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Sunday, October 31, 2004

Politicians' secrets: Ryan versus Kerry

As teased on Thursday, this post begins with glamor photographs of two beautiful women.  Bear with me, though — I have a serious point to make here, one that I've actually been pondering for a couple of months.

Morgan FairchildJeri Ryan

After divorcing Julia Thorne, Sen. John Kerry famously dated Morgan Fairchild — pictured above on the left — as well as movie and TV celebrities Michelle Phillips, Catherine Oxenberg, and Dana Delany.

Former Illinois Republican senate nominee Jack Ryan used to be married to TV celebrity Jeri Ryan — pictured above on the right.  As CNN reported on June 22nd,

Several Chicago media organizations had sued for release of documents relating to the Ryans' divorce, saying the public interest outweighed their concerns about privacy and the possible effect on their now 9-year-old son. Friday, a judge in Los Angeles, where their divorce was litigated, agreed to unseal portions of more than 360 pages of documents, although large parts remained blacked out.

The unsealed court documents included allegations made by Ms. Ryan during their divorce — denied by her ex-husband — "that [while married,] he took her to sex clubs and asked her to engage in sexual activity in front of other patrons."  Mr. Ryan promptly withdrew from the Illinois senate race.

Last August, one of my readers emailed me with this damned good question:

What I was wondering is if the media could pry open sealed divorce records then why can't they force open the undisclosed military records of John Kerry?  Is there a particular legal difference that allows for the one and not the other or is it just lazyness/bias on the media's part?

As a lawyer, I have a good answer to this question.  As a citizen, I don't.


My lawyerly answer:

Ms. Ryan's allegations were made as part of, and filed under seal among the court papers in, her and her ex-husband's divorce and child custody proceedings.  There's normally a strong presumption that all court proceedings, including the paperwork on which they're based, should be open to public view.  That presumption is oftentimes overcome, however, in intensely personal family court proceedings.  In sealing the portions of the court file that included Ms. Ryan's allegations, the California family court judge quite properly, in my opinion, concluded that the certain embarrassment not only of the divorce litigants, but of their minor son, amply overcame that presumption.  But what a trial court can do, it often can later undo — and that's what happened here, when the family court granted the media's request to unseal the records.

Sen. Kerry's military records, by contrast, are private not by virtue of a court order, but by dictate of various federal privacy statutes.  There is no beginning presumption that individuals' military records ought to be part of the public record.  Moreover, there is no general procedure — comparable to the application made by the sensation-hungry media in the Ryan matter — that puts into the hands of a single decisionmaker, like the California judge, the power to make a subjective weighing of the "public's right to know" against the individual's right to privacy.  The statutes that give the public, including the media, their rights in some circumstances to secure the release of government-held information — chief among them the Freedom of Information Act — contain broad exceptions that mandate government nondisclosure of military records like Sen. Kerry's, notwithstanding the fact that he's voluntarily thrust himself into the public eye.

Again speaking not just as a lawyer, but also as a divorced father, I'm frankly appalled by the California judge's decision in the Ryan matter — which came over the opposition of both of the divorced spouses.  I wish that they'd appealed the order.  But although I think the judge made the wrong decision, there's no doubt, as a legal matter, that it was a question which was within his power to decide (subject to appellate review).


My answer as a citizen:

The only difference between these two situations is that the mainstream media — perhaps reflecting their perceptions of raw public appetite, or perhaps reflecting political bias, or both — have shown absolutely no serious interest in pressuring Sen. Kerry to release his own secret records.  While it's true that the law offers no parallel procedure to that used by the media to secure the release of the Ryan divorce records, as a practical matter of real-world politics, there can be no doubt that if the mainstream media had seriously tried to do so, it could have created sufficient pressure to compel Sen. Kerry to sign Standard Form 180 and thereby waive his statutory privacy rights.

One can argue, I suppose, about whether Jack Ryan's private marital relationship with his ex-wife was a legitimate matter of public interest, given his candidacy for public office.  I think it was not, no more than the details of John Kerry's break-up with Julia Thorne are particularly material to his fitness to be President — and the mainstream media, and even the overwhelming bulk of "new media" (cable, bloggers, talk radio hosts) have appropriately given Sen. Kerry a complete pass on that subject. 

But no one can seriously argue that Sen. Kerry's military record — including the mysterious circumstances of his discharge — are insufficiently related to his fitness to be Commander in Chief.  Sen. Kerry himself acknowledged the public's legitimate interest in his military record by posting carefully selected documents on his website.  But he's brazenly stonewalled efforts by the SwiftVets and others from outside the mainstream media to pressure him into releasing all of his records.  And the mainstream media have not only let him get away with that, they've allowed it to go largely uncommented upon.


Sex sells newspapers and attracts TV viewers; indeed, with deliberate cynicism, I began this post with eyecatching pictures of two beautiful women to catch your attention, gentle readers.  And perhaps if Sen. Kerry had taken Morgan Fairchild with him to meet with Viet Cong representative Madame Binh in Paris, the mainstream media would have done its job.  But in this election cycle, they very clearly have not. 

Digging into Jack and Jeri Ryan's marital sex life ought to embarrass the mainstream media.  But failing to dig into John Kerry's military records ought to embarrass them more.  If John Kerry is elected, he will take office with unplumbed secrets that directly relate to his fitness to be President, and that the mainstream media have willfully and consistently ignored.  And that pernicious conspiracy of silence, friends and neighbors, is a long-term threat to our democracy that won't be eliminated or even much affected by Tuesday's poll results.  It's a problem that in fact we can't reasonably expect our elected officials to solve.  It can only be solved by an outraged American public — one that's mad as hell at the mainstream media, and that won't put up with it anymore.


Update (Sun Oct 31 @ 9:00pm):  Pajama Journal and Captain's Quarters have noted that NBC News is engaging in selective editing to conceal Sen. Kerry's flustered admission on Thursday that not all of his records are public.  Nacht und nebel — the embarrassing admission is just "disappeared."


Update (Sun Oct 31 @ 9:24pm):  A reader emails me to point out, correctly, that I've overgeneralized, or perhaps implicitly used an overly narrow definition of "mainstream media" without making that clear.  There are indeed newspaper and TV reporters who've done their best to dig into Sen. Kerry's military records, and others who've highlighted his refusal to release them all, and I commend them for their efforts.  My broadside criticism is directed at the top of the MSM pyramid, whose efforts have been fitful at best, and well short of the sort of persistent efforts that would put any real pressure on Sen. Kerry to end his stonewall.


Update (Sun Oct 31 @ 10:08pm):  Hindrocket at Power Line argues that NBC's editing out Kerry's admission was likely innocent, but that the mainstream media's real cover-up of Sen. Kerry's military record was "by never — ever — asking him the basic question: 'Why won't you make all of your military records public?'"  I certainly agree with the latter conclusion.


Update (Mon Nov 1 @ 12:20am):  This new post is an expansion on my 9:24pm update from earlier tonight.  Please share your own nominations to the "Swimming against the mainstream" honor roll for mainstream media reporters!

Posted by Beldar at 05:27 PM in Politics (2006 & earlier) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Politicians' secrets: Ryan versus Kerry and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» More Proof of Media Corruption from The Pajama Journal

Tracked on Oct 31, 2004 9:32:30 PM


Tracked on Nov 1, 2004 3:07:24 AM

» Round-up from Lead and Gold

Tracked on Nov 1, 2004 7:32:41 AM


(1) gary made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 6:41:24 PM | Permalink

The maid's gotta stop putting bleach in with the colored wash. It's getting the costumes all splotchy.

(2) Mary Ann Parker made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 6:41:27 PM | Permalink

My question is to the disparity of the legal
decisions re: Ryan's divorce (sealed) but now
open by judicial decision;and the sealed divorce records of John Kerry's divorce. (still sealed)???
While we are at it... How come the records of
Ted Kennedy's Mary Jo Kopechne debacle are
SEALED?? He was NOT a minor at the time and it
should have been a matter of PUBLIC RECORD!
It seems to me that rules are for those who cannot AFFORD to have them broken...
Looking forward to your comment.
PS..I understand about the Kerry discharge on the face of it.
However, consider that he claims he has released ALL OF HIS MILITARY RECORDS.
The Navy disputes that. Over 100 pages are NOT
He did slip and tell Tom Brokaw that he does not understand how the information is "OUT THERE" about his IQ since his records have not
been released. Trapped by vanity me thinks.

Why are his divorce records sealed???
Why does he say he has released all of his military records then say that he has not??
Why are Ted Kennedy's criminal records sealed??
Thanks for your earliest response.

(3) Dimsdale made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 7:06:24 PM | Permalink

Kerry drones on and on about how the American people "deserve the truth" when whining about Bush, but look how he witholds important information from them: his refusal to release his FULL military record, his refusal to release his Senate Intelligence Committee closed door meeting attendance records (we know he missed 78% of the open door ones), and the refusal of his sugarmomma's tax records for public review. Tell that to Geraldine Ferraro! Bush released his and his wife's, and since Terroresa's money is Kerry's real source of income, it is completely relevant, as is what politically interested institutions she gives money to.

The silence of the Fourth Estate is deafening.

The willful failure of the MSM to go after Kerry's military record with at least the appearance of the diligence they used to scrutinize Bush's ANG record is a de facto statement on their liberal, pro-Kerry approach to "reporting." The two situations are completely analogous, but the treatment of the two by the MSM could not be more different.

The fact that they do this so blatantly shows their smugness and belief that nobody can question their motives because of WHO THEY ARE. I blame McCain-Feingold for this, and Rush was prescient when he warned it would happen back when this fool bill passed.

Is it not amazing how similar that "superior" attitude sounds to Kerry himself, who has sold the story that he cannot be questioned on his patriotism due to his "heroic" Vietnam experiences.

Now they are both in the same boat: the MSM is being revealed for the liberal shills they are by the fine sleuths of the internet, and Kerry is being revealed for the lying poseur that he is by the Swiftboat Vets and POWs for Truth.

In both cases, their thin, artificial facades of carefully manufactured veracity and omnipotence are being plucked away by the truth.

How sweet it is!

But no matter who wins on Tuesday, the MSM and Kerry must be relentlessly pursued and revealed for what they are.

(4) geezer made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 7:42:20 PM | Permalink

Exactly. The real work begins 3 Nov (I don't believe we're in for a replay of '00) wherein the MSM needs to be taken down more than a few pegs.

The same should go for more support of David Horowitz & others' fight against the leftist stranglehold on our education system.

Lastly, is it too much to hope we could move UN HQ to Paris before '08?

(5) jason made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 7:51:34 PM | Permalink

well said. I agree.

i also think that as long as people are going to say that bush is dumb and we need to get him out, that kerry's academic record should be released. i don't think it's relevant either way, and i don't think bush is dumb. but if the charges are going to be laid, let's crack open the books.

(6) www made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 7:54:43 PM | Permalink

As an attorney, I believe that there is another aspect here: state court judges are generally elected, not appointed, and are generally partisan hacks. Obviously, the state court judges in Massachusetts would never release Kerry's divorce records if they contained anything damaging to him. I believe that you do a disservice to the lay public in pretending that exists some sort of "legal standards" governing the release of records that would trump partisan politics in cases of this nature. (Of course, for the average person not involved in politics, there might be patterns of judicial behavior which enabled us to predict the outcome of particular cases, but these are not "rules" that constrain a judge who wants to behave differently.)

(7) PC made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 8:15:24 PM | Permalink

While on the subject of MSM bias, this is an interesting observation over at the Swiftvets site:


(8) RussSchultz made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 8:27:26 PM | Permalink

"If John Kerry is elected, he will take office with unplumbed secrets that directly relate to his fitness to be President, and that the mainstream media have willfully and consistently ignored"

Well, that means they'll have plenty to fill the airwaves when they tire of him.

Why waste news when you can dole it out for later ratings?

(9) stan made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 8:30:20 PM | Permalink

Journalists are not respectable people and should not be treated as such. They consistently lie, slander and commit fraud on the people. People such as these should be treated like dirt. They are dishonorable sleazeballs.

(10) Lester made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 8:36:13 PM | Permalink

Stan, you do a disservice to sleazeballs to compare them to journalists! Let's face it, journalists are lower than whale s**t in the Marianas Trench. [Edited for profanity — Beldar.]

(11) perfectsense made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 8:51:03 PM | Permalink

For the last eight months of Kerry's tour of duty, the hero of Cambodia heroically fought the VC from behind a desk in New Jersey. The man abandoned his command, and the MSM call Kerry a hero.

The themes of both "1984" and "Animal Farm" were the reduction of language to meaningless babble and the rewriting and the elimination of history. Without the internet, the MSM would have achieved these goals in this election.

(12) MaxedOutMama made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 8:58:45 PM | Permalink


Since I'm a woman, the opening photographs weren't a draw. You can't win 'em all, I guess.

I agree with your thesis about which set of information is more relevant to the decision we must make. But realistically, isn't enough of Kerry's record known to give voters the information they need on this issue?

Over at Democratic Underground they are currently debating whether Kerry will pull the troops out of Iraq immediately or wait six months. There are a significant number of military-hating voters for whom Kerry's problematic military record and record of negotiating with Communist governments is an asset, not a debit. For such voters, Kerry's possibly dishonorable discharge would be a badge of honor. It's very possible that it carries the same connotation to some in the media.

I suspect that it's going to prove more productive to attribute the media's decisions as to what stories to pursue to their own bias. The internet has shifted the balance of power towards the citizenry, who don't share the same biases as the media. The flip side to the media's bias is that allegations regarding stories utterly uninvestigated by the media are more likely to be credible with the public. In short, it is on precisely these issues that the blogosphere is likely to be the most influential. When the media finally challenges the story, the impression in the public's mind is already largely formed.

What I'm basically arguing is that the instrument of remediation for the genuine problem you discuss is already present. You are a part of it.

I would prefer that basic privacy rights of citizens are protected legally and that public opinion forces disclosure of these types of records, as it has forced presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns. I no longer believe that a few news organizations have the power to control the information stream to the American public on any issue they truly care about. YMMV.

(PS: The legal bloggers have greatly improved the public's opinion of lawyers, at any rate.)

(13) AST made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 9:19:04 PM | Permalink

Wha? I thought Jack Ryan was married to Anne Archer.

Sorry, I'm just sick of this campaign. In any sane country Bush would be ahead by 20 points and we wouldn't have to wonder whether the Democrats had recruited Osama bin Laden, who appears to have a copy of their talking points.

(14) kevind99 made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 9:32:35 PM | Permalink

After seeing the opening pictures, I though this was going to be a story on Kerry opportunism. Here comes the political incorrect, call it as i see it, needs to be said, get beat up by the women here, but get it off my chest statment of the day:
John Kerry is dating Morgan Fairchild,Michelle Phillips, Catherine Oxenberg, and Dana Delany, per your report... How does he end up with Ms. Heinz? Take 500 million away from Ms Heinz and I guarantee you she doesn't enter Kerry's radar screen. It's like choosing a car to him, the Ferrari is what he is accustomed to, but Ms. Heinz is better transportation, and he needs good transportation to get where he wants to go. Not saying he doesn't love her etc., but I am sure he considered her ability keep money from being an issue in his future endeavours when he first asked her on a date. Sorry, but there is nothing attractive about that woman physically or personalty-wise, except her purse.

(15) mcg made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 10:16:43 PM | Permalink

All I know is that Jeri Ryan is a hottie and I never thought much of Morgan Fairchild. What were we talking about again?

(16) Such Little Things made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 10:21:07 PM | Permalink

On the matter of Kerry's records, would Bush, as CIC, have the right to privately inspect those records himself? I.E. does Bush already know what's in them?

(17) Beldar made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 11:14:11 PM | Permalink

Such Little Things, that's an intriguing question. Pres. Bush may have the theoretical constitutional and statutory authority to do so.

He almost certainly has not used it, however — because there's no plausible argument that the President (or those reporting directly to him) has a "need to know" what is in Sen. Kerry's military records for anything other than political reasons. (And indeed, the relevant privacy laws, or court interpretations of them, may have imposed a "legitimate need to have access" requirement even within the executive branch; I've done no research, and don't know off the top of my head.)

If we hypothesize that Dubya were unscrupulous and ruthless enough to peek, then one would also expect that there would have also been a "plausibly deniable leak" of anything damaging in the records. There hasn't been. "Aha!" you might say, "Wouldn't the absence of a leak also support the inference that there's nothing damaging in the records?" Perhaps. But if there were nothing damaging in the records, why hasn't Sen. Kerry released them?

Nixon would've peeked; LBJ probably would've. But I don't think Dubya has peeked. It would be wrong, even if not illegal. And the potential backlash — if word of such inquiries got out (and it probably would) — would likely outweigh any benefits that Dubya would hope to accrue.

Indeed, throughout the campaign, he has never, ever faulted Sen. Kerry's Vietnam service or antiwar activism. Without peeking, Dubya could have pounded Kerry at the debates, for example, over his failure to sign Standard Form 180. He chose not to do so, because it's political dynamite that Dubya has deliberately chosen not to play with.

(18) Richard R made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 11:20:23 PM | Permalink

If a public official has secrets, it opens him to blackmail. EG – Kurt Waldheim, Sec Gen of the UN, who tried to keep his Nazi past under wraps. Our intelligence services knew about it, the Russians, the French, the Germans – it was open season on who’d threaten first on each subject.

If Kerry has things in his military record that he can’t let out – and from his behavior, it appears he does – he’s vulnerable. Do we want a Commander in Chief that is deeply disliked by the military – and who the military can hold over a barrel? Certainly the Russians, the Chinese and probably the French have the reports on what he really did in Paris when he met with the Viet Cong and NV government. Do we want them dictating our foreign policy toward them?

Those on the left should be very wary of a potential president that is beholden to the US military.

(19) Beshado'd made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 11:26:31 PM | Permalink

Look at it this way lester, with politicians fighting with MSM operations staff for who is held in the lowest public opinion, lawyers and used car salesmen will find a whole bunch of people to look down on.

It should be a question of relevance, by which, if Ryan's divorce is, of necessity, something voters must know; Kerry's records would inarguably follow. With acknowledgement to Beldar's assessment of the legalities, I will leave aside the petty slam at the California judiciary, for taking a whack at a Republican politician because the opportunity presented itself. (oops)

Side note: Beldar,,, you unspeakable b*st*rd!

... right up till you posted that she'd dated Kerry, Dana Delaney was at the top of my hit parade.

(20) Ron made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 11:31:34 PM | Permalink

Call me schizophrenic, but I had a very long argument with myself over this very issue last night. What I feel contentious is the blather about "the public's right to know." What right? Is it in a law book in the Right to Know Library? No. Where then? My super non-legal alternate self says that it is a de facto factor of the news media.

Take the Ryan case Beldar splendifferously illustrates. I can't see how, knowing what was in those divorce records, he can legitimately aver that the PRtK overrules the privacy of the parties involved. A 9 year old is not going to be harmed by such revelation? I know my 9 year old grand daughter would suffer greatly from something akin to this not only at home but from the public humiliation she would suffer from her peers at school.

To me, military records are pertinent to the office of president. Tax records, et al should be a private matter that have no relevance to a candidates fittness for office. Another self wonders why no one goes after the trashy backgrounds of news people? Oh, right. They're all saints. I think if the tables were turned, there would be enough red faces in journalism to outshine the sun. Like Jesus said, "let he who has not sinned cast the first stone."

(21) SemiPundit made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 11:53:45 PM | Permalink

Never in my life would I have dreamed I would see the day when so many of our fellow citizens would not only demand curtailment of the free press, but also condemn millions of us as undiscerning imbeciles who are incapable of knowing when we are deceived.

(22) polyphon made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 12:27:20 AM | Permalink

What about Kerry's medical records?
Isn't it every citizen's right to know the health of anyone vying for the Presidency?
I don't want another sickly Kennedy in office.
Didn't Kerry have prostate cancer? We needed the media to investigate the extent and nature of his cancer. I want to know his PSA, the Gleason score of his prostate cancer, and the actual pathology tissue report itself. How the hell can the DNC get away with covering all this up.

If Kerry wins, as is becoming increasingly the likely reality, we are going to be stuck with a dim-witted, narcissistic, consistently anti-American-sympathizing, fraudulent piece of piss-poor-protoplasm with cancer. When this metastatic piece of flab dies, we'll be stuck with a narcissistic, anti-American, fraud of a lawyer who will create a socialistic welfare state which will rot and cave in beneath the incredible volume and weight of worthless entitlement seekers.

(23) Paul H. made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 1:08:00 AM | Permalink

Richard R said:

"If Kerry has things in his military record that he can’t let out – and from his behavior, it appears he does – he’s vulnerable. Do we want a Commander in Chief that is deeply disliked by the military – and who the military can hold over a barrel?"

With respect, this is laughable. If you assembled all the senior military officers (Colonel and above) at the Pentagon -- privately, in an auditorium, with no civilians present -- and made this statement to them, you'd be greeted with incredulous laughter (and/or a lot of dirty looks).

The closest any of them get to "playing politics" is that some of them "leak" stuff to their favorite Congressman/Senator. If any tried to "pressure" an elected official, their careers would be blasted so fast (by their civilian superiors at DoD) it would make your head spin.

The danger is demoralization in the military, not disobedience. Hopefully if Kerry is elected he'll pick somebody competent as Secretary of Defense and let him run the place. Another Les Aspin-type appointment at DoD (Clinton's first Secy of Defense) -- coupled with a precipitate withdrawl from Iraq -- would be a disaster for military morale, but I don't think either of these things will happen (rubbing my rabbit's foot as we speak...)

The "Seven Days in May" scenario (novel & movie from early 60's) is just interesting fiction for novels and movies. My personal measure for the current equivalent of "Seven Days" is the Sean Connery movie "The Rock" (US Marines take over Alcatraz and threaten the Bay Area with nerve gas rockets!)

Great entertainment, but I wince too -- I always wonder if ignorant civilians viewing it might actually think that real Marines could defy civilian authority to the point of mutiny. Movies like this are why the DoD rarely cooperates with Hollywood movie productions anymore (in the way they used to).

The military obeyed Clinton's orders, and they will obey Kerry's as well. It'll be up to voter outrage (or lack thereof) -- and the Congress and the courts -- to regulate Kerry's behavior. I'm sure (if he's elected) he'll do whatever he thinks is in his interest to get himself reelected.

(24) Paul H. made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 2:04:26 AM | Permalink

Beldar -- I speculated about this in another thread, but I'll reiterate here in more detail.

I suspect that selected, competent, discreet, and senior Federal civil service civilian employees of DoD -- who manage the various archives of personnel files for the military branches -- are charged with watching political developments in the 50 state capitols and Washington DC. At least I hope so.

The moment an official is elected (or appointed) to a position of statewide or federal prominence -- I bet the archives are immediately checked to see if he/she has a record of military service. If so, I'd further bet that the archived "hard" copy of his/her official military personnel file is immediately removed from the general stacks and given special "storage" (where the low-ranking civilian employees working in the archives can't see it). Such a file probably stays segregated in this manner until the individual concerned dies (and maybe even long after).

A request by anyone to see such a file (in your example, the POTUS hypothetically asking for Kerry's Navy file) would probably be immediately referred to at least a general officer level supervisor (or the equivalent GS civilian grade).

If the GO/GS didn't have the authority to approve or deny such a request, he/she would then take the request up to the appropriate service Secy -- and maybe even further, to the office of the SecDef.

One imagines the response to such a POTUS request for Kerry's file as occasioning a personal visit to Karl Rove's office. Perhaps by the Pentagon admiral in charge of the Navy's personnel command -- to ask Rove personally if he has thought this through, and really wants it "executed". The admiral would first have informed the Chief of Naval Ops and the SecNav of such a request, and have gotten the "nod" from them for such a personal visit to the White House.

Remember, Ollie North was doing his thing at the NSC (he was "attached" over to the NSC and totally outside the normal "adult" supervision afforded by the Pentagon).

I'll never forget my busy Brigade commander (full Army Colonel) taking time from his busy schedule to go to our Bde HQ break area & watch some of the televised 87 Iran-contra hearings.

He was a laconic and relaxed leader, and never said anything to us -- but in retrospect, I imagine him (and every other O-5 and O-6, in all the military branches) shaking his head in amazement, over the spectacle of a lieutenant colonel operating "outside the box" in the manner that North did.

Old political traditions and habits that we Americans of a certain age have taken for granted all our lives (such as the WWII & Cold War maxim that "politics stops at the water's edge, and the basic respect for the voting process we learned in high school civics) are being steadily degraded.

But I'm convinced that responsible military officers (both active and retired) will watch closely, to see that our tradition of total military noninvolvement in politics (which has its origins in the conduct of George Washington as both military commander and later President) is not similarly degraded.

(25) UpNights made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 4:48:59 AM | Permalink

On a previous post about this issue, you discussed the point someone made that a less-than-honorable discharge might have prevented Kerry from passing the bar. However, if these military records are kept so secret, couldn't Kerry have neglected to mention any irregularities with his military discharge, with no risk that anybody could have checked him on it?

(26) perfectsense made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 5:13:36 AM | Permalink

Not exactly equivalent records, but in order to smear her, the Clinton administration was able to leak Linda Tripp’s personnel records at the Pentagon and the press cheer Clinton on.

(27) slim made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 6:06:36 AM | Permalink


It's actually worse than you think. In fact, Senator Kerry WAS asked by a major media outlet why he did not release all of his military, tax and medical records.

It happened on Meet The Press, and the questioner was Tim Russert. When pressed on his military records by Russert, Kerry said that ALL of his military records were posted publicly on his website.

Here is the relavent portion of the transcript:

"MR. RUSSERT: The Boston Globe reports that your commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Grant Hibberd has suggested that you perhaps didn't earn your first Purple Heart and question whether you should have left Vietnam after six months. In order to deal with those kinds of issues, when I asked President Bush about his service in the Texas Guard, he agreed to release all his military records, health records, everything. Would you agree to release all your military records?

SEN. KERRY: I have. I've shown them--they're available to you to come and look at. I think that's a very unfair characterization by that person. I mean, politics is politics. The medical records show that I had shrapnel removed from my arm. We were in combat. We were in a very, very--probably one of the most frightening--if you ask anybody who was with me, the two guys who were with me, was probably the most frightening night that they had that they were in Vietnam and we're...

MR. RUSSERT: But you'll make all your records public.

SEN. KERRY: They are. People can come and see them at headquarters and take a look at them. I'm not going to--but I'll tell you this. I'm proud of my service. I'm proud of what we did. I know what happened. And the Navy 35 years ago made a decision and it's the Navy's decision and I think it was the right decision.

MR. RUSSERT: Your wife said recently--a few years ago--that you had bad nightmares, which were very frightening, about Vietnam. Do you still have nightmares?

SEN. KERRY: No, I don't. I don't, but I did for a period of time. You know, movement or sounds might jostle you into a kind of awareness. I don't know a lot of people who were in combat who haven't had them, but, no, I don't anymore, I'm glad to say. I don't even have nightmares about George Bush and this election, Tim."

Pretty clearly, Kerry lied through his teeth about releasing his military and medical records, and in the very next sentence, suggests he has Post Traumatic Stresss Disorder.

Russert's followup was quintessential MSM behavior ... he cut to a commercial.

See the complete transcript here:


(28) ncoic6 made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 6:54:03 AM | Permalink


Was this an innocent NBC mistake? Maybe. And, maybe not.

When the NBC transcript was released on Thursday, the blogosphere including you picked up on the fact that Kerry's comment about his records was not true. It dealt with an extremely sensitive issue that the Kerry campaign has been trying to avoid.

Last night, Kerry's reply was edited in mid-sentence. That took some doing, even by a technician.

Given what has gone in the MSM media this election season, it just as likely that someone from the Kery campaign got to NBC.

It is worth not letting go.

(29) SuperDave made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 7:54:20 AM | Permalink

"If John Kerry is elected, he will take office with unplumbed secrets that directly relate to his fitness to be President, and that the mainstream media have willfully and consistently ignored."

Of course once John Kerry is President(God help us!), then the MSM will "turn on him" and embarrass us as a nation. They will say that it is not their fault, that the voters elected who "they" wanted. And, of course, that was not based on what the MSM did (or DID NOT DO) to portray the "real" John Kerry, was it?

(30) b C made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 7:59:46 AM | Permalink

Even as a Canadian, I'd willingly contribute to the legal defense fund for the US patriot who had the cajones - and means - to root out the truth on John Fraud Kerry!


(31) Larry R Duncan made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 8:10:36 AM | Permalink

When I was in Uncle Sam's Walking Army, sometime before Kerry served, one of the things that kept us in line was the threat that if we got an other than honorable discharge, not just a dishonorable (there are several levels of bad discharges), was that it would become part of our permanent record and that we would never be able to get a job in civilian life. Did the dishonorable discharge threat lose its bite in the 70's with the privacy laws? And is that an unintended consequence of those laws? Poke a little bitty officer in the nose, get out of the Army via a Special Court Martial with a bad conduct discharge, go back to civilian life with no one the wiser.

I wish I had known that when I was "in" since there was at least one little bitty officer who I would have gladly busted in the nose. Especially if there had been no real consequences in civilian life.

Larry R Duncan

(32) SemiPundit made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 8:43:31 AM | Permalink

Is our Canadian neighbor satisfied that we need look no further into Mr. Bush's past?

Also, Mr. Duncan, is that all that happens when one assaults an officer?

(33) Kyda Sylvester made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 9:12:43 AM | Permalink


According to accounts I've read, on their first date Senator Kerry took Ms. Delaney to his place where he screened "Lt. Kerry's Excellent Viet Nam Adventure". There was no second date. Ms. Delaney seems an imminently sensible woman who deserves a return to the top of your hit parade.

And that is my irrelevant comment for the day.

(34) Larry R Duncan made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 9:25:40 AM | Permalink

SemiPundit - Yeah, Special Court Martial, 6 months in the stockade (not bad if your are looking at a couple more years in the Army), forteiture of all pay and allowances, a BCD and a ticket home. But in my day a blight on your permanent record. The little bitty officer I had in my sights was really not so little bitty, just a sissy with a Cephalic Index of 50, so while a narrow target it was plenty lantern jawed enough to not have to aim very carefully.

Mere assault seems to pale in comparison to consorting with the enemy. The UCMJ mandates a maximum of about six months and forfeiture of all pay and allowances for the one, the other can carry a death penalty.

Larry R Duncan

(35) ed andrews made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 9:28:15 AM | Permalink

I must have missed something here. Isn't Bush the one with missing military records?

(36) Larry R Duncan made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 9:38:18 AM | Permalink

ed andrews - The only Bush records that were missing were a couple of forged "memos to the file". Oh, that's right, Dan Rather found those missing records.

Larry R Duncan

(37) Dimsdale made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 10:56:18 AM | Permalink

NBC has done to transcripts what Micheal Moore had done to documentaries: bastardized the term.

In both cases, there is an inherent expectation of truth and accuracy, which now has been completely exorcised.

I think it is time for a no doubt huge webpage that exposes the bias of the press, with timelined and quotes, i.e. the Kerry/Bush service records, the Dodd/Lott comments about Thurmond/Byrd (respectively), etc., etc., etc., etc.

It might eventually sink into the minds of the "great unwashed."

(38) b C made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 11:46:19 AM | Permalink

It's a simple matter of this Canadian neigbour waking up each morning feeling very secure in the knowledge that GWB and your fine troops are covering his derrière as well.

The LameStreamMedia down there have reamed GWB's record to within an inch (that's 2.54 centimetres, up here) of his life ... Cute, but still no cigar, eh!

BTW, perhaps someone could enlighten me on US Politics 101: Were he (perish the thought) to have fooled the majority of voters the majority of the time by November 2, on January 21, 2005, could an anticipated Republican-dominated House and Senate not immediately commence impeachment proceedings against John Fraud Kerry to force the exposure of his perfidious record?

Enquiring Canuck minds want to know.

(39) SemiPundit made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 2:55:34 PM | Permalink

I fully expect that by the end of January the impeachment proceedings against President Kerry will begin.

(40) Paul H. made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 4:57:21 PM | Permalink

No BC (if your question is serious). There are no grounds (remember "high crimes and misdemeanors"?).

Lord almighty don't wish something like that on us again. The cure is worse than the disease. We survived 8 years of Clinton and we'd survive 4 of Kerry.

Most Republican members of the House wouldn't vote for articles of impeachment to be sent to the Senate. Even if they did, there is no way that 2/3 of the Senate would vote to convict, any more than they did Clinton.

Impeachment by the House and trial in the Senate was not meant by the founders to reverse the result of an election. The backlash would be so enormous that the House and Senate would go Democratic again in 2006.

(41) b C made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 6:03:40 PM | Permalink

Paul H:
The question was indeed sincere; your observations, among others, adds immensely to this particularly-interested foreigner's appreciation of the US system. Thanks.
JAT's comment elsewhwere on the topic is also profound ... "Careful - Edwards would be POTUS - he - more than Kerry is even less qualified to run this country."

(42) poll troll made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 10:52:14 PM | Permalink


Best Poll for undecided voters;

Since 1956, Weekly Reader students in grades 1-12 have correctly picked the president


Weekly Reader kids select Bush in Presidential Poll

The students who read Weekly Reader’s magazines have made their preference for President known: they want to send President Bush back to the White House.

The results of this year’s Weekly Reader poll have just been announced, and the winner is President Bush. Hundreds of thousands of students participated, giving the Republican President more than 60% of the votes cast and making him a decisive choice over Democratic Senator John Kerry.

Since 1956, Weekly Reader students in grades 1-12 have correctly picked the president, making the Weekly Reader poll one of the most accurate predictors of presidential outcomes in history.

(43) M. Simon made the following comment | Nov 2, 2004 7:04:14 AM | Permalink

I'm a Jack Ryan Republican from Illinois.

It is hard to see how Jack could have done worse than Keyes who is 40 points down in a State where Bush is only 10 points down.

I mean even divorced Jerri has got to be worth 10 points. Especially divorced. Then she can be shown in her full splendor without the Republican madonna factor.

The sex club bit has got to be worth another 5 points true or false. Imaginations gone wild.

So Ryan in my estimation would have been down at most 5 points from Bush. Respectable. Keyes is 30 points down from Bush.

Keyes is a disgrace inflicted on us by Syverson and Manzullo. Fools.

Illinois is a RINO State. An Al Capone State. Sure we have Christian enclaves. But it is not the state.

Nice pics by the way. I'll take Jerri over Morgan - given the choice. Of course if I have no choice I'll just have to make do. :-)

(44) mshyde made the following comment | Nov 2, 2004 12:49:46 PM | Permalink

paul h comments:

"The "Seven Days in May" scenario (novel & movie from early 60's) is just interesting fiction for novels and movies. My personal measure for the current equivalent of "Seven Days" is the Sean Connery movie "The Rock" (US Marines take over Alcatraz and threaten the Bay Area with nerve gas rockets!)"

Sadly Kerry has used the scenarios from 'Apocalypse Now' as the background for his self immolation of war crimes he testified to in Congress. He uses things made up of science fiction as his reality all of the time. He continously protrays himself as a star or lead actor of whatever scenery he happens to find himself currently planted in. You only need to look at some of the photo ops that have captured his play acting over and over. Ducks r Us anyone?

As to the media. There needs to be a national grass roots movement to clean up the yellow journalism that has plagued this country for the past 40 years. Right along with this we can start on our local levels to cleaning house of corruption and the rampant socialist leaning pertards that have been sucking at the teat for way too long.

I pray we will see a national effort of healing the ill and dying Democratic party as well, sending the denizons of those like Michael Moore back into the grimy swamps they oozed out of.

(45) mshyde made the following comment | Nov 2, 2004 12:59:19 PM | Permalink

I personally will not make any predictions as to Kerrys status if he wins. If elected and then it's revealed, maybe by a Ginsberg outing, that Kerry did indeed recieve a less than honorable discharge a hard decision will have to be made by our congress.
I agree, I don't think he'll be impeached but he will be effectively hamstrung until re elections roll round again. The last thing we need is Edwards at the helm!

(46) mshyde made the following comment | Nov 2, 2004 1:01:38 PM | Permalink

I personally will not make any predictions as to Kerrys status if he wins. If elected and then it's revealed, maybe by a Ginsberg outing, that Kerry did indeed recieve a less than honorable discharge a hard decision will have to be made by our congress.
I agree, I don't think he'll be impeached but he will be effectively hamstrung until re elections roll round again. The last thing we need is Edwards at the helm!

(47) Toga made the following comment | Nov 11, 2004 9:25:54 AM | Permalink

I aggree with Larry!!!!!!!!!!

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