Thursday, October 28, 2004

Somewhere In Wisconsin...

Bruce Springsteen was in Madison, Wisconsin today campaigning for John Kerry.

Meanwhile...somewhere in Wisconsin, there is someone who wanted to express their gratitude to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney...

Watch the video of Bruce Springsteen and John Kerry in Madison, Wisconsin!


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I support Kerry because I think it's time we played a little
"good cop-bad cop" with these terrorists. Bush did pretty
well playing the bad cop (though he did botch it a little),
and it's good that Saddam's gone. But now I think it's
time for us to put on a new face, and reach out to moderates
in the middle east. Kerry's going to be an expert diplomat
and he's going to get people around the world on our side
against these murderers.
His father was a diplomat, and he himself has been a trial
lawyer, a senator, and a soldier in a foreign country. All
these roles require a fine hand, a good diplomatic ear for
addressing people's needs and getting past difficulties and
differences. So I'm not worried at all that Kerry's going
to be the one we need to step in and be the "good cop".

by leaders

1:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With only four days until election day, I am still undecided. I have a list of questions for both candidates, one I sent to the GOP site (since they don't have a blog, why I don't know) and I will post my questions for Senator Kerry here. Obviously he won't be answering personally, but I wonder if some of you who have made up your minds already could tell me what you think the answers might be. I haven't seen any of this covered by the press and my web searches have just yielded opinion and GOP propaganda on the matter, so I thought I'd come straight to the source.

Where were you on Christmas of 1968? If you weren't in Cambodia, why did you say you were on the floor of the Senate and that this moment was seared in your memory?

What atrocities did you commit in Vietnam?

What impact do you think your anti-war protest had on POWs and fellow Vets?

Why did you write in your journal that you had never been under fired AFTER you had already applied for a purple heart?

What happened during your Paris meetings with the North Vietnamese while the war was still going on?

Why didn’t you take the free airtime Sinclair offered you to respond to their broadcast on your post-Vietnam activities?

Why don’t you think they have the right to broadcast the documentary “Stolen Honor”?

Why haven’t you signed the form to allow all of your military records released to the public?

Why did Bob Dole and Barry Goldwater resign from the Senate to run for President, while you and John Edwards have not?

Why were you so sure that no one in the second debate audience could possibly make $200,000 a year, even jointly with a spouse?

Why did you and John Edwards both mention Mary Cheney's homosexuality during the debates when the questions had nothing to do with her?

Where in the Constitution is a woman’s “right” to a federally funded abortion?

How can you simultaneously say that your “faith” can’t influence your political views and that faith without works is dead and that your faith influences everything you do?

Why did you vote against the first Gulf War? Why did that war not pass your “Global Test”?

Can you please explain how your vote for the second Iraq War was simply to provide a bargaining chip, when your numerous statements for years prior to the vote indicate that was clearly not the case?

Why should any future pro-war vote in the Senate not be taken less seriously by prospective enemies thanks to your explanation of your vote?

What evidence is there that one million black voters were disenfranchised in 2000?

If that charge is not true, as two federal investigations have concluded, does it not create and exacerbate the divisions in this country that you constantly decry and blame the President for?

What evidence is there that a second Bush Administration would impose a draft or raid social security?

How was it exactly that the President caused the national and political unity to be destroyed post 9/11 and why don’t the Democrats deserve a lot of criticism for that happening?

Do you believe that General Tommy Franks, when he says you are dead wrong about what happened in Tora Bora in the pursuit of Usama bin Laden, that he is lying?

Do you believe that when John Edwards was channeling unborn children as a trial lawyer suing doctors that he was lying in order to exploit the emotions of the juries to get more money from them, or that he really has this ability?

Do you agree with Senator Edwards that if you had been President instead of Bush that Christopher Reeve would have walked instead of died?

Since you ridiculed John Edwards’ qualifications for President what can Americans conclude about other appointments you would make based on the fact that you chose him to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency?

How are your insulting comments about the Iraq coalition in general and Iyad Allawi in particular consistent with your promise to be the diplomacy President?

In light of the U.N. Oil/Food Scandal, why should we care what the U.N. says and why should the Bush Administration be criticized for the lack of a U.N. resolution authorizing war in Iraq?

Is it a coincidence that you have not once but twice married women who are richer than you?

Why is it that your friends were shocked to find out that you were finally divorced from your first wife, whom you left while she was very depressed, because you had acted like a bachelor for so long?

Why is it that in 20 years in the Senate you are not known for one major idea, bill, or initiative?

When you go to Communion in Catholic Church, which some say you shouldn’t receive because of your stance on abortion, do you believe that you are receiving the ACTUAL body and blood of Jesus Christ?

How much of Michael Moore’s movie is true and if there are falsehoods, name two.

Thanks! I look forward to some answers on these issues!


1:58 AM  
Blogger Ron Chusid said...

To respond to the first comment, the good cop bad copy idea doesn't really apply well, but I see your ultimate point.

It is not possible to be good cop to actual al Qaeda supporters, but what is needed is to differentiate between moderate Arabs and radicals. Kerry is right in planning to be strong against the radical and terrorist factions, but also recongnizes the need to win the hearts and minds of the moderates.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Ron Chusid said...

Obviously John Kerry is not around this blog to respond to the questions in the second comment above. There are far too many to comment on now (especially as I'm in a hurry to catch John Edwards in a couple of hours--hopefully I'll be able to get some good pictures for here and the official blog).

The questions indicate a considerable amount of misinformation on Kerry's past and on his positions--not surprising considering that Bush as based his campaign on spreading such misinformation. For those interested in looking at more factual information on Kerry,I suggest the Kerry 2004 Reference Library, which has over 2000 articles from multiple newspapers and magazine. The site is at:

7:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Herecomesthepaininthe..., you are right to question whether you can make decision on the candidate for whom you should vote. Don't vote for either. You are just too much trouble. Stay home.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, hercomesetc, John Kerry was in Cambodia in 1968 on President Nixon's orders. It was a secret mission. John shouldn't have let the cat out of the bag, but we were going to Chung King to rescue the POWs and end the war. I guess now it can be told.

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll let you all know. I was with JFK on the boat and the mission was canceled because a Texas Air National Guard pilot got drunk and leaked the secret to the Vietnam ambassador.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Ron Chusid said...

The Cambodia question was settled a while back in Kerry's favor. Not only did the evidence ultimately show that Kerry was telling the truth about Cambodia, but it turned out that O'Neill wasn't being very honest or consistent:

Swift Boat Writer Lied on Cambodia Claim

Wed Aug 25, 7:17 PM ET

By ELIZABETH WOLFE, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The chief critic of John Kerry (news - web sites)'s military record told President Nixon in 1971 that he had been in Cambodia in a swift boat during the Vietnam War — a claim at odds with his recent statements that he was not.
"I was in Cambodia, sir. I worked along the border," said John E. O'Neill in a conversation that was taped by the former president's secret recording system. The tape is stored at the National Archives in College Park, Md.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, O'Neill did not dispute what he said to Nixon, but insisted he was never actually in Cambodia.

"I think I made it very clear that I was on the border, which is exactly where I was for three months. I was about 100 yards from Cambodia," O'Neill said in clarifying the June 16, 1971, conversation with Nixon.

Chad Clanton, a spokesman for the Democratic presidential candidate, said the tape "is just the latest in a long line of lies and false statements from a group trying to smear John Kerry's military service. Again, they're being proven liars with their own words. It's time for President Bush (news - web sites) to stand up and specifically condemn this smear."

O'Neill served in Vietnam from 1969-70 and says in a recent book that he took command of Kerry's swift boat after the future Massachusetts senator returned home from the war.

O'Neill has emerged as a leading figure in the attacks on Kerry's war record. He is co-author of "Unfit for Command," which accuses Kerry of lying about his record, and is a member of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which has aired two television commercials harshly critical of Kerry.

In the book, O'Neill wrote that Kerry's accounts of having been in Cambodia on Christmas Eve of 1968 "are complete lies."

"... Kerry was never ordered into Cambodia by anyone and would have been court-martialed had he gone there," he wrote. O'Neill wrote that the Navy positioned its own craft along the border area to make sure no American vessels strayed across the border from Vietnam.

In an interview Sunday on ABC's "This Week" O'Neill said: "Our boats didn't go north of, only slightly north of Sedek," which he said was about 50 miles from the Cambodian border.

Kerry's campaign has acknowledged that he may not have been in Cambodia on Christmas Eve of 1968, as he has previously stated. The campaign says Kerry does recall being on patrol along the Cambodia-Vietnam border on that date, although it's unclear if he crossed into Cambodia.

Referring to the tape of the Oval Office meeting with Nixon, O'Neill criticized Kerry for making claims, including in the Senate, that he was in Cambodia.

"I've never represented on the floor of the Senate, or told people 50 times like John Kerry did that I was in Cambodia. That never happened. And I don't think he was ever there either," O'Neill said.

The snippet of taped conversation surfaced after more than a week of controversy surrounding claims that Kerry lied about his actions in a war in which he won five military medals. The Democrat and his allies have vigorously attacked such claims as a smear, laboring to undermine the charges as well as cast doubt on the men who are making them.

For his part, Kerry accused the swift boat group of being a "front group" that was doing Bush's dirty work.

The Bush campaign denies any involvement with Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.


Associated Press writer Jennifer C. Kerr contributed to this report.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Ron Chusid said...

Holiday in Cambodia
The "Christmas Eve" attack on Kerry is cheap and almost certainly wrong.
By Fred Kaplan
Posted Monday, Aug. 23, 2004, at 4:04 PM PT

Kerry's Christmas story rings true
It is a twisted state of affairs that George W. Bush's most avid surrogates are trying to make this election turn on the question of whether Lt. John Kerry was or was not in Cambodia on Christmas Eve 1968.

Having pretty much failed at their efforts to disprove the official U.S. Navy account of Kerry's valor in battle as skipper of a "Swift boat" patrolling the Mekong Delta, the veterans against Kerry have moved to discredit his more obscure claim—made a few times over the years, in interviews and Senate floor speeches—that, on Dec. 24, he took CIA or special ops forces across the border into Cambodia, even while Washington claimed no American troops were there.

Kerry first told this story publicly in an article published in the Boston Herald on Oct. 14, 1979, before he was a senator:

I remember Christmas Eve of 1968, five miles across the Cambodian border being shot at by our South Vietnamese allies who were drunk and celebrating Christmas.

He elaborated the tale on March 27, 1986, during a Senate debate over whether to aid the Nicaraguan contras:

I remember Christmas of 1968, sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia. I remember what it was like to be shot at by Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge and Cambodians and have the President of the United States telling the American people that I was not there, the troops were not in Cambodia. I have that memory which is seared—seared—in me.

A more intriguing reference—now known as "the famous good-luck-hat story"—was made in a Washington Post profile, by Laura Blumenfeld, published on June 1, 2003:

There's a secret compartment in Kerry's briefcase. He carries the black attache everywhere. Asked about it on several occasions, Kerry brushed it aside. Finally, trapped in an interview, he exhaled and clicked open his case.

"Who told you?" he demanded as he reached inside. "My friends don't know about this."

The hat was a little mildewy. The green camouflage was fading, the seams fraying.

"My good luck hat," Kerry said, happy to see it. "Given to me by a CIA guy as we went in for a special mission in Cambodia."

But now some anti-Kerry veterans are saying he was never in Cambodia. John O'Neill, who has been dogging Kerry more than 30 years, told Matt Drudge that the senator's Christmas-in-Cambodia stories "are complete lies." As evidence, he cites Kerry's own wartime diary, as quoted in Douglas Brinkley's Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War. That book—according to Drudge's account of it—places Kerry in Sa Dec, 50 miles away from Cambodia, on Christmas Eve, and seemingly at peace. "Visions of sugarplums really do dance through your head," Kerry wrote in his diary that night, "and you think of stockings and snow and roast chestnuts and fires with birch logs and all that is good and warm and real."

That passage is on Page 219 of Brinkley's book. But O'Neill, Drudge, and the other sneerers choose to ignore the 10 preceding pages—the opening pages of a chapter called "Death in the Delta." On Christmas Eve 1968, Brinkley writes, Kerry and his crew:

headed their Swift north by the Cho Chien River to its junction with the My Tho only miles from the Cambodian border. … Kerry began reading up on Cambodia's history in a book he had borrowed from the floating barracks in An Thoi. … He even read about a 1959 Pentagon study titled "Psychological Observations: Cambodia," which … state[d] that Cambodians "cannot be counted on to act in any positive way for the benefit of U.S. aims and policies." [Italics added.]

Brinkley also quotes from Kerry's diary: "It was early morning, not yet light. Ours was the only movement on the river, patrolling near the Cambodian line." [Italics added.] Brinkley continues: "At a bend just as they were approaching the Cambodian border, two [U.S. river-patrol boats] met the Swift." Then, again from Kerry's diary: "Suddenly, there is an explosion and a mortar lands on the bank near all three boats." The next few pages detail a ferocious firefight, one part of which involved (as his diary noted) "the ridiculous waste of being shot at by your own allies."

Only a few hours later, in the evening, did Kerry's boat reach the stationing area of Sa Dec. "The night for once is comforting," Kerry wrote in his diary, "and you take a Coke and some peanut butter and jelly and go up on the roof of the cabin with your tape recorder and sit for a while, quietly watching flares float silently through the sky and flashes announce disquieting intent somewhere in the distance." It is in this context that Kerry then wrote, in a letter to home, about "visions of sugarplums" and thinking of "snow and roast chestnuts."

So let's review the situation. On Christmas Eve 1968, Kerry's Swift boat and at least two river-patrol boats were doing something unusual (Kerry wrote that he'd never been so far in-country) at least in the vicinity of the border—"near the Cambodian line," as he put it in his diary. And Kerry had with him a book that described a Pentagon study on psychological operations against Cambodia.

It is certain that by this time, the United States had long been making secret incursions across the border. This is from Page 24 of William Shawcross' 1979 book, Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon, and the Destruction of Cambodia:

Since May 1967, when the U.S. Military Command in Saigon became concerned at the way the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong were evading American "search and destroy" and air attacks in Vietnam by making more use of bases in Laos and Cambodia, the U.S. Special Forces had been running special, highly classified missions into the two countries. Their code name was Daniel Boone.

The Daniel Boone teams entered Cambodia all along its 500-mile frontier with South Vietnam from the lonely, craggy, impenetrable mountain forests in the north, down to the well-populated and thickly reeded waterways along the Mekong River. [Italics added.]

We know that Kerry's boat and two others were in those reeds on Christmas Eve '68.

The Cambodian special forces' incursions—which were conducted without the knowledge, much less approval, of Congress—were escalating around that time. Just over a month later, on Feb. 9, 1969, Gen. Creighton Abrams, commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam, requested a B-52 bombing attack on a Communist camp inside Cambodia. (Richard Nixon, the new president, approved the plan on March 17; the first strikes of Operation Breakfast—the secret bombing of Cambodia—started the next day.) Shawcross writes that special forces were always sent across the border to survey the area for targets just before an air operation.

Did Kerry cross the border or just go up to it? We may never know for sure. Not much paperwork exists for covert operations (officially, U.S. forces weren't in Cambodia). Nor is it likely that a canny Swift-boat skipper (and Kerry was nothing if not canny) would jot down thoughts about such covert operations in a diary on a boat that might be captured by the enemy.

The circumstances at least suggest that Kerry was indeed involved in a "black" mission, even if he had never explicitly made that claim. And why would he make such claims if he hadn't been? It was neither a glamorous nor a particularly admirable mission—certainly nothing to boast of.

But one thing is for sure: Lt. Kerry did not spend that Christmas Eve just lying around, dreaming of sugarplums and roasted chestnuts. He had plenty of time to cover the 40 miles from the Cambodian border to the safety of Sa Dec (he did command a swift boat, after all). More to the point, the evidence indicates he did cover those 40 miles: He was near (or in?) Cambodia in the morning, in Sa Dec that night.

Fred Kaplan writes the "War Stories" column for Slate.
Photograph of John Kerry on the Slate home page by Getty Images/Agence France Presse.

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the guys on the boat can verify the story. Lefty, Little Joe, Sam the Sham, Popeye, Sparks, Gimpy and Walrus will all vouch for JFK's story.

7:38 PM  
Blogger Ron Chusid said...

I believe the names are incorrect, but there are people who can vouch for John Kerry.

That's more than can be said for George Bush during the period he was assigned to the Alabama National Guard.

11:10 PM  

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