Patterico's Pontifications


Nothing to See Here, Folks . . . Again

Filed under: 2004 Election,Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:39 pm

Pressing work demands caused me to miss the fact that the L.A. Times on Wednesday wrote a story claiming that John Kerry has now released all his military records. Not only did L.A. Times reporter and Kerry sycophant Stephen Braun fail even to mention the fact that Kerry’s grades were lower than Bush’s (a fact emphasized by the nation’s other major papers), he’s once again making it sound like the complete file has been released.

Don’t trust him.

The article is titled Kerry Makes His Military, Medical File Available. The sub-head reads: “The former presidential candidate’s Vietnam records, including a missing document, offer no surprises. Critics say papers are incomplete.” And the beginning of the article wastes no time in telling us that the critics are liars, because (the article claims) the file is indeed complete:

All through last year’s presidential race, Vietnam-era critics of Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) charged that he was trying to hide something by refusing to authorize the public release of his entire military and medical file.

On Tuesday, Kerry provided access to his complete records. The long-awaited documents contained no bombshells, and his enemies still were not satisfied.

Note that the article doesn’t say: “Kerry provided access to what he claimed were his complete records.” It says simply that the records are complete.

But wait, Stephen Braun! Didn’t you tell us during the election that Kerry had already made his military records available? Why, yes — you did! In an article published on August 17, 2004, you wrote:

[Kerry’s] staff has directed critics to the Massachusetts senator’s military records, which have been posted on his website.

You didn’t say “some of” his records were posted on his web site, Mr. Braun. You said the records were posted on his web site — which any voter naive enough to trust your reporting would have taken to mean that Kerry had released all of his military records.

You were wrong then. Why should we believe you now?

Critically, the sheaf of documents reviewed by Braun was not provided to him directly by the government, but by Kerry’s office:

The 180-page sheaf of medal commendations, officer’s fitness reports and medical entries released under federal guidelines by Kerry’s Senate office provided a few new nuggets of information about his 1968 to 1969 stint as a Swift boat commander during the Vietnam War.

So how in the world does Stephen Braun claim to know that the documents he reviewed are “complete”? He doesn’t say. And what the “critics” say — buried far, far down in the story — sounds pretty convincing:

[A] former Swift boat officer who led the Navy veterans’ bitter public campaign against Kerry demanded more Tuesday, saying that the file was incomplete.

“We asked him to universally release his entire file, and what we’ve seen instead is a parceling out of incomplete records,” said John O’Neill, a Houston lawyer who was a founder of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. The group last year mounted a well-bankrolled advertising campaign to undermine Kerry’s wartime pedigree.

O’Neill expressed doubt that Kerry’s latest document release included material from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. But David Wade, a Kerry spokesman, said that the request to Navy Personnel Command to release documents extended to all government record repositories.

That’s good enough for me! If a Kerry spokesman said it, it must be true!

In a phone interview from Houston, O’Neill said the Swift boat group was pressing for information about three unresolved controversies from the 2004 race: Kerry’s disputed contention that his Swift boat had entered Cambodian waters about December 1968; wording discrepancies among several versions of Kerry’s medal commendations; and a perceived lag between Kerry’s discharge from the Navy in 1970 and a later departure date in 1978.

“If he made a true universal release of his records and not through selective journalists, maybe we could get to the records that would answer some of these questions,” O’Neill said. “If there were orders, for example, that sent him to Cambodia, they should be in his file.”

Navy archives are sometimes incomplete, and Kerry’s latest document release contained no new information on any of those controversies.

That sounds like some decent evidence that the records are incomplete. I’m missing the part that substantiates the unequivocal assertion made in the second sentence of the article: “On Tuesday, Kerry provided access to his complete records.”

Once again, we are seeing a potentially selective release of records by John Kerry, and once again Stephen Braun is falling for it . . . or trying to get you to fall for it.


And you wonder why I want to file my own FOIA request.

UPDATE: Braun should sit down and have a talk with Thomas H. Lipscomb, who has a recent piece in the Chicago Sun-Times. He also has some real questions about whether Kerry has really released all his records.

UPDATE x2: I remembered that Braun did a pretty good story about Kerry’s sometimes awkward ad-libbing, described here. So, while he is overly credulous on the issue of the records, he is capable of writing a good story.

UPDATE x3: The post originally used the erroneous phrase “Thomas H. Lipscomb of the Chicago Sun-Times.” Mr. Lipscomb’s piece was an op-ed. The post has been corrected.

UPDATE x4 [9-14-06]: Apparently all of the Form 180s called for the documents to be sent to the journalists themselves; you can see them here. Braun simply worded the story poorly, leaving the impression that they had been released though Kerry’s office.

See-Dubya: Country Legend Razzy Bailey…

Filed under: General,Music — See Dubya @ 5:39 pm

…Is making lemonade out of lemons. Good luck with that, Razzy!

It could be worse; the dog could play “She Got Love All Over Me”.

See Dubya: Meanwhile, over in East Palo Alto…

Filed under: General — See Dubya @ 1:34 pm

…the Feds are questioning the president of the Farooqia Islamic Center in Lodi that at least some of the accused jihadi sleepers there were involved with.

That’s quite a commute for this guy, from East Palo Alto to Lodi.

Hat tip: Jawa Report.

See Dubya: Codeword: Fabulous!

Filed under: General — See Dubya @ 12:23 pm

In the spirit of the New York Times, I realize that the best thing I can do with confidential information about secret US operations is to make it public immediately. So, without further ado:


TO: Porter Goss, Chief Spook
FROM: Bureau of Dirty Tricks
RE: Progress on Operation LANCOME

Boss: Our plan to feminize and emasculate the Arab street continues apace. Phase I is well underway.

BACKGROUND: During the 1960’s the COMMIES were able to subvert and feminize American culture by introduction of massive amounts of ironic reserve into the cultural mainstream. Their subsidies of recreational drugs OTB (other than beer), ridiculous fashion, and whiny rock stars further undermined American confidence and led to a period of malaise in the late 1970s.

PHASE I: We have begun introducing new reports into the culture re-imaging European and Arab masculinity. Some of our operations are overt, such as this writeup from the State Department (attached) , about a new class of successful metrosexuals who moisturize and get manicures. We are also introducing black operations, such as the introduction of this report through one of our agents in France:

“The masculine ideal is being completely modified. All the traditional male values of authority, infallibility, virility and strength are being completely overturned,” said Pierre Francois Le Louet, the agency’s managing director.

NB: LE LOUET (codename LE PEW), is secretly a full-on supporter of the Iraq War and owns every John Wayne movie ever made. Our agents confronted him with this fact and threatened to expose him to the fashion industry unless he agreed to transmit OPERATION LANCOME propaganda on our behalf.

Using the French Press will help to percolate this new idea through Paris’ large Muslim population, and from there it will filter back to the Middle East. The choice of Paris was deliberate, in order to reduce collateral damage, as there is not a robust population of manly heterosexuals there to be subverted by our campaign. Expect further endorsements of the metrosexual ideal to appear in the foreign press soon.

PHASE TWO: Underway. Massive, hilarious decadence will be introduced into the Middle East. We will introduce a chain of manicurists (tentatively titled “Brainwash!”) across the Middle East which will dispense fashion advice and also secretly test subjects for subcutaneous explosives residue, thereby identifying potential terrorists. The male moisturizers they sell will include a high dose of estrogen, which will further feminize the populace and render them non-threatenting.

We will also open a chain of partner-swapping clubs, to exploit AGENT LE PEW’s suggestion:

“We are watching the birth of a hybrid man. … Why not put on a pink-flowered shirt and try out a partner-swapping club?” asked Le Louet, stressing that the study had focused on men aged between 20 and 35.

Which is, of course, the prime jihadi demographic. The partners they swap will use the chance to identify and exploit new intelligence assets and introduce social diseases to identified risks. Meanwhile, should the pink-flowered shirt becomes the new jihadi uniform, it will be much easier to distinguish them from normal, hard-working apolitical Middle Easterners.

PHASE THREE: US Military, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence Personnel will be instructed to terminate with extreme prejudice any well-manicured, pleasantly scented person wearing a pink flowered shirt, at home or abroad.

See Dubya: Reductio ad Absurdum

Filed under: General — See Dubya @ 10:38 am

Doug Kern: really funny guy. Really good writer. The best columnist you’ve never heard of. He shows up at Tech Central Station about once a month, with gems like these:

“Seems to me, sir,” said Lieutenant Wayne, “that your definition of ‘cultural sensitivity’ is catching on among the locals. Why, just last week the local Islamicists rioted over the sacred precept of Getting The New Harry Potter Book at 50% Off Retail. And last month, after the fatwa about Digital Cable for All of Islam was issued, we had horrific bloodshed. And need I remind you about the vicious All Foreign Soldiers Must Wear Groucho Glasses riots of last year? Some cynics are saying that these cultural beliefs are less than authentic.”

Read the entire thing. You’ll chuckle.. He wins the Napier award, for best implied use of Lord Napier’s “it’s our custom to hang people who do that” riposte to relativism.

See-Dubya: Boosting Bolton

Filed under: General — See Dubya @ 9:37 am

Those of you reading my guest blogging may have deduced I’m a big fan of ol’ Two-Tone. So’s Henry Sokolski, a non-proliferation expert, who details some of his accomplishments in today’s NRO. Sokolski wonders, as have I, why Bolton’s many accomplishments haven’t gotten more coverage.

Well, come on, Dr. Sokolski, which is more important–the fact that Bolton’s the architect of a vastmultinaitonal anti-proliferation regime that’s stopped eleven shipments of WMD material in the last nine months, even though some of the countries helping us don’t want to admit helping us, OR the fact that he once put his hands on his hips and spoke sharply to the Rainbow Lady?

For the Democratic party, it’s all about preserving a respectful demeanor. That’s what Howard Dean tells me.

I’ve long said that Bolton is overqualified for the UN, but since the fact is that the UN is a club being used by our enemies to snipe at the United States and undermine the legitimacy of our self-defense, we have a lot at stake in straightening it out.

(Please note that once again I’ve counted coup on Junkyard Blog in spotting a mention of the PSI.)

Blue Slip Question

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Judiciary — Patterico @ 6:49 am

Reporting on the confirmation of Janice Rogers Brown, the L.A. Times said yesterday:

California’s two senators — Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, both Democrats — opposed Brown’s elevation to the federal bench. Before Bush came to office, the Senate traditionally considered opposition by home-state senators sufficient to block a nominee.

“This may be the first such Senate confirmation over the opposition of both home-state senators in the history of the United States Senate,” said Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The question: does the blue-slip policy apply to Janice Rogers Brown? Her situation is unusual in that her “home state” is not where she will sit if confirmed. She currently resides in California, but she is being nominated for the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, a jurisdiction without Senators. So: does the “blue slip” policy apply in this situation?

I don’t know the answer to that definitively. What little evidence I have been able to gather suggests that the answer is no. A reader to National Review Online’s The Corner once provided evidence for that proposition:

[A] senator is able to blue slip only those nominees that would sit in that senator’s home state. So Senators Helms and Edwards would be able to prevent the confirmation of North Carolinians, but not of Virginians or Marylanders. (As you know, each state is allocated a certain number of appellate judges, but these numbers are not always honored. Hence, Bush 43 nominated Claude Allen of Virginia to fill a Fourth Circuit seat that had been held by a Marylander; if successful, the Allen nomination would have “moved” one of the “Maryland seats” to Virginia. Notice also that the blue slips for Claude Allen were sent to Virginia’s John Warner and George Allen, not Maryland’s Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski.)

To state the obvious, there aren’t any home state senators for Washington, DC. So [if the blue slip policy were in force] nominees to the DC Circuit would be confirmed as a matter of course (assuming they have majority support in the Senate).

Bolstering this claim is the fact that the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy has a list of blue slips and their status for judicial nominees. For all nominees to the D.C. Circuit, including Brown, the home-state Senator is listed as “N/A.”

This is not definitive, but it suggests that the L.A. Times is wrong to claim that Senators Boxer or Feinstein would traditionally have had the right to kill Brown’s nomination through the blue-slip process. If anyone can find any more definitive information that would support or debunk that suggestion, please let me know in the comments. I don’t plan to write the L.A. Times to complain unless I can find more conclusive evidence than this.

UPDATE: Further evidence: D.C. Circuit nominee Brett Kavanaugh is a native of Bethesda, Maryland. According to the DOJ link above, no blue slips were sent to Maryland’s (or any other state’s) senators for approval of Kavanaugh.

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