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September 13, 2004

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MaDr

Go easy on Kristof. I don't believe anyone has ever accused him of being consistent, much less intellectually honest. I've chortled with glee at his recent attempts to make a case for US intervention in Darfur on humanitarian grounds. Iraq didn't count, but Darfur does. You've got to hand him this - he's not ashamed to be a transparent, partisan hypocrite.

BumperStickerist

I did this as something of a field experiment in real life regarding memory and being memorable. Maybe this works on the internet as well.

The premise in the press and in the blogs is that Bush would be remarkable or otherwise memorable to the 700-800 people that he spent time while Bush was transferred to the Guard in Alabama.

My question is ths: Why would that be the case?

How much about people just passing through does anybody remember?

From all accoutns Bush was deployed to Alabama on a temporary basis, he was not flying airplanes and, by his account, was doing administrative chores or flipping magazines during his time with the Alabama guard.

At the time Bush wasn't yet 'famous' by any stretch of the imagination. He was a guy who was doing once a month temporary duty while working on a campaign. Just passing through.

Think of this in equivalent civillian situations in your own life.

How many people who go to church regularly can remember the names of people who attended services once in a while for a couple of months ten-fifteen, let alone thirty, years ago?

Can you name the fill-in teachers aide you had in college that semester ten years ago?

If you joined a health club ten years ago and went once or twice a month, would anybody there at the time remember you?

Do you know the name of the temp workers who worked there five years ago? 30?

In most cases, barring police reports or outrageous behavior, I think people just 'pass through'. If anything, Bob Mintz's statements make me question Bob Mintz more than George Bush.

dogman

You know, this is the third time this year this National Guard story has been trotted out. When is the Kerry campaign going to figure out that portraying Kerry as a Vietnam War hero and portraying Bush as an AWOL National Guardsman isn't accomplishing anything with any signifiant number of voters. If you're a hardcore Dem then you are going to believe only good things about Kerry and bad things about Bush. If you are a hardcore Rep, the reverse is true. The rest of America has shown TIME and TIME again that they don't give a damn about Kerry's four months in Vietnam and they don't give a damn what George Bush did in the National Guard. Both events were too long ago to be more than mildly interesting. Why does the Kerry campaign keep trying these angles? They really need to come up with a better reason to vote for Kerry or not to vote for Bush or November 2 is going to be a pretty bad day for the Democrats...

TJ Jackson

Nice analysis and good observations from your readers. The Guard story is of no significance. Kerry's campaign is truly desperate since his "heroics" have been exposed. The news media remains pathetic. Great to see the way talk radio, cable and blogs have replaced the traditional media for honest news.

dawson22

I'm sure I'm just one of at least several thousand people who couldn't get to their computers fast enough tonight after Danny-Boy's latest, and most pathetic attempt yet to defend the authenticity of his documents. In my email to CBS I said nothing new, but like others I think it's important to keep the pressure on. For what it's worth, here's what I said:


Re. 9.13.04 broadcast; a/k/a Episode 4: The Empire Again Ineffectually Strikes Back:

Sorry, guys, not even close this time. Let's run it down:

1. You trot out the same handwriting (not document) expert, even though the signatures on the documents are only marginal to the larger dispute, and even though your expert has not stood up well under closer scrutiny. Talk about warmed-over pudding.

2. You trot out a couple of new "experts," whose credentials you give next-to-no time to, and who shed no more light on the issue than to say: well, yeah, in the universe of possibility the matters of proportional spacing and superscripting could have been done by a few typewriters of that era. Left unaddressed by your new "experts" are the matters of kerning, leading, perfect centering, availabilitiy of the Times New Roman font on said typewriters (which really were not typewriters at all, but rather type "compositors), etc., etc.

3. Also left unaddressed were the facts that Bobby Hodges has recanted, Killian's widow and son are still seething mad and swear they have no idea where the documents came from, and oh yes, the lingering fact that Killian did not type and therefore would have had a devil of a time producing such documents even if such a high-end machine as the IBM Selectric Compositor had been available to him;

4. Noting that the dates on the memos line-up with certain notations in the formal file proves nothing except that your forger(s) was not the complete idiot that he/she/they otherwise appear to be;

5. Noting that the questions raised by the memos, which you took pains to explain you formally submitted to The White House and which have not been "fully and completely answered" only begs the question of why the hundreds of questions that have been raised about the authenticity of your documents have not been "fully and completely answered," or even close.

6. Where is Ben Barnes? Why was he not part of your latest "report," to defend against the terrible discrediting that he has taken in the last five days?

7. Ain't it about time for Danny Boy to disclose his fund-raising ties to Texas Democrats, and his daughter's position down yonder?

8. What's up with the producer of the original piece (Mapes, I believe) now reportedly saying that you guys don't know who was the original source of the documents? Excuse me? I mean, c'mon, you've got to at least come up with some story. How about -- they were wrapped inside the morning paper when the dog carried it in?

9. Speaking of papers, now that you've got even His Eminence William Cardinal Safire doggin' your ass, don't you think it's about time you started getting serious about this?

10. And certainly one gesture you could make to demonstrate your seriousness would be to give-in to the growing calls to surrender the documents to some sort of panel of outside experts for objective analysis...that is, assuming the dog hasn't eaten them.

There's more, of course, as you well know. But like you, I can't spend too much time dwelling on recent and current developments. It's time to move on to the pajama-clad partisans in the blogosphere rumor-mill to see what they've come up with now to turn the screws a little tighter and to further shred the remnants of your credibility and integrity.

Bye for now!

TM

That's pretty good!

I didn't even realize Dan was back at the whipping post. It's OVER. Even if, by some miracle, they can show these are *not* forgeries (and their own expert wrote in 2002 that you can't authenticate a copy), it is still crystal clear that they did not do their homework - they should have had answers to these questions before anyone even asked them.

Brian

Two things, for now.

First, it's riduculous to brush off notions that Calhoun's vague memories aren't to be taken seriously. Why should they be taken seriously? There should be some other outstanding evidence to confirm something like what Calhoun says.

Second, where is that evidence? You'd think that, with all of the comraderie that members of various service branches supposedly go through, there would be more than one guy with vague memories to back up Bush's claims. So again, where are those people?

Slartibartfast

What'd you say your name was, again?

Forbes

It very simple Brian, Bush accumulated his service points for every year in the Guard as documented by contemporaneous records.

Why it is that documented proof, isn't proof enough, is mind boggling. You should have to prove that Bush was somewhere else on the days the records show him as serving. Those making allegations, need to offer evidence. You have none. In fact the preponderance of the evidence is that Bush fulfilled his service obligation.

Let's take a simple example. Your birth certificate states what hospital you were born in. Other than testimony from your parents, can you prove you were at that hospital--can you produce anyone else that saw you. Is there any reason we should only accept your birth certificate as proof?

I'd suggest contemporaneous government documents would satisfy as proof.

Stop changing the subject. Try addressing the issues in the campaign.

Steve
First, it's riduculous to brush off notions that Calhoun's vague memories aren't to be taken seriously. Why should they be taken seriously? There should be some other outstanding evidence to confirm something like what Calhoun says.

I love it. First the cry is, "How come nobody has come forward that remembers Bush?!?!?" Somebody does come forward, and then the goal posts are taken down and moved too, "He's an idiot, liar, partisan, paid by the BFEE, etc.!"

Second, where is that evidence? You'd think that, with all of the comraderie that members of various service branches supposedly go through, there would be more than one guy with vague memories to back up Bush's claims. So again, where are those people?

Didn't we go through this on my site? Oh...wait that must have been your roomie who was logging on via your computer using the handle "Steve is an Idiot". How about these guys meet for a few hours every now and then on weekends.

I go to the county fair every year. You know what, I don't recognize anyone there. Shocking isn't it?

I go to a mexican restaurant a once every few weeks and the people there still don't recognize me. Shocking isn't it?

Aimee

I don't know but I've been told...

Alabama newspapers don't report heavily on GWB's Nat'l Guard service records because Alabama reporters know that Alabama voters are judging GWB not on his few years as a Lt. in the Guard, but on his 4 years as Commander in Chief.

Yes, we Alabamians are a conservative lot, which is exactly why this is a non-issue for us. Not because, as some reports would seem to imply, due to a pro-Bush bias, but because we have already digested and dealt with Bush's youthful indescretions.

We are also a very pro military lot; nearly all of us are close to someone in the military. We know well the beaurocratic mix-ups and the draught and famine of military pay debacles.

The way to bring down Bush in Alabama, if it can be done, is to tackle his past struggles with drugs and alcohol -- much graver issues to the minds of most. Fortunately, as I have already pointed out, this is a "done" issue. Zell Miller hit it on the head when he said that he could relate to someone that knows the power of Amazing Grace.

From RatherGate we have learned nothing that we didn't already know: at worst, Bush was a child of privelege who, when he was young and irresponsible was...young and irresponsible.

russ

Will the press be AWOL on this story?

From the Point:

Kerry And The Killing

Brian

"Why it is that documented proof, isn't proof enough, is mind boggling."

Well, okay. Take a look at this.

"Try addressing the issues in the campaign."

If the press were to do that, Bush would be dead in the water.

Brian

Steve,

Calhound remembers Bush being there, except that his memories are vague - and this is the big trump card that Bush has.

As for your examples about the county fair and a Mexican restaurant, are they places where people are going to remember you? Of course not, unless you were supposed to work at the restaurant but had a spotty attendence record. It's an absurd example, really.

russ

Nice try Brian...

A review of the regulations governing Bush's Guard service during the Vietnam War shows that the White House used an inappropriate--and less stringent--Air Force standard in determining that he had fulfilled his duty. Because Bush signed a six-year "military service obligation," he was required to attend at least 44 inactive-duty training drills each fiscal year beginning July 1. But Bush's own records show that he fell short of that requirement, attending only 36 drills in the 1972-73 period, and only 12 in the 1973-74 period. The White House has said that Bush's service should be calculated using 12-month periods beginning on his induction date in May 1968.

Funny thing about that time since I was around Air Forces bases then, the Air Force was giving anyone and everyone an out who was a pilot since the air actions in the Nam had been curtailed quite a bit...

From Byron York of NRO: Perhaps the most impressive accomplishment of Bush's detractors is that they managed to sell the idea — mostly unchallenged in the press — that Bush's Air National Guard service consisted of one year during which he didn't show up for duty. Far fewer people asked the question: Just how did Bush become a fighter pilot in the first place? Didn't that involve, say, years of work? Bush's four years of service prior to May 1972 were simply airbrushed out of the picture because many reporters did not believe they were part of the story.

BradDad

That's almost funny, Brian -

If the "issues" aren't being addressed, ask your guy about it - he's unwilling to talk about them in anything but the most generic terms ... and even then he contradicts himself regularly.

Your boy has two "issues": #1, "I'm not Bush", and, #2, "By the way, I served in Vietnam."

Brian

russ,

Give me a break. Do you have anything better to try and cast a bad light on the devastating US News piece?

Brian

BradDad,

As opposed to George "Bullhorn on 9/11" Bush and Dick "Vote for us or die!" Cheney? Oh by the way, 9/11, 9/11, September 11, September 11, 9/11. Did I mention the fact that Bush made us feel well on 9/11?

Did you even watch any of the GOP convention? That's all it was.

Just ask Bush one question: "Sir, how are you going to for it all?" He has no answer.

It's actually really simple. Bush plans no major spending cuts, nor any tax increases. Meanwhile, he wants to spend a lot more than Kerry. Fiscal irresponsibility, thy name is Bush.

Slartibartfast
He has no answer.

Neither do I, because the question doesn't make any sense at all.

Do you have anything better to try and cast a bad light on the devastating US News piece?

Translation: How dare you argue back?

Appalled Moderate

Brian:

I tend to agree if there were an intelligent discussion of the issues, Bush would still be behind rather than surging ahead.

The person to blame for this lamentable (and I mean that word) state of affairs is Kerry himself. Kerry somehow thinks that four months in Vietnam qualifies him as an expert on all foreign policy matters, and to say otherwise is to question his patriotism. That'd still probably be OK if he could find his story on Iraq and stick to it.

I dislike scandal mania, when engaged in by Democrats (Bush in the National Guard -- why is this important, again?) or Republicans (Swift Boat accusations -- why not just say you hate the guy's guts for what he did after the war, and stop making unsupportable allegations?) I also think that people or more likely to tell the truth than lie, and that reporters usually do their job, and that everyone I associate with is above-average.

Pouncer

"why not just say you hate the guy's guts for what he did after the war, and stop making unsupportable allegations?"

But, is it okay to make SUPPORTED allegations?

I accuse Kerry of being a leader in the US Senate for "normalization" of relations with Vietnam. Specifically, he helped arrange to send refugees back. (Why not help them resettle here or in other free nations?) He helped end MIA/POW investigations. (So, US intelligence records show nothing more to follow up on ... what about Vietnam's records, Russian records, Chinese records?) And the Forbes family profited from such "normalization" of trade. (Did Kerry himself? Does it matter? And couldn't the Forbes bunch profit from doing business with, say, Indonesia or Thailand, somehow?)

All in all, I think John Kerry is going unrecognized for his career-long service TO Vietnam. And such a service record does nothing to inspire me to promote him to higher office.

Brian

"Neither do I, because the question doesn't make any sense at all."

Heh. That's what happens when you don't proofread carefully.

Well anyway, what I meant to say was, "Just ask him how it's going to *pay* for it all. He can't answer, because he has no answer."

And I'm right.

"Translation: How dare you argue back?"

Nonsense. Nobody, not even TM, has tried to address the US News piece. Why is that?

Brian

"Kerry somehow thinks that four months in Vietnam qualifies him as an expert on all foreign policy matters, and to say otherwise is to question his patriotism."

I don't think that's it. Instead, it makes more sense to say that Kerry, et al realized that they needed to be able to stand as close to Bush as possible when it comes to matters of national security and defense. Words weren't enough, he probably thought, so he felt he needed to emphasize his commendable war background. In other words, he was trying to prove he wasn't a pansy and could actually defend this country to those who believe Bush's nonsense.

duffy

Enough with the cover-ups. We know GWB made several trips into Cambodia.

mythman

Who remembers being in the Marine Corps with Dan Rather?

mythman

Who remembers being in the Marine Corps with Dan Rather?

Steve

Brain,

You are again full of it...or maybe you need to have a chat with your roomie.

The point is that the National Guard isn't like serving in a front line combat unit where the members of said unit are together a great deal of the time and their lives depend on each other.

It's actually really simple. Bush plans no major spending cuts, nor any tax increases. Meanwhile, he wants to spend a lot more than Kerry. Fiscal irresponsibility, thy name is Bush.

Uhhh no. Bush's "spending" is actually in the form of tax cuts and changes to Social Security that reduce tax revenue. While you can bemoan the impact of these things in terms of fiscal policy, calling them spending is misleading.

Heh. That's what happens when you don't proofread carefully.

And what was your sorry ass saying about my ability to post a coherent sentence a few weeks ago?

"Just ask him how it's going to *pay* for it all. He can't answer, because he has no answer."

A bit of career advice, don't try to become a proof reader because that still doesn't make any sense. Try replacing "it's" with "he is".

As for paying for it, I don't think you quite understand the problem facing Social Security. If you were a bit brighter I might take the time to try and explain it to you, but as it is it'd just be a waste of time.

Carridine

Not only are the MainScream Medea AWOL, that long-faced guy, who called American troops rapists and war-criminals, and who admitted he, too, had committed war-crimes, what's his name?

He's AWOL from the War on Terror. Today. Now.

Prosecute HIM!

Brian

"The point is that the National Guard isn't like serving in a front line combat unit where the members of said unit are together a great deal of the time and their lives depend on each other."

Maybe the bonds forged in the National Guard are not as strong as, say, those of the Marines, but it's certainly not out of the question that Bush would experience something like it. But more than that, they can't trot out anybody who remembers him? Not one perfectly credible person?

"While you can bemoan the impact of these things in terms of fiscal policy, calling them spending is misleading."

I'm not really sure how misleading it is, but no matter, he's planned lots of other spending. Just off the top of my head, he wants to spend more on helping people go to community college and more to build community health centers.

But we are ignoring the central point: whether or not you consider his plans "spending," they will cost money, yet Bush hasn't announced any new revenue sources or major spending cuts.

Take a look at this.

"And what was your sorry ass saying about my ability to post a coherent sentence a few weeks ago?"

There's a difference between typing a sentence that doesn't seem to make sense because it doesn't follow standard conventions and leaves out grammatical marks and making a typo. Dean clearly could see that I was trying to say something, but I didn't include a word.

Oh well, I guess it's now time to throw myself off a building.

"A bit of career advice, don't try to become a proof reader because that still doesn't make any sense."

Once again, I didn't proofread what I wrote. It wasn't extremely incoherent, however, so get over it.

"As for paying for it, I don't think you quite understand the problem facing Social Security. If you were a bit brighter I might take the time to try and explain it to you, but as it is it'd just be a waste of time."

You know, you continue to amaze me. I say nothing specific, yet you assume that I am wrong. I'm not an expert on retirement security, but I think I have a pretty good grasp on this issue. And if I can't recall something, there are plenty of saved links in Internet Explorer and plenty more to find.

I could say more, but I've discovered that trying to argue about this is not a worthwhile way to spend my time. It's just kind of funny that someone who is older than thirty acts like a fifteen-year-old.

Charlie (Colorado)

Brian, the problem with the "only one person can be found who remembers Bush, and he's vague" is that it's not just silly -- you're talking about people who Bush would have met at most 6 or 8 times, thirty five years ago -- but it's simply not true.

Like in "false". not the facts. Dead parrot.

Steve
Maybe the bonds forged in the National Guard are not as strong as, say, those of the Marines, but it's certainly not out of the question that Bush would experience something like it. But more than that, they can't trot out anybody who remembers him? Not one perfectly credible person?

No. What you meant to write was that nobody can remember him from Alabama. Which isn't that surprising as he was from out of state and didn't know many people on the base.

For that matter what is wrong with Joe LeFevers?

I'm not really sure how misleading it is, but no matter, he's planned lots of other spending. Just off the top of my head, he wants to spend more on helping people go to community college and more to build community health centers.

The bulk of the $3 trillion is from tax cuts and Social Security reform (also tax cuts of a sort). That isn't spending.

But we are ignoring the central point: whether or not you consider his plans "spending," they will cost money, yet Bush hasn't announced any new revenue sources or major spending cuts.

Yes, because trying to explain the issue to you would be a waste of time because you couldn't follow the argument.

There's a difference between typing a sentence that doesn't seem to make sense because it doesn't follow standard conventions and leaves out grammatical marks and making a typo.

That was a typo? Here I thought it was a completely incoherent sentence.

Oh well, I guess it's now time to throw myself off a building.

Don't, you'd probably screw that up too.

You know, you continue to amaze me. I say nothing specific, yet you assume that I am wrong. I'm not an expert on retirement security, but I think I have a pretty good grasp on this issue. And if I can't recall something, there are plenty of saved links in Internet Explorer and plenty more to find.

Can you google yourself a brain? It'd help you know. Like I said, you wouldn't be able to follow the argument Brian.

Brian

Charlie,

First, before anything else, can you honestly tell me that you believe he received no special treatment?

Brian

"Which isn't that surprising as he was from out of state and didn't know many people on the base."

So what? He wasn't on vacation.

"Joe LeFevers"

What about him? Can he vouch for Bush at all times?

General Turnipseed says that he still can't remember Bush showing up. He also said that other group members who have contacted him don't remember Bush showing up, either.

"The bulk of the $3 trillion is from tax cuts and Social Security reform (also tax cuts of a sort). That isn't spending."

Call it what you like, but it's going to cost money. Need I remind you that we have no new sources of revenue?

"Yes, because trying to explain the issue to you would be a waste of time because you couldn't follow the argument."

What are you talking about? Where exactly am I wrong?

"Like I said, you wouldn't be able to follow the argument Brian."

What exactly would you like me to say about Social Security's problems? You keep claiming that I cannot follow the argument, but that's it. What gives?

Robin Roberts

Brian, I find it hilarious that you keep trotting out that ludicrous US News piece. It is a silly hack job. That you find it so compelling shows much about your own lack of judgment. The piece actually has almost no factual statements in it, its full of vague opinions, vague allegations and almost foundation-less conclusions. While purporting to claim that some regulations were violated, it never confronts the question of whether or not George Bush's experiences reflect the actual practice at the time. Its toilet paper.

Amusing contrast to the John Kerry defenders who claim that once the military made an award, one can't criticize it.

Brian

Robin,

Compared to some of the stuff you use to back up your claims - things from Don Luskin, for instance - it's like an encyclopedia blessed by Jesus Christ himself.

Actually, do you have anything that effectively refutes the US News piece and/or completely fills in the many holes and clears up the many ambiguities in Bush's record?

"Amusing contrast to the John Kerry defenders who claim that once the military made an award, one can't criticize it."

That's such a comically gross distortion of the claims of some on the left that I am not sure whether to ask you to stop spouting such nonsense or to sign you up as the opening act for Lewis Black.

Slartibartfast

Can he vouch for Bush at all times?

Why would he have to?

This goalpost gymkhana is getting old.

Greg F

"Actually, do you have anything that effectively refutes the US News piece ...

Actually Brian, the burden of proof is with the accuser.

Brian

"This goalpost gymkhana is getting old."

Nonsense. I'm not moving the goal posts. You continue to claim that Bush did all he had to do and was there for all of his time, yet much of the evidence suggests otherwise. If one throws out some guy as a big trump card, he should be a big trump card. And in this case, he doesn't appear to be.

Slartibartfast

The claim was that no one saw Bush in Alabama, ever. That claim has been relegated to the waste receptacle. Now there's a different claim, hence the goalpost-moving allusion.

If your claim is that Bush didn't show up for the required times, you need to substantiate. As far as the Guard is concerned, his service requirements have been met. So, you need to point out some proof that they haven't, in fact, been met.

Brian

Slartibartfast,

On the first point, you were taking me far too literally. It's like, when someone says "I've got no money," and they only have a few dollars, they aren't literally broke. Get it?

As for your second point, see the US News piece.

Regards,
Brian

Slartibartfast

On the first point, you were taking me far too literally.

I'll try to never take you literally again.

As for your second point, see the US News piece.

I have, Brian. The US News piece offers nothing factual that supports your claim. If TANG wasn't done with Bush, it wouldn't have given him an honorable discharge. Or was there another point hidden in there, somewhere?

Brian

"I'll try to never take you literally again."

Oh, look, someone can be sarcastic.

"If TANG wasn't done with Bush, it wouldn't have given him an honorable discharge."

That's not really accurate. Here's why.

Slartibartfast

No sarcasm involved. If you're not going to argue in good faith, then I'm not going to take you at your word.

Can't access the TNR article right now; care to excerpt something relevant?

Robin Roberts

Brian, you still don't seem to have any actual understanding of evidence. ( Color me surprised ... ) Evidence isn't vague opinions and foundation-less conclusory statements. That's all that's in the US News piece. It never even actually cites a single regulation in its silly inuendo. Its toilet paper.

Brian

"It never even actually cites a single regulation in its silly inuendo. Its toilet paper."

Or so you'd like to think.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Wilson/Plame