T. Boone Pickens Is Not a Patriot

Dylan Ratigan hosted T. Boone Pickens on his show yesterday and referred to the far-right billionaire as a "patriot."

Ratigan has a bizarre idea of what constitutes patriotism. Pickens gave $3 million to the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, a group that relentlessly smeared Senator Kerry's heroic Vietnam War record. And...

On November 6, 2007, Pickens offered a million dollars to anyone able to dispute any claims made in political ads by the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth (SVPT), a group he had supported during the 2004 presidential election. John Kerry, whose military record and anti-war activism during Vietnam was the target of the group's book and media campaign, sent Pickens a letter on November 16, 2007, accepting the challenge, requesting that Pickens donate the money to the Paralyzed Veterans of America should he succeed in disproving any of the SVPT claims. In response to Kerry's acceptance of the challenge, Pickens issued a letter the same day, narrowing the original challenge to the SVPT ads, and requiring Kerry to provide his Vietnam journal, all of his military records, specifically those covering the years after his active duty service, and copies of all movies and tapes made during his service. Pickens' letter also challenged Kerry to agree to donate $1 million to the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, if Kerry "cannot prove anything in the Swift Boat ads to be untrue." Kerry later accused Pickens of "parsing and backtracking" on his initial offer and wrote that "I am prepared to prove the lie and marshal all the evidence, the question is whether you are prepared to fulfill your obligation."

On June 22, 2008, a group of Vietnam veterans who previously served with and now work with Kerry accepted the challenge and sent a 12-page letter — with a 42-page attachment of military records to support their case — to rebut several of the accusations of the Swift boat group. Pickens has responded with a message stating "In reviewing your material, none of the information you provide speaks specifically to the issues contained in the ads,” he wrote, “and, as a result, does not qualify for the $1 million."

Pickens never served, but spent millions trying to smear the patriotic service of a war hero, then renegged on his "Swift Boat Challenge" when presented with facts and evidence from a veterans group.

And he's somehow a "patriot?"