Archive for the ‘KENNEDY FAMILY’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: LIBERAL PARTY’S STRANGE DEATH ? PERHAPS BUT THERE IS AN ARC OF POWER FOR ALL PARTIES FAMILIES AND EMPIRES   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY JEFFREY SIMPSON IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Parties, like great families or national empires, do have a limited life.

A great family like the Eatons rose to being a household word and then declined to nothingness in several decades. Except for the name on the Eaton Centre, no ordinary young person of the next generation will even know who they were.

It is possible, but I don’t absolutely think so, that Canada’s Liberals have begun just that same descent along the arc of power.

To explain this phenomenon of declining power, it is not necessary to assert notions like being spoiled by success.

After all, the set of problems facing a nation changes over time, so much so that in periods of say fifty years, the old problems are forgotten or unrecognized by a different generation.

There have been countless examples of this in my lifetime, the greatest surely being America’s barbarous war in Vietnam.

Today, I’m sure if you asked most young adults about that ghastly effort, killing three million people in ten years of terror, many would not know where Vietnam is located and many would have no idea of when the war occurred.

That inevitable process of fading mass memory over the generations is part of why parties fade away.

But also, leadership always plays a key role. We’ve all seen in great family dynasties the way the iron-willed founders are succeeded often by less capable sons and grandsons.

Just look at Trudeau, one of our great leaders – whether you like his policies or not, he was a great leader. His son Justin, a handsome and intelligent young man, clearly does not possess the same talents and ruthless drive for success. One can almost feel the difference in temperament and attitude and drive.

And the Liberal Party has made some bad choices in its leadership recently.

Then there is the inevitable role of luck and fortune in the rise and fall of parties and families.

Old man Kennedy in the United States made his serious money through work with the Mob during Prohibition. Take away the historical mistake of American Prohibition and likely the Kennedy family would never have risen to such heights.

The bad luck of the Liberals has been two-fold, at least.

First, Quebec having been taken out of play in national politics. Second, the appearance of an opponent more dark and ruthless in his application and abuse of power, Stephen Harper, than they have ever faced.

Harper is simply a new phenomenon in Canada – a man who is perfectly comfortable with the Republican Right types like a Dick Cheney or a Tom Delay or Newt Gingrich – ugly, bad-tempered, ruthless men all.

The Liberals have never faced such a man before. Moreover they do it not with a Trudeau or a Chretien but an Ignatieff, a man of no political experience and little political talent.
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From another reader:

“Shouldn’t Bob Rae be front and centre reminding us what an NDP Government can do to You !!!”

Bob Rae was a responsible and capable premier.

Those were dangerous days economically, and Rae got us through.

He tried the path of the least hurt to people. If it had been someone of Harper’s ilk, I guarantee thousands would have lost their jobs, permanently.

Just wait, if Harper gets his majority, the budget will be balanced on tens of thousands losing their jobs as whole departments and programs are abolished.

To say anything else is just ignorance.

The people still whining about Rae Days make themselves sound like pathetic big babies.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE DARK ASPECTS OF KENNEDY’S ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE WERE FAR DARKER THAN DESCRIBED BY BRITISH JOURNALIST ANDREW MARR   2 comments


 

 

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY ANDREW MARR IN THE TELEGRAPH

It seems to me that Andrew Marr misses many of the juicy bits about Kennedy.

This is pretty tepid stuff, and none of it is news to people who lived in America at that time.

The treatment of Hubert Humphrey, one of the more honorable men to run for president in the 20th century, was very shabby.

But the Kennedys were ruthless people, all of them. They were the kind of people who would send a quick elbow into the face of an opponent in a race of any kind.

Britain knew what a truly nasty, prejudiced, and ruthless man the father was from the time he served as American ambassador. He left an outstandingly unfavorable impression.

The old man wasn’t just said to be a rum-runner during prohibition, that’s in fact how he made his fortune, and he maintained mob connections afterward.

The connections of the old man with the mob gave Jack a huge secret campaign contribution. There was a suitcase delivered with a $1 million cash gift, a very great deal of money in 1960.

Indeed, it has been reported many times that mob donors were extremely disappointed in Kennedy as President, accusing him of ingratitude.

The connections continued with Jack himself who was a friend of “the rat pack” in Vegas. One of Jack’s girlfriends, Judith Exner, was a former (?) girlfriend of Chicago mafia boss, Sam Giancana.

Perhaps the dirtiest Kennedy business was election fraud. Jack was elected by a very close vote, and it was fraud in Chicago that gave him Illinois plus fraud in Texas, courtesy of good old Lyndon, that tipped the total in his favor.

The election practices in Chicago were legendary when I was a young man. Vote counters who kept pencil lead under a fingernail to spoil paper ballots, local politicos who accompanied voters into the supposedly secret voting machines of the time, and the wholesale registration of names from local cemeteries as valid Democratic voters.

Lyndon Johnson’s career in politics in Texas is documented as having begun with local machine vote fraud with his first election to Congress. He made sure Kennedy got the same favorable treatment. His exclusion from any important roles in the administration was made all the more painful for knowing how he helped Kennedy get elected.

Mr Marr thinks Nixon might have made a good president if elected at a younger age, but there is little basis for that belief.

Nixon had a long and hateful record as a red-baiter. His first run for the Senate in California, while not involving vote fraud, very much involved the lowest of low tactics. He called the honorable woman, Helena Gahagan Douglas, who was his opponent, “pink right down to her underwear” among other charming epithets. Nixon’s work on the Alger Hiss case (a convicted spy) almost certainly involved fraudulent evidence from J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI. Hoover was always a friend and admirer of Nixon’s, Hoover being one of the most unsavory characters ever to hold power in America.

Kennedy’s entire presidency was riddled with ambiguities and dark doings, despite his heroic appearance.
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On the Cuban Missile Crisis, often cited as Kennedy’s best moment, there is a complex background which makes his role far less admirable and indeed helps make Kennedy responsible for its ever happening.

Kennedy was a martinet about military matters, and he dedicated his administration to getting rid of Castro. It was under Kennedy that many plans and attempts to murder Castro were made, reportedly his brother being the main report-to for the dirty work.

Yes, Kennedy was angry with the CIA for its failure at the Bay of Pigs invasion, but only because the failure embarrassed him, not because he didn’t wholeheartedly support the goal.

It was under Kennedy that the mafia was involved with the CIA in its efforts to kill Castro. At least two big mafia figures were involved in these efforts, Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli. After Kennedy’s assassination, when it was reported that these men might be telling what they knew to Congressional investigators, they were both murdered in classic mafia style.

Kennedy kept a set of terrorist camps going and growing, run by the CIA and using Cuban émigrés, in places like Florida that make the efforts of Osama bin Laden in the mountains of Afghanistan look like Boy Scout stuff.

Millions of dollars were poured into training, equipment, and supplies and plans for dirty tricks. Some of the members of these vast terror groups shot up Soviet ships from boats, planted bombs in places like hotels, buzzed Cuban locations with planes, and even attacked those in the United States who did not support them.

American spy planes regularly flew over Cuba, and surreptitious missions were taken by submarine, landing cutthroats to do dirty work. And, of course, the U.S. refused to return Guantanamo to the Cubans from whom it was on lease, the lease having expired.

It truly did appear from both Castro’s and Russia’s point of view that America was preparing to invade Cuba.

Kruschev fixed upon the movement of missiles to Cuba to protect Castro. It still is not completely clear whether he planned to use them as bargaining chips or only as a defensive threat. In the end, the Missile Crisis was settled by an American commitment not to invade Cuba, plus some other matters as removing Jupiter missiles from Turkey.

It may be argued that Kennedy’s response to events in Cuba brought us closer to nuclear war than is generally known. The Russians had armed with nuclear warheads a number of the short-range missiles, as protection while the rest were assembled. The idiots in the Pentagon were ready to land an assault force immediately, and it is likely that they would have been met with tactical nuclear weapons on the beach which were in the battlefield commander’s control. Kennedy did not oppose the Pentagon, he only wanted to try another approach first. That was his merit.

More than a few people think that Kennedy’s settlement was the beginning of assassination plans by whatever group did in fact assassinate him. Kennedy had so many bitter enemies – the mafia, elements of the CIA, the ferocious and armed Cuban émigré community, plus others, including Israel for his intense secret opposition to its becoming a nuclear power – and no one who has studied events of that time carefully believes that poor old Oswald was anything but a patsy in some plot he did not even understand.

The modern history of America has a good deal in common with that of the Borgias in Italy. What we get on television and in newspapers and in most books is highly sanitized.