Saturday, January 18, 2003

Now he tells us:

UPDATE: An amusing Kausfiles Fray entry.


Friday, January 17, 2003

Old news?

skippy the bush kangaroo links to this well-writen piece about Bush's Texas National Guard service (actually, his non-service). We felt compelled to organize the material into a table:

when Bush other situation
  Did not choose to join the full time active duty military    
  Chose to enlist for duty in the (Texas) Air National Guard
On application:
  • checked "do not volunteer" for overseas assignment
  • listed his "background qualifications" as "none."
  Waiting list of 100,000 nationally at the time
17 Jan '68 Took the Air Force officer and pilot qualification tests
  • Scored 25%, the lowest possible passing grade on the pilot aptitude portion
  • Speaker of the House in Texas at the time, Ben Barnes, admitted he had received a request from a longtime Bush family friend, Sidney Adger of Houston, to help Bush get into the Air National Guard.
  • Barnes further testified that he contacted the head of the Texas Air National Guard, Brig. Gen. James Rose
May '68 Graduated from Yale   1/2 million men fighting; dying @ 350/wk
Years 1 & 2
27 May '68 Sworn in    
after 6 weeks of basic airman training Received a commission as a second lieutenant
  • By means of a 'special appointment' by the commanding officer of his squadron, with the approval of a panel of three senior officers.
  • Normally required eight full semesters of college ROTC courses or eighteen months of military service or completion of Air Force officer training school.
  • Texas National Guard historian said that he "never heard of that" except for flight surgeons
  Assigned to flight school
  • Normally reserved to pilots graduating from ROTC training or Air Force officer training
  'fast tracked' into the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, a standby runway alert component of the 143rd Group   Over those on the existing pilot applicant waiting list
  Trained to fly the missile-equipped supersonic F-102 Delta Dart jet interceptor fighter    
  Racked up approximately 300 hours of training flight time in the F-102
  • Qualified him to fly the F-102 without an instructor
  • Short of the 500 hours of experience required for volunteer active duty combat operations in Vietnam
Year 3
Jul '70 Earned his wings    
  Applied for a voluntary three month Vietnam tour Was turned down for this volunteer active duty option Air Force needed additional F-102 pilots to fly reconnaissance missions.
  Left to fly as a "weekend warrior" in the Texas Air National Guard out of Ellington AFB near Houston    
3 Nov '70 Promoted to 1st Lieutenant by Brig. General Rose  
Jun '70
May '71
Credited with 46 days of flight duty    
Year 4
Jun '71
May '72
Credited with only 22 flight duty days 14 days short of the minimum 36 days owed the Guard for that year  
Apr '72 Flew for the last time in the cockpit of an F-102 All the overseas and stateside military services began subjecting a small random sample in their ranks to substance abuse testing for alcohol and drugs.

Pentagon had announced its intention to do so back on December 31, 1969

Year 5
15 May '72 "cleared this base" according to a written report by one of his two Squadron supervising officers, Lt. Col. William D. Harris Jr.    
24 May '72 Requested in writing a six-month transfer to an inactive postal Reserve unit in Alabama If Bush had been temporarily transferred there, he would not have continued flying until he returned to Texas, because the Alabama unit had no airplanes  
31 May '72 Transfer request was denied by National Guard Bureau headquarters
  • Bush should have returned to his base in Houston and continued with his flying duties.
  • Instead, he remained in Alabama until late in the fall.
Aug '72 Scheduled physical Could have been subject to selection for a random substance abuse test  
  • 1st Lt. Bush took his mandatory annual flight physical for pilots and failed it for some as-yet undisclosed reason,
  • or he refused to present himself in the first place to an Air Force Flight Surgeon, who were readily available in almost every state
Release of Bush's military service record would resolve issue.  
1 Aug '72 Suspended and grounded from flying duty on verbal order of the TX 147th Group's Commanding Officer for "his failure to accomplish annual medical examination."

Two years left of remaining National Guard service.

  • Expensively trained pilots are not casually suspended
  • There is normally a Flight Inquiry Board
    • If one had been convened, its three senior officer members would have documented why such a severe action was justified in relation to the country's military objectives at the time, as opposed to the simple desire of a trained pilot to just "give up flying".
    • There is no evidence now in the public domain that a Flight Inquiry Board was convened to deal with Bush's official reclassification to a non-flying, grounded status
  • This absence of a Flight Inquiry Board is of particular interest to veteran pilots. The implication is that Bush's misconduct was handled like everything else in his military service: aided and abetted by powerful family connections
Country at the height of the Vietnam (air) War
5 Sep '72 Ordered to start serving three months in an active but non-flying administrative Guard unit, the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group in Montgomery, Alabama, for four certain duty days in October and November    
29 Sep '72   In memo to the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force, Major General Francis Greenleaf, then Chief of the National Guard Bureau in Washington DC, confirmed the suspension of 1st Lt. George W. Bush from flying status.  
Oct/Nov '72 No official notation in his service record that Bush ever showed up for this assigned duty in Montgomery, Alabama.

Bush: "I was there on temporary assignment and fulfilled my weekends at one period of time. I made up some missed weekends. I can't remember what I did, but I wasn't flying because they didn't have the same airplanes. I fulfilled my obligations."

The Bush campaign conducted its own search of Bush's military records, and could not find evidence that Bush performed any duty in Alabama.

General William Turnipseed and Lt. Col. Kenneth Lott, who commanded the Montgomery, Alabama, base at the time said that Bush never appeared. "To my knowledge, he never showed up," Turnipseed said.  
Nov '72
fall '73
  • Returned home to Houston Texas.
  • Did not report in person for non-flying duty to his parent Texas 111th Squadron during this whole time.
Year 6
May '73
  • Ordered to attend nine certain duty days in person during Summer Camp at Ellington AFB between May 22 and June 7.
  • 1st Lt. Bush did not do so.
22 May '73
30 Jul '73
Bush was credited with 35 "gratuitous" inactive Air Force Reserve points -- in other words, non-attendance inactive Reserve credit time No one in the Texas Air Guard at the time, has stepped forward to say they saw Bush in person on a single day between May 22 and July 30, 1973  
1 Oct'73 Prematurely discharged with honors from the Texas Air Guard. This leaves Bush without a single legitimate Texas Air National Guard service day for his fifth and sixth years of service to his Texas Air National Guard discharge.  
26 May '74 Scheduled discharge.    
Nov '74 Final inactive Reserve discharge with honors. Bush was attending Harvard Business School as a full-time student by that time  

NOTE: We are not familiar with military procedures or Bush's record and cannot vouch for the accuracy of this table. All we did was take the elements in the piece, and organize it so that the timeline may be better understood. (A critical review of some elements is available here.) This presentation is intended as a starting point for discussion.

UPDATE: We came upon this BuzzFlash Reader Commentary on Bush's military service (written on 25 Oct 2002), and this Washington Post story which fills in a few details (dated 28 Jul 1999). The Post story has a revealing picture of Bush while he was at Harvard Business School.

And while we're at it, this site: is devoted to the issue.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Mother Jones has a timeline as well (with a few additional details).

STILL ANOTHER UPDATE: For those who trust Cecil Adams at the Straight Dope (instead of uggabugga), he has written about Bush's service record.


Thursday, January 16, 2003

Scary fact sheet:

This is an excerpt from the White House's Medical Liability Reform fact sheet:
The President proposes that Congress take action to:
  • Reserve punitive damages for cases where they are justified, and limit punitive damages to reasonable amounts.
    Is "reasonable" a non-COLA adjusted 250k?

  • Provide for payments of judgments over time rather than in a single lump sum, to ensure that appropriate payments are there when patients need them.
    Real dollar awards will be significantly reduced. Delaying payments to "ensure they are there when the patient needs them" is a typical confidence-man trick.

  • Ensure that old cases cannot be brought years after an event.
    There are many instances where treatment errors do not manifest themselves until much time has passed. Remember the DES-cancer issue?

  • Provide that defendants pay judgments in proportion to their fault.
    Corporate America can relax, now that their deep pockets have been sewn shut by Bush.


Caveat emptor:

Inspired by Bush's speech.



Headed for disaster:

Proponents of Bush's latest tax plan (notably David Frum) have said that it will "get the economy in shape for the retiring boomers". But how does that square with this news item (NYTimes):
Bush Aide Sees Deficit in 2003 of $200 Billion

... deficit forecasts were made by Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., the president's budget director, in answer to questions after a speech at the United States Chamber of Commerce here. The estimates assume enactment of the tax plan but do not take account of the potential cost of a war with Iraq ...

Mr. Daniels suggested today that the budget was not likely to be in surplus in the next 10 years.
(emphasis added)

That means there will be no surplus funds built up (or debt paid down) to prepare for Social Security's imbalanced pay-as-you-go system when the boomers retire.


Tuesday, January 14, 2003


It is with great sadness that we note the loss of Ted Barlow's sanity.

Hi.  I'm Ted.  I've completely lost it.