Category Archives: ted kennedy

No No Nobel Prize … and why not?

Nothing gives more evidence of the narrow philosophic view of the grantors of the Nobel Peace Prize than the omission of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

The bold diplomacy of Nixon transformed China from dangerous adversary to friendly trading partner. In bringing down the old Soviet Union, Reagan ended the 40 year Cold War. No diplomatic efforts in

modern times have brought more global peace and stability.

The largely failed or nonexistent peace making accomplishments of Nobel winners Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama fade to inconsequential by comparison. If you add Al Gore as another recent political recipient, the Nobel Peace Prize becomes a farce.

A postmortem on the postmortem of Ted Kennedy

Have we passed the mourning period for Ted Kennedy yet? Since his name now appears in the press less than Princess Di, I assume we have. I did not want to seem disrespectful at the moment of the Senator’s internment, and I thought I should wait to see if my reflections of the moment would prevail over time. They did, and I assume it is now safe to be disrespectful.

You see, there was a moment in time that I thought the Kennedy industry would set aside their usual pompous self importance and their habit of putting everything in their lives (and deaths) to some partisan political advantage. They presume that somehow their personal affairs (no pun intended) are of epic historic proportions. If their family constitutes an American dynasty it should be appropriately known as the Dysfunctional Dynasty.

I was hoping for some dignity in the latest Kennedy nationalized funeral. Now, I said “dignity” – not to be confused with pomposity and grandeur. In that, they are without peers. To be brutally blunt, the funeral and the reporting thereof, especially the left wing blogs, made me puke – well, figuratively.

The objectives of the Hyannis Port public relations machine were three-fold. First, was the effort to sanitize a history of debauchery and immorality that characterized the youngest of the Kennedy boys to a greater degree than his older siblings. No small task, to be sure. Second, to advance his legislative agenda. Third, to create the illusion of good standing with his Catholic Church.

I know one does not usually delineate shortcomings in obituaries – although the most dramatically flawed public figures often find their peccadilloes noted along side the accomplishments in the public press –especially if they are conservative or Republican.

However, the Kennedy obits, written and spoken, created an entirely fictional character. Listening to one speaker after another delineating the biography of Kennedy, the man, I was unable to find anything recognizable from my 45-years of observation of his public life (and a few personal involvements with him). Funereal protocol aside, I must say, there was not much to admire about the man other than his successful grasp of fame, fortune and power.

The second mission of the Hyannis Port public relations machine was to put as much steam behind the faltering healthcare legislation as possible. The funeral was less a wake than a lobbying event. “Single payer” and “public option” were as common an uttering as the more conventional “doesn’t he look good” and “he will be missed.”

Any hope of solemnity and dignity, evaporated in the crassly political content of the various memorial events. The Intercessions portion of the high Mass (in which God is called upon to bless specific pleadings) became a roll call of his liberal legislative agenda. Apparently, the Lion of the Senate was channeling his political roar through his own requiescat.

Obituary after obituary favorably referenced Kenney’s political causes, with an array of political guests advancing the illogical notion that Kennedy’s demise should, for some reason, end opposition to the liberal agenda – especially the current healthcare bill. Some suggested that they should pin Kennedy’s name on H.R. 3200 as if that, in and of itself, would de-putrefy the proposal.

Thirdly, there was the painfully obvious effort to turn the apostate into a devout Catholic. I do not think Mother Theresa could have been deemed a more faithful Catholic than the dead Kennedy based on the eulogies.

The low point was the letter to the Pope from the dying senator, carried to His Eminence by none other than President Barack Obama – perhaps the most powerful messenger angel ever so deployed. Keeping with the Democrats’ and the Kennedy’s propensity for the grand scale lie, Kennedy introduced the President to the Pope as a man of enormously deep faith.—who, incidentally, is still trying to figure out where to attend church in D.C.

The epistle to the Pope was nothing less than a pre-posthumous, self-serving stunt to make Kennedy appear to be a devout Catholic. It, too, contained Kennedy’s legislative agenda. The letter carried to the Pope served both the legislative and the canonization purposes.

However, the Holy Father was to smart to be suckered into a backhanded absolution of Kennedy’s Catholic failures. Teddy received a reply from a staffer that was more or less a boilerplate “thanks for your letter” response, with a promise of some prayers on the Senator’s behalf — much like the letter my wife’s grandmother received posthumously from the previous Vicar of Christ via a staffer.

The grandeur of the Catholic funeral would suggest the demise of one of the Knights of Malta. The praise of powerful clerics reinforced the image. Kennedy’s own priest/confidant gave an obituary that was so biased that even the press called it an attempt to refute any critics who might question Kennedy’s devotion to and good standing with the Church of Rome. Not only was Kennedy given the appearance of a general absolution for his apostasy, but it was alleged that his separation from the Catholic Church never occurred.

Despite the best efforts of the powerful Kennedy media mill, there were hints of the bad Catholic Kennedy. In a sly political move, the funeral was shifted from the likely Boston Cathedral to a lesser church so there would be an excuse for Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley to take a pass on officiating. He had been under considerable of pressure from pro-life Catholics to reject a high ritual canonization-style ceremony. At Arlington Cemetery, it was retired Cardinal Theodore McCarrick who did the honors.

Dealing with the letter from the Pope …er … not the Pope, the Kennedy media spinners began selling the notion that it is the tradition of the Pope to answer through underlings. Of course, this is true for all the mundane mail the Pontiff receives, but the Pope actually does communicate in writing when he see fit. He did not see fit in this case. Put in its proper perspective, the Pope showed more contempt than respect for the public relations gimmick.

According to the Catholic Church, anyone who engages in abortions, patient or practitioner, and anyone who supports abortions exists outside the Catholic communion. It is an excommunicable offense – beyond the simple matter of confession and absolution. Repentance and forgiveness requires a course correction. Senior Church theologians have placed the encouragement of abortions as an automatic excommunication. You will recall that when running for President, Senator John Kerry was denied communion for his stand on abortion.

It seems to me that no amount of power and money, and no level of corruption within the Church, can alter God’s mandates as Catholic teachings state and enforce them. On this issue alone, Kennedy cannot offer himself as a devout Catholic adherent. He may not have been a Catholic at all in the eyes of the true Church.

The Catholic Church’s bending to the power and money of the Kennedys has garnered it significant and well deserved disrespect. Bending dogma to accommodate Kennedy’s cash-on-the-barrelhead annulment of his 25-year marriage to his first wife and mother of his children; to overlook his stand on abortion, the Church’s most fundamental issue of the day; and to turn a blind eye to his public infidelity and his repeated tendency to cause scandal (another major Catholic no-no) have all harmed the Church more than it helped him. The Church’s granting him its highest rituals, honors and endorsements have shown the Boston Catholic hierarchy to be as easily bought off as a Chicago city inspector.

Even from the grave, Kennedy is his own salesman. His recent book is little more than a long press release to spin his tawdry legacy into a Camelot fantasy. To entitle his autobiography “True Compass” is reflective of his unmitigated gall. “Crooked Shillelagh” might have been a more appropriate title.

Following the assassination of brother John Kennedy, there was a folk ballad with the lament “Johnny we hardly know ya.” In hearing the funeral oratory and examining the posthumous autobiography, one can come to the same conclusion about Teddy.

The Lion of the Senate will roar no more

On the passing of Ted Kennedy, we are being deluged with nothing short of a canonization obituaries – as if extreme praise will obliterate the facts of his personal history. The Kennedy family, their circle of friends and the press have always been treated like royalty. The occasions of their lives are always cast as some seminal historic event. Only the gods of Olympus could equal Kennedy’s thundering oratory.

Certainly, Kennedy was a powerful senator, and a political tour de force. I give him that much. I will also respect the left’s affection for a man who carried the standard for so many of their causes.

But there is the other reality. The man had the personal ethics of a back alley crap shooter. Throughout most of his life he was noted for his lapses, not his achievements. He got into Harvard not on the merits of his intellect or academic achievement, but simply due to the pocketbook of his parents – a practice that has brought scandal down on the University of Illinois system. He was bounced out of Harvard twice for cheating. Daddy’s money took care of that.

He was both cowardly and criminal in leaving the scene of an accident that cost the life of MaryJo Kopechne. He ran from the scene in an attempt to conceal his involvement. He called family and political aides before police and medics. Reports suggest that the young lady had enough air trapped in the submerged vehicle to have survived a rescue. One judge said outright that the late senator was the cause of MaryJo’s death. By all accounts, the distinguished senator from Massachusetts was guilty of vehicular homicide. Again the Kennedy money thwarted justice and accountability.

He destroyed is first marriage, and almost destroyed his first wife, with womanizing, drunkenness and belligerence. His fame and financial contributions to a corrupt Catholic Church system bought him a unique annulment after a long consummated marriage with children – and disrespect to the Church that genuflected to the Kennedy power and wealth.

While his office issued central casting photos of a handsome statesman with flowing white hair, the tabloids had a field day showing the real Ted Kennedy as a blubberous drunken sot cavorting with an endless string of women.

The man dubbed as the “Lion of the Senate” by a fawning gallery of liberal leaders was really more of an alley cat.

He slowed down in later years, his body somewhat ravaged by decades of abuse. Once it was obvious the Kennedy clan had no inherited right to the Oval Office, and his flaws were great to win public acceptance as the nation’s leader, Kennedy seemed to focus on his career almost exclusively. Perhaps there was a moment of epiphany — a redemption that somehow escaped the Kennedy public relations machine. I hope so. I hope he found his way to heaven. I really do. But that does not mean I find his departure from this mortal shore an uncompromised loss. It still could be that he took more from this world than he gave.

It is ironic that the Democrats should lose his voice and his vote as Congress comes to a moment of truth on Kennedy’s trademark issue – nationalized healthcare.

May he rest in peace.

FOOTNOTE: One way to look at the excessive attention given the Kennedys is to look a political family with an equally impressive record of public service – the apparently more humble Bush family. Old Prescott was a U.S. Senator for Connecticut. His son, George H., was in Congress, headed the CIA, served as ambassador to China, Vice President and then President of the United States. In the third generation, George W. was in Congress, then Governor of Texas and on to the White House. George W.’s brother served as Governor of Florida. The Kennedy advantage in gaining public attention may be due to monumental ego, dysfunctionality to the point of repeated scandal, and liberal bonefides that turned the press and historians in to flaks.

>LMAO: Looking at the body of law

>John McCain and Barack Obama are missing some really critical issues. Are they clueless, or is it a bipartisan conspiracy to keep certain issues away from the public debate? One such issue was brought to my attention recently when a judge threw out a rape charge where the victim was a prostitute. According to the judge, the case should have been brought as a theft of service. (I sense you are already starting to grin, but there’s more.)

Seems that the john hired the whore for the usual services – or maybe unusual services, I really don’t know – but regardless, at the end of the performance of service the guy pulled out a gun and demanded that she perform similar services on some of his friends without further compensation. (Where these guys standing around watching?)

Now, I know a lot of feminists have a rather expanded definition of rape (unless committed by liberal Democrat politicians). I have heard, with my own ears, a National Organization of Women activist say that construction workers giving the “wolf whistle” to boob and bum emphasizing women is “tantamount to rape”. Personally, I think her comment is tantamount to man-hating hyperbole.

I am just not politically correct enough to equate the action of our john, as bad as it was, with the guy who drags an innocent co-ed into the bushes and brutally beats and assaults her, or the pervert who lures an 11-year-old into his rusty van to force her to perform oral sex. I sort of like the theft of service angle.

I suppose it is possible to rape a prostitute in the midst of her rendering some service, I’m just not sure how that happens. Let’s say a guy agrees to pay the hooker for the service de jour. She performs, he gets full satisfaction. After the fact, he refuses to pay because he is a jerk. Did he commit rape? Or was it a theft of service? And, can you even steal an illegal service? That is what the judge was grappling with.

Lets look at it another way. Is it possible to grab a prostitute on the street, force her to provide any one of her standard services, and then avoid a rape charge by giving her $100 after the fact?

This also makes me wonder whether a john is obligated to pay if the services were unsatisfactory, or not performed properly. What if, at the climax of the encounter, he did not? When I worked as Sears we had a “satisfaction guaranteed or your money back” policy. Does that apply to the sex trade? I assume you are starting to appreciate the importance of these questions.

Maybe we should ask Eliot Spitzer for his professional opinion on this matter. Not only is the former Governor of New York, and a one-time federal prosecutor, but he was a regular procurer of prostitutes for personal pleasure.

(The way Democrats handle sex scandals, I’m surprised Spitzer was not on Obama’s short list for Vice President. To what am I referring? Think Bill “nothing like a good cigar” Clinton, Ted “the champion of Chappaquiddick” Kennedy, Gerry “thank heaven for little boys” Studds and Barney “pimps on the public payroll” Franks. Despite MAJOR scandals, all these guys continued to receive homage from their Democrat colleagues.)

But, I digress.

So where are McCain and Obama on this issue? I suspect these questions could affect more people than all the house foreclosures and bankruptcies combined. Geez! Sometimes our leaders have no sense of priorities.

>REACT: The passing of Titans

>Within a few short weeks, two of the most senior political icons have fallen, one to the inevitability of dead and the other to the precursor of terminal illness.

Throughout his career, William F. Buckley has been the conscience and oracle of conservative ideology. He rose to prominence during the darkest days of conservative ostracization – the post Eisenhower ear of “good times” having given way to the “days of rage.” In 1964, Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater was the standard bearer for a presidential annihilation.

The power of Buckley’s intellect sparked the birth of the modern conservative movement that culminated in the election of Ronald Reagan and the eventual Republican Congress. These were more than elections. They represented the fundament shift in American political culture to the right for the first times since Franklin Roosevelt lead the nation to the shoreline of socialism. Even as Roosevelt proffered that the only thing our nation had to fear “was fear itself,” he pandered to the fears inherent in both depression and war to drive the people to the alter of government for sanctuary.

Often seemingly the lonely voice in the wilderness, Buckley penned the epistles of individual freedom and the righteous of the free market. He did so with conviction, compelling logic and common sense. He believed in principle over politics.

His success was not only in substance, but in style. He was ever the gentleman – the powerful but polite adversary on the debaters’ platform. Though less valued today than in times past, he was a man of virtue and honor. He is almost exclusively known for his beliefs, with little notoriety drawn to his personal life.

Edward Kennedy is, and has been, the personification of the anti-Buckley. He is the iconic personality of the radical left – or progressives, as they again prefer to be called. He too, could be dubbed the lone voice in the wilderness as conservative ideology gained favor and dominance under the rubric of the “Reagan Revolution.”.

He never lost his devotion to the tax and spend policies that would make the central government the point of resolution for virtually all human plights. Though cloaked in the skin of the lamb, the bloody fangs of socialism were always evident.

Kennedy’s ideology is less about freedom and more about amassing political power and privilege — personally and collectively. His brand of liberalism shifted the center of political gravity away from individuals to the paternalistic propensity of government. Inherent in this philosophy is a compulsion to govern — where pragmatism takes precedence over principle. He is more Machiavelli, for whom principle bowed to power, than Mother Theresa, who believed that keeping the faith reigned over temporal success.

This tendency to place pragmatism in the fore creates a selfish notion that the ends justify the means. Principle and policy become meaningless without the acquisition of power.

In his personal life, Kennedy has historically demonstrated that same pragmatic and selfish relativism. His excessive indulgences and tragically scandalous behavior has made him more notable in supermarket tabloids than intellectual journals.

While Buckley articulated the academic underpinnings of free-market conservatism, Kennedy is a constant campaign orator – articulating the language of political advantage at any given moment. While Buckley educated on the ways and means of individual freedom, Kennedy is the salesman of the “big brother” government that he and his fellow believers would provide if given the reigns of power. While Buckley wanted a nation that would think, Kennedy looks to a nation that will only respond.

Still … no matter one’s opinion; we can all rue the end of this clash between ideological Titans. They have personified the Yin and Yang between the philosophic poles of conservatism and liberalism. It is not easy to find their eloquent replacements in the vapid political firmament of these times. Taking sides does not prevent us from mourning the loss of Buckley, or praying for the well-being of Kennedy. Apart from all else, it can be said that both were faithful to their respective causes and visions. Each leaves a great legacy over which we lesser luminaries can carry on the debate.

>OBSERVATION: Life and death in Camelot

>Within two seemingly unrelated events, I found an interesting common thread.

The first was the highly coveted endorsement bestowed on Barack Obama by the distinguished senior senator from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy. Media affection for all things Kennedy assured this event would receive maximum publicity of the most favorable kind. The second event was the tragic death of television anchorman, Randy Salerno.

What possible connection?

Salerno was accidentally killed while riding on a snowmobile driven by his best friend, Scott Hirschey. Hirschey had been drinking. The badly injured and overwhelmingly remorseful life-long friend was charged with a number of civil and criminal offenses, the most serious of which is vehicular homicide – murder, more simply put. He faces the potential of decades in prison.

Kennedy did far worse. The inebriated playboy senator, carrying an expired drivers license, drove his car off the Chappaquiddick bridge in Martha’s Vineyard late one night, abandoning a potentially still alive young woman, named Mary Jo Kopechne, to the last breath of oxygen in an air pocket just inches below water. Testimony suggested that she may have survived up to two hours on available air. Uninjured himself (forget the “for show” neck brace), Kennedy left the scene of the accident to confer with family and aides in an attempt to escape both the scene and responsibility. When that was impossible, the Kennedy machine went into action, making the Watergate and Lewinsky cover-ups look like an episode of True Confessions. Every step of the way was marked by fabrications, payoffs and terminated investigations. Kennedys are never brought to justice in Massachusetts.

One man’s life in ruins and another is formally addressed as “the honorable and distinguished.” I just ain’t right.

Obama expressed great pride in the endorsement from Kennedy. Perhaps the deadly philandering sot of a senator is in good company with Obama’s indicted wheeler-dealer pal, Tony Rezko, who helped launch the Senator’s career with jobs, money and introductions. They both put themselves above the law.