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August 28, 2004


Patrick R. Sullivan

Revised TWICE, you mean. Actually, the first revision--from the Zumwalt version to the Adm Hyland version--is more of a bowderlization. The VC with the rocket launcher disappears, along with some other attacks on the boats as they leave the scene.

Lehman's autopen signed a second version of the Bronze Star too.

Now, about that eight year gap between Kerry leaving active duty and his honorable discharge....


I would think that if Mr. Lehman had actually signed it, instead of it being signed by an auto-pen, he would have remembered it. I would imagine it is not too often that one would get citations for signature of a serving member of the Senate. Two things stand out about it that makes is not so routine; 1) it was past time for any revisions and 2) the wording was changed (for the second time). This makes it a valid target for judging Kerry's character, IMHO.

Thomas Lipscomb

To answer the perfectly reasonable question... most gov't offices at the secretary level are constantly grinding out proforma forms and reports that require a high level signature.

And auto pens are very commonly used to reduce the signing burden which is considerable.

There is room for both an abuse and a failure of memory in this story. But in my opinion... it would be unlikely for a sitting SecNav to fail to remember any favor for a Senator on the opposite party who could help him build a 600 ship Navy.

The only person who can tell us why the citations (all three of them out of five) went through these revisions is Senator John F. Kerry. And his spokespersons so far have refused to respond to queries.


Kerry also tried to get a medal for inventing the internet, but Gore beat him to it.

Patrick R. Sullivan

Actually, a Board of Inquiry could investigate these bizarre irregularities in Kerry's records. I doubt Kerry would give a truthful answer, if he ever consents to be interviewed.

I've got a devious question for someone to ask George W. Bush, though: "Mr. President, you've said you think Sen. Kerry served honorably, and should be proud of it. If he served honorably, then why didn't he get an honorable discharge in 1972 when his enlistment contract called for that?


On the off chance that that is the *real* Thomas Lipscomb, I apologize for the snark. Actually, I want to quote Jack Nicholson from "A Few Good Men" - "Don't I feel like a f***** a******".

However, that is mainly because I can not plead ignorance here - relying on my uncanny memory, I suspect that the revised citation is dated 1986 and that Kerry was elected to the Senate in 1984.

However, neither date appears in the Sun-Times story. In fact, the story does not mention that Lehman served under Reagan or that Kerry was a Senator at the time the revised citation was mysteriously signed.

I would say that those omissions somewhat dilute the impact of this story on the average reader.

That said, I certainly agree that Lehman's staff could not have been processing too many such requests from sitting Senators. One would hope they would have alerted him to it, but apparently not.

The Kid

Lipscomb does seem accustomed to writing for the knowledgeable and sophisticated – most of his stuff now appears in right-wing publications.

He berated the talking heads for not taking the Swiftvets seriously weeks ago – see this. Why his interest in the poor vets? At the end of the link you’ll find that Lipscomb was the chairman of the New York Vietnam Veterans' Leadership Program which worked to develop employment of heavily minority area veterans and is obviously no fan of JFK’s. Lipscomb appears to have been one of the early one’s to highlight some of the puzzling and unsavory aspects of Kerry’s war and post-war record. He repeated Admiral Elmo Z’s misgivings about Kerry here, and note the 2/27/04 date. (Also note that he was the founder of Times Books and was the publisher of Admiral Zumwalt’s best-selling book, “On Watch.”)

In fact he’s clearly a Bushie. This column – interesting in and of itself for clearing up the confusion (for those who wish to be unconfused) over the AWOL Bush – connects “Thomas Lipscomb – Sun-Times column writer” with “Thomas H. Lipscomb,” director of the Center for the Digital Future in New York. An editor and publisher for many years, most recently as head of Times Books, he is also the founder of two public companies in digital technology. So it is the Thomas H. Lipscomb. This column also shows that he challenges journalists to do the research and sometimes points the way.

Like most Bush supporters, he’s obviously a borderline fascist and cruel, sadistic person, as his one remark here shows. In explaining why the digital divide is not what it’s cracked up to be, Lipscomb is quoted as saying, "If you can't spell, you can't URL." How uncaring, no?

Patrick R. Sullivan

"Like most Bush supporters, he’s obviously a borderline fascist and cruel, sadistic person, as his one remark here shows."

Did it occur to you that we're taking names for our enemies list?



1. Who recently tried to use legal intimidation to prevent the airing of a TV ad? Kerry.

2. Who recently tried to use legal intimidation to prevent sales of a book? Kerry.

3. Who recently tried to use legal intimidation to prevent the publishing of a book? Kerry.

Well. Look who is facist now eh?

Greg F

I would love to hear what The Kid's definition of 'fascist' is.


RNC opens assault on anti-Bush groups
Complaint filed with FEC alleges collusion with Kerry campaign
Thursday, May 6, 2004
an "unprecedented criminal enterprise", conspiracy, too

See what happens when you start something.


While I am stewing over the mysterious Mr. Lipscomb, I may as well point this out - in his original article about the medals controversy, "Plot thickens after checking reocrds", he said this:

Kerry's Web site also lists two different citations for the Silver Star. One was issued by the commander in chief of the Pacific Command (CINCPAC), Adm. John Hyland. The other, issued by Secretary of the Navy John Lehman during the Reagan administration, contained some revisions and additional language. "By his brave actions, bold initiative, and unwavering devotion to duty, Lieutenant (j.g.) Kerry reflected great credit upon himself... ."

But a third citation exists that appears to be the earliest. And it is not on the Kerry campaign Web site. It was issued by Vice Adm. Elmo Zumwalt, commander of U.S. naval forces in Vietnam. This citation lacks the language in the Hyland citation or that added by the Lehman version, but includes another 170 words in a detailed description of Kerry's attack on a Viet Cong ambush, his killing of an enemy soldier carrying a loaded rocket launcher, as well as military equipment captured and a body count of dead enemy.

Hmm. Since Patrick and I have discussed the Zumwalt citation in an earlier post (in some joust with GT, oddly, and Cecil Turner, and other heavy talent), I can find it easily at Kerry's website, at p. 7-8 of this pdf file.

The Hyland citation is here; and, if I dredged through my comments (waaaay down), I would find a review of Hyland's dates of service. Anyway, I thought it was the Lehman version that is not at the website, although Patrick hassles me about it from time to time.

That glitch may be another reason these articles did not exactly light my fire.

That said, a commenter way back in April (JeanneB, 1:57PM)had the same misconception as Mr. Lipscomb. Hmm. Maybe it was true once, and then the website pulled the switcheroo?

The Kid

Today’s American Spectator summarizes with these questions:

Why are there three -- THREE! -- separate and differently worded citations for Kerry's Silver Star award. On Saturday, former Navy Secretary John Lehman denied that he ever signed that third, generously worded citation, which Kerry has posted on his website.

Why has Kerry claimed that he was awarded a "Combat V" for his Silver Star, when such an award has never been awarded?

Why are there two separate, differently worded citations for Kerry's Bronze Star? Again, with the second officially reworded by Lehman?

Why did Kerry seek a revision in 2001 to the number of campaign stars on his Vietnam service medal? Kerry's website claims Kerry had four, when the Navy says that he deserves only two. These stars are critical, because they indicate the number of military campaigns a soldier served in.

All these are issues are unrelated to the ongoing Swift Boat Veterans for Truth controversy, and raise similar questions about Kerry's apparent manipulation of his service record in recent years as he was seemingly positioning himself for a run at the presidency. Many of the changes appear to have occurred after 1986, when Kerry would have begun to mull his political future.

As for remarks in my earlier post on this topic, I was just sarcasticizing, y’know.


Well, we ain't got a barrel of money,
Maybe they're re-written and funny,
But we'll post 'em along, singing our song...

Kerry's three citations.

Thomas Lipscomb

This is THE Thomas Lipscomb, all right...and I am hardly perfect. I missed the other posting. It was right under my nose on the Kerry site, just as TM pointed out.

But my information is still correct... and whether I was a Bushie or a Naderite wouldn't matter.

Kerry has some 'splaining to do. And guess who hasn't let the press near him since his convention? And his ONLY authorized spokesman on this issue, Michael Meehan, is STILL hiding under his desk after 15 calls over a week and emails.

It may all be the damnedest collection of typos and clerical errors in history. But I don't think that is the way to bet.

I have talked directly off the record with some of the former military guys who were on stage with Kerry at the Dem convention and they aren't happy with this either.

You have some great commentary on this site. Feel free to snark all you want. Sarcasm is the grease of good discourse. Doesn't bother me a bit. This is nothing if not a messy situation.

Let me stick to straight reporting. And YOU GUYS speculate on what it all means.

Take a look at POWERLINE to see my wrap up... or tomorrow's (Sept 2)article that will probably be up on some websites.


I'm a reporter at one of NYC's big dailies, and this posting made me wonder why I hadn't seen a similar story about Kerry's medals anywhere else. Here's why:

The author is Thomas Lipscomb, writing in the Chicago Sun-Times. The only other major media outlets to publish the story (or versions of it) are the NY Sun, NY Post and Washington Times.

Lipscomb is a long-time publishing fixture, who once, in the mid-70s, ran the NY Times imprint Times Books, where he edited HR Haldeman's memoir of the Nixon administration. In the 80s, he started his own literary agency and publishing company.

In the mid-'90s, he testified as an expert witness in support of Newt Gingrich when Congress was looking into whether the majority leader's multi-million dollar advance on a book deal with Harper Collins might have been influenced by Rupert Murdoch, who owned the imprint and was simultaneously lobbying Gingrich and Congress to relax restraints on the number of media outlets a single company could own. Lipscomb's position was that Gingrich's celebrity and potential for sales meant his advance was in keeping with industry standards.

(Lipscomb also testified in a court case involving Joan Collins' dispute with her publisher, but that's another story.)

Although he was acting as a publishing expert In the 90s, Lipscomb's new interest became digital technology. He founded several companies, including Infosafe Systems, Wave and Internet Commerce Corp. In 2000, Wave and ICC stock hit nearly $60 and $100, respectively. Now they're both worth less than a dollar.

Meanwhile, Lipscomb has refashioned himself as a scourge of the left and right-wing commentator/columnist. He has suggested that John Kerry was involved in an early-70s plot to assassinate pro-Vietnam War senators. He's also resolutely defended President Bush's record in the Texas Air National Guard.

The reason you have not seen his reporting repeated in other forums is because it originated in the Chicago Sun-Times, which is owned by Conrad Black, who is a notoriously conservative businessman who loves to insert his political beliefs into all of his publiciations. The NY Sun is also owned by Black.

The New York Post has also reprinted the basic elements of Lipscomb's story, but that Rupert Murdoch-owned paper is, if anything, even more slanted than any of Black's. The Washington Times, owned by Rev. Sun Myung Moon, is also rabidly conservative and not taken seriously by the mainstream press.

Now, this explains why you haven't seen other reports of this information. But it doesn't refute what Lipscomb has written. Obviously, he's got serious right-wing sympathies, but I have no way of knowing if what he has written checks out. Mainstream media reporters ought to be looking into it. It's possible that they already have and, having been unable to confirm the veracity, have simply not written anything since some of what he has written may be bogus.

If nothing else, Lipscomb's a fascinating character. He was even friends with Lucianne Goldberg, the literary agent who enticed Linda Tripp into betraying Monica Lewinsky.

FYI: All of this background info came from searches on Nexis and Google. Check out http://ryze.com/view.php?who=Wulfstan to see Lipscomb's take on himself.

Hope that helps.

Greg F


You spend the better part of your post using the guilt by association fallacy. Then you say:

“But it doesn't refute what Lipscomb has written.”

Then why did you spend most of the post engaging in such nonsense?

”Mainstream media reporters ought to be looking into it. It's possible that they already have and, having been unable to confirm the veracity, have simply not written anything since some of what he has written may be bogus.”

Which just confirms the double standard of the MSM. Can you say Bush and AWOL? Yes you can. In spite of the MSM “unable to confirm the veracity” it sure had a lot of ink devoted to it.



The following claim that John Kerry failed to secure an honorable discharge until 30 years later is totally without merit.

He is the first to not receive his honorable discharge from the military until some 30 years after leaving the military, under suspicious circumstances.

Lieutenant John Forbes Kerry was discharged from the United States Naval Reserve Standby Inactive (USNR-S2) on 16 February 1978 pursuant to a new Navy policy that mandated review of the records of officers who had been assigned to the Standby Reserve Inactive for three or more years. This policy was established in 1977 and Lieutenant Kerry was among those discharged from the Naval Reserve pursuant to the recommendation of the first Board of Officers convened under this policy. Lieutenant Kerry was assigned to the Inactive Ready Reserve when released from extended active duty on 3 January 1970 and subsequently to the Standby Reserve-Inactive on 1 July 1972. He had thus been assigned to the Standby Reserve-Inactive for more than three years when the policy was established in 1977.

Pertinent documents that support this conclusion are as follows:

Significant documents from Kerry Campaign website, each of which is clearly an official US Navy Record document ..


24 May 1986 Request for documentation of Naval Service

Lists following significant dates:

18 Feb 1966 Enlisted as an OCSA (E-2) - USNR Inactive
19 Aug 1966 Commenced active duty as an OCIU2 (E-5)
16 Dec 1966 Honorably Discharged as OCIU2 to accept commission in the United States Naval Reserve
16 Dec 1966 Accepted Commission, Ensign, United States Naval Reserve, continued active duty
16 Jun 1968 Date of Rank as Lieutenant (Junior Grade) (O-2), United States Naval Reserve
01 Jan 1970 Date of Rank as Lieutenant (O-3), United States Naval Reserve
03 Jan 1970 Released from Active Duty, Transferred to the Naval Reserve (inactive)
01 Jul 1972 Transferred to the Standby Reserve (inactive)
16 Feb 1978 Honorably Discharged from the United States Naval Reserve as a Lieutenant (O-3)


Detached 1600, 2 January 1970 ... upon the expiration of which at 2400, 3 January 1970, you will regard yourself released from all active duty and transferred to inactive duty in the US Naval Reserve


4. A review of your service record indicates that your membership in the ready reserve will soon expire. In view of this, you are strongly encouraged to complete enclosure (1) and return it via the command maintaining your service record. This should be done prior to 1 April or 1 October, whichever occurs first after the date of this correspondence.

5. b. If you do not submit enclosure (1) at this time, your transfer to the Standby Reserve-Inactive (USNR-S2) will become effective on 1 April or 1 October of this fiscal year.

The effective date of transfer to the Standby Reserve-Inactive as indicated in reference (a) is hereby modified to read 1 July 1972 vice 1 April 1972.

Prepared February 16, 1978 (effective date of discharge)
The Navy Department at this time expresses its appreciation of your past services and trusts that you will continue your interest in the naval service.

July 13, 1978
The Commanding Officer, Naval Reserve Personnel Center, desires to add this expression of appreciation to that of the Secretary of the Navy and offers his best wishes for success in your future endeavors.

Bureau of Naval Personnel Manual (BUPERSMAN)

1. Subject to the provisions of 10 USC, all commissioned officers in the Naval Reserve hold appointment during the pleasure of the President and such appointments are for an indefinite term (10 U.S.C. 593(b)). The Secretary of the Navy, by virtue of his authority to act for the President in such matters, establishes such criteria for the termination of an officer's status as are deemed necessary for the maintenance of a sound officer corps. Discharge of officers of the Naval Reserve will be accomplished by the Commanding Officer, Naval Reserve Personnel Center.

2. Naval Reserve officers who have completed their period of minimum required (obligated) service on active duty, if any, and whose total active and inactive commissioned service is six or more years may submit their resignations to the Secretary of the Navy, via the Commanding Officer, Naval Reserve Personnel Center (Code 25), New Orleans, LA 70149 and normally expect favorable action thereon. Officers who do not meet the requirements of this subparagraph are considered to be "obligated".

6. An officer who has at least three years commissioned service may not be separated without his consent except under an approved recommendation of a board of officers convened by an authority designated by the Secretary of the Navy, unless separated pursuant to the approved sentence of a general court-martial or in time of war by order of the President, or unless separated by reason of failure of selection as provided herein, or unless dropped from the rolls under the authority contained in 10 USC 1163(b). The Naval Reserve Officer Mobilization Disposition Board, convened by the Secretary of the Navy, is empowered to consider the records of officers who fall into the following categories and shall make recommendations to the Secretary of the Navy as to the retention or discharge of these officers. Officers who are recommended for discharge and who are eligible for retirement (either with or without pay) will normally be afforded an opportunity to request retirement prior to final action in such cases.

a. On the Inactive Status List (Standby Reserve Inactive) for a period of three years. (Lieutenant Kerry was assigned to the Standby Reserve-Inactive on 1 July 1972, but this provision was not added to the BUPERSMAN until changed in 1978, thus the first screening of the Standby Reserve-Inactive would have been in 1978

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