August 31, 2004

Is That All?

As of today, I have been writing this blog for one year. On the one hand, it doesn't seem possible that a whole year has passed. On the other hand it seems like I have been doing this forever. (And I mean that in a good way.) It has been a great first year. My first post - like many others since - was short and to the point

Day 1

Welcome to the Hold the Mayo. Here you will find my thoughts on whatever I happen to be thinking. I hope you find them as interesting as I do.

Terribly droll, and I doubt terribly original. It was all uphill from there.

My path from reader to blogger began with a book. Virginia Postrel's The Future and Its Enemies. This lead me to her blog where I found a link to Rocket Man Blog. I exchanged a few emails with its author, Mark Oakly, who turned out to be just an average guy like me. I took the leap and started up on Blogspot with a great deal of help and advice from Mark. Mark's blog has been silent for a while now as he has joined a company in pursuit of the X-Prize.

Shortly after getting started I got an invite from Ted at Rocket Jones to move over to Munuviana. One of the smartest decisions I've made about blogging was accepting. I have "met" and in one case met, some terrific people.

But enough of the fluff. Lets get to the details.

As of 11:40 this morning this site contained 440 posts and 535 comments. Here's the status of my Site Meter (I missed the actual time for taking the screen shot by a few hours, but since I didn't have Site Meter running the first three days I figure its a wash.) I don't know if these numbers would be considered good, bad or indifferent. I do know that I am entirely too obsessed with them. Not in that I do things just to try to generate traffic, just in that I obsess over what traffic comes to see what I do. I still blog the same way I did when getting visits in double figures was a good day. As of today I am a Marauding Marsupial ranked #1325 in the TTLB Ecosystem.

The post that is by far the most Googled, most read, and certainly the most commented on is this one. It consists of two brief paragraphs and was written on my fourth day of blogging:

John Kerry Lies

Officially announcing his candidacy for president, Senator John kerry stood in front of the USS Yorktown and lied about his vote in favor of the Joint Resolution to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq. Kerry asserted in his announcement that he voted in favor of "threatening" to use force against Iraq. Either John Kerry believes Americans cannot read or he cannot do so himself. The resolution contains the statement "The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate..."

It does not read that the President is authorized to use the THREAT of force. The threat was actually contained in UN Security Council Resolution 1441, I don't believe Senator Kerry got a vote on that. Kerry has repeatedly accused the president of misleading the American people and himself into supporting the war. Now it would seem that it is Senator Kerry who is doing the misleading. And if the American people are paying attention the only one who will be mislead is Kerry himself.

The post that comes in second for google searches is Ozymandius by Shelley posted by Pixy Misa as a place holder when he set up my mu.nu site.

I've been trying for weeks to come up with what I would call my favorite post, but have been unable to pick one. The political post I am proudest of is The New Soldier which has links to PDF files of John Kerry's book by that title. I think it is important that the book get out, and I like to think/delude myself that it might make a difference.

I also rather like The Kerry Ad which contains my first ever Flash animation. I like it almost as much for the hurdles I had to overcome and what I learned along the way as for the ad itself.

One of my favorite non-political posts is Musical Flashback, and another is Talkin' 'Bout My Generation.

My all time favorite link is from Ted at Rocket Jones who described this post as "an analysis binge."

But what does it all mean, all this looking back over the year of blogging? I haven't the slightest idea other than that I've decided to keep going.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:52 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment


August 29, 2004

Karl Rove's Dream Forecast

I got these images from NOAA and I'm not a meteorologist or anything, but it looks to me like Tuesday is going to be a lousy day to be staging a protest in New York.

If Tropical Depression Gaston isn't enough to get them down, there's always Hermine.

There's nothing like the sight of a few thousand soaking wet - windblown leftists marching the streets of New York to warm a conservative's heart.

I do hope my favorite convention bloggers will all be warm, safe and dry.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:45 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment


Further Comment Not Required

comkerry2

Borrowed from Blogs For Bush. Cick the image to see more.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:30 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


The Parade of the Waffle King

From Little Green Footballs comes the latest version of I voted for it before I voted against it. The subject, Cuba.

John Kerry had just pumped up a huge crowd in downtown West Palm Beach, promising to make the state a battleground for his quest to oust President Bush, when a local television journalist posed the question that any candidate with Florida ambitions should expect:

What will you do about Cuba?

As the presumptive Democratic nominee, Kerry was ready with the bravado appropriate for a challenger who knows that every answer carries magnified importance in the state that put President Bush into office by just 537 votes.

“I’m pretty tough on Castro, because I think he’s running one of the last vestiges of a Stalinist secret police government in the world,” Kerry told WPLG-ABC 10 reporter Michael Putney in an interview to be aired at 11:30 this morning.

Then, reaching back eight years to one of the more significant efforts to toughen sanctions on the communist island, Kerry volunteered: “And I voted for the Helms-Burton legislation to be tough on companies that deal with him.”

It seemed the correct answer in a year in which Democratic strategists think they can make a play for at least a portion of the important Cuban-American vote — as they did in 1996 when more than three in 10 backed President Clinton’s reelection after he signed the sanctions measure written by Sen. Jesse Helms and Rep. Dan Burton.

There is only one problem: Kerry voted against it.

Asked Friday to explain the discrepancy, Kerry aides said the senator cast one of the 22 nays that day in 1996 because he disagreed with some of the final technical aspects. But, said spokesman David Wade, Kerry supported the legislation in its purer form — and voted for it months earlier.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:40 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment


August 28, 2004

CBS Has Kerry's Six

The story surrounding John Kerry's first Purple Heart crumbling as fast as the Christmas in Cambodia story.

Kerry's former commander RADM William L. Schachte, Jr. USN (Ret.) has released a statement

Upon returning to base, I informed my commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Grant Hibbard, of the events, informing him of the details of the operation and that we had received no enemy fire. I did not file an "after action" report, as one was only required when there was hostile fire. Soon thereafter, Lt. (jg) Kerry requested that he be put in for a Purple Heart as a result of a small piece of shrapnel removed from his arm that he attributed to the just-completed mission. I advised Lt. Cmdr. Hibbard that I could not support the request because there was no hostile fire. The shrapnel must have been a fragment from the M-79 that struck Lt. (jg) Kerry, because he had fired the M-79 too close to our boat. Lt. Cmdr. Hibbard denied Lt. (jg) Kerry's request. Lt. (jg) Kerry detached our division a few days later to be reassigned to another division. I departed Vietnam approximately three weeks later, and Lt. Cmdr. Hibbard followed shortly thereafter. It was not until years later that I was surprised to learn that Lt. (jg) Kerry had been awarded a Purple Heart for this night.
CBS News is trying to provide cover but given the Schachte statement, I don't think its going to help at all. From their timeline comparing George Bush's service with Kerry's:
While the campaign cannot locate a detailed report on the injuries that earn Kerry his first Purple Heart, a brief medical note in his personal files dated Dec. 3, 1968, reads, "Shrapnel in left arm above elbow. Shrapnel removed and appl (sic) bacitracin dressing. Ret to Duty." (emphasis mine)
This is the first reference I have heard to a claim that documents supporting Kerry's medals cannot be found. Perhaps they are lost in the 100 or so pages of documents that Kerry refuses to release.

Senator Kerry, sign form 180 and end this now.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:35 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment


August 27, 2004

Blog Etiquette

I have a question of Blog Etiquette. Recently I posted PDF files containing the text of John Kerry's book The New Soldier. A number of people have linked to that post and the it has been mirrored in one or two places. I don't have a problem with any of that. There is one site that links to the files I put on the Munuvian server without crediting where they came from. I would rather someone download the files and post them to their own server, but if you are going to link to files on someone else's server, have the decency to credit the source.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:32 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment


A Vote and A Smile

I don't want to say this is the last thing I will write about John Kerry in Vietnam or the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Because it is likely that this story is not over and that there will be more revelations and controversy to come. The latest SwiftVet ad is sure to raise a few eyebrows and now that the SwiftVets have broken through into the mainstream of campaign coverage, if only to the level of being smeared before a larger audience, this ad cannot be ignored.

Never in Cambodia

STEVE GARDNER:   “I spent more time on John Kerry’s boat than any other crew member.

John Kerry hasn’t been honest, he’s been deceitful.

John Kerry claims that he spent Christmas in 1968 in Cambodia and that is categorically a lie.

Not in December, not in January.

We were never in Cambodia on a secret mission, ever.”

VO: “Swift Boat Veterans for truth is responsible for the content of this advertisement.”

This should put a nasty dent in whatever is left of the the credibility of Kerry's war stories.

The Captain at Captain's Quarters recently highlighted a news story in which it was pointed out that there is a strong possibility that much of the military documentation of events being used to support Kerry's stories may well have been authored by the candidate.

Sen. Symington asked Kerry, "Mr. Kerry, from your experience in Vietnam do you think it is possible for the President or Congress to get accurate and undistorted information through official military channels.[?]"

Kerry responded, "I had direct experience with that. Senator, I had direct experience with that and I can recall often sending in the spot reports which we made after each mission; and including the GDA, gunfire damage assessments, in which we would say, maybe 15 sampans sunk or whatever it was. And I often read about my own missions in the Stars and Stripes and the very mission we had been on had been doubled in figures and tripled in figures.

Kerry later added, "I also think men in the military, sir, as do men in many other things, have a tendency to report what they want to report and see what they want to see."

I don't personally have easy access to archives of Stars and Stripes from the four months of Kerry's combat service but some enterprising reporter (probably not for a major paper with the word Times in its name) could probably compare the paper's reports with Kerry's after action reports to see if this part of the story holds up as well as the rest seams to.

If that part of the story turns out to be true, then Kerry's defense of it is perfectly adequate. People see what they want to see. For instance if you want to see a hail of very poorly aimed gunfire from both banks of a river while you pull a guy out of the water and your comrades busy themselves tying a tow line to a damaged boat then that is what you will report. Especially if you want to come out of it with a medal.

For the record, I have never served in the military, and thus have never seen combat. I am very understanding of the stress of and terror and how that can effect a person's recollection of events. I also understand the tendency to exaggerate from time to time. I myself have even exaggerated once or twice. An exaggeration IS saying you sank 10 sampans when you only sank 8, or reporting that there were 12 enemy firing at you when there were only seven. Saying you were in a fire-fight in Cambodia on Christmas Eve when you were 50 miles away typing in your journal of visions of sugarplums is not an exaggeration it is a lie.

Kerry's lack of truthfulness, and his lack of a consistent position on the war in Iraq, his generally law enforcement/judicial response to terrorism and his eagerness to raise taxes and federalize the health care industry make opposition to his candidacy easy. I only wish there was enough about his campaign opponent to engender support as enthusiastic as my opposition to Kerry.

I support President Bush's response to terrorism completely. Waiting for them to come to us will only result in more of us getting killed. I think the tax cuts Bush fought for early in his administration were a good half step in the right direction. Making them permanent would make them a good first step. I support his proposals to partially privatize Social Security - again as a good first step. Unfortunately, that's pretty much where it ends. There's a whole list of things he has done that I cannot support. The Medicare Prescription Drug Program, Campaign Finance Reform, No Child Left Behind, and the whole Faith Based Initiative are probably at the top of the list. I'm not all that crazy about Bush's imposition of tariffs either.

I don't however want to see Bush change any of those positions out of political expediency. I would rather have a president with deeply held convictions some of which I disagree with, than to have president without principals, conviction or character. But I do need something. I need Bush to do something to get me past a vote based on grudging support of him and vehement opposition to his opponent. I'd like to be able to vote with a smile instead of a shrug.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:40 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


August 26, 2004

O.A.F.S.

President George Bush and Senator John McCain are expected to announce the formation of a new political action committee that the two will co-chair. The committee, called Officeholders Against Free Speech (OAFS) will be focused on finding and eliminating avenues for political expression available to non officeholders.

The two agreed to found OAFS when President Bush called McCain to pledge that his campaign would file suit in federal court to

prevent the independent groups, named for the section of the tax code that governs their activities, from raising and spending money in unlimited amounts.
The two head OAFS agreed that groups of ordinary common citizens - even really rich ones - pooling their resources to get their message heard during an election is a bad thing. The common, and the uncommon, must not have a voice.

The OAFS co-chairs also reached an agreement

to support legislation to regulate the groups, which have used a loophole in the new campaign finance law to become significant and controversial actors in the campaign in behalf of both the president and the senator from Massachusetts.
Speech it seems must be regulated - especially when it negatively impacts on a fellow OAFS member.

It is not known at this time if Senator Kerry will be officially joining the OAFS, but he has agreed to stop running an ad featuring McCain's criticism of President Bush from the 200 election campaign. Senator Kerry has in the past expressed his support of the curtailment of free speech.

I have consistently cosponsored the McCain/Feingold campaign finance reform bill. I have also cosponsored more sweeping reform measures
McCain expressed his satisfaction with the founding of OAFS but lamented
he believes it is too late to have any impact on the current campaign.
more...

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:45 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


August 25, 2004

The Kerry Legal Question

A number of people have linked to this post where the interested can download the introduction, the text and the Epilougue of John Kerry's book The New Soldier. Kevin at Wizbang has mirrored the files as well.

A number of the links I have followed contained comments to the effect they wanted to get the files and spread them before I was forced to take them down. In truth, this is not something I am particularly worried about. I will tell you why after I clarify one other aspect that is somewhat related. For the record, I did not personally create the PDFs of The New Soldier. I purchased them. I chose to make my copies available to my readers for free. I also chose not to reveal any details of where I purchased them. Selling someone else's copyrighted work is a slightly more serious matter than sharing a copy. And I think the seller could face possible legal consequences that I would not.

While I am freely distributing a work to which Kerry holds a copyright, I am neither benefitting financially, nor am I causing him financial harm. The book is not being sold at retail, Kerry has seen to that, so the copies I am giving away are not depriving him of royalties. The only harm Kerry could claim is that by distributing the text of his book, I am negatively impacting his chances of wining the presidential election. I somehow suspect that is an argument they don't want to make.

UPDATE: Any doubt I had about posting the PDFs has been removed.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:33 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment


August 23, 2004

Kerry Cornered by Bush Hypocrisy

President Bush today resorted to a glaring bit of political hypocrisy to paint the Kerry campaign into a corner. Responding to calls from both John Kerry and John Edwards that he condemn and call for an end to the advertising campaign of the 527 Group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth bush said

That means that ad and every other ad. I don't believe we ought to have 527s. I think they're bad for the system. I frankly thought we'd gotten rid of it when  I signed McCain-Feingold" campaign finance reform.
It is disturbing to think that Bush signed the campaign finance reform bill with no clear understanding of what the bill meant. The rise of 527s has not come as a surprise to many others.

I have no doubt that Bush understood the effect McCain-Feingold would have vis a vis 527 groups. His statement to the contrary is most likely intended to provide cover for the hypocrisy of calling for an end to the actions of the monster he helped to create.

But Bush's call to end all 527 group advertising does pose an interesting challenge to the Kerry Campaign. As one Powerline reader put it

The obvious segue is to point out that Kerry has made no such gesture concerning the MoveOn.org ads or the Michael Moore movie....And it's my guess that when Bush's call for civility is discussed on the radio and tv talks shows, this discrepancy will be hammered home: Kerry has only called for an end to the attacks on Kerry.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:54 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment


August 21, 2004

Definition of "Served With" Expands

In a New York Times article on a Swift Boat vet who has decided speak out in support of Kerry the official definition of "served with" was expanded to include those who weren't necessarily on the same boat as Kerry.

A Vietnam veteran who served with Senator John Kerry in a Swift boat group broke a 35-year silence this weekend to back Mr. Kerry's version of events from one of their missions together...
I guess this puts an end to the "they didn't serve with Kerry" defense. How convenient for them.

According to the Times, William B. Rood was the skipper of one of the three boats on the mission on which Kerry earned his Silver Star. Mr. Rood decided to share his story after being called by Kerry. The Times notes that Rood was one of two veterans that Kerry called a part of an effort to counter the charges made by members of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. There is no identification of or further mention of the other veteran Kerry contacted. One can only surmise that this individual declined to give a statement in support of Kerry.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:03 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


I Don't Get Statistics.

I always try to look at the world in a fairly straight forward way. Basic logic. Not a whole lot of nuance. This is why I always have a hard time with statistics and Polls. For instance this little tidbit of polling data from Rasmussen strikes me as odd.

Forty-seven percent (47%) of voters have a favorable opinion of Kerry's military service while 36% have an unfavorable view. Thirty-nine percent (39%) believe Kerry is telling the truth about his experiences in Vietnam while 31% believe he is exaggerating the truth and 15% believe he is lying.
If I'm reading this right (see disclaimer above) 8% of voters who have a favorable view of Kerry's Vietnam record believe he is either exaggerating or outright lying.

Hat Tip to Powerline

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:02 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


Storm Report

3:00 p.m. eastern. Very nasty thunder storm centered basically over my house. No power and almost pitch black out. The lightening and thunder are spectacular. It's the kind of thunder you can feel almost as much as hear. Except that the noise is deafening. The kids are frightened and would be quivering in the bed with mom if it were not for the availability of flashlights. Always have an extra flashlight for each kid.

When the storm hit, I was in the supermarket with both kids. We stood outside under the roof with our basket full of grocery bags until there was a break in the downpour. We made it to the car and loaded kids and bags before the rain cut loose again. I'll update this later since I can't post it anyway. The laptop of course works on its battery, but the wireless router and cable modem need power. The backlit keys on the 17 inch powerbook are nice though probably killing the battery. Yup battery at 74% so keyboard lights are shut off.

3:30 The rain has let up and the storm seems to have passed. The groceries have been brought in and put away. The kids are watching a dvd on the wife's laptop. Still no power.

4:00 Power is restored. Laptop batter which had reached a low of 64% while reading PDF of The New Soldier is back up to 66% and climbing. Backlit keys are on!

4:11 Sky has gotten very dark again.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:11 AM | No Comments | Add Comment


Ted Asks. I Answer.

Ted from Rocket Jones asked in a comment to the post bellow how our construction project is progressing. I left a comment in response to the relevant portion of his which made me my own 500th commenter. I'll give myself a prize later. I decided that since I hadn't done a construction update in a while I'd answer that question in a post of its own.

Progress has been very slow of late. When we made the decision to reside the entire house it was more cost effective to have our contractor remove the existing siding than to have the siding guys do it. So they focused on that for a while.

There has been some progress. The removed an existing wall in the house and replaced it with what will the wall of the new bedroom. But, because of the state of the addition they have not opened up the door yet to keep the children. Something about all the dangerous tools lying about and the fact that there are no windows just big holes in the walls. I guess they thought that would be a problem or something.

As it stands now, the house is 99% ready for siding - the contractor who was on vacation last week will be back - so the next two weeks should damn well better see some serious progress. When this starts happening, I'll break out the digital camera and start posting some more photos.

Thanks for asking.

UPDATE: The prize turned out to be take out from my favorite Chinese restaurant.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:53 AM | No Comments | Add Comment


August 20, 2004

Judical Watch Calls for Kerry Invvestigation

Kevin at Wizbang provides a link to a Google cache of Judicial Watch's "Request for Investigation, Determination and Final Disposition of Awards Granted to Lieutenant (junior grade) John Forbes Kerry, USNR." The Core of the complaint is

:Eyewitness accounts of officers, sailors and one medical doctor (who treated a “wound” Senator Kerry allegedly suffered from enemy fire) refute Senator Kerry’s version of events in a number of instances.  Questions of fraud, false official statements and abuse by Senator Kerry must be answered.  Specifically, the Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts awarded to Senator Kerry during the period 2 December 1968 to 17 March 1969 appear to be based upon Senator Kerry’s false official statements, distortions of fact and subornation.  The evidence and testimony compiled in Exhibit 2 may oblige the Secretary of the Navy to revoke Senator Kerry’s awards.

 A second and equally important matter concerns Senator Kerry’s actions while serving as a commissioned officer in the inactive Naval Reserve.  Dishonorable and possibly unlawful actions by Senator Kerry during the early 1970s – actions that manifestly benefited a foreign power with which the U.S. was at war – are so grievously damaging to the dignity, honor and traditions of the U.S. Navy and the American republic that the Secretary of the Navy may be compelled to revoke Senator Kerry’s awards.

 This complaint and request for investigation is based on the public statements of U.S. Navy flag officers, commissioned officers and sailors.  Combat veterans and career naval professionals have staked their personal honor and lives to correct the record and reveal the full, complete and accurate history of the events Senator Kerry has repeatedly leveraged for personal political gain since 1970.  In the least, the U.S. Navy and the Department of Defense owe a full investigation to all those who fought and died for this country.

It will be interesting to see how/if the Department of Defense, the Navy and the Kerry Campaign respond.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:01 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment


August 19, 2004

The New Soldier

That's the title of the little book John Kerry wrote long before he decided that his service in Vietnam was something to boast about. Something to base a presidential campaign on. The introduction contains a portion of Kerry's 1971 testimony before congress as part of Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Here is a bit of what he had to say about what he now so proudly trumpets as the foundation of his qualifications for the Presidency.

In our opinion, and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America. And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia, or Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom, which those misfits supposedly abuse, is to us the height of criminal hypocrisy.

[...]

if you read carefully the President’s last speech to the people of this country, you can see that he says and says clearly, “but the issue, gentlemen, the issue is communism, and the question is whether or not we will leave that country to the Communists or whether or not we will try to give it hope to be a free people.” But the point is they are not a free people now, and we cannot fight communism all over the world. I think we should have learned that lesson by now.

So far I have only read the introduction. I hope to get into the text tomorrow. Then of course there is the Epilougue

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:25 PM | Comments (17) | Add Comment


The Kerry Times

I continue to check my local papers for any coverage of the Kerry Christmas in Cambodia fable. So far the local papers have let me down in terms of their own writers but have given up some good syndicated articles. Today the Hartford Courant offers up a syndicated puff piece from the L.A. Times. Written by two Kerry Staffers Staff Writers, Maria L. La Ganga and Stephen Braun, it could probably be considered a campaign contribution.

A television ad that has aired in three key battleground states and a new book have created a political furor over John F. Kerry's Vietnam War record, calling into question his character, credibility and a central tenet of his campaign — that his combat experience helps qualify him to be president.
Read that lead again and savor it. It is just about the only unvarnished statement of fact contained in the entire story.
The ad, the book and the people behind them have become staples of conservative talk shows and Internet sites. The claims — that Kerry lied about his war experiences, didn't deserve his medals and betrayed soldiers everywhere by protesting the war after serving in it — also have been recited in the mainstream media, along with denials of the allegations.
One of the reasons the story has been a mainstay of conservative outlets such as talk radio and weblogs is that the "mainstream" media has basically ignored the story.
What military documentation exists and has been made public generally supports the view put forth by Kerry and most of his crewmates — that he acted courageously and came by his Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts honestly. This view of Kerry as war hero is supported by all but one of the surviving veterans who served with him on the two boats he commanded.

None of the critics quoted in the ad actually served on the boats with Kerry. Some of them also have given contradictory accounts and offered conflicting recollections.

Given the amount of detail they give to back up this assertion I think they should have rewritten this a s a question. What military evidence exists and has been made public and generally supports the view put forth by Kerry...?" Would that evidence be the action reports that Kerry wrote? I would argue the point about critics who didn't actually serve on the boats with Kerry but that fallacy is so obvious it is not necessary.
But what actually happened about 35 years ago along the remote southern coast of Vietnam remains murky. Some of Kerry's own recollections over the years, as presented in two biographies and many interviews, also have been inconsistent.
This would be a perfectly valid argument if the first time Kerry had told the Christmas in Cambodia story had been 35 years after the fact. The problem according to the Times is that Kerry's recollection of events has been "inconsistent." Actually Kerry has fairly consistently recalled the same events that never happened and tried to use them for political advantage for 35 years. Kerry did not misremember a life defining event that had been seared into his memory. He mad it up out of whole cloth. Its not as though Kerry was claiming in a Senate speech that he was in Cambodia on January 11 and it was actually January 22. He chose Christmas Day because it made the story more poignant.

The times goes into some depth to try to explain away the main charged of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. And though some of their assertions strain credulity they keep the direct attacks on the vets to a minimum.

First they tackle the issue of challenge to Kerry's first Purple Heart. They offer up a fairly lame justification that seems to support the SwiftVets case more than Kerry's.

Navy rules during the Vietnam War governing Purple Hearts did not take into account a wound's severity — and specified only that injuries had to be suffered "in action against an enemy."

Self-inflicted wounds were awarded if incurred "in the heat of battle, and not involving gross negligence." Kerry's critics insist his wound would not have qualified, but former Navy officials who worked in the service's awards branch at the time said such awards were routine.

A Times review of Navy injury reports and awards from that period in Kerry's Swift boat unit shows that many other Swift boat personnel won Purple Hearts for slight wounds of uncertain origin.

It's o.k. that Kerry got an award he didn't deserve. Everybody was doing it.

The Times' pass at spinning the Silver Star "No Man Left Behind" story rests on the contention that Kerry was not the sole author of the after-action report that lead to the citation. The times notes that

the anti-Kerry faction has not definitively proved that Kerry was the sole source of the Bronze Star battle account. And according to Elliott, Kerry's immediate commander, Swift boat officers involved in battles normally were involved in drafting the after-action report, which in this case described repeated fire from small arms and automatic weapons.
That's probably reasonably fair though irrelevant statement. It could likewise be said that the Kerry campaign has not provided definitive proof that there was another officer involved in drafting the report.

For the third SwiftVet Charge, the LA Times apparently didn't get the memo that even Kerry admits he was not in Cambodia on Christmas Eve 1969 and tried to lay out the time line to make Kerry's Holdiay possible.

There are no after-action reports that pinpoint where Kerry's boat was in late December 1968. But a file from Navy archives in Washington obtained by The Times provides support for both sides.

An entry in a monthly summary of engagements for December 1968 reports that on Christmas Eve, "PCF-44 fired on junk on beach. Results: 1 sampan destroyed."

The entry was made by then-Capt. Roy Hoffmann, the overall commander of Swift boats and now one of Kerry's most vocal critics. There is no written location for the engagement, but it contains a coordinate used by the military to plot locations. The coordinate points to an area about 40 to 50 miles south of the Cambodian border, near an island called Sa Dec.

The entry also notes that the incident took place about 7 a.m., which would have given Kerry's boat another 12 hours to make it to the Cambodian border by nightfall. At a cruising speed of 23 knots, the boat could have covered the distance in about two hours.

This would be consistent with the contention of Kerry spokesman Michael Meehan that Kerry was in Sa Dec but reached the Cambodian border later the same day.

The only thing missing was an explanation of the lucky CIA hat.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:58 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


I'm One Too

Paul writes at Wizbang in response to a NYT attack on anybody who doesn't take Kerry of faith

If examining the campaign credentials of a man who wants to be leader of the free world makes me a zealot, then that is a mantle I shall wear proudly.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:59 AM | No Comments | Add Comment


August 18, 2004

The Parade of the Waffle King

Here's yet another in a long series of posts on the Democratic Candidate's endless collection of waffles on every issue. But I'm not printing it here, since I found it at Patriot Paradox you'll have to go there to read it.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:42 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


August 17, 2004

More Local Kerry Coverage

Continuing the search for local coverage of the questions surrounding Kerry's Vietnam service record that I started here, I moved next to the Hartford Courant. I found two mentions of the issue. One was a letter to the editor that read like it was cut and pasted from a dozen posts on the De mocratic Underground. The other was a syndicated Op Ed piece by Charles KrauthammerWhat I liked best about Krauthammer's piece was his no-nonsense reponse to the to the Kerry Campaign charge that the Swift Boat Veterans are funded by allies and supporters of George Bush.

So first you get Soros-funded Bush-the-monster ads. Now you get the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad (and book) accusing Kerry of falsifying his military record.

The Democrats have reacted to the Swift boat vets with anguished and selective indignation. This assault was bankrolled by rich Bush supporters, they charge. No kidding. Where else would Swift boat vets get the money? With the exception of the romantic few who marry millionaire heiresses, Swift boaters are generally of modest means. Where are they going to get the cash to be heard? Harold Ickes?

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:54 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


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