Piecing Together Bush's Final Two Years of Guard Duty

"The importance of showing up and doing the job."

George W. Bush, when asked what he learned during his time in the Texas Air National Guard
There's a large controversy over George Bush's last two years of service, and the Bush campaign offered a lot of explaining and one piece of paper to account for the most egregious lapse of service records: his 1972-73 year. But while the 1972-73 and 73-74 Statements for Points Earned do show that Bush racked up the points necessary for his honorable discharge, they also expose the haphazard way that Bush did so. In fact, they reveal the exact blunt truth of how Bush described his chief lesson from the TANG.

There are two copies of 1st Lt. George Bush's SPE for the years 1972-73, the main year in question concerning Bush's military service. Both copies exhibit the same damage, but the one used by George Magazine in their exoneration of Bush's record has some handwriting explaining the page that doesn't appear on the one found at AWOLBush.com. Here's links to both:

The unaltered SPE

George Magazine's altered but more legible SPE

For an example of a complete Statement of Points Earned, check out Bush's 1973-74 record. Here's a reprint of that information. It will come in handy later on:
73 MAY 29 73 MAY 31 1 003
73 JUN 05 73 JUN 07 1 003
73 JUN 23 73 JUN 24 2 004
73 JUL 02 73 JUL 03 1 002
73 JUL 05 73 JUL 05 1 001
73 JUL 09 73 JUL 12 1 004
73 JUL 16 73 JUL 19 2 008
73 JUL 21 73 JUL 22 2 004
73 JUL 23 73 JUL 27 1 006
73 JUL 30 73 JUL 30 1 001
The next to last column is important. This tells us what type of duty (TD) is generating the points. From this website, you can see that TD 1 is active duty, and TD 2 is a special tour, whatever that means. The handwriting on George Magazine's copy of the 72-73 SPE indicates that the 2 is inactive duty, while the 1 is active duty. I don't know what inactive duty entails. I'll leave that to someone more knowledgeable.

Regardless of which copy of the 72-73 SPE you're looking at, only the following information can be read:
     TD PTS

1 . 29 2 004
2 . 14 2 008
3 N 06 2 006
4 N 10 2 006
5 ? 08 2 004
6 . 03 1 003
7 . 10 1 003
8 . 20 2 004
9 . 24 1 003
I've added the 1-9 numbers on the left side for convienence. Also, in line 1, the dot that is holding the place for the last letter of the month is barely legible. Only the upper right corner can be seen, and it's a diagonal line heading up from left to right. The line is just visible along the tear, and the edge of a serif is plainly seen. What month could it have been?

Bush was serving on a May to May year, so let's list the months in that order:
The N's are quite visible, and can't be the month of June, because there's at least two month above the N month (the 29 month, the 14 month, and then the N month starting with 6). Therefore, the identifiable N month can only be JAN. Since the Bush campaign definitely claimed that Bush was serving on Nov. 29, the first month is NOV, not MAY, and the month in between is DEC.

Lt. Bush was ordered to attend active duty on May 22-24, 1973. This information fits into line 9, and would be his final entry for the year. (The other two dates of ordered active service are May 29-31 and Jun 5-7, 1973. They appear on lines one and two of the 73-74 SPE above).

Let's amend the 72-73 SPE with this information. The printed information is underlined, and all new dates are figured on a 2 inactive points per inactive day served, as per the 73-74 SPE. Any information not known at the present time is represented with a ? for a placeholder:
1 72 NOV 28 - 72 NOV 29 2 004 (Tue after T'giving - Wed)
2 72 DEC 10 - 72 DEC 14 2 008 (Mon - Thu)
3 73 JAN 04 - 73 JAN 06 2 006 (Thu - Sat)
4 73 JAN 08 - 73 JAN 10 2 006 (Mon - Wed)
5 73 ??? 07 - 73 ??? 08 2 004
6 73 ??? 01 - 73 ??? 03 1 003
7 73 ??? 08 - 73 ??? 10 1 003
8 73 ??? 19 - 73 ??? 20 2 004
9 73 MAY 22 - 73 MAY 24 1 003
With so much information in place, I'm going to give you my best guess for the rest of the story:
1 72 NOV 28 - 72 NOV 29 2 004 (Tue after T'giving - Wed)
2 72 DEC 10 - 72 DEC 14 2 008 (Mon - Thu)
3 73 JAN 04 - 73 JAN 06 2 006 (Thu - Sat)
4 73 JAN 08 - 73 JAN 10 2 006 (Mon - Wed)
5 73 FEB 07 - 73 FEB 08 2 004 (Wed - Thu)
6 73 MAY 01 - 73 MAY 03 1 003 (Tue - Thu)
7 73 MAY 08 - 73 MAY 10 1 003 (Tue - Thu)
8 73 MAY 19 - 73 MAY 20 2 004 (Sat - Sun)
9 73 MAY 22 - 73 MAY 24 1 003 (Tue - Thu)
By this reckoning:

Just as the George Magazine article states, Bush had enough retirement points to maintain his Guardsman status honorably, just like he accumulated enough electoral votes to become President.

But from 26 May 72 until 28 Nov 72, Bush blew off his Guard duty to work in Winston Blount's failed Senatorial campaign. He applied for one transfer to an Kansas unit and moved before the transfer was approved (it wasn't). In September, Bush applied again for an Alabama unit and was ordered to report for duty in October. He didn't.

He also blew off his piloting license. He missed his physical, because of his own admission that he no longer "intended" to fly, this despite the years of training at government expense. Do Guardsmen get to decide unilaterally what they will and will not do in the Guard? Bush was allowed this sovereignty.

But not forever. By my reading of his record, Bush got some form of talking-to in November. He showed up for some makeup days somewhere. But all was not well in Lt. Bush's life. That Christmas, he took an underage Marvin out drinking and challenged his dad to settle their differences "mano a mano." When he sobered up from that one, he got back into a routine of attendance, getting the points he needed for the quarter.

But when Bush wandered away from regular attendance again, somebody lit a fire under his posterior. On 73 April 23, Bush was ordered to attend ACDUTRA beginning 73 May 22. He also crunched six more days of active duty into the month of 73 May, with four more inactive duty points for good measure. Further, from his 73-74 SPE, you can see George putting PAID to his Guard service. Late May, June and July are a flurry of active duty points. Finally, the last point was on record, and the last hour was served. Bush had in two months accumulated enough points to apply for an early release to attend Harvard Business School. He got it.

But he didn't even come back to sign the paper for his transfer to a non-attendance-required Denver Guard unit. The Guard tacked on an extra six months as a final door prize for Bush. But it was probably unnoticed. By that time, Lt. Bush was at Harvard, applying the lesson he'd learned at the Texas Air National Guard.

Showing up and doing the job.

UPDATE: An unaltered, unripped version of the 72-73 SPE is now available on the web. You can go to my post on this new information by clicking here.

Extraordinary Color Photographs of Pre-Communist Russia

The Empire That Was Russia: The Prokudin-Gorskii Photographic Record Recreated
(A Library of Congress Exhibition)

This is the Russia Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky were talking about.

Remember Where The Hype Came From

Google Search: "we know he has weapons of mass destruction"

We were wrong.

Hello! Electronic Voting Machines Are A Snap to Infiltrate

Threat to American democracy

For a week, the computer whizzes laid abuse - both high- and low-tech - on the six new briefcase-sized electronic voting machines sent over by the state.

One guy picked the locks protecting the internal printers and memory cards. Another figured out how to vote more than once - and get away with it. Still another launched a dial-up attack, using his modem to slither through an electronic hole in the State Board of Elections software. Once inside, he could easily change vote totals that come in on Election Day.

"My guess is we've only scratched the surface," said Michael A. Wertheimer, who spent 21 years as a cryptologic mathematician at the National Security Agency.
Anybody else think that this is a bad idea?

Cutting Up Flag in Play Disqualifies Teens from Competition


The students from Archbishop McCarthy High were performing the James Clavell play The Children's Story. The plot concerns a conquered America. The New Teacher for a schoolroom takes about 20 minutes to completely control the hearts and minds of the children. She demonstrates her power by enlisting their help in an act of flag desecration. It's presented to them as a great way of having a piece of the flag for themselves, since it's such a great thing. The children, happy with their new teacher and ungrounded in the actual meaning of the Pledge they've been parroting, take up their scissors and snip the flag to pieces.

Clavell wrote the basis of the play when his five-year-old daughter asked him for a dime after saying the "plege illegience". The story and the play are powerful renditions of how fragile a child's understanding can be, and how a grounding in independent thought is the heart of a democratic education.

Yet in our post-9/11 world, the reactionaries are growing stronger. The students of McCarthy High were disqualified from competition based on their faithful replaying of the script.

After receiving complaints about the flag cutting, co-chairman Melody Wicht, who teaches drama at Pembroke Pines Charter High, disqualified the McCarthy team.

"Some people came to me after the play and complained about the performance," Wicht said. "So I looked into it."

Wicht said she based her decision on Florida Statute 876.52, which says "Whoever publicly mutilates, defaces or tramples with intent to insult any flag ... of the United States shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree."

"I tried to stay as objective as possible as they performed," Wicht said. "My problem was that they took an American flag off the flagpole and cut it into pieces. They were disqualified based on Florida law."
Wicht is an idiot. Let us dispense with the intents of the characters on stage, which is fiction. All the characters, except the New Teacher, intend to honor the flag. No, let's look at the intent of the production and the actual actors on stage.

The cutting up of the flag is meant to have a strong dramatic effect - it's the sight of the innocent doing something that should be unthinkable. And that's not just cutting up the flag - it's the play's total effect. It's how quickly the New Teacher can steal our children away from us. When done properly, the play is not meant to insult the flag. It's meant to caution the parents.
Ameli Fragetta, Erin's mother, said anyone who knows about the play knows the flag is destroyed in a respectful fashion.

"This play has been a voice of patriotism for years and is regularly performed at district, state and national drama competitions," Fragetta said. "My daughter is very upset. Justice and fairness are very important to her, and this decision just wasn't fair."

Fragetta said her daughter, a Girl Scout, saves the flag fragments after performances to dispose of at official flag destruction ceremonies.

"These kids had absolutely no intention of desecrating the flag," Fragetta said. "They're just performing a very serious play where the flag is destroyed. This is ridiculous."
Was anyone offended by the cutting up of the flag? They ought to have been. But was the intent to insult the flag? No.

Wicht, as a drama judge, should have recognized that. She didn't and bowed to the complaints of people who don't know any better. What a waste. McCarthy should boycott the competition from now on...

Two ADL Members Screened Gibson's Passion

The gig is up on The Passion of the Christ. Some members of the ADL finally got into a screening and are speaking out about their disappointments with the film:

Foxman said he is preparing a letter asking the filmmaker, who self-financed the $25-million "Passion," to append a personal statement to the version scheduled for release Ash Wednesday (Feb. 25) in which Gibson would condemn any bigoted interpretation of his Passion narrative.

"Mel Gibson, like all of us, has a right to freely express himself," Foxman said. "As an artist, let him have the film he wants to have. But, given the film he has made, I would like to see him do a postscript. Let him say, 'I did this film because I believe I was inspired by the Holy Ghost. I believe that Jesus suffered for all mankind. Some people want to put the blame for his death on the Jews. Don't do that. I've said I wanted to make a "Passion" of love. Blaming Jews for Christ's death would make this a "Passion" of hate.' "

ADL wants a postscript on Gibson's 'Passion' - LA Times (requires subscription)
The "blood on ourselves and our children" quote is in. If you've seen the trailers, you'll recall a pale, thin-faced man in the crowd sometimes - that's a phyical embodiment of Satan. The Washington Times reports that Satan is only ever seen at the side of Jewish leaders, and implies that Caiaphas controls Pilate. All bad. All of this continues the whitewashing of Roman involvement in the death of Christ, making the religion more palatable to Roman authorities.

But who puts Jesus on the cross in the film? The Times reports that Jesus himself crawls up to the cross and stretches out his arms. This reminds me of a Christian friend who stressed this point to great effect. Since Christians believe Jesus was God, no one could have crucified Jesus without his complete cooperation. Jesus was the only Jew that actually killed Christ.

It's very telling that the two members of the ADL who came out of that screening aren't demanding the film be shelved or edited beyond the asking of an epilogue from Gibson.

But the LA Times article ends on a sobering note.
"[I]t's now likely that more people will see his Passion in two months," Foxman said, "than saw all the Passion plays ever staged in the previous 2,000 years."
Reason enough for concern. Reason enough for Gibson to ensure the message he seeks to impart is the one that people will take away.