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September 08, 2004


The Kid

As long as someone is mentioning AWOL, let’s be fair and bipartisan and look at Kerry’s attendance at Senate Intelligence Committee meetings.

Official records show Kerry not present for at least 76% of public hearings held during his eight years on the panel, and possibly 78% (the record of one hearing is ambiguous).

Kerry points out that most meetings of the Intelligence Committee are closed and attendance records of those meetings aren't public, hinting that his attendance might have been better at the non-public proceedings. But Kerry could ask that his attendance records be made public, and hasn't.

Well? Let’s have the no-longer presumed Democrat presidential candidate make the request. The Senate is in session, it would take just a couple of hours to comply, why the delay?

I like cake, even more with icing.


The media still doesn't understand one critical component that energizes Bush's base: media bias. The Swifty allegations are a case in point. The media's unbalanced refusal to cover them infuriated more than just Bush partisans. The general public became engaged in a way the media still doesn't get. The public only has to remember back 3 WEEKS and note that the same media which tried to bury the Kerry charges is now rallying the charge against Bush. All the while, failing to note that Kerry hasn't met with any member of the press since August 2nd and he still hasn't released his military records. The public isn't blind or stupid, as the mainstreamers seem to assume.

And since they don't get it, they'll continue stoking the one fire (media bias) that drives more and more people to Bush's side. If they keep it up, and if Kerry's numbers continue their southward trajectory, this election might very well turn from Bush v. Kerry into Bush v. The Media. (And they still won't get it.)

Paul S.

As for the Bush "AWOL" charges, Article 2, paragraph a of the UCMJ (Persons Subject To This Chapter) states:

"(3) Members of a reserve component while on inactive-duty training, but in the case of members of the Army National Guard of the United States or the Air National Guard of the United States only when in Federal Service."

Unless George Bush or his entire unit were activated into federal service, gaps in his ANG attendnace DO NOT constitute Absent Without Leave according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Maybe that's why I see "AWOL" with quotation marks around it.

I also came across a "medal scandal" circulating on the Democratic Underground about George Bush wearing what they say is an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (AFOUA) ribbon in a photo, which they claim he was not authorized to wear.

The AFOUA is NOT a medal. It is a service ribbon awarded to military organizations for some specific acievement by that unit or for performance over some time period. Members assigned to that unit during the award period get to wear the ribbon.

The photo showing 2Lt Bush is a very poor quality black-and-white print. He could actually be a 1Lt in the photo and misidentified as a 2Lt; the 1Lt rank insignia is a single silver bar, while the 2Lt rank is a single gold bar.

Also, the ribbon identified as the AFOUA may actually be and Air Force Organizational Excellence Award. It is the next-lowest ribbon in precedence from the AFOUA and has a very similar pattern, but with different colors.

Generally, if an organization is not selected for an AFOUA because the achievement cited didn't meet criteria for the award, then the AFOEA generally is awarded. For example, a unit receiving an "excellent" rating from the Inspector General during an Operational Readiness Inspection would not qualify for the AFOUA, but may qualify for the AFOEA.


On another note, while serving with A/2-1 Cav I and the other members were required to wear three unit awards that had been awarded the unit prior to my serving with them. Gee, guess that if I ever run for office I'll be getting hammered for 'fictitious' awards...


"The general public became engaged in a way the media still doesn't get. "

You said it, jeanneB! The Swift Vets were completely ignored when they first tried to get their message out regarding events in which they were directly engaged. And, now we have muckraker and known liar Kitty Kelley being feted by the Today show for a book of unsubstantiated 3rd hand rumors. Gimme a freakin' break!

BTW Tom, I am under the impression that Bush has not signed a form 180 but that he has ordered all his records released and, as CINC, that is all he needs to do.


The Swift Vet story is so damaging to Kerry because he continues to act like he's got something to hide. I say the Bush people should tell Russert to look at these AWOL charges, and then have a Bush-Russert pow-wow ASAP. The contrast (where's the Kerry-Russert pow-wow?) will be striking, and (I think) Bush will emerged unharmed as long as he addresses the charges soon and appears honest and open while doing so.

David Cole

Wow - with friends like Kitty Kelley, Michael Moore, Chris Matthews, and the AP speaking for you, who needs credibility?

What rock did they drag Kitty out from under? I thought her 15 minutes of fame were long since up.

John Bigenwald

But hasn't he already done that. This re-ignition of the "AWOL" story is so tired the dems can't even get excited about it. They spent their energy in the Spring, Bush allowed it to play out, now it's old news.


It's not permalinked yet but over at The Kerry Spot, Jim Geraghty reproduces a memo from RNC chair Ed Gillespie that takes a somewhat similar approach to the one you are suggesting.


One huge advantage here is that Bush and his people will laugh at these stories (Bush's usual response is to snort and say, "that's politics") instead of getting all huffy and yelling about how dare anyone question our candidate. Gillespie is particularly good at maintaining an even temper. Contrast this not only to Kerry but to Edwards (who gets all accusatory about these types of questions), McAuliffe . . . I saw John Sasso on with Rich Lowry and Alan Colmes the other night (I think Hannity was off or he was real quiet), and Sasso was just browbeating Lowry with ad hominem attacks instead of just laughing it all off. Eventually, people figure out that the Bush people just aren't as hypersensitive and humorless about this stuff.

The Kid

Here’s the link to the Byron York article “Bush and the National Guard: Case Closed.” It appeared in the March 8, 2004, issue of National Review. He found at least one guy who saw Bush on duty in Alabama.


Well, the GOP had better pay attention...even if its a formal policy of ignoring it.

Hereabouts, the Swiftvet thing is already coming back to haunt them; most people I've talked with (here in Michigan) believe the swifties are simply lying to get back at Kerry for the anti-war gig. For some reason, the local GOP keeps parading the issue about as if its some sort of triumph. They look like fanatics and "hate-filled" fruitcakes.

Now there's this thing...probably as crazy as it gets in smear politics. (Barbara Bush as a practicing witch? yeah, that makes lots of sense.)

Kerry took it on the chin because he figured that the voters would see through the Swiftvet BS and focus on the real issues. Bad move.

As outlandish as the Kelley book seems, some of that garbage may similarly stick in people's heads. Not sure what the best way to handle it would be, but it has the potential to hurt Bush.

Pretty ugly campaign so far. Michael Moore launches an over-the-top diatribe -- and its a success, the Swifties foist half-truths and old-fashioned stretchers as "the truth"...and Kerry finds himself on the ropes against opponents who never even served, and now an accomplished family -- the Bushes -- is hit with astoundingly ludicrous accusations right as the campaign gets underway.

Politics is rough...but geez....

Appalled Moderate

Look, Kitty is the lady who alleged that Frank Sinatra was having it "My Way" with Nancy Reagan at the White House.

If the media pays more than cursory attention to this stuff, they will tar themselves more effectively Bernie Goldberg could ever do...

Wonder if the media will solicit Nancy's opinion on Kitty Kelly as assiduously as they sought her opinion on stem cell research? Enquiring minds want to know...

Pat Curley

My thinking is that there are two questions that Americans will ask themselves this year:

1. Does Bush deserve reelection?

2. If the answer to #1 is no, is Kerry an acceptable alternative.

It's not "fair" but the cocaine charges are irrelevant to answering Question #1, just as Whitewater and Hillary's commodity futures trading were irrelevant to the electorate in 1996.

Martin Robins

Did Bush really sign an SF-180?

Simon W. Moon

Did Bush really sign the form to release all records?
The reports that I've read said that the new releases were instead the fruit of an AP FOI lawsuit.

So, if It was the result of a FOI lawsuit rather than an act of Bush's, then the tact suggested would be particularly ill-advised.

Is there more recent info than this:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/functions/print.php?StoryID=20040818-121345-3874r ?


Simon, re whether Bush has or hasn't signed Form 180, the address you linked, from an August 18th Washington Times article, is the lastest and most definitive word of which I'm aware:

At the White House, press secretary Scott McClellan said he couldn't say specifically whether Mr. Bush signed Standard Form 180, but the president did request and release his own military records in February.

"I don't believe he signed any form, but he did authorize making his military records available publicly," Mr. McClellan said. "We have released all the records, and reporters were allowed to look at his medical records as well."

The White House's insistance on the "look but don't copy" routine with the military medical records was probably an effort to avoid setting some sort of broader precedent — like their initial insistance that Condi wouldn't testify under oath before the 9/11 Commission, which they ended up backing down upon. I wish they'd do they same now: Without mentioning the SwiftVets or Kerry, they could simply hand out a half dozen Dubya-signed Form 180s to, say, WaPo, NYT, CNN, Fox, NBC, and Kevin Drum. :-)

Joe Mealyus

Arlo: "Politics is rough...but geez...."

I wonder how much in the end this stuff sways the electorate as a whole. The Clinton stuff impressed right-wing people but didn't really ding him with the general public. "Sound and fury, signifying nothing" may be the best description of this campaign.

I also wonder if the Democrats aren't *really* shooting themselves in the foot this time - bringing up Bush's youthful days when he's already been prez for 4 years? And I have to think "biography/character/personality" is just not unfavorable terrain for the Bush administration to fight this campaign. How many people are going to walk into the voting booth in November thinking about the deficit? Or the future of health care costs? Not many at this rate.

rick brady

The Kerry sleight is somewhat of a Red Herring. I call you on this at hxxp://stones-cry-out.blogspot.com/

Gaius Livius

It's pretty clear there won't be a 2004 "October Surprise" - Kerry's "new and improved" Carville/Begala/Sasso mudslinging campaign and its media allies are already unleashing it, and it's no surprise.

But, at least we're getting a clearer picture of who the true believers are in the "mainstream" *spit* media, the ones who'll lash themselves to the mast when the "SS Jean Kerrie" takes the final plunge.

The state of desperation and denial on display here is truly dismaying. If anyone had told me a year ago that the so much of the popular media would reach this level fanaticism in its bias, I wouldn't have believed it. Had to see it with my own eyes.

"In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man and brave, hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."
--Mark Twain


I heard from one of Kitty Kelley's former personal assistants that she likes to listen to Frank Sinatra while being sodomized by Great Danes. We go to print next week...

Charlie (Colorado)

Susan Esterich kind of blew the whole scheme, don't you think? She admitted, well ahead of time, that there was a conscious plan to slime Bush and Cheney in any way possible, without worrying about accuracy.

That's going to make it real touch to claim that there is no conspiracy....


Did Bush really sign the form to release all records?
The reports that I've read said that the new releases were instead the fruit of an AP FOI lawsuit?

I think part of the answer came from Beldar, 12:11 PM.

However, it is also worth noting that a FOIA request does not trump a vet's right to privacy, as the WaPo discovered with Kerry:

A Freedom of Information Act request by The Post for Kerry's records produced six pages of information. A spokesman for the Navy Personnel Command, Mike McClellan, said he was not authorized to release the full file, which consists of at least a hundred pages.


Ed Billepie sent this to supporter giving them heads up on the attacks coming. But George Bush doesnt react and hasnt reacted. He just keeps focused.
The last sentence wraps it up ...stay focused....

"Such desperation is unbecoming of American Presidential politics, and Senator Kerry will pay a price for it at the polls as we stay focused on policies to continue growing our economy and winning the War on Terror."


Erin Hughes

Please donot let the story about the forgeries on the president's military records because this is something the DNC would do is forge documents. Kerry has done this stuff before and CBS is crooked.

Steven Todd Johnston

I received the Word of God back in June of 1985. Here's what I heard. "You are a good man.""All men have purpose." "You have purpose." "White man help the black man." "Organize." All the deceit and smear you people spew makes me sick.


You know, Tom, I've always admired you as an oh-so-relentless pursuer of truth. Sure, when the facts are open to interpretation, you interpret them to the right, but we all do that. (My favorite is your pawning off the White House's retraction of the 16 words on the adminstration's being "confused." Really, that said it all; truth emerging from spin.)

Yet, here, you're seeming explicitly to seek league with Karl Fucking Rove. Perhaps it's your attempt to get inside of Bush's brain--something many of us would like to be able to, I confess--but you are undoubtedly aware of Rove's dark history, wherein even a minimal regard for truth is nowhere to be found. Hell, his SBVfT mock the very ideal of truth, as well as the ideals of service, bravery and seemliness.

All I can conclude is that either you're an athiest, or at least don't believe in the special circle of hell that awaits Rove and his minions.

Jim Ausman

Bush did not sign his form 180.

How embarassing to be you.

Romeo Eshalom

To Kitty Kelly

Thank you for reading my email. I was born and raised a Christian in Iraq. I had reached the rank of Colonel in the Iraqi army, working closely with Saddam Hussein and his family. My family and I were forced to flee in 1991. Saddam Hussein had ordered another purge and my name was on the list. Recently I contacted a writer by the name of Marty Farnsworth. He and I collaborated in the writing of the screenplay, The Iraqi. It is now in the hands of Professor Richard Walter, head of the film department at UCLA. It will be produced in Hollywood soon. I am looking for someone to write my life story (biography) for me or to refer me to someone interested in Iraqi life and culture, how they are thinking, and how to win this war. It is kind of you to consider helping me to start this step with you. Please contact me if you would like more information.


Romeo Eshalom
[email protected]
Phone: (623) 776-7407
Fax : (623) 776-7407
9190 N 80th Ln
Peoria, AZ, 85345

Jim Ausman

Bush did not sign his form 180. releasing his military records.

Continuing to assert this in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary just makes you look like a lying Bush partisan who will do or say anything in order to help your man win.

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