17 Nov 2007

Who’s Squirming Now?

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With characteristic intellectual dishonesty, leftist Jane Hamsher (along with the rest of the Left Blogosphere) is accusing T. Boone Pickens of reneging on a pledge made November 6th at the American Spectator 40th Anniversary Dinner.

RedState.com reports Pickens to have offered to bet $1 million that John Kerry could not prove “anything the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth said in 2004 was false.”

Clarice Feldman
, at American Thinker, in reporting on the events of the evening, also wrote:

T. Boone Pickens responded to John F. Kerry’s latest whining about his having been “swiftboated” by offering a million dollars to anyone who could prove wrong anything the Swiftboat Veterans charged about Kerry.

Pickens offered a $1 million bet that any of the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth’s charges cannot be disproved by John Kerry. Now, John Kerry, and his friends on the Left generally, want to collect that million dollars and claim vindication for John Kerry, if Kerry can simply make his own choice of any single proposition, and deliver a persuasive counterargument.

All arguments with the American Left descend quickly to the school yard level, don’t they?

I remember the 2004 election very well. John Kerry, in what seemed like a bizarre choice, chose to try running for president as a war hero. Since John Kerry’s political career was founded on his leftwing antiwar activities, and since he had already been an opponent of the War in Vietnam at Yale (before he enlisted in the Navy in order to avoid being drafted), there was more than a little incongruity in Kerry’s attempting to combine two completely incompatible stances.

The Swift Boat Veterans For Truth did devastating injury to Kerry’s claims to military glory with a book and a series of political ads. If John Kerry was really in a position to refute their charges, the time for him to have done so was really back during the Campaign of 2004 when the presidency was at stake.

Once the election was concluded, Kerry and his allies in the establishment media began trying to turn the tables, making “swiftboating” into a term of abuse, and depicting John Kerry as some sort of injured innocent.

Long after the votes had been counted, in June of 2005, Kerry released (some? all?) of his Navy Records only to the Boston Globe, a reliably liberal and democrat paper. The Globe dutifully obfuscated by carefully overlooking any and all of the controversial aspects of Kerry’s military record and producing a distracting and meaningless exposé of Kerry’s grades at Yale.

According to Kerry’s supporters in the MSM, that release of records to the Globe “definitively proved the baselessness of smears by the anti-Kerry group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.”

In 2005, a group of unpublished and unreported records released to a single partisan newspaper supposedly sufficed to refute all the charges against John Kerry.

Now, in November of 2007, according to the Left, all John Kerry needs to do is to go carefully through John E. O’Neill’s Unfit for Command and the Swift Boat Veterans’ ads with a fine-toothed comb to find one single contention, one individual detail, one specific item in a very long bill of charges which he can decisively refute, and voilá! Kerry wins, Pickens and the Swifties lose.

Sorry, lefties, a million dollars is a serious amount of money, and the issues at stake here are serious issues, Kerry and the Left cannot really hope to win this one by a clever little last-tag children’s-game maneuver, or by skillful lawyering, or by the grace and favor of the MSM.

T. Boone Pickens responded yesterday:

DALLAS, Nov. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following is a copy of a letter mailed by T. Boone Pickens in response to a letter from U.S. Senator John Kerry regarding the Senator’s military record and ads in the 2004 presidential election by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

U.S. Senator John Kerry
304 Russell Building
Third Floor
Washington DC 20510

Dear Senator Kerry:

So glad to hear from you regarding the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth political ad campaign, and an offer I made public at an American Spectator dinner in Washington, D.C. last week. I am intrigued by your letter, and am certainly open to your challenge.

My concern at the Spectator Dinner was, and continues to be, that you and other political figures were and are maligning the Swift Boat Veterans, and I want to prevent this important part of American history from being unfairly portrayed.

In order to disprove the accuracy of the Swift Boat ads, I will ultimately need you to provide the following:

    1) The journal you maintained during your service in Vietnam.

    2) Your military record, specifically your service records for the years 1971-1978, and copies of all movies and tapes made during your service.

When you have done so, if you can then prove anything in the ads was materially untrue, I will gladly award $1 million. As you know, I have been a long and proud supporter of the American military and veterans’ causes. I now challenge you to make this commitment: If you cannot prove anything in the Swift Boat ads to be untrue, that you will make a $1 million gift to the charity I am choosing — the Medal of Honor Foundation.


T. Boone Pickens

Sounds fair to me.

I’d say John Kerry has made another mistake in trying to play this game. And all the nonsense the left Blogosphere can post will not save him. If Kerry thinks he can refute the Swift Boat Veterans’ charges, he is going to have to release his personal and official records, to the entire press corps, not just to a pet hometown paper. If he refuses to do so, he may not have to pay $1 million, but he will clearly have lost this particular bet.

18 Feedbacks on "Who’s Squirming Now?"


Pickens should live up to the terms of the challenge he made instead of trying to change the offer when he’s called on it. He’s showing he has as little honor as the Swiftboaters but then he did bankroll them didn’t he?

The US Army is short 35,000 majors and captains even though it offers $35,000 bonuses to those who re-up these days. It has lowered it’s recruitment standards time and again over the last four years even with other huge bonuses for enlisted. Seems a lot of soldiers don’t want to die for the latest mistake.


The viewpoint that, if John Kerry can disprove any tiny little detail in a very long list, he should win Picken’s million dollars, because Pickens apparently spoke so imprecisely, is kind of pathetic, isn’t it?

The Left can’t win, unless we set up the game so that it can’t lose, eh?

Face it. If John Kerry could disprove the key features of what his comrades-in-arms said about him, he would have disproved them when it counted, during the 2004 Campaign.

Keep watching this blog. If Kerry keeps up making noise on this one, I’ll supply some analysis of the charges against Kerry made by the Swifties, one by one.




If you bothered to read Unfit for Command, you would find many medals awarded to the 200 plus Veterans including the Congressional Medal of Honor.

It is easy for someone who is annonymous to claim dishonor in others, but perhaps a little more difficult to be credible in doing so.

I know you probably think of any of us that served are fools and worse. I halfway agree.

I think that any time in the 9.5 years that I served, that could be alotted to defending you, were likely wasted.



I was directed here by Memeorandum. Irealize you probably know nothing about D H Lawrence but the fact that you could use a Lawrence quote to name this blog is very disheartening.

I am someone who wishes we did not have these phony divisions between left and right, red and blue. I think our coutry has a great soul which is dieing from a billion papercuts.

But I am writing to say that I am always amazed at the way people kiss the ass of the rich in this country. T. Boone Pickens is your hero for reasons that are beyond me. It is amazing you claim heriatage with Lawrence and Thoreau and then voice such subservience. I am not (NOT) saying you have to be a liberal or progressive, but you could at least be more of a man and less of a rich guy’s unpaid butler.

Pickens is Gerald from Women in Love, only without the tragic possibility of a soul. Our politics are like Lawrence poem Tourist:

There is nothing to see.
Everything has been seen to death.

It is amazing how divided we are as apeople and over so little except fawning over the rich. I wonder how you would react if Paris Hilton issued a challene and then changed her mind.



“these phony divisions between left and right, red and blue.”

“rich guy’s unpaid butler”

“fawning over the rich”

So, if I agree with a rich guy that you disagree with, an ad hominem is sufficient to make a point?


dear Dave

I don’t understand your point. You write an Oprah like “You go girl!” “Whooweet!” fan letter in support of Mr. Pickens when he decides to take back his offer. Instead of paying a million dollars for proof that any fact in those ads was incorrect, now he wants to rummage:

a. through Kerry’s diary


b. through the service records of the time Kerry was NO longer in the Navy.

I am a great admirer of DH Lawrence. My point was that I never expected to see a column that so clearly celebrates the rich for being rich liars use a D H Lawrence quote as its name.

Now I realize that you got the quote from a “Famous Quotes” and have never read DH Lawrence, but it is disheartening.


One additional thing that is disheartening. Whatever Kerry did or did not do in Viet Nam, he went. He was shot at. He risked his life. The hatred we call discourse in this country would have us believe that he planned to go and be shot at so he could claim to be a hero.

That crafty Kerry knew the Viet Cong bullets would miss, knew he would receive these awards for his service.

DH Lawrence would have a field day with the hypocrisy of those who criticize Kerry and lionize the time President Bush spent in the Air National Guard.

It is disheartening to see a great nation die of a million papercuts to its soul.


First of all, you’re mistquoting Red State. They reported that Pickens bet that NO ONE (not even Kerry) could prove anything SBVT said in 2004 was false.

Just like Clarice said.

So the offer was made to anyone, not just John Kerry.

Oh, and your claim that Kerry released his records in 2005 to “a single partisan newspaper ” is also wrong. He gave access to the LA Times and the Associated Press, in addition to the Boston Globe. Not to mention the unrestricted access he gave to Douglas Brinkley long before that.

And sorry, parse it as you like, but Pickens did indeed change the terms of the offer, in a very dishonest way. For instance:

1. His offer was to ANYONE.

Now it’s anyone but John Kerry, unless Kerry jumps through ever higher hoops.

I mean, did Pickens expect that if Joe Blow responded to his offer, he would have service records, movies and tapes, and a war journal? Tch tch.

2. His challenge was to prove ANYTHING the SBVT charged was wrong.

Now it’s just the ADS. In other words, their opinions.

Why is Pickens only willing to defend SBVTers’ opinions? Why isn’t he willing to defend their book? Or their many articles, press releases, and media interviews?

3. He wants to choose what the evidence will be.

No. You the challenge was to disprove the charges. Kerry either makes his case or he doesn’t. Either the evidence he provides makes the case or it doesn’t.

4. He wants Kerry to provide information irrelevant to the charge being refuted.

He doesn’t demand that Kerry support his rebuttal by providing military service records, journals, and movies and tapes relevant to the issue.

Nope, he wants every piece of paper with Kerry’s name or handwriting on it, and every piece of tape or film, whether it is relevant or not. How, for instance, are Kerry’s reserve records relevant to the Silver Star award?

But is it surprising that the wingnut will do acrobatics to find any shred of logic, much less honesty, in these demands?

Not really.


Correction: the reference was to wingnuts (plural) doing acrobatics. I’m sure you’re not the only one.

Dominique R. Poirier


May I express a personal opinion about this polemic over D.H. Lawrence.

The quote is good and might perfectly reflect the mindset of a true U.S. conservative. The man who wrote it just happens to be D.H. Lawrence.

I’m conservative, but I like rock and pop music and the trouble is that most good modern music composers, singers and groups are rather liberal when not leftists; so much so that if ever I did choose to scrupulously stand by my beliefs and principles, then I would listen to barely more than Alice Cooper and about half a dozen of other groups!

So, I cut the absurd Gordian knot and listen with equal pleasure to any singer and group, and even sometimes to Joan Baez so as to exemplify the extent of my tolerance. Isn’t “Here’s to you” a beautiful song, regardless of the lyrics?

Maybe I’m just lucky to never care about lyrics since I’m only interested in melody. I’m unable to get the meaning of the lyrics since I’m half deaf anyways.

Unless I’m mistaken I guess JDZ did the same when he chose Never Yet Melted as title for his blog, but it’s the opposite here since we are no longer talking about music. No one can be totally and exclusively “right” or “wrong” and there is no such a thing as the “bad” Indians and the “good” Cow Boys; or the contrary if you prefer so.

Now, talking about Thoreau, I believe that a staunch Conservative is likely to appreciate the legendary iron will of this writer, indeed.

Personally, I would have chosen “The Americans are Protestants, and of what kind of which is the most averse to all implicit submission of mind and opinion” –Edmond Burke. But I’m pretty sure there are many others good finds available.

Just some hours ago I read a comment on Imdb.com whose author complained that the left would be hijacking the meaning of Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand, to make it a movie starring Angelina Jolie…


“Pickens is Gerald from Women in Love, only without the tragic possibility of a soul.”

Only wealthy democrat supporters have souls? Maybe Pickens is better off without a soul. He certainly has managed soullessly to long outlive (poor Gudrun-whipped) Gerald.



The left refuses to understand the reality of the situation.

Kerry got into trouble about his war record, because he chose to try to run as a war hero, despite his record as –not to put too fine a point on it– a traitor.

Nobody really cares, 30 years later, if George W. Bush missed an Air National Guard meeting, or if Kerry managed to collect a bunch of undeserved medals.

Though some of their charges are unprovable, being cases where conflicting accounts exist, the Swift Boat Veterans
definitely proved John Kerry was a liar in the case of the Xmas-in-Cambodia story.

And they reminded everyone of Kerry’s “ravaged the countryside like Genghis Khan” Senate testimony.

Benedict Arnold was a genuine war hero, but he would have had trouble getting elected president, too, a few decades after becoming a traitor.

Kerry turned against their cause, and then viciously libeled his comrades-in-arms fighting in Vietnam. His antiwar career might have been overlooked, as Clinton’s was, but Kerry wanted to run for president as a war hero. That was a very unwise choice, which, I think, reflects a deep personal neurosis within John Kerry.


M Larry

Kerry is a “traitor” for getting shot at and saving lives in Vietnam — facts confirmed by his comrades and never disproven by anyone.

The chair jockeys of this blog feel they’re in a position to wag a moral finger at Kerry?

Too funny


>>the Swift Boat Veterans
definitely proved John Kerry was a liar in the case of the Xmas-in-Cambodia story.


Response to JDZ, cont’d:

Well, no, they didn’t, actually. If you think they have, state your case, please.

The fact is they haven’t proven a single claim they’ve made about Kerry’s military service.



“Most of the debate between the former shipmates who swear by John Kerry and the group of other Swift boat veterans who are attacking his military record focuses on matters that few of us have the experience or the moral standing to judge. But one issue, having nothing to do with medals, wounds or bravery under fire, goes to the heart of Kerry’s qualifications for the presidency and is therefore something that each of us must consider. That is Kerry’s apparently fabricated claim that he fought in Cambodia.

It is an assertion he made first, insofar as the written record reveals, in 1979 in a letter to the Boston Herald. Since then he has repeated it on at least eight occasions during Senate debate or in news interviews, most recently to The Post this year (an interview posted on Kerry’s Web site). The most dramatic iteration came on the floor of the Senate in 1986, when he made it the centerpiece of a carefully prepared 20-minute oration against aid to the Nicaraguan contras.

Kerry argued that contra aid could put the United States on the path to deeper involvement despite denials by the Reagan administration of any such intent. Kerry began by reading out similar denials regarding Vietnam from presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. Then he offered this devastating riposte:

“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.”

However seared he was, Kerry’s spokesmen now say his memory was faulty. When the Swift boat veterans who oppose Kerry presented statements from his commanders and members of his unit denying that his boat entered Cambodia, none of Kerry’s shipmates came forward, as they had on other issues, to corroborate his account. Two weeks ago Kerry’s spokesmen began to backtrack. First, one campaign aide explained that Kerry had patrolled the Mekong Delta somewhere “between” Cambodia and Vietnam. But there is no between; there is a border. Then another spokesman told reporters that Kerry had been “near Cambodia.” But the point of Kerry’s 1986 speech was that he personally had taken part in a secret and illegal war in a neutral country. That was only true if he was “in Cambodia,” as he had often said he was. If he was merely “near,” then his deliberate misstatement falsified the entire speech.

Next, the campaign leaked a new version through the medium of historian Douglas Brinkley, author of “Tour of Duty,” a laudatory book on Kerry’s military service. Last week Brinkley told the London Telegraph that while Kerry had been 50 miles from the border on Christmas, he “went into Cambodian waters three or four times in January and February 1969 on clandestine missions.” Oddly, though, while Brinkley devotes nearly 100 pages of his book to Kerry’s activities that January and February, pinpointing the locations of various battles and often placing Kerry near Cambodia, he nowhere mentions Kerry’s crossing into Cambodia, an inconceivable omission if it were true.

Now a new official statement from the campaign undercuts Brinkley. It offers a minimal (thus harder to impeach) claim: that Kerry “on one occasion crossed into Cambodia,” on an unspecified date. But at least two of the shipmates who are supporting Kerry’s campaign (and one who is not) deny their boat ever crossed the border, and their testimony on this score is corroborated by Kerry’s own journal, kept while on duty. One passage reproduced in Brinkley’s book says: “The banks of the [Rach Giang Thanh River] whistled by as we churned out mile after mile at full speed. On my left were occasional open fields that allowed us a clear view into Cambodia. At some points, the border was only fifty yards away and it then would meander out to several hundred or even as much as a thousand yards away, always making one wonder what lay on the other side.” His curiosity was never satisfied, because this entry was from Kerry’s final mission.

After his discharge, Kerry became the leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). Once, he presented to Congress the accounts by his VVAW comrades of having “personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires . . . to human genitals . . . razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan . . . poisoned foodstocks.” Later it was shown that many of the stories on which Kerry based this testimony were false, some told by impostors who had stolen the identities of real GIs, but Kerry himself was not implicated in the fraud. And his own over-the-top generalization that such “crimes [were] committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command” could be charged up to youthfulness and the fevers of the times.

But Kerry has repeated his Cambodia tale throughout his adult life. He has claimed that the epiphany he had that Christmas of 1968 was about truthfulness. “One of the things that most struck me about Vietnam was how people were lied to,” he explained in a subsequent interview. If — as seems almost surely the case — Kerry himself has lied about what he did in Vietnam, and has done so not merely to spice his biography but to influence national policy, then he is surely not the kind of man we want as our president.”

LA Somebody

To go from “you can’t disprove a single thing we said, or I’ll pay $1M!” to “simply submit everything you ever wrote filmed or recorded during the war to qualify to play my little game” is a pure welsh. If Pickens were any kind of real Texan, he’d have either put up, or shut up.

Don Prosser

Pickens was heavily invested in oil in 2003 and feared Kerry might actually act on the hard fact that we need to be finding alternatives. Thus he funded the Swiftboat smear campaign to ensure Bush and his oil industry cronies maintained power to squash that thinking as of course they have. Kerry and his fellow veterans did successfully challenge Pickens, who had to appear on Fox News to explain why he was weaseling out of the award. He insisted there be no counterpoint and of course Fox was all too happy to oblige. Knowing he was caught, Pickens has since renounced this practice but he, Fox and 527 groups like Swiftboat are at heart anti-Democracy and thus ultimately anti-American. I say deport the scumbags.


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