Break the Chain Kerry-cter (and Edwards) Assassination

Created 3/21/2004, last updated 4/4/2004 (7/27/2004) The 2004 U.S. Presidential Election promises to be among the ugliest in history, with both sides slinging as much mud as they can find. The Internet adds a new level to the muck, as virtually anybody can commit their thoughts on a given candidate and forward them far and wide.
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E-mail missives that praise and cut-down both candidates are increasing in popularity, with anti-Kerry notes far outnumbering those that trash his incumbent opponent, George W. Bush. Most notably, several e-mail chain letters call into question Kerry's military record and attitudes toward war, his character, his wealth, his wife, his running mate and more. Here is a quick rundown of the more popular anti-Kerry chains being circulated:

John Edwards is to Blame for the Flu Vaccine Shortage?

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How the vaccine works:

Influenza vaccine is produced by growing the virus in eggs. The virus is killed and processed to create the vaccine, which is given by injection under the skin. The body then produces antibodies to the virus over the next two to four weeks. If the immunized person then comes into contact with the influenza virus, the antibodies attack and kill the virus before it has a chance to cause infection. The vaccine contains the 3 most likely strains to be active during the "flu season"

Why the shortage:

Almost half of the nation's flu vaccine will not be delivered this year. Chiron, a major manufacturer of flu vaccine, will not be distributing any influenza vaccine this flu season. Chiron was to make 46-48 million doses vaccine for the United States. Chiron is a British company. Recently British health officials stopped Chiron from distributing and making the vaccine when inspectors found unsanitary conditions in the labs. Some lots of the vaccine were recalled and destroyed.

Why is our vaccine made in the UK and not the US?

The major pharmaceutical companies in the US provided almost 90% of the nations flu vaccine at one time. They did this despite a very low profit margin for the product. Basically, they were doing us a favor. In the late 80's a man from North Carolina who had received the vaccine got the flu.

The strain he caught was one of the strains in that years vaccine made by a US company. What did he do? He sued and he won. He was awarded almost $5 million! After that case was appealed and lost, most US pharmaceutical companies stopped making the vaccine. The liability out weighed the profit margin. Since UK and Canadian laws prohibit such frivolous law suits UK and Canadian companies began selling the vaccine in the US.

By the way...the lawyer that represented the man in the flu shot law suit was a young ambulance chaser by the name of John Edwards.

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While this chain letter relegates its accusation as a "by the way...," it is that statement that makes this missive so popular. We're not sure if the final line was part of the author's original or added as it circulates, but it is this postscript that has most people forwarding this note. However, there are a few problems with it, most namely that 1) there is no record of any such case, 2) Chiron is an American Company, 3) many factors contributed to the pull-out of American companies from the vaccine industry and lawsuits were a minor influence and 4) the direct reason for the shortage was the FDA's rejection of Chiron's supply produced in its British factory. For more perspective: Snopes.com, About.com, TruthOrFiction.com

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Secret Service Protection for Kerry Would Burden Taxpayers?

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It is good to be John F. Kerry....... The F stands for Forbes in case you ever wondered.

He is one of the richest Senators in Government. When someone is elected president, it means the Secret Service has to protect the President and his family as well as his property.

The Kerry's have five US properties not counting the several foreign properties they own too. The cost to run these homes are more than what the average American could afford, even if the rent was free, and all you had to pay the water, gas & electric. Including ground keepers, maintenance, pool, and house keepers. To be President would require the taxpayers to pay for all that now if elected. Including a complete staffed Secret Service security 24 hours a day. In addition to that we will have to pay for each of their homes for security improvements even if they never go to them all there is that just in case. Who do you think will pay for all this? We Pay! This takes all the expense off Kerry and puts it on us.

Nevertheless, factor another major cost to Americans that Kerry does not want you to know about.

Becoming president would automatically include taking care of all their properties with Secret Service Agents that includes 5 agents per 6 hour shift 4 times a day 365 days of the year for the rest of their lives so long as they own those properties. It comes with being President once you are elected. It requires us the taxpayers, to pay for this as well as his annual salary as well as his retirements including the cost of living adjustments to boot. These salaries and protect all their real estate property with Secret Service Agents and pay the bills for the rest of his life.

In addition, feed the Secret Service Agents and rotate new ones every 6 hours for the rest of his life.

Do the math. Five properties need to be protected. This requires five Secret Service Agents per shift, daily every six hours, per property! That is 20 Secret Service Agents per day per property everyday including Holidays. Wow, what does that cost?

[Full text omitted]

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The good folks at Snopes.com explain that this is an accusation full of holes. For example, Bill Clinton was the last American President guaranteed Secret Service protection for life, under a law passed in 1997.

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News clipping of John Kerry and Jane Fonda at an anti-war rally?

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THIS PICTURE IS WORTH MORE THAN A THOUSAND WORDS......

This is a man that denounced his military service.

This was a man who had an alliance with the treason queen herself who was famous for befriending the enemy.

This is a man who was the head of the antiwar movement.

This is a man who not only called for, but embraced the idea of men to dodge the draft and move to Canada.

This is a man who called for men to turn their back on their country.

This is a man that called combat murder.

This is a man that now embraces what he once denounced and is now considered a war hero.

This is a man who once called his fellow war veterans baby killers, but is now proud that he himself killed while in combat.

This is a man that is despised by the veterans of foreign wars organization.

This is a man who may become our president?

This as a man that according to the national democratic committee, if he really wants to win, will name Hillary as his running mate.

Please keep this going. We do not need this man as our President.

Supposed news clipping fo Fonda and Kerry

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Yes, Kerry's detractors have resorted to photoshop trickery to paint the candidate in as negative light as possible. Yes, Fonda's and Kerry's anti-war activism in the early seventies caused their paths to cross more than once, and there is at least one legitimate photograph (Snopes.com, About.com) showing the two at the same rally (though not "together"). The fictional newspaper clipping above is total fiction, however. A hoaxter took a 1970 photo of Kerry preparing for an outdoor peace rally and pasted in an unrelated 1972 shot of Fonda. Snopes.com has the original photos. TruthOrFiction.com and About.com offer more perspective.

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Kerry's Campaign Reopens Veterans' Old Wounds?

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Open Letter to John Kerry:

My wife had rotator cuff surgery earlier this year, and the recovery is terribly painful. Then, she developed a staph-epi infection, and they had to cut the same scar open and operate on her again. Just thinking about the pain and anxiety of facing that painful surgery a second time in the same wound, makes me cringe. That experience, however pales in comparison to what I am going through right now, in my heart.

The old hurts are surfacing and the feelings of betrayal by fellow citizens, and their leader stirring them up, are breaking my heart again. I am being cut in the same scar. How did we who served in Vietnam suddenly become cold-blooded killers, torturers, and rapists, of the ilk of the Nazi SS or the Taliban? Most of us were American soldiers who grew up idolizing John Wayne, Roy Rogers, and all the other heroes. That was why I volunteered. But for political expediency, John Kerry has rewritten history, again. After spending only four months in the country of Vietnam, John Kerry testified before Congress in 1971 with these exact words about incidents he supposedly witnessed or heard about from other vets: "They personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and gen! erally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam..."

[Full text omitted]

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This one is most often (but not always) attributed to Retired Green Beret and karate expert, Don Bendell, who confirms that he did, indeed, author this editorial, along with 10 others, the second of which has also become a popular chain:

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Don Bendell is a former Green Beret captain, who served in Vietnam on an A-Team and in the Top Secret Phoenix program in 1968 and 1969, as well as in three other Special Forces Groups. He is a best-selling author of 21 books, with over 1,500,000 copies of his books in print worldwide, and a seventh degree black master in four martial arts, who was inducted into the International Karate Hall of Fame in 1995 and Martial Arts Museum of America in 1996. e-mail: don@donbendell.com.

Thank you, John Kerry, for helping make us Vietnam veterans war heroes now, but you also were the primary reason that the American public grabbed sturdy unbending brooms of judgment and swept us into the closet of silence and shame for so many years. Now, with your latest unreported insanity, you are getting ready for our society to grab those same stiff brooms and sweep our brave, noble young men and women fighting against the War on Terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, into that cold, dark cell of heartbreak and betrayal, like we Vietnam veterans had to endure in silent dignity.

I cannot and will not watch this country go through that again. The hardcore America-hating, Israel-hating, jihad-spouting Muslim clerics in the mid east are very excited and passing around a front-page newspaper story from the very anti-American TEHRAN TIMES in Iran. In the country that is home of the world's toughest theocratic dictatorship, an e-mail from Presidential nominee, you, John Forbes Kerry, sent to the paper by your campaign committee, although they deny sending it, was printed word-for-word on the front page of Iran's main newspaper.

[Full text omitted]

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You can read all of Bendell's editorials and his responses to the buzz they have created at his web site.

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John Edwards' Neighbor Thinks He's a Jerk?

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Written by B. T. Nicholson a neighbor of John Edwards
Subject: Meet my neighbor

I'd like to introduce you to my neighbor. I'm from Raleigh, North Carolina, and for several years I've lived around the corner from Vice Presidential Candidate John Edwards. My neighbor John has been in the news a good deal lately, but it's hard to tell about the man himself from the coverage. Maybe I can help you get to know him better.

Even several years ago, before he was elevated to the national stage, my neighbor John didn't socialize much with other neighbors. He didn't gather with other neighbors at the Fourth of July and he didn't come out to the sledding hills to watch the kids play after a snow. My neighbor John preferred to jog through the neighborhood by himself. There's no sidewalk on Alleghany Drive, John's Street in Raleigh, and if you drove past him as he was jogging on the road and didn't slow down enough for his taste he'd flip you the bird.

Even after he became a U.S. Senator, he'd still come home to Raleigh every once in a while, would still jog through the neighborhood, and would still flip the occasional bird to passing cars. He last showed me his middle finger about four years ago.

[Full text omitted]

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Brian T. Nicholson can, indeed, be considered a neighbor of John Edwards. But, according to Snopes.com, Nicholson denies authoring this piece that became popular in August, 2004. Nicholson claims the version above and posted on many message boards, as well as circulated via e-mail, differs significantly from the private message he sent to friends and family, on which he claims the now-popular e-rumor is based. Snopes.com also cites media interviews with others of Edwards' neighbors, whose views of the Vice-Presidential hopeful are more positive.

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Kerry badmouths Ronald Reagan and Conservatives at the Late President's Funeral?

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Subject: The True John Kerry at his Best???

I FOUND THIS QUOTE FROM KERRY. I HOPE NONE OF YOU WERE GOING TO VOTE FOR HIM, BUT IF YOU WERE, THINK ABOUT WHAT HE IS SAYING. ESPECIALLY THE LAST LINE, "RECLAIM OUR COUNTRY FROM THE CHURCH GOERS". WOW!!!!!!!!!!

( HE WAS AT THE VIEWING OF REAGAN'S BODY IN CALIFORNIA. )

"This moment in Simi Valley is a moment of truth," Kerry said. "Not just for my campaign, but for the future of my party as well. For some of us, this may be our only chance to confirm the demise of the man who is solely responsible for turning the American people away from liberal philosophy. As Democrats, we need to put small differences aside and be certain that this man is truly gone. Next, we must reclaim our country from the church-goers, the middle America folks and the uneducated conservative masses."

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This one is total hogwash - another example of an online joke taken out of context to outrage and offend (a la "Harry Potter promotes satanism" and "George Bush's low IQ"). The text above is an excerpt from a satirical news release on KerryCore.com (a.k.a. the "John F'in Kerry" website). The parody gets more ridiculous as it goes, making the joke obvious. Unfortunately, the originator of this chain opted only to include parts of it. The KerryCore.com website has the entire release, as well as a disclaimer that gives the joke away: "The John F'n Kerry Website is a parody Website, intended for entertainment purposes only. The articles, comments and information entered upon these Web pages should NOT be repeated as the truth or be taken as a real quote, article, event, concept or happening." Snopes.com's article on this rumor contrasts the e-mail claims with the comments Kerry actually made at the funeral.

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Swift Boat Veterans For Truth?

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�We resent very deeply the false war crimes charges he made coming back from Vietnam in 1971 and repeated in the book "Tour of Duty." We think those cast an aspersion on all those living and dead, from our unit and other units in Vietnam. We think that he knew he was lying when he made the charges, and we think that they're unsupportable. We intend to bring the truth about that to the American people.

�We believe, based on our experience with him, that he is totally unfit to be the Commander-in-Chief."

-- John O'Neill, spokesman, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth

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The most popular versions of this chain includes the photos and testimonials of several other men, including Rear Admiral Roy Hoffman, Captain Charles Plumly, Andrew Horne, Jeffrey Wainscott and others. Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is a real organization and provides several similar testimonials, as well as other seemingly damning curiosities of Kerry's military career on their web site. Snopes.com verifies that the men mentioned in this chain are real and did, indeed, author the snippets attributed to them. However, they point out that most of the testimonials are expressions of personal opinion and, as such, very difficult to validate. They question some of the authors' familiarity and experience with Kerry.

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Kerry Voted Against Major Defense Projects?

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John Kerry says he's strong on defense . . . WELL, LET'S LOOK AT HIS RECORD!--

He voted to kill the Bradley Fighting Vehicle
He voted to kill the M-1 Abrams Tank
He voted to kill every Aircraft Carrier since 1988
He voted to kill the Aegis anti-aircraft system
He voted to kill the F-15 Strike Eagle
He voted to kill the Block 60 F-16
He voted to kill the P-3 Orion upgrade
He voted to kill the B-1
He voted to kill the B-2
He voted to kill the Patriot Anti-Missile system
He voted to kill the FA-18
He voted to kill the B-2
He voted to kill the F117

In short, he voted to kill EVERY military appropriation for the development and deployment of every weapons systems since 1988, TO INCLUDE the battle body armor for our troops.

With Kerry as president, our Army will be made up of naked men running around with sticks and clubs.

He also voted to kill all anti terrorism activities of every agency of the U.S. Government;

to cut the funding of the FBI by 60%;
to cut the funding for the CIA by 80%, and
to cut the funding for the NSA by 80%.

But then he voted to INCREASE our funding for U.N. operations by 800 percent!

This is a great country. We make those people who want to lead us run on their Record not just their Rhetoric.

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According to the good folks at Snopes.com, this one is fundamentally correct, but stretches the truth quite a bit. The defense projects listed were parts of three separate annual defense appropriations bills. These bills covered a broad range of expenses, so claiming that John Kerry specifically shot down these projects is erroneous. Furthermore, several of the item listed have been criticized as unnecessary by many Republican officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney.

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Kerry's Wife Uses Inherited Heinz Millions to Fund Nefarious Causes?

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CATSUP, PICKLES AND THE RADICAL LEFT by Paul R. Hollrah

Maria Teresa Thiersten Simoes-Ferreira Heinz Kerry was born in Mozambique, the daughter of a Portuguese physician, and was educated in Switzerland and South Africa. Fluent in five languages, she was working as a United Nations interpreter in Geneva in the mid-60's when she met a handsome young American, H. John Heinz, III, who worked at a bank in Geneva. He told her his family was "in the food business."

They were married in 1966 and returned to Pittsburgh where his family ran the giant H.J. Heinz food company. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1971, and in 1976 he was elected to the first of three terms in the United States Senate.

Senator H. John Heinz was a friend of mine - not a close friend, not a golfing buddy, but a friend nonetheless. The last time I saw him alive was, oddly enough, in the men's restroom at the Maverick Steakhouse, a favorite nighttime eatery and watering hole for politicians and lobbyists in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

[Full text omitted]

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The most popular versions of this essay go on to cite the G2 Bulletin and NewsMax to back up the author's claims that, in her inherited position of power over the Heinz Family Trust, Heinz Kerry channels "hard-earned money" into questionable causes (such as the International Action Center, Planned Parenthood, Council for Arab-Islamic Relations, Barrio Warriors and others), though the Tides Foundation. The article was, indeed, written by Paul R. Hollrah, former Oklahoma state representative. He offered it as an editorial to several sources, though he is not a regular columnist with any publication. It has been published on many conservative web sites. The folks at Boycott Watch contacted Hollrah, who vouches for his story.. Unfortunately, several e-mail versions have changed significantly from his original, adding unverified facts and comments.

Further, Heinz Endowments President Maxwell King has issued a statement saying that even if Heinz-Kerry wanted to, she would be prohibited by law to divert funds in the manner described. Read King's full statement at Snopes.com and About.com.

Additional perspective is offered by TruthOrFiction.com

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John Kerry's Many Million-Dollar Homes?

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Too many homes...

The Really Rich Folks

John Kerry, man of the common folk.... he understands your pain, really... trust him - lol, yeah - right

The many homes of Democrat Presidential candiate, John F. Kerry.

Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania? (Assessed value: $3.7 million)

One of Five

[Full text omitted]

Other foreign property ownership by John Kerry is unknown... because he denied repeated requests for this information.

Please e-mail this information to all your friends, family and contacts.

Class warfare is not right, but neither is being a hypocrite. This man wants to be our president, while claiming that he relates to Joe-6-pack and the common man. He wants to raise income taxes on the rich, well, guess what? He won't pay those taxes because he is already rich! He wants to make it harder for you to get rich by raising taxes on your income! Talk about snobbery and protecting his "class."

Please e-mail to at least 5 people.

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This rumor first surfaced in late March, 2004. The good folks at Snopes.com call the claim that Kerry owns several high-priced homes "problematic."

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Kerry's Wife Owns Heinz and Sends Jobs Oversees?

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Shortly after reading the following e-mail content, I happened to look at the label of a jar of Heinz sandwich slice pickles. Yep..."Made in Mexico" Check some of your Heinz products. Sen. John Kerry keeps talking about U.S. corporations leaving this county and setting up shop in foreign countries, taking thousands of jobs with them. He is right, because that has happened. However, he is trying to blame it on George W. Bush. As far as I know, Bush has not moved one factory out of this country because he is not the owner of a single factory. That cannot be said about Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz-Kerry.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Kerrys own 32 factories in Europe and 18 in Asia and the Pacific. In addition, their copany, the Heinz Company, has at least four factories in Europe and four in Asia. Also, they own 27 factories in North America, some of which are in Mexico and the Caribbean. I wonder how many hundreds of American workers lost their jobs when these plants relocated in foreign countries. I also wonder if the workers in Mexico and Asia are paid the same wages and benefits as workers in the United States. Of course they're not. However, Kerry demands that other companies that relocate should pay the same benefits they did in the U.S. Why does he not demand this of the Heinz Company, since he is married to the owner? If Kerry is elected, will he and his wife close all those foreign factories and bring all those jobs back to America? Of course they won't. They're making millions off that cheap labor.

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This March 2004 diatribe builds on the mistaken assumption that John Kerry's Wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, "owns" the Heinz Corporation. Another variant of the chain lists the many nations in which the company has production facilities as well as many of the brands under the company's umbrella. While it is true that the Heinz corporation has manufacturing facilities all over the globe and that Teresa Heinz Kerry is the widow of Henry John Heinz III, the heir to the families' condiment empire. However, Heinz Kerry inherited the Heinz family trust, a charitable endowment, not the condiment business. Also, the concepts of outsourcing and globalization are also confused in this missive. The good folks at Snopes.com have more.

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John Kerry Supported Hanoi?

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As Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, [consolidates his]...bid for the White House, Americans should know a few things about him that he might prefer go unmentioned - and I don't mean his $75 haircuts.

When Mr. Kerry pontificated at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Veterans Day, a group of veterans turned their backs on him and walked away. They remembered Mr. Kerry as the anti-war activist who testified before Congress during the war, accusing veterans of being war criminals. The dust jacket of Mr. Kerry's pro-Hanoi book, "The New Soldier," features a photograph of his ragged band of radicals mocking the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial, which depicts the flag raising on Iwo Jima, with an upside-down American flag...

[Full text omitted]

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This letter, was written by former Vietnam POW Michael Benge, and was originally published as an editorial in a December 2002 issue of the Washington Times. It became a popular chain letter after Kerry's surprise victory in the January 2004 Iowa Caucuses. Though carefully crafted to be as critical of Kerry as possible, most of the claims are fundamentally true. About.com urban legends guide offers a a claim-by-claim examination of this one.

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Kerry Didn't Earn His War Medals?

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I was in the Delta shortly after he [Kerry] left. I know that area well. I know the operations he was involved in well. I know the tactics and the doctrine used. I know the equipment. Although I was attached to CTF-116 (PBRs) I spent a fair amount of time with CTF-115 (swift boats), Kerry's command.

Here are my problems and suspicions:

(1) Kerry was in-country less than four months and collected, a Bronze Star, a Silver Star and three purple hearts. I never heard of anybody with any outfit I worked with (including SEAL One, the Sea Wolves, Riverines and the River Patrol Force) collecting that much hardware so fast, and for such pedestrian actions. The Swifts did a commendable job. But that duty wasn't the worst you could draw. They operated only along the coast and in the major rivers (Bassac and Mekong). The rough stuff in the hot areas was mainly handled by the smaller, faster PBRs.

[Full text omitted]

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This gem, most frequently attributed only to "a retired admiral and Annapolis graduate," also surfaced after Kerry's sweep of the January 2004 primaries. According to the investigators at Snopes.com, while based on facts, this one is full of exagerations.

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Kerry is Rude and Selfish?

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I would like to add my two cents about my John Kerry experience. During my career as an Air Force pilot, I spent two years flying a small twin engine prop plane around the Pacific from my base in Okinawa, Japan.

On one trip we had to fly Senator Kerry, his congressional aide, and a Navy Captain (Vietnam, A-4 fighter pilot) who was also in Kerry's party to various locations in Vietnam and Cambodia as part of the MIA/POW talks. When Imet him, he was wearing a shirt with a picture of his sailboat on it. I told him I had a small 27' sailboat in Okinawa, he remarked "Oh I never sail on anything less than 135 feet."

When we first flew him into Phnom Penh, he went to the back of the airplane and grabbed the pizza that was put aside for the crew and passed it around to his staff. He was never offered any pizza because they were supposed to have lunch with the Cambodian government once we landed. The pizza would have been our only meal that day...

[Full text omitted]

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This one surfaced in February 2004, and is most frequently attributed to "guest blogger" Hal Cranmer. Since it is basically one person's account of a private interaction many years ago, its veracity is hard to prove (or disprove, for that matter). The good folks at Snopes.com postulate, however, that similar accounts about Kerry's arrogance lend credence to the claim. This one has picked up several cases of False Attribution Syndrome, with versions being attributed to Chris Thomas, Thomas C. Regan and others.

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As the race for the White House continues, expect to see more of these missives surface. As always, intrepid Chain-Breakers are cautioned to remain skeptical of any information exclusively available via e-mail. Opinion is frequently indiscernible from investigation, fact from fiction. Break the chain.

What Do You Think?

Category: Political Ponderings
References: See above

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