative comments are mostly to the effect that we have no way of knowing what was on his 180 or in his record--and the convoluted release process chosen by Kerry does not inspire confidence.

gt

Harry,

Glad to follow up on SS in another thread.

Yes, income taxes will have to go up. That's a given. And it has nothing(or very little) to do with SS. SS is running a big surplus today and we need to raise income taxes.

Harry Arthur

One more time, gt - we know SS is running a surplus today. We use it to mask the deficit. In 2017 or so it will beginning running deficits that will increase consistently as more baby boomers retire. The general fund will have to pay SS benefits at that point by redeeming the bonds in the trust fund and will have to also make up for the shortfall caused by not being able to tap the SS surplus that no longer exists, hence the requirement for much higher income taxes, etc. We'll then see what that does to the economy.

But I'm not worried at all about any of this because you and Krugman can't possibly be wrong and you both told me the SS system is in great shape - so great in fact that it won't even require action for "several decades" if ever.

Harry Arthur

And before anyone points out the hijack in which I just participated, I apologize. Couldn't keep my mouth shut.

Walt, I'll second Cecil's comment. Kind of what I was trying to say. The way Kerry has handled the whole thing just makes him look like he's trying to hide something. Perhaps he is, or perhaps he's not but is just politically tone deaf. Transparency is really the solution.

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