We Already Knew All of This!

Many Gaps In Bush's Guard Records (washingtonpost.com)

There isn't a single bit of new information in this story. The only thing that I saw new was the date of the Denver denial of Bush's first transfer to Alabama: July 31. I'd thought it was within a couple of weeks after Alabama approved - it was over a month.

That's it? That's all there is? The Post story says that more documentation was released, but there's nothing new at all in what we now know. Every statement in this story comes from documents already released.

This is a crock of cheese gone bad.

Top 10 Ways that Mel's Passion Isn't As It Was, Number 8...

8. Koine Greek, the most common language of the day, isn't used in the film.

From the Encylopaedia Britannica:

Alexander's short reign marks a decisive moment in the history of Europe and Asia. His expedition and his own personal interest in scientific investigation brought many advances in the knowledge of geography and natural history. His career led to the moving of the great centres of civilization eastward and initiated the new age of the Greek territorial monarchies; it spread Hellenism in a vast colonizing wave throughout the Middle East and created, if not politically at least economically and culturally, a single world stretching from Gibraltar to the Punjab, open to trade and social intercourse and with a considerable overlay of common civilization and the Greek koine as a lingua franca. It is not untrue to say that the Roman Empire, the spread of Christianity as a world religion, and the long centuries of Byzantium were all in some degree the fruits of Alexander's achievement.
One of the reasons Rome was able to establish its empire was the existence of this universal language. Koine flourished during the Roman rule, and was an everyday language used to communicate between different nationalities.

The Hebrew scriptures had been translated into Koine Greek three centuries before Jesus lived. This translation was called the Septuagint. All of the Christian scriptures were written in Koine Greek. Jesus certainly spoke Aramaic, but there are some of his sayings that are puns in Koine Greek - a sign they were spoken first in Greek! Like it or not, Greek was a large part of the Galilean and Judaic worlds.

Yet Mr. Gibson has famously filmed his version of the story in Aramaic and Latin only. Certainly there were portions of the story that would have been exclusively spoken in either language. The Last Supper would have been an Aramaic affair, and Pilate would have spoken to his wife or made official pronoucements in Latin. But in other cross-cultural moments, the most likely language used is Koine Greek: scenes like Pilate's interrogation of Jesus, or even Herod's interrogation. In the journey to Golgotha or the scenes of questioning at the Temple, Koine would have been used to maximize the communication.

This ignorance of the most common language of the day is another reason to recommend the upcoming movie as a work of fiction alone.

Two Witnesses to Bush's Record Being Purged Speak Out

USATODAY.com - Ex-officer: Bush file's details caused concern

WASHINGTON — As Texas Gov. George W. Bush prepared to run for president in the late 1990s, top-ranking Texas National Guard officers and Bush advisers discussed ways to limit the release of potentially embarrassing details from Bush's military records, a former senior officer of the Texas Guard said Wednesday.

A second former Texas Guard official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, was told by a participant that commanders and Bush advisers were particularly worried about mentions in the records of arrests of Bush before he joined the National Guard in 1968, the second official said.

Bill Burkett, then a top adviser to the state Guard commander, said he overheard conversations in which superiors discussed "cleansing" the file of damaging information.

The White House dismissed Burkett's charge Wednesday. It is an "outrageously false statement," said White House communications director Dan Bartlett, who handled the records in the late 1990s as an aide to Gov. Bush. Administration officials dismiss Burkett as a disgruntled former Guardsman who had a falling-out with his superiors.

Two forms in Bush's publicly released military files — his enlistment application and a background check — contain blacked-out entries in response to questions about arrests or convictions. Bush acknowledged in biographies published in 1999 that he was arrested twice before he enlisted in the Air National Guard: once for stealing a wreath and another time for rowdiness at a Yale-Princeton football game.
Well, now, what have we here? Seem like I spoke a little too soon about these questions lapsing into silence...

Remember what got Nixon? It wasn't the burglary, it was the coverup.

Bush Has AL Dental Records - January 6, 1973

George W. Bush U.S. Air Force Dental Exam Record: Jan. 6, 1973

This puts Bush at an Alabama Guard unit in January 1973. This corresponds to the pay records and the 72-73 SPE. It also is corrobarated by a friend of Bush's who met him for dinner several times. She said that he had come back for about two weeks to make up time at the Guard. The January 4-6 dates are definitely Alabama time, and the next date, January 8-10, is most likely Alabama time as well.

One by one, the questions are being answered in favor of Bush.

Still questions remain. If the two January dates were makeup work for Bush's third quarter, where's the time that he put in for the first quarter of 1973? Why did Bush never report to Col. Turnipseed? Why did he skip his physical, grounding himself from flying?

But you can expect that the AWOL controversy will lapse into silence. I can't help but feel that we've been played, and played well.

Top 10 Ways that Mel's Passion Isn't As It Was, Number 9...

9. Mary the mother of Jesus had other sons.

Mr. Gibson is a Catholic schismatic who has rejected the Vatican II Council. He has privately funded the construction of a church in the Our Lady of Malibu diocese, calling it the Church of the Holy Family of Malibu.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. But this adherence to what Mr. Gibson sees as traditional Catholic doctrines makes this next deduction about the movie a piece of cake.

He will portray Mary as having no other child but Jesus.

In Catholic doctrine, Mary remains a virgin all of her life. This was declared so in 553 CE, at the 5th Ecumenical Council. It was considered abhorrent that the same womb which nurtured Jesus could have produced other children. Mary's womb becomes the Christian Most Holy Place, and no mortal seed can be allowed to gain purchase there.

It doesn't matter that the Christian scriptures talk about a group of men being Jesus's brothers:

While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, "Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak with you." But to the one who told him this, Jesus replied, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" And pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."

Matthew 12: 46-50, NRSV
It doesn't matter that the scriptures even list the names of four:
"Is this not the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us?"

Matthew 13: 55-56, NRSV
It doesn't even matter that one of these brothers is mentioned by a historian who lived during this time period:
Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so [Ananus] assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned.

Josephus, Antiquities 20.9.1
No, Mary is a perpetual virgin because the Church said so. This is the logic of creation science, or of the church scholars who opposed Galileo. And Mr. Gibson will be honoring this doctrine, not the clear evidence to the contrary both in and out of the Christian scriptures. It makes for a great story, and a daunting doctrine - but history it's not.

Bush Absent From Guard Duty Six Months, Eleven Days

Calpundit spliced these two records together. The black section shows Bush's service dates in the first two quarters of 1972. The second shows Bush's service dates in the last two. Bush has a gap in attendance from April 17 until October 28. That's 6 months and 11 days that Bush was absent from the Guard.

It's not as bad as it looks, however. It appears that if a Guardsman earned 9 points per quarter, the 15 gratuitious points would have put him over the 50 mark necessary to maintain Guardsman status. I don't know what most of the pay codes mean on the sheet, but I can guess two of them. 22 would be the code for pulling two drills in one day, granting two points (this is what happened in October and November). We also know that Bush was ordered to attend ACtive DUty TRAining (ACDUTRA) in May, June, and July of 1973. The pay records for those dates show the code 50, and Bush was given only one point a day for that code.

In the second quarter of 1972, Bush has two 22s and 3 50s. That would be 4 inactive duty points and 3 active duty points, for a total of seven. There are two more codes marked in this quarter, both 30s. Even if a 30 code gave you only one point, that would total nine - enough for the quarter. So as of the second quarter (April-June 1972), Bush is good to go.

And go he went. The day George Wallace was shot in Maryland, Bush cleared base to head to Alabama. He signed his first request for an AL transfer on May 24, when he was already there (his work for Blount is on the paperwork). The application is to the Montgomery unit that he wants to attend, so it's likely that Bush walked into the 9921 himself and filled out the paperwork then and there. Two days later, Lt. Col Bricken of the 9921 approves Bush's transfer, and sends the paperwork along to Denver.

Denver denies the transfer. Bush has a Military Obligation that requires him to fulfill a specific Ready Reservist postition only. This obligation must be his flight requirements. It's the only way Lt. Bush stood out. The denial of transfer was mailed to Texas, but a copy of the paperwork was mailed to Lt. Bush in Alabama via the 9921. So Bush must have known about this transfer.

But there was time to take care of it all. The denial was done in late May, and Bush was good until the end of June. So he spent his time working at the Blount campaign, which was a total lost cause.

This brings us to the third quarter of 1972. This is the quarter of the most serious lapse we can document. Bush does nothing in this quarter. He's scheduled for an annual physical in August. He misses it. He's suspended from flying status - he now can't fulfill his obligation. But on September 5, he submits a second request for substitute drillwork in Alabama. It's pretty late in the quarter, and by the time the paperwork works its way through, Bush is told that he's already missed the September drills. He's told to report to Col. Turnipseed in Alabama, and informed of the early October and November dates that he can still attend.

This letter is from Captain Kenneth Lott of the 187th. It seems to me that this document holds the same weight as Lt. Col. Bricken's approval of Bush's transfer - it would be subject to the approval of the Denver HQ. The Alabama approval warns that Bush can't fulfill his flight obligation with the 187th either. So this is not final approval of equivalent training in Alabama - it's Alabama saying that equivalent training is okay by them.

Bush never reports to Col. Turnipseed. He doesn't make up any missed time for the third quarter of 1972. He doesn't show up for the UTAs in Alabama. Something's screwy with the records here, and I'd guess it has something to do with that missed physical.

Question: What is contained in "para 2-10, AFM 35-13"? When he was suspended from flight status, he was to comply with paragraph 2-10 of the AFM 35-13. Does anybody know what that means?

He's got 4 points in late October, and 8 points right after Election day in November. Where this service happens, we don't know yet, but it's enough for the last quarter of 1972 (Oct-Dec).

So the only questionable time period is the third quarter 1972, the quarter in which Bush skipped his flight physical and didn't show up in Alabama. If you can compare Guard service to juggling, George Bush managed to keep the balls in the air for the last two years of his obligation, except during the third quarter of 1972. If anything's been cleaned up from Bush's record, that's the time period that was scrubbed.

Yes, the 6 month, 11 day gap in Bush's service looks bad on the face of it, but when compared to the Guard's system of quarterly accountability, the true problem in Bush's record is put into focus. What happened during Bush's 1972 third quarter? Why did he miss a physical, and was he ever actually approved to train in Alabama?

Top 10 Ways that Mel's Passion Isn't As It Was, Number 10...

I know, I know, the movie hasn't been released. I haven't even seen it yet, so how can I judge the merits of this film?

Enough information is out already to tell that Mel Gibson's account of the death of Jesus is nowhere close to historically accurate. In fact, there's so much wrong that I can give you a top ten list. I'll try to do one a night from here on out. Then after all ten are out, I'll publish them all together in one post, okay? Okay.

Please don't misunderstand me. As a movie and as a spiritual exercise for Christians, The Passion of the Christ is shaping up to be a stunner. But Mr. Gibson is specifically marketing this movie as a historical account. He's claiming that the Holy Ghost moved him in the making of this film - an incredible grasp for the mantle of infallibility. Many people will be attending this film thinking that they are seeing the facts of that day in Judea almost two thousand years ago.

They won't be, and here's the first of the top ten reasons why currently available to us:

10. Nails in the wrist, not in the hands.

Crucifixion is a grisly way to die. The final cause of death is asphyxiation. After being mounted on the cross, victims would sag forward. This kept the diaphragm from its full capacity. The victim was forced to pull himself up with his feet and arms to get in a position to breathe properly. The incredible pain from this position would soon force the victim to sag down again, cutting off the breath.

This cycle could last as long as three days. The hands weren't always nailed - many crucified victims had their wrists tied with rope to the cross, and the method of death was the same. But if a victim was nailed in the hands, it couldn't have been in the palms. Under the constant pull and drop of the victim, the nails would have soon pulled free from a nailing there. Therefore, the wrists were used.

Feel along the back of one of your wrists with the middle finger of the other hand. You will find a hollow spot that fits your finger quite nicely. Keeping your middle finger in that hollow, use your thumb to feel the front of the wrist. You'll find another hollow, right in the middle below the palm. Now apply a little pressure to the wrist from both finger and thumb.

That's where the nail would have been driven. This slight space in the wrist joint provided a firm anchoring in the middle of a complex tangle of bone and sinew. While holding the wrist in this manner, you can wag the hand back and forth to see how firm the connection would have been.

Yet Mr. Gibson films the nails being driven into the palms - influenced by centuries of Christian art and the manifestations of stigmata. This isn't historically accurate.

I'm Changing My Endorsement: John Kerry

Nothing against Clark at all - in fact, I voted for him today in the Tennessee primary.

But Wesley Clark, an able leader and a man who should run again one day for office, will not be getting the nomination. That much is clear today, and Godspeed to him and the other excellent candidates for the Democratic nomination.

The next president of the United States will be John Forbes Kerry.

The links have changed in the sidebar. The banner has changed below. Full speed ahead.

Newly Released Pay Records Add No New Evidence

Bush National Guard Records Released (registration required)

The pay records show six days of service between May 72-Dec 72. That's what the 72-73 SPE said. Nothing new here.

The documents indicate Bush received pay for six days of duty between May and December of 1972 when he was assigned to temporary duty in Alabama. There is a five-month stretch at the start of 1972 when he was not paid for service. The records do not indicate what duty Bush performed or where he was.
Please note the misinformation in this paragraph. Bush was not assigned to temporary duty in Alabama from May to December 1972. He requested a transfer to an Alabama unit in May, after already moving to the state. This transfer was denied. Bush remained in limbo until September, when he requested to do substitute drills in Montgomery. The request was for the months of September through November only. It was approved, but the dates of service on the SPE don't match the drill dates in Alabama.

If the six days of the pay records is for time served in Alabama, then the Bush Campaign lied about a November 29th date. If the six days is for Houston time, then when, if ever, did Bush report to his Montgomery unit?

Also the statement, "a five-month stretch at the start of 1972 when he was not paid for service" is puzzling. Does this mean he didn't serve or that he did serve but wasn't paid? How do you pull unpaid duty in the Guard?

Untorn "Torn Document" Available: Trick or Treat?

Calpundit: ARF!

The actual untorn 72-73 SPE is available for viewing now. The actual dates conform to the choices that Gryn, a commenter here and other websites, made. I explored that possibility in my post below: Is There A Missing 72-73 SPE?

My initial reconstruction of the 72-73 was wrong in three lines. The first two lines were mistaken, because they followed the assertion of Dan Bartlett that the first line was November - which could only make the second line December. The commenter Gryn was then correct to identify the first month as October, opening up the second month to be November, for indeed they were.

I also picked February as the month on line five, because I found it too incredible to believe that Bush could have attended drills a mere three weeks before his superior officers would sign a performance evaluation that claimed Bush hadn't been observed at the unit for a year. Evidently, this is the case.

The actual data for the 72-73 SPE, then, is as follows:

1 72 OCT 28 - 72 OCT 29 2 004 (Sat - Sun)
2 72 NOV 10 - 72 NOV 14 2 008 (Thu - Sun)
3 73 JAN 04 - 73 JAN 06 2 006 (Thu - Sat)
4 73 JAN 08 - 73 JAN 10 2 006 (Mon - Wed)
5 73 APR 07 - 73 APR 08 2 004 (Sat - Sun)
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)
Again I emphasize the contradictions of this document with other documentation. Since Bush was not observed at the Houston unit by his superiors on the service dates listed on lines 1-5, where did this service take place? Since the unit code listed on the upper right corner shows Bush's unit number, it would seem all of this service happened in Houston. But how could it have?

If this document does contain Alabama service dates (presumably lines one and two), then Bush skipped out on the dates he was ordered to attend in Alabama when he was given permission to drill in Montgomery. If this document contains the Alabama data, then Bush skipped drill work from the middle of April to the end of October: six and a half months.

If the document doesn't contain Alabama data, then Bush had to have returned to Houston on Hallowe'en weekend to attend Guard drills. Why hasn't he ever claimed to do this? That sounds like something unforgetable - he'd been in Alabama for over six months, separated from his friends, and he must have had a pocketful of cash from the $900 a month he was getting from the Blount campaign.

Furthermore, why did he allow his campaign staff to release false information about this document? Dan Bartlett claimed to Jo Thomas that the first date on the torn document was November 29, and that the service was in Alabama. But that date wasn't in November - it was in October.

Can we put that down to misinterpreting the document? As the Jo Thomas article claims, the month I guessed as February was actually April. So Dan was right about April, but wrong about November. How could Dan have known that the fifth line was April at all? Either he was looking at the untorn copy, or Bush told him. If he was looking at the untorn copy, then Dan Bartlett lied to Jo Thomas about the torn copy. But if Bartlett got his information from Bush, then Bush told him wrong about November, and nothing at all about the October date.

Where was Lt. Bush on Hallowe'en? Why was a torn document given out twice, when an untorn document was available? Was the defacement of this document meant to obscure a trip back to Houston - a trip Bush would prefer to forget?

The F-102's Record in Vietnam

Vietnam Air Losses

You hear a lot about Bush's excellence and valor in learning how to fly the F-102. This plane was in use in Vietnam, but as Bush graduated from flight school, the news came down the wire that it was being phased out of use in the conflict.

Bush himself has characterized his choice to become a fighter pilot in terms that make it clear he was avoiding the draft:

I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes.
Becoming a interceptor jet pilot is nothing to laugh at, however. Since he did actually master flying this jet, which is one of the more difficult planes to fly, as I understand it, Bush deserves the credit for this feat.

And since the F-102 was being used in Vietnam, and Bush's unit was seeing service over there, Bush can be further credited for putting himself, if not in harm's way, then in the possibility of harm's way.

Perhaps. Here's an interesting question: How many F-102s were lost over the skies of North Vietnam?

According to this newgroup archive, exactly one.

HanoiNow explains in a comment at a former Air National Guardswoman's blog.
Probably [the low level of loss] has something to do with the fact that the F-102 was a '50s-era high-altitude interceptor built to stop slow-moving Russian nuclear bombers; it was a lousy dogfighter and had no ground-attack capabilities. Since North Vietnam had no air force to speak of, you were unlikely to get shot down in an F-102. F-105s, F-4s and A-4s got shot down 'cause they were used for ground attack and were taken out by ack-ack and SAMs.

So if it's true that GWB "joined to fly F-102s", then he had the right idea, picking that shiny supersonic coke-bottle; even if he had gone to Vietnam he'd have had to be pretty darn unlucky to get shot down. It also casts the "he volunteered to go but didn't have enough flight time" point in a different light. He volunteered to go zip along at Mach 2 and 30,000 feet, providing air superiority against an almost nonexistent enemy air force. If he'd been flying choppers, or, say, skippering fast river attack boats, that would've been a different story.

It's Still Bovine in Origin
Indeed. So as Bush saw it, his choices were Canada, popping out his eardrums, or learning to fly a plane that flew high above the Vietnamese defenses, should he actually be called into active service in Vietnam.

That doesn't sound particularly heroic to me.