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Book: Unfit for Command, by John O'Neill

Election 2004 John Kerry Book Unfit for Command John O'Neill

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#1 Norville

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 05:12 PM

Yes, I'm back for the moment; I wasn't going to post here for a while longer, because I really needed a break from politics. My having acted like an ass with Ogami didn't make me too eager to return. :rolleyes: Besides, I'd said on August 1 in the Doyle/Brandy Ledford thread in GMD that, after causing Ashley to think I was flaming him and his reaction against me, I wasn't keen on staying. It was also time to cut down on computer use (trying to keep up with this board daily on dialup is preposterous), and get books read instead of posting here.

Anyway, I need to post in frustration about this. Please realize that I haven't read the OT forum (except for Olympics threads in lurk mode) for about 3 weeks, so I've no idea if this has been mentioned.

There's a book out there, Unfit for Command by O'Neill, against John Kerry. Now, if any of you have wanted this book, I'm sure you've discovered how difficult it is to find. This is NOT the fault of bookstores/libraries. I speak as someone who's worked with books (as library and bookstore staff) for 18 years, so I know just a little something about what I'm talking about, despite what most patrons/customers think when they mistake me for a moron at first glance.

The publisher, Regnery, is a long-time conservative publisher, but for some utterly bizarre reason, they completely miscalculated the demand for this book. They printed a few thousand copies, I think. There was such an explosion of demand that they're on at least their 5th printing. They keep running out, after having sent out tiny amounts all over the country.

Somehow -- maybe this is mainly a California issue -- this has become all the fault of bookstores/libraries, and we're all evil, lying liberals who are hiding the book and preventing it from circulating. Talk radio has been a great perpetrator in declaring the conspiracy theory that no one can get it because the bookstores are hiding it from everyone. (I have no idea if Michael Savage of the Savage Nation has joined this bandwagon, because when I quit posting here due to political burnout, I also quit listening to his show. But it would be the sort of thing he'd do, because he loves to harass bookstores over the availability of his books -- his listeners like to call in and claim that because his books are sold out, they're being hidden by evil liberals, and he spreads this idea. I've listened to the guy, but won't support that bilge.)

We've had people thrash us over this, claim we're blocking their First Amendment rights, and go right to the very top to complain as nastily as possible -- because, for example, bookstores immediately sold out of the few copies they were sent and can't get more in a timely fashion. We've had phone conversations like this: "All right, WHERE IS IT?!" "Um... what?" "You know what I mean!" "Um... Unfit for Command?" Then, imagine the explanation we have to keep giving over and over again. Then comes a reaction like "That's the biggest load of bull**** I've ever heard!" and <click>.

Why don't people complain to Regnery? Oh, that's right, because they're not answering their phones, and have left a message on their answering machine to the effect that they'll get more copies out sometime soon. :rolleyes: Not to mention that it's just much more fun to harass the "front-line troops" of the book business, the "stupid" little bookstore workers and library staffers who provide faces that you can blindly claim are evil liberals blocking your First Amendment rights because we're the cultural elite. Oh, yeah, that's so much fun -- never mind that with pay like ours, we're so "elite". :rolleyes: (Oh, and there's the favorite attack of peeved library patrons -- "My taxes pay your wages!") I can tell you that if any of you here are tempted to go out and harass those people, you need to find a better hobby. I'm so tired of those who "know" the book business so much better than the people who actually work in it. (Yeah, some bookstore staffers are stupid beyond belief, but I'm just going to leave that alone for now.)

Call me a liar for posting all this if you please. My problem with this issue is that I've got this weird, idealistic love for the First Amendment, and have worked with books for 18 years precisely because I thought I heard a "calling" to provide people with the books and information they wanted, and whatever my own private biases, I *do not censor books!* (and know that the people with whom I've worked don't, either). I *want* to provide people with this book, but it's proven very difficult, through no fault of my own. But believe what you like, people. I'm sure this is my lying, raving liberal bias speaking and I'm actually denying my culpability in this entire Situation because I'm a born liar . :rolleyes:

Grrrrr. I have no idea if anyone here knows about this Situation, but it's been a nightmare, and has made me cat-spitting mad... :crazy:
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#2 HubcapDave

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 05:46 PM

Wow!

Sorry to hear people are coming down on you like that!

I'm sure John Kerry calling for the banning of this book isn't helping matters much, either.

#3 LaughingVulcan

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 06:57 PM

Wow....  I've never known any employee at any bookstore or any librarian who hasn't gone above and beyond the call to track down any book somebody wants.

I haven't heard of this at all, but maybe Shambalayogi has?  Just a thought.

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#4 Kimmer

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 07:18 PM

Thanks for the explanation. The nice gal at B&N could only tell me it was out of stock and she wasn't sure when they would get any copies in. My library doesn't even have a copy. :eek:

#5 Meepski

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 10:37 PM

HubcapDave, on Aug 29 2004, 06:44 PM, said:

I'm sure John Kerry calling for the banning of this book isn't helping matters much, either.
HubcapDave -- I've been googling around trying to find an actual source for this (Kerry calling for a ban) but have had no luck so far -- all I've been able to find is references to it, not an actual quote from a news source.  Where did you find this info?
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#6 StarDust

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 06:52 AM

I think one of the reasons people are blaming the Bookstores is that "liberal" groups have been demanding that the book be removed from the shelves quite loudly. (so much for free speech and anti-censorship stances) They had a big thing about it on CNN, so people may assume that's what has happened when they can't get a copy.

CNN has also stated that B&N has run out several times, has not pulled the book, and is replenishing as quickly as possible.

#7 Godeskian

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 07:10 AM

Damn Norville, that sucks.

I'd like to add my voice to the chorus who have only ever met friendly helpfull librarians who have gone above and beyond. I have nothing but respect for those that peddle in books, both in libraries and bookstores. I honestly wouldn't know what to do without them.

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#8 Meepski

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 08:51 AM

Norville, I have found bookstore workers to be among the most consistently knowledgeable, cheerful, and helpful people in the entire service industry (or outside of it for that matter).  And librarians will always be heroes in my book.  Hang in there  - you've got fans, even if we are quieter than the jerks! :oh:

Stardust said:

I think one of the reasons people are blaming the Bookstores is that "liberal" groups have been demanding that the book be removed from the shelves quite loudly. (so much for free speech and anti-censorship stances) They had a big thing about it on CNN, so people may assume that's what has happened when they can't get a copy.

Stardust, I hate book banning with a passion, and I'd like to know who to focus my ire on here, but again I can't find quotes or a news story on this, either on CNN or googling in general. Help me out here -- I have righteous anger that must be unleashed!
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great struggle. -- Philo of Alexandria

#9 HubcapDave

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 02:16 PM

Meepski, on Aug 29 2004, 08:35 PM, said:

HubcapDave, on Aug 29 2004, 06:44 PM, said:

I'm sure John Kerry calling for the banning of this book isn't helping matters much, either.
HubcapDave -- I've been googling around trying to find an actual source for this (Kerry calling for a ban) but have had no luck so far -- all I've been able to find is references to it, not an actual quote from a news source.  Where did you find this info?
I first heard about it in a news report on the radio. It was at the same time he was trying to get the election commission to investigate a link between the Swifties and Bush, he was also calling on the publisher to halt printing of the book.

#10 Rov Judicata

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 02:45 PM

My stepfather is a Vietnam-era vet (and more anti-Kerry than anybody on this board), and wants a copy. Here in Tucson, the Barnes and Noble waiting list has hundreds of names on it. I imagine that there's similar problems all over. They gave us the same "publisher miscalculated" explanation, which makes perfect sense. I imagine the bookstore employees are having similar issues to yours though Norville... :(
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#11 StarDust

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 03:18 PM

Meepski, on Aug 30 2004, 09:49 AM, said:

Stardust said:

I think one of the reasons people are blaming the Bookstores is that "liberal" groups have been demanding that the book be removed from the shelves quite loudly. (so much for free speech and anti-censorship stances) They had a big thing about it on CNN, so people may assume that's what has happened when they can't get a copy.
Stardust, I hate book banning with a passion, and I'd like to know who to focus my ire on here, but again I can't find quotes or a news story on this, either on CNN or googling in general. Help me out here -- I have righteous anger that must be unleashed!
:lol:  :cool:

Unfortunately, I can't help.

I heard it on air, and they are notorious about not having that stuff found easily on the web sight.

I have CNN on every morning as I get ready for work.  It would have been American Morning which is on from 7AM - 10AM EST.

For some reason, CNN's search functions don't search their transcripts.  I've tried again and again and only found what I wanted by remembering it was mond-weds or something like that and painstakingly opening each 'transcript' and searching for what I want. The names of the transcipts are misleading, they point to a major story for that half hour, but it actually is a transcript of everything.  

It was said several mornings in a row, however.  I believe it was the beginning of last week, but not sure.  Time flies when we're having so much fun.

I couldn't believe someone would actually suggest a book be banned, but then I've seen much worse.  :glare:

Edited by StarDust, 30 August 2004 - 03:25 PM.


#12 Meepski

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 04:19 PM

StarDust, on Aug 30 2004, 04:16 PM, said:

Meepski, on Aug 30 2004, 09:49 AM, said:

Stardust said:

I think one of the reasons people are blaming the Bookstores is that "liberal" groups have been demanding that the book be removed from the shelves quite loudly. (so much for free speech and anti-censorship stances) They had a big thing about it on CNN, so people may assume that's what has happened when they can't get a copy.
Stardust, I hate book banning with a passion, and I'd like to know who to focus my ire on here, but again I can't find quotes or a news story on this, either on CNN or googling in general. Help me out here -- I have righteous anger that must be unleashed!
:lol:  :cool:

Unfortunately, I can't help.

[Details edited for space]


Thanks StarDust (and HubcapDave)!

Hmmm.  I can't find any news stories anywhere on this, so I think that for now I'm going to have to assume it didn't happen (both Kerry advocating banning and Liberal Groups advocating banning).  I'm not sure why CNN would say it though.  Maybe they were just taking the opinions of the "man on the street"?  Pretty lame theory I know, but it's all I got right now.:Oo:

If anyone can find a news story on this, let us know!  Book banning is something that makes me very uncomfortable, but I also feel that it is such a strong charge to make that I want to have actual quotes in my hands before I make it.

<Edited for spelling>

Edited by Meepski, 30 August 2004 - 04:21 PM.

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#13 Rov Judicata

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 04:28 PM

^

http://www.salon.com...k/index_np.html

Quote

The Kerry campaign has told Salon that the publisher of "Unfit for Command," the book that is at the center of the attack on Kerry's military record by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, is retailing a hoax and should consider withdrawing it from bookstores. "No publisher should want to be selling books with proven falsehoods in them, especially falsehoods that are meant to smear the military service of an American veteran," said Kerry campaign spokesman Chad Clanton. "If I were them, I'd be ducking under my desk wondering what to do. This is a serious problem."

Note that to read the whole thing, you'll need to get a day pass, which consists of watching an ad.
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#14 Ro-Astarte

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 04:57 PM

Calling on the publisher to withdraw the book is a step below calling for a ban, which really is a governmental action.  

I'm not suggesting the book should be withdrawn, ftr, just that's less fire than I expected from the smoke I was seeing.

Also, I did find the book on amazon marketplace.  You might have better luck there. (Please use the links page so EI gets  a boost to pay for the server etc.) /commercial break.

Ro

#15 Meepski

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 04:58 PM

Javert Rovinski, on Aug 30 2004, 05:26 PM, said:

^

http://www.salon.com...k/index_np.html

Quote

The Kerry campaign has told Salon that the publisher of "Unfit for Command," the book that is at the center of the attack on Kerry's military record by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, is retailing a hoax and should consider withdrawing it from bookstores. "No publisher should want to be selling books with proven falsehoods in them, especially falsehoods that are meant to smear the military service of an American veteran," said Kerry campaign spokesman Chad Clanton. "If I were them, I'd be ducking under my desk wondering what to do. This is a serious problem."

Note that to read the whole thing, you'll need to get a day pass, which consists of watching an ad.
Aha -- there's the problem -- I was searching using the word "ban", which is never actually used in the article or the quotes in it.  Nice find Rov!

This is somewhat political grandstanding on the part of the Kerry campaign, which is probably pretty much inevitable at this point in the game when things have become so adversarial.

But after reading the rest of the article, it is not as bad as I feared -- we seem to be safe from book banning for the time being <Meepski breathes a sigh of relief and removes the camo tarp that he had draped over his collection of Golden Girls fanfic.  (Ummm ... they are for a friend).>

The Kerry campaign, in the form of spokesman Chad Clanton, is asking the publisher to withdraw the book because of mounting claims about its truth.  The word "hoax" is tossed around in the article (although it is unclear if Clanton actually used the word), which I would say is probably not justified at this point.  But there does seem to be mounting evidence of people changing their stories from what they are on the record as saying in the past.  

There is a tradition in publishing, the article notes, of publishers withdrawing books if they have been shown to be "hoaxes".  I guess for me though the question is how much the known inaccuracies are instrumental to the overall claim they are making in the book.  I don't know the answer to this, and probably won't for a while until I've read the book (damn it Norville why are you hiding my copy!  :angel:  ) and all the facts have come out.

So I guess I'm agnostic on the "hoax" claim at this point.  But at  least nobody is calling for any book banning. :D

<Edited to note:  In other words, what Ro (much more concisely) said! :) >

Edited by Meepski, 30 August 2004 - 05:44 PM.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great struggle. -- Philo of Alexandria

#16 Meepski

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 05:33 PM

Norville -- it occurs to me that we (OK, 'I') have kind of hijacked your thread. :blush:   Sorry about that.   You truly do have my sympathy for having to deal with that kind of crapiness -- it is always the people on the front lines who have to take the heat for other people's screwups. :(
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#17 Gefiltefishmon

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 08:19 PM

It would NOT surprise me if the publisher of this book engineered (in conjunction with the Bush campaign) the entire fiasco - I mean it usually takes a few months to write a book, how could they have done this if they didn't know ahead of time what they were going to do? Kerry didn't make his whole "Swift Boat" thing the centerpiece of his campaign before the convention, did he? To me the whole thing smacks of co-ordinated involvement - I'll betcha!!

edited to prevent thread-jacking

Edited by Gefiltefishmon, 30 August 2004 - 08:23 PM.

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#18 Ro-Astarte

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 08:39 PM

Well, I think it's a stretch to assume that a publisher who makes money by selling a book would deliberately not print enough to fill the bill.

Not to say it's impossible, mind, as there are certainly examples like Enron's gaming the energy markets in California.  Just that I'd need a little empirical evidence to support it.

Ro

#19 Meepski

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 09:10 PM

I agree with Ro.  Again.  (Now I see why they make buttons for this!)

I have not generally found conspiracy theories to be very useful models of how the world works.  I tend to find them lacking on both the Occam's Razor front and on the predictive power front.

I'd want to see some pretty solid evidence before committing to one, but YMMV. :)
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#20 Ro-Astarte

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 09:23 PM

The thing about conspiracies is that sometimes their far-fetchedness is part of their disguise.

What is too outrageous to believe, we tend not to, even when evidence starts to accumulate sometimes. :)

Ro



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