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The Inside Story Of The SwiftBoaters Finally Told
Democracy Project ^ | December 5, 2007 | Bruce Kesler

Posted on 12/05/2007 4:32:49 PM PST by Interesting Times

This is the most important book you’ll buy this year: To Set The Record Straight, How Swift Boat Veterans, POWs and the New Media Defeated John Kerry, by Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler, with Forward by John O'Neill.

Not only will you learn the inside details of the only book – Unfit For Command -- that ever decided a presidential election but, especially for those who have any doubts, you will learn about how the peoples' democracy can still work in the United States.

For those inclined toward political science, the book is an important contribution to understanding how political mobilization actually works and to seeing how the major media lost its Delphic grip on America's political fate to the remarkably democratic new media of the Internet. Vietnam veterans took it away.

As John O’Neill says in his Foreword to the book,

How the Swiftees, POWs and other Vietnam veterans circumvented the media and reached out to the public is a story that has profound implications for future political campaigns and news reporting….

…Honor, Loyalty and Patriotism…These values were able to rouse hundreds of Swifties and millions of other veterans from their deep political sleep of 35 years. The blindness of our opponents can be accounted for only because such values are rare and often considered laughable among Kerry’s operatives and media allies. These values are neither rare nor a subject of amusement among most Americans. In 2004, they changed the course of history.

Fellow blogger Lorie Byrd credits me with knowing more about the SwiftBoat story than any other blogger. She’s correct, as far as that goes. I founded the Vietnam veterans organization in 1971 that John O’Neill joined to confront John Kerry’s fabrications. I was very active in the 2004 Vietnam veterans campaign for truth. I’m friends with all the Vietnam veterans and others who led in the 2004 campaign, that in a post-election MSM op-ed I dubbed, “The Revolt of the Vietnam Veterans.” (These are described in the book.)

But, there’s someone else who knows more about the 2004 Revolt, Scott Swett. I learned much about the Revolt from this book that even I didn’t know. So will you.

The 389-page book is very well-written and documented, based on virtually every public source and on extensive exclusive interviews with all those involved. Footnotes abound, and there’s an excellent index.

This is not a partisan diatribe, though of definite views, but an invaluable basic resource to anyone regardless of their politics. It’s all true, and the truths – the depths to which the Kerry-aligned media stooped to try to squelch the Swiftees – are all here, and truly shocking when all pulled together in one place.

In early 2004, Swett, on his own, set up the website WinterSoldier.com. The site collected the various articles written over the years about John Kerry’s Vietnam service and his subsequent disservice – in support of the program of the North Vietnamese -- denouncing Vietnam veterans as bloodthirsty, out-of-control murderers of innocent Vietnamese.

Once Kerry’s nomination for president in 2004 seemed likely, WinterSoldier.com became a meeting place for many Vietnam veterans and others and provided a wealth of information that for the first time demonstrated how widespread were Kerry’s exaggerations and lies.

John Kerry’s hagiographic biography by courtesan Douglas Brinkley, Tour Of Duty, (A two-part historiographic review I wrote at the academic site H-War is here and here.) contained so many assertions known to be untrue by those actually there -- fellow SwiftBoaters in Vietnam -- that the Swiftees came together to document the falsehoods.

Unfit For Command followed. The destruction of Kerry’s invented heroic image followed.

Swett set up the Swiftees’ website, SwiftVets.com, and was present and involved in most of what occurred.

For the past two years, Swett and co-author former Marine Captain Tim Ziegler, have labored to produce this book. Some other, better known writers wanted to tackle the subject and approached various publishers. Once the 2004 election was settled, major publishers weren’t interested in documenting the Vietnam veterans revolt as key to a watershed election upset, nor in further distressing the liberal narrative of being treated poorly. (See this post about how substantiated the Swiftee’s charges were, compared to the repeated MSM use of the term “unsubstantiated.”) I’ve witnessed these disappointments and the persistence of Swett and Ziegler to tell the story.

Our children may wonder what we did in the war, and what we did in 2004 to set the record straight. The first narrative will have to be done privately. (Actually, Swett shared with me this diary of his father’s year in Vietnam in 1970, as a C-123 navigator and Civic Action Coordinator at Phan Rang. Here’s the letters sent by a young Marine about his feelings and experiences. One among 58,000 who didn’t make it home alive, 2004’s Vietnam veterans revolt was about honoring their sacrifices.) The second narrative, this book, belongs on everyone’s bookshelf. Otherwise, they won’t get it, how we set the record straight, if they depend on the MSM.

This book is an extraordinarily comprehensive, documented telling of the Kerry-aligned media’s losing efforts to squelch the Swiftees (as a Kerry campaign insider said, “The senior staff believes the media is committed to seeing us win this thing…”) and how they were foiled (Kerry partisan Susan Estrich admitted “they’re shell-shocked” at the implosion of Kerry’s mythical self-glorification).

Moreover, this book is an important tale of personal and political heroism, a tale that bears remembering and passing on by anyone who cares for the US and for peoples democracy.

For those who depended upon the MSM-Kerry narrative, there is a big surprise: There was no vast right wing conspiracy, nor was there a Rovian one. Those who need to believe there was such a conspiracy need to believe that in order to avoid the truth.

There was a grounds-up revolt by Vietnam veterans who knew better than the ersatz heroism that Kerry and friends tried to peddle. The facts and details are in this book. Sure, it took big bucks to get the message across. That came from some big donors and 150,000+ other individuals who believed it should be heard and not smothered or ignored. Polls and the election proved them correct. Indicative of who was listening: 80,000 copies of Kerry’s self-glorifying Tour Of Duty sold; over 800,000 copies of Unfit For Command sold. Very curiously, the pollsters didn’t bother to survey Vietnam veterans, but polls of veterans generally – there are over 25-million, plus their families who support them -- found strong opposition to Kerry.

I hope that To Set The Record Straight sells as well. You can get your copy direct from the authors at their website. www.ToSetTheRecordStraight.com. (It won’t be up at Amazon for a few months, so the authors don’t have to prematurely split their needed earnings from two-years’ work.) There, you can also preview the contents, view excerpts and sources, and more.

For those Vietnam veterans, journalists and bloggers who joined in the battle, your contributions are described. Those of us who served in Vietnam needed your support, and are thankful. It took heroism on many’s part for this victory – yours no less than the Swiftees.

The old media, however, is not grateful. The continuing decline of their reading and viewing audiences is partly due to Americans turning away from their repeatedly exposed sloppy and biased reporting.

The Vietnam veterans revolt, so well-documented here as it overcame MSM obstacle after obstacle, awakened millions of Americans to the MSM at its crudest and energized the new media to new heights. If Watergate spurred young journalists to be “investigative” to demand honesty from those in government, today’s young journalists will hopefully find in To Set The Record Straight a new spur to demand honesty from those in the media.

John O’Neill and I had a better experience in 1971 with the major media than in 2004, which highlights how the major media has changed, and not for the better. As O’Neill is quoted from an interview:

The big difference is that, in 1971, while the media would spin facts on occasion and spin them very favorably to Kerry and his group, they wouldn’t actually suppress the news….That is really a brave new world that did not exist in the 1970’s.

For example, on May 13, 1971, I had an op-ed in the New York Times disputing Kerry’s maligning of Vietnam veterans. By contrast, in 2004, as Kerry campaign insiders at Newsweek exposed, the New York Times acted as a conduit for Kerry releases. (So did the Boston Globe and Los Angeles Times, perhaps leading to both being exclusive post-election recipients from Kerry of what he purported to be his military records, which they refused to publish for public scrutiny, even on their no-cost websites.) Otherwise, the major media ignored the Swiftees’ evidence or maligned it while almost without exception refusing to actually investigate the charges and evidence. (See, for example, my correspondence with the New York Times’ ombudsman.)

As “Captain” Ed Morrissey sardonically notes, “The Boston Globe has put a lot more effort and resources into staking out the house of Mitt Romney [to investigate illegal aliens mowing the lawn] than they ever did on resolving the controversy over John Kerry's Christmas in Cambodia fables.”

A notable MSM exception was Thomas Lipscomb, formerly founder and president of Times Books, who managed – with difficulty – to publish several devastating investigative columns on Kerry’s mendaciousness in newspapers other than the New York Times, Boston Globe or Los Angeles Times. Lipscomb succinctly summed up Kerry’s mode of defense:

[W]henever one of Kerry’s lies is under attack, he attacks everyone else – as liars. And there is a pattern to his responses as well. When the lie becomes undeniable, the sources are attacked.

The book takes us step-by-step from 1971 to the present in a level of detail that most readers under the age of 60 probably never saw before. The “Aftermath” chapter is worth reading in and of itself, if only for bringing us up to date from 2004 to now. As Scott Swett wrote me thanking me for my help, “On reflection, I think the best thing about this book is the happy ending.” The book concludes:

Though politicians, the media and Hollywood had freely smeared and denigrated America’s Vietnam veterans for more than thirty years, something had changed in the wake of the 2004 campaign. Every post-election attempt to slander the U.S. military had sparked widespread resentment and active opposition. Trashing the troops was no longer the ticket to fame and success it had been in that long-ago spring of 1971.

As someone who has been there from the beginning, fighting every step of the way for this day, I say Amen.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bookreview; brucekesler; johnkerry; kerrydefeat; nogooddeed; pages; settherecordstraight; swiftboatveterans; swiftboatvets; swiftees; swifties; truthtellers; unfitforcommand
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Our book is out the door, and here is the first review - an excellent, in-depth report by Bruce Kesler, the man who put John O'Neill on the Dick Cavett Show to debate against John Kerry in 1971.
1 posted on 12/05/2007 4:32:51 PM PST by Interesting Times
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To: Interesting Times
Bruce adds this postscript:

Hanukkah began Tuesday night, commemorating the upset victory of faith and courage by a small group over those who tried to rob them of their accomplishments and heritage. It’s fitting that this book is launched on this day, for the same reason.

2 posted on 12/05/2007 4:33:31 PM PST by Interesting Times (ABCNNBCBS -- yesterday's news.)
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To: Howlin; eddie willers; cajungirl; wirestripper; Southflanknorthpawsis; Peach; prairiebreeze; ...

Kerry and the vets ping...


3 posted on 12/05/2007 4:34:15 PM PST by Interesting Times (ABCNNBCBS -- yesterday's news.)
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To: Interesting Times

If Tonkin could only see this now...


4 posted on 12/05/2007 4:35:51 PM PST by Old Sarge (This tagline in memory of FReeper 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub)
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To: Interesting Times

Thank you for this ping, Interesting Times.

I will link to it.


5 posted on 12/05/2007 4:36:04 PM PST by Cindy
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To: Interesting Times; Doctor Raoul; Jim Robinson; kristinn; NormsRevenge; Ernest_at_the_Beach; ...

Excellent !


6 posted on 12/05/2007 4:36:57 PM PST by STARWISE (They (Dims) think of this WOT as Bush's war, not America's war-RichardMiniter, respected OBL author)
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To: Interesting Times

CONGRATS!!!! Swifties did us ALL proud!!!


7 posted on 12/05/2007 4:37:49 PM PST by Ann Archy (Abortion: The Human Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: Interesting Times

Terrific news. This looks like a book I just “gotta” have.


8 posted on 12/05/2007 4:39:15 PM PST by MizSterious (Deport all the illegals to sanctuary cities.)
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To: Interesting Times

Good luck with the Book!


9 posted on 12/05/2007 4:40:58 PM PST by Anti-Bubba182
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To: Interesting Times

Giants, all. God Bless them for stepping up to render a service to the country yet again.


10 posted on 12/05/2007 4:41:56 PM PST by NonValueAdded (Fred Dalton Thompson for President)
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To: Interesting Times

As a small part of exposing the lying john kerry...for what he really was....a lying wanabee...makes me proud. I can go to the wall and tell my buddies whose name’s appear there....I and thousands of other Vietnam Veterans put our money where our hearts were and defeated a traitor who was trying to lie his way into the Presidency to the American people.

As a matter of interest where is kerry in responding to Boone Pickens million dollar challenge...???


11 posted on 12/05/2007 4:42:40 PM PST by RVN Airplane Driver ("To be born into freedom is an accident; to die in freedom is an obligation..)
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To: Interesting Times

BTTT!


12 posted on 12/05/2007 4:43:14 PM PST by ovrtaxt (Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can.)
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To: MizSterious

Got to get this book. I proudly contributed to the Swifties with financial help, and it was rewarding to see that my, and thousands of others, efforts paid off.


13 posted on 12/05/2007 4:43:20 PM PST by Signalman
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To: Interesting Times; GreyFriar; SeraphimApprentice

WOW! I have never seen a review like that. It is an absolutely outstanding endorsement, from beginning to end, by a man who knows what he is talking about. Congratulations!


14 posted on 12/05/2007 4:44:05 PM PST by zot
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To: Interesting Times
OUSTANDING SCOTT AND TIM!

15 posted on 12/05/2007 4:44:13 PM PST by Bob J
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To: Interesting Times

truth-tellers BUMP...


16 posted on 12/05/2007 4:44:48 PM PST by VOA
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To: Interesting Times
That came from some big donors and 150,000+ other individuals who believed it should be heard and not smothered or ignored.

I am proud to say that I am one of the 150,000. I'll bet that many Freepers are.

I only wish that any of the other political contributions that I have ever made were as well spent.

17 posted on 12/05/2007 4:45:29 PM PST by Bubba_Leroy ("I believe in Santa Claus. I believe in the tooth fairy." - John Edwards)
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To: Interesting Times

self ping


18 posted on 12/05/2007 4:46:02 PM PST by advertising guy (If computer skills named us, I'd be back-space delete.)
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To: Interesting Times
...circumvented the media and reached out to the public is a story that has profound implications for future political campaigns and news reporting….

What a wonderful model for dealing with the border issue.

19 posted on 12/05/2007 4:46:28 PM PST by 386wt (Be free and don't die!)
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To: Interesting Times
WAY TO GO! I WANT THE BOOK.
20 posted on 12/05/2007 4:46:31 PM PST by doug from upland (Stopping Hillary should be a FreeRepublic Manhattan Project)
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To: Interesting Times

Ping for great honor!


21 posted on 12/05/2007 4:46:40 PM PST by MarineBrat (My wife and I took an AIDS vaccination that the Church offers.)
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To: Interesting Times; The Shrew; Nick Danger; et al

Congratulations! Well done!


22 posted on 12/05/2007 4:46:56 PM PST by Jim Robinson (Our God-given unalienable rights are not open to debate, negotiation or compromise!)
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To: Interesting Times

After I got out of the Army in 1973, I did not want to put my military service on my job applications. That’s how bad it was. And no single person was more responsible for that than John Kerry.


23 posted on 12/05/2007 4:47:07 PM PST by cookcounty (Ja-pan Jack Murtha, The ex-Marine who thinks Okinawa is on his Middle East map.)
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To: Interesting Times

Does anyone know the current status of Kerry and the T.Boone Pickens offer?


24 posted on 12/05/2007 4:49:28 PM PST by Brofholdonow
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To: Interesting Times

ping


25 posted on 12/05/2007 4:51:48 PM PST by Turret Gunner A20 (Tolerating intolerance is not a "value," it's self-destructive stupidity.)
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To: Interesting Times

I’m proud to say that I made two $100 contributions to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, bought John E. O’Neill’s book, “Unfit for Command” and passed it around to my family members before the 2004 election.


26 posted on 12/05/2007 4:53:20 PM PST by RightWingConspirator (Redefeat Communism by defeating Hitlary in 2008)
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To: Interesting Times

Here's to those who paid the price for the rest of us, and to those who still remember. God Bless you all!

27 posted on 12/05/2007 4:53:31 PM PST by MarineBrat (My wife and I took an AIDS vaccination that the Church offers.)
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To: Interesting Times

THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A BIGGER FONT...got to work on my HTML skills.


28 posted on 12/05/2007 4:54:04 PM PST by Bob J
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To: cookcounty
After I got out of the Army in 1973, I did not want to put my military service on my job applications. That’s how bad it was. And no single person was more responsible for that than John Kerry

That makes two of us....hard to imagine that leading about 25 pilots and 100 enlisted personnel in combat would not be something that could not be put on a resume...but my Country has treated me well...giving me the opportunity to make a little money without the need for a resume!!

29 posted on 12/05/2007 4:54:45 PM PST by RVN Airplane Driver ("To be born into freedom is an accident; to die in freedom is an obligation..)
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To: Freee-dame

John O’Neill and I had a better experience in 1971 with the major media than in 2004, which highlights how the major media has changed, and not for the better. As O’Neill is quoted from an interview:

The big difference is that, in 1971, while the media would spin facts on occasion and spin them very favorably to Kerry and his group, they wouldn’t actually suppress the news….That is really a brave new world that did not exist in the 1970’s.

****

A must read book!


30 posted on 12/05/2007 4:55:07 PM PST by maica
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To: Bubba_Leroy

I hear that - big bang for the buck. I use my donation reciept as a treasured book mark.


31 posted on 12/05/2007 4:56:28 PM PST by WorkingClassFilth
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To: Interesting Times
Can hardly wait for Kerry to "go down swinging" in response.
32 posted on 12/05/2007 4:57:05 PM PST by Mr. Mojo (My other Telecaster is a Thinline)
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To: Interesting Times

Thanks for the great post.


33 posted on 12/05/2007 5:00:29 PM PST by Buffalo Head (Illigitimi non carborundum)
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To: Interesting Times
Being part of those who fought that War, then fought, donated, and did what I could to help defeat that phony bastard "hero", it looks like my library is getting one more jewel this Christmas!

Hey TONK! Check This out, and God rest ya Man!!!

34 posted on 12/05/2007 5:01:23 PM PST by JDoutrider
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To: Bubba_Leroy
I am proud to say that I am one of the 150,000....Proud to say the same!

I only wish that any of the other political contributions that I have ever made were as well spent....yep, a big ditto on that.

35 posted on 12/05/2007 5:02:00 PM PST by top 2 toe red
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To: Interesting Times
It is only because we have a left-wing media which is only slightly less treasonous than John Kerry that the term "swift-boating" has gotten a negative connotation. To those of us here at FreeRepublic (and I am proud to say I contributed 100 bucks to the cause,) the term means uncovering and displaying the truth in order to refute someone's lies. To the liberals, the term means to unjustly tarnish someone's impeccable reputation by making scurrilous accusations.

The proof, of course, is in the pudding. Kerry has yet to release his full military records. The recollections that were "seared, seared" into his memory have proven to be demonstrably false. He has adopted the typical lib ad hominem attack strategy--when you can't refute the facts, then attack the attacker. And call the facts that your opponents have laid out, "swift-boating."

36 posted on 12/05/2007 5:03:01 PM PST by TruthShallSetYouFree (Abortion is to family planning what bankruptcy is to financial planning.)
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To: cookcounty

“After I got out of the Army in 1973, I did not want to put my military service on my job applications. That’s how bad it was. And no single person was more responsible for that than John Kerry.”

Although I didn’t go that far, figuring I should at least explain what I was doing between 1971 and 1975, I know exactly what you mean.

I was bitter about Viet Nam for years. Joining the Swift Boat Site in the summer of 2004 was one of the best things I ever did. Not only did it shake me out of that funk, it also led to me finding this site!.


37 posted on 12/05/2007 5:03:14 PM PST by FMBass ("Now that I'm sober I watch a lot of news"- Garofalo from Coulter's "Treason")
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To: Baynative

Big Time PING!


38 posted on 12/05/2007 5:05:28 PM PST by JDoutrider
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To: Interesting Times

The liberal media and the Democrats know the same thing will happen to Hillary, in spades. She will never be able to withstand independent expendatures exposing her criminal and unethical conduct.


39 posted on 12/05/2007 5:06:07 PM PST by SeaHawkFan
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To: Interesting Times; potlatch; PhilDragoo; ntnychik; MeekOneGOP; Travis McGee; Seadog Bytes; ...






40 posted on 12/05/2007 5:06:22 PM PST by devolve (---- -Secret_Asian_Man_&_Dr.No-No_Sorass_-)
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To: Interesting Times
Sometimes the good guys win even in these troubling times.
Unfortunately it takes such gross arrogance and dishonor that the very powerful systems in place can’t suppress it. Hillary may be next in line as she certainly qualifies.
41 posted on 12/05/2007 5:06:57 PM PST by mad puppy (I'd rather live a day on my feet than a year on my knees)
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To: Interesting Times

Book bookmark.


42 posted on 12/05/2007 5:09:10 PM PST by gitmo (From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.)
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To: Brofholdonow

Rush mentioned it on his show today. He said that, after telling Mr. Pickens where to send the check, Kerry hasn’t said a word, and has not identified a single incorrect statement by the Swift Boat Veterans. He (Rush) was giggling when he said this.


43 posted on 12/05/2007 5:09:57 PM PST by Steely Tom (Steely's First Law of the Main Stream Media: if it doesn't advance the agenda, it's not news.)
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To: Interesting Times

Interesting Times,

You were very kind to appear on WCTC radio in New Jersey three years ago. The lib callers convulsed into a fevered frenzy, but couldn’t lay a glove on you.

Let’s do it again; sounds like a great book. I’ll FReepmail you with an invitation.

~ shoptalk


44 posted on 12/05/2007 5:10:30 PM PST by shoptalk
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To: Interesting Times

Hey Santa. Mark me down for one of these.


45 posted on 12/05/2007 5:11:11 PM PST by gitmo (From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.)
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To: W04Man

Ping to a great read.

[Mr] T


46 posted on 12/05/2007 5:11:15 PM PST by trooprally (Never Give Up - Never Give In - Remember Our Troops)
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To: RVN Airplane Driver

When I got out of the Army in 1986 and returned home, I was asked by a young woman from “HR” in a job interview (at the company where my father worked for 30 years): “You have all this time in the Army, but do you have any real experience”? I got up and walked out.


47 posted on 12/05/2007 5:11:33 PM PST by conservativeharleyguy (Technically, we are all Republicans.)
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To: Interesting Times

Good news ping


48 posted on 12/05/2007 5:12:03 PM PST by angelsonmyside
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To: Interesting Times; All

On the eve of the Gathering of Eagles last March, there they were...out in the weather supporting their countrymen in uniform again. (fitting that it is the four men standing)

As far as I am concerned, these men, all of them, are patriots of the highest order.

They could have drifted off into their private lives and passed easily through that election, but their consciences would not allow them to do that, and they went back into battle again.

I think they bought this country four more years to get things straightened out, and we owe it to them to make their efforts worthwhile.

49 posted on 12/05/2007 5:12:16 PM PST by rlmorel (Liberals: If the Truth would help them, they would use it.)
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To: WorkingClassFilth; Interesting Times; Bubba_Leroy

I also keep my receipt in a place of honor:

I would like to extend my sincere and personal gratitude for your generous contribution to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. I am sure you have seen the impact your contribution has had on the public discussion surrounding Senator Kerry’s fitness for duties as Commander-in-Chief.

You have helped us to raise awareness of these important issues - and the American people are beginning to respond.
We would not be where we are today, with what we have accomplished, without your help. Our mission is far from over, however.

John Kerry’s campaign - aided by a sympathetic media - has responded to our work by evading our criticisms and turning up the volume on their attacks. They have attempted to discredit our efforts by falsely tying us to the Bush campaign.

Their attacks will only get louder and more strident because they know that, on the merits, we cannot lose.

Our work has struck a chord with the American people, including many Vets, who have come to the Swift Boats web site and pledged their support. You have already done so much to help us, but I’m here now to ask you to help once more. We are at a critical point in this effort and we must keep our ads - including some new ones which I think you’ll really appreciate — on the airwaves in key battleground states. We are up against the big guns, and we now need to make sure they can’t drown us out.


50 posted on 12/05/2007 5:12:22 PM PST by TruthShallSetYouFree (Abortion is to family planning what bankruptcy is to financial planning.)
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