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Showing posts with label Edward M. Kennedy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Edward M. Kennedy. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Family Stalls Release of Ted Kennedy’s Secret FBI Chappaquiddick File

Files expected to shine light on accident and death threats after brothers' assassinations

By Cathy Hayes

The late Senator Edward Kennedy’s FBI file, which was to be released this week, is expected to reveal major secrets about the family's history.

However, the release has been delayed as the file has been placed “under further review” pending a request by the family.

The total document, which is believed to be over 3,000 pages long, has been eagerly anticipated by historians who say it will shine light on some of the more controversial history of the Kennedy dynasty.

It is believed the file will give information on issues such as the potential threats to Ted Kennedy’s life after the assassination of his brothers President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

And it is also believed to include previously unreported details about Kennedy’s involvement in the accidental drowning of May Jo Kopechne in 1969 when his car drove off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island.

The Kennedys have successfully stalled the release of the files by raising objections about certain information on privacy grounds.

Kenneth Feinberg, a former chief of staff to Ted Kennedy, and now part of the Treasury Department, is representing the family on this issue. There has been no comment from the family about the reason for the delay.

FBI spokesman Dennis Argall, said information cannot be excluded from the document simply because it is embarrassing.

FBI experts are expected to remove references to individuals still living or anything connected to national security, including details related to Kennedy’s own involvment in intelligence matters.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Priest/Editor of Kennedy's Diocesan Paper: Scandal of Kennedy Funeral "Totally Avoidable"

"The lesson is that the "education-only" strategy employed by most pastors has "failed."

From LifeSiteNews
By John-Henry Westen

Father Roger J. Landry, editor at The Anchor, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Fall River (the diocese where the late Senator Edward Kennedy resided), has written extensively on the passing of Senator Kennedy and his funeral. Fr. Landry himself was ordained by Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the presider at Kennedy's funeral.

In his latest column, to be published in the September 18 edition of The Anchor, Fr. Landry writes that the funeral with all of its extravagances created a "controversy that was totally avoidable."

"The overall tone of the funeral liturgy - from the three eulogies, to the prayers of the faithful, to the homily, to the celebrity musicians, to the guest list, and to the nationally-televised gushing color commentaries - seemed to communicate that it was more a public, political apotheosis of Senator Kennedy than a humble, insistent prayer of the Church his mother for the forgiveness of his sins and the repose of his soul," writes Fr. Landry.

"This last controversy was totally avoidable; all that was necessary was to adhere to the letter and spirit of the Catholic funeral rite."

Fr. Landry also reflects in detail on "one of the most important lessons that pastors in the United States need to draw from the history of the Church's interactions with Senator Kennedy for its future engagement of other pro-abortion Catholic politicians." The lesson is that the "education-only" strategy employed by most pastors has "failed."

"Kennedy's example was so injurious to the Church," said Fr. Landry, "because the pastors of the Church, for the most part, made the imprudent call to do little or nothing about it beyond general teaching statements that they hoped offending politicians would apply to themselves."

He added: "There were no real consequences, and as a result, Senator Kennedy, scores of other Catholic politicians, and millions of American Catholic lay people concluded that the Church's teachings in defense of human life cannot be that important if those who publicly and repeatedly act in violation of it do so with impunity."

In another editorial on the subject, Fr. Landry stressed the point. "To say that (the education-only approach) hasn't succeeded, however, is really not strong enough."

He names nineteen Catholic pro-abortion politicians, "to name just a handful," and asks if the strategy has worked with any one of them. "Over the last three and a half decades, can we point to even one success story?" he asks.

He questions further: "Even if they haven't experienced a total conversion, have they moved closer toward limiting abortions or toward making abortions easier to access?"

Using examples from the past, Landry observes, "The facts show that the vast majority of personally opposed, publicly pro-choice Catholic legislators have become far less personally opposed and far more publicly in favor over the duration of the strategy."

Fr. Landry observes: "Even though the U.S. bishops have taught with one voice that pro-choice Catholic legislators should not present themselves to receive Holy Communion, if they pay no heed to that teaching and present themselves anyway, they have observed that in practice they will almost never be denied."

"With Senator Kennedy's funeral, they have now grasped that even a 100% pro-abortion voting record will not only not prevent them from having a Catholic funeral, but will not even stop them from receiving possibly one of the most publicly panegyrical Catholic funerals in U.S. history. "

Fr. Landry's conclusion applies the teaching of Christ to the matter, showing that pastoral concern includes discipline for the good of the sinner:

"Jesus spoke of a different way in the Gospel (Mt 18:15-18). It involves not merely general educational statements that we hope offenders will apply to themselves in conscience, but the type of one-on-one instruction traditionally called fraternal correction. If that fails, and fails repeatedly, Jesus enjoined us to regard the offender as someone who no longer belongs to the community, who is no longer a member in good standing.

"This may seem harsh, but we should remember that Jesus always seeks nothing but the best for his Church and for individual sinners, even obstinate sinners. Implied in Jesus' strategy is that education involves not just information, but formation, and that you can't form disciples without discipline. This is a lesson that, after four decades of the undeniable failure of another approach, we need to consider anew."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

EWTN's Arroyo Takes Cardinal McCarrick to Task over Kennedy & Pope Letters

Here at Sunlit Uplands we love our Holy Father and respect most of our bishops; but as we have noted before, there are a few wolves in the sheepfold.

In our view, there is none more corrupt, evil, and destructive than the former Archbishop of Washington, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick. When he was Archbishop of Newark we experienced first-hand the ways in which this dark soul destroys what is orthodox and good, while promoting a dissident, heterodox vision of the Church, fashionable in the 1970's. This notorious deceiver
and corrupter of young seminarians, who was caught lying to all of his brother bishops, never misses a media opportunity to sow falsehood and division.

He was at work again during the Kennedy funeral, attempting to distort the Church's teachings by suggesting that those who dedicate a lifetime to promoting the culture of death can also be Catholics in good standing, and indeed, models to be emulated.

Raymond Arroyo exposes this modern-day Judas.

From LifeSiteNews
By John-Henry Westen

EWTN News Director and host of the popular EWTN program 'The World Over,' Raymond Arroyo, has written
a compelling commentary on retired Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick's part in Saturday's burial of Senator Ted Kennedy. Arroyo begins by calling McCarrick's reading of portions of Kennedy's letter and a Vatican response a "marvelous bit of political theatre (as so much of Senator Kennedy's funeral was)."

The renowned EWTN show host, who is seen each week in more than 100 million homes around the globe on the Catholic network, then reflects on McCarrick's controversial history.

"First of all, it must be recalled that Cardinal McCarrick has a rather unfortunate history involving the delivery of letters, particularly those from a certain Vatican official by the name of Ratzinger," says Arroyo. "In 2004, when the Bishops of the US were anguishing over whether to allow communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion laws, Cardinal McCarrick concealed a letter from his brother bishops. The missive was from the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then Cardinal (now Pope) Joseph Ratzinger. Had the bishops received the letter intended to help guide their debate, things might have gone very differently. The contents of that letter are still relevant, particularly now when dissenting Catholics have made grandiose pronouncements about what it means to be a Catholic in public life."

Arroyo says that he and other faithful Catholics are "not upset about Chappaquiddick or the huge lapses in the Senator's long and storied life," knowing that forgiveness is possible. "The problem here," he said, "is one of public witness and appearances - the corrupting example."

Arroyo's central thesis is that the story of the Kennedy funeral had less to do with Kennedy than with an attempt to falsely portray what it means to be a Catholic and a Catholic politician. "What most in the media and the public fail to recognize is that this entire spectacle - the Catholic funeral trappings and the wall to wall coverage - was only partially about Ted Kennedy," he wrote. "It was truly about cementing the impression, indeed catechizing the faithful, that one can be a Catholic politician, and so long as you claim to care about the poor, you may licitly ignore the cause of life."

The responsibility of this corrupting example falls not so much with Kennedy as with the prelates who orchestrated the showcase funeral. Says Arroyo: "As a final desperate attempt to stamp the imprimatur of the Pope upon the funereal proceedings, Cardinal McCarrick read what he called the 'Pope's response' to Senator Kennedy. Actually it was a note, very likely from the Secretariat of State. This is the sort of thing any member of laity receives when they send a prayer request or a Christmas card to the Pope. Cardinal McCarrick made it seem as if it had the weight of a new encyclical."

Monday, August 31, 2009

Reflections on the Kennedy Funeral

From LifeSiteNews
Commentary by Steve Jalsevac

I am not dismayed or downhearted, just amazed at the depth of human weakness and self delusion revealed by the Kennedy funeral. Let me explain, and also urge what should be the response of pro-life people be to this event.

It was a fascinating funeral with many touching moments and fine speeches. Ted Kennedy was shown to have presented in many ways a very attractive image - an exceptionally generous person, a good father, a faithful friend to many, an accomplished man of the world despite many personal setbacks and hardships.

For Kennedy, Obama, and many of the pro-abortion politicians at the funeral - image is crucial. They rely upon it to influence the public to trust them and to support their political goals. They know that the public can be lulled away from critical thinking and attention to facts if political image is well cultivated and presented.

As we have repeated a number of times in our coverage of Ted Kennedy's illness and then death, we do not judge his relationship with God. No one can do that. But his public record is another thing. We can and must judge that. He profoundly helped to advance the Culture of Death and other developments harmful to life, family and faith in America.

As for the grandiose funeral broadcast around the world - the Mass, the Church, the priests and Cardinal O'Malley - all appeared to be merely useful props for the liberal establishment to exploit. That establishment was given the keys to do whatever they wanted.

This was not a funeral to beseech God on behalf of the dead and to remind the living of what God expects from them in this life and that they too will meet their maker. That is the purpose of a Catholic funeral. Nothing is taken for granted. We beseech God's mercy at a Catholic funeral. A Catholic funeral reminds all that there is eternal reward for the faithful but also, a price for sin, a need for repentance, and a need to pray for the dead - since there is indeed a Heaven, a Purgatory and a Hell.

However, the Catholic Church in Boston and Cardinal O'Malley totally capitulated. I felt embarrassment and shame for the good Cardinal.

Saint Kennedy was canonized with not even one appropriate reference from anyone during the entire proceedings addressing his extreme pro-abortion record. By implication, everything that the senator from Massachusetts did in his political life was affirmed during that Catholic Church event.

The tyranny of moral relativism triumphed. The false, very selective, "spirit of Vatican II" social justice version of Catholicism dominated. The beatitudes taken out of context from the gospel can give false assuance and soothingly warp consciences for those who live personal lives in serious violation of that real gospel.

The message from the Boston Catholic Basilica to all Catholic politicians, to all Catholics in positions of authority and to the world was clear. In the end, abortion doesn't really matter. Same-sex marriage is not really an important issue. Church moral teachings in general are just talking points for consideration. And finally, the central teaching authority of the Church is an outdated concept. It does not matter what Christ, the Ten Commandments, the Pope's and the saints have said. Image, worldly respect, your local bishop or priest friend or theologian trump all the other universal things of the faith.

Much of what took place in the Basilica, regarding Kennedy's political legacy, was missing real love and real charity. Christ showed what true love was and they crucified him for it.

Despite all this, we at LifeSiteNews will continue to do what we must. Pro-life, pro-family leaders will soldier on.

A few years ago in Toronto, the late Fr. Richard Neuhaus addressed the issue of what our response should be to disappointments in the pro-life struggle. He stated,

"There are many who do not understand that this is the great civil rights movement of our time, that this is the great human rights movement of our time… and the future will vindicate that we are the avant guard - we are the vanguard.

There are those in the pro-abortion camp who view their position as the progressive position. They are wrong. It is not progressive but barbaric.

This cause will not let you go. Will the Gospel of Life prevail? Oh, yes. The Gospel of Life will prevail. When and in what way we do not know. I am sure some of you know the lines of T.S. Elliot…"For us, there is only trying, the rest is not our business." I understand Elliot to be saying, "the rest is not our business, the rest is God's business."

In the First Things article, Scandal Time, regarding the clergy sexual abuse scandals, Neuhaus made some comments that would also seem pertinent to Church tolerance of pro-abortion Catholic politicians. Neuhaus wrote,

"What is this crisis about? The answer is that this crisis is about three things: fidelity, fidelity, and fidelity. The fidelity of bishops and priests to the teaching of the Church and to their solemn vows; the fidelity of bishops in exercising oversight in ensuring obedience to that teaching and to those vows; and the fidelity of the lay faithful in holding bishops and priests accountable.

I have been told that the proposition is "controversial," but I suggest it is almost embarrassingly self-evident: if bishops and priests had been faithful to the teaching of the Church and their sacred vows, there would be no scandal. Those who would confuse the subject reflexively reach for complexity. No, I am sorry, it is as simple as that. We are reaping the whirlwind of widespread infidelity."

And finally, a LifeSiteNews reader sent us this excerpt from an address by Archbishop Fulton Sheen to the Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus in June 1972,

"Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, and the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops act like bishops, and your religious act like religious."

Kennedy and the KGB

From American Thinker
By Paul Kengor

Shortly after the announcement of Ted Kennedy's death, I had already received several interview requests. I declined them, not wanting to be uncharitable to the man upon his death. Since then, I've seen the need to step up and provide some clarification.

The issue is a remarkable 1983 KGB document on Kennedy, which I published in my 2006 book, The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism (HarperCollins). The document is a May 14, 1983 memo from KGB head Victor Chebrikov to his boss, the odious Soviet General Secretary Yuri Andropov, designated with the highest classification. It concerns a confidential offer to the Soviet leadership by Senator Kennedy. The target: President Ronald Reagan. (A pdf file of the original Russian language document and an English translation is available here.)

With Kennedy's death, this stunning revelation is again making the rounds, especially after Rush Limbaugh flagged it in his "Stack of Stuff." I'm being inundated with emails, asking basically two questions: 1) is the document legitimate; and 2) what does it allege of Senator Kennedy?

First off, yes, the document is legitimate. If it were not, I would have never reported it. Over the years, from my book to radio and web interviews, I've provided specifics. Briefly summarized, here are the basics:

The document was first reported in a February 2, 1992 article in the London Times, titled, "Teddy, the KGB and the top secret file," by reporter Tim Sebastian. Russian President Boris Yeltsin had opened the Soviet archives. Sebastian discovered the document in the Central Committee archives specifically. When his article appeared in the Times, other on-site researchers dashed to the archives and grabbed their own copy. Those archives have been resealed.

The Times merely quoted the document and ran a tiny photo of its heading. Once I got ahold of it later, I published the entire text (English translation) in my book.

Importantly, when I published the document, Senator Kennedy's office didn't dispute its authenticity, instead ambiguously (and briefly) arguing with its "interpretation." This was clever. The senator's office didn't specify whether this interpretation problem was a matter of my personal misunderstanding of the document or the misunderstanding of the document's author, Chebrikov. Chebrikov couldn't be reached for comment; he was dead.

So, what was the offer?

The subject head, carried under the words, "Special Importance," read: "Regarding Senator Kennedy's request to the General Secretary of the Communist Party Y. V. Andropov." According to the memo, Senator Kennedy was "very troubled" by U.S.-Soviet relations, which Kennedy attributed not to the murderous tyrant running the USSR but to President Reagan. The problem was Reagan's "belligerence."

This was allegedly made worse by Reagan's stubbornness. "According to Kennedy," reported Chebrikov, "the current threat is due to the President's refusal to engage any modification to his politics." That refusal, said the memo, was exacerbated by Reagan's political success, which made the president surer of his course, and more obstinate -- and, worst of all, re-electable.

On that, the fourth and fifth paragraphs of Chebrikov's memo got to the thrust of Kennedy's offer: The senator was apparently clinging to hope that President Reagan's 1984 reelection bid could be thwarted. Of course, this seemed unlikely, given Reagan's undeniable popularity. So, where was the president vulnerable?

Alas, Kennedy had an answer, and suggestion, for his Soviet friends: In Chebrikov's words, "The only real threats to Reagan are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations. These issues, according to the senator, will without a doubt become the most important of the election campaign."

Therein, Chebrikov got to the heart of the U.S. senator's offer to the USSR's general secretary: "Kennedy believes that, given the state of current affairs, and in the interest of peace, it would be prudent and timely to undertake the following steps to counter the militaristic politics of Reagan."

Of these, step one would be for Andropov to invite the senator to Moscow for a personal meeting. Said Chebrikov: "The main purpose of the meeting, according to the senator, would be to arm Soviet officials with explanations regarding problems of nuclear disarmament so they would be better prepared and more convincing during appearances in the USA."

The second step, the KGB head informed Andropov, was a Kennedy strategy to help the Soviets "influence Americans." Chebrikov explained: "Kennedy believes that in order to influence Americans it would be important to organize in August-September of this year [1983], televised interviews with Y. V. Andropov in the USA." The media savvy Massachusetts senator recommended to the Soviet dictator that he seek a "direct appeal" to the American people. And, on that, "Kennedy and his friends," explained Chebrikov, were willing to help, listing Walter Cronkite and Barbara Walters (both listed by name in the memo) as good candidates for sit-down interviews with the dictator.

Kennedy concluded that the Soviets needed, in effect, some PR help, given that Reagan was good at "propaganda" (the word used in the memo). The senator wanted them to know he was more than eager to lend a hand.

Kennedy wanted the Soviets to saturate the American media during such a visit. Chebrikov said Kennedy could arrange interviews not only for the dictator but for "lower level Soviet officials, particularly from the military," who "would also have an opportunity to appeal directly to the American people about the peaceful intentions of the USSR."

This was apparently deemed crucial because of the dangerous threat posed not by Andropov's regime but -- in Kennedy's view -- by Ronald Reagan and his administration. It was up to the Kremlin folks to "root out the threat of nuclear war," "improve Soviet-American relations," and "define the safety for the world."

Quite contrary to the ludicrous assertions now being made about Ted Kennedy working jovially with Ronald Reagan, Kennedy, in truth, thought Reagan was a trigger-happy buffoon, and said so constantly, with vicious words of caricature and ridicule. The senator felt very differently about Yuri Andropov. As Chebrikov noted in his memo, "Kennedy is very impressed with the activities of Y. V. Andropov and other Soviet leaders."

Alas, the memo concluded with a discussion of Kennedy's own presidential prospects in 1984, and a note that Kennedy "underscored that he eagerly awaits a reply to his appeal."

What happened next? We will never know. None of the Kennedy admirers and court composers who serve as "journalists" bothered to ask, even with decades available to pose questions, beginning back in January 1992 when the highly reputable London Times broke the story.

In 2006, when my book was released, there was a virtual media blackout on coverage of the document, with the exception of conservative media: talk-radio, Rush Limbaugh, some websites, and mention on FoxNews by Brit Hume. Amazingly, I didn't even get calls from mainstream reporters seeking to shoot down the story. I had prepared in great detail to be grilled on national television, picturing the likes of Katie Couric needling me. I didn't need to worry.

I worked up a detailed op-ed on the document, where I even played devil's advocate by defending Kennedy, trying to get at his thinking, being as fair as possible. No major newspapers would touch it. The Boston Globe editors refused to acknowledge it or reply to my emails. The editor at the New York Times confessed to being "fascinated" by the piece but conceded that he wouldn't "be able to get it in."

One editor at a West Coast newspaper, a genuinely fair liberal, considered it carefully. We went back and forth. I was shocked to see that neither the editor nor his staff would do any investigating, not placing a single phone call to Kennedy's office. In the end, the editor rejected the piece, telling me: "I just can't believe Kennedy would do something that stupid."

Alas, here we are now, after Kennedy's death, and I'm reliving the same experience, as no one from the mainstream media has contacted me. Liberal reporters lionized Ted Kennedy in life and have begun the canonization process in death. They are liberal activists first, and journalists second.

Finally, a postscript for these liberal Democrat "journalists:" We know they don't care that Ted Kennedy did this to Ronald Reagan. Fine. Well, how about this? As the Mitrokhin Archives reveal, Senator Kennedy did something similar to President Jimmy Carter in 1980 -- his own political flesh and blood.

Does that story interest liberal reporters? No. I likewise noted that gem in 2006. I didn't get a single media inquiry.

It will be left to future generations to examine these truths. As for Senator Ted Kennedy's motivations for doing what he did with the Soviet leadership? Alas, now we can definitively say, he will never tell us. The liberal media protected him, all the way to the grave.

Paul Kengor is author of The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism (HarperPerennial, 2007) and professor of political science at Grove City College. His latest book is The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagan's Top Hand (Ignatius Press, 2007).

Friday, August 28, 2009

Senator Kennedy's Letter of Treason to Yuri Andropov

Were his name Edward Moore, he would not have been elected to the Senate. Had anyone else left a dying woman at the scene of an accident, he would have served prison time. Had a Russian betrayed his country in the way described below, he would have been shot.

From Canada Free Press
By William R. Mann

Backgound: In the early 80s, I was assigned in Berlin when Reagan was forcing the hand of the USSR to deal with our resoluteness in NATO and the deployment of Cruise and Pershing missiles in the forward area.

Calling the Soviet bluff and bluster, Reagan, Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II acted in concert and strength to uphold Solidarity and to force the Soviets hand to either engage in a new arms race or negotiate for real reductions in nukes.

I saw, first hand, these events unfolding during my posting as a “Foreign Area Officer” from 1982-85. As a young Major at that time, my job entailed reporting on cultural, political, and certain intelligence information in Berlin and Germany [East and West].

The European disarmament movement, as we suspected back then, was funded by the USSR, other world communist and socialist organizations and many well-meaning, but duped “Liberal” citizens in the USA.

Ted Kennedy and his Liberal Brethren were engaged in the larger, anti-American, Soviet-orchestrated world disarmament and peace movement. They viewed our support of NATO in facing down a menacing Soviet build-up Eastern Europe as a provocative move. To be generous toward their motives, I will only say that history has shown that they were fools at best. Reagan correctly saw the Soviets as a hollow system on the verge of collapse.

This authenticated letter [link], uncovered when the KGB files were opened after the fall of the Soviet Union expose Kennedy’s duplicity in dealing with the Soviets behind the scenes and without permission of the USG. The POTUS alone is charged with negotiating with foreign nations per the USC.

This letter was first uncovered by the London times. The blog entry is from 2006.

So when the Left and the Left Media idolize this man, let us remember this narcissistic deed as well as his savage treatment of Clarence Thomas, Robert Bork, Mary Jo Kopechne, and the millions of aborted babies who died during this man’s 36 year legacy of supporting abortion.

His salvation is up to God. Say a prayer for mercy, but remember.

BTW: These same KGB files showed that the Liberal-darling liar and spy Alger Hiss was among many others, including a US Congressman, who were, indeed, communists working for the USSR.

So read the posting and pay attention to the way things work in the espionage business, then and now. Pay attention to the lessons of history and beware those who still wish to ignore the facts. Things are not always what they seem, and people are not always who/what they profess to be.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ted Kennedy: The Senator of Sleaze Who Was a Drunk Sexual Bully... and Left a Young Woman to Die

As the media poodles continue the hagiography of this boozy philanderer, and the Obama White House plans the most carefully choreographed infomercial since Paul Wellstone's funeral, here's a profile of Ted Kennedy grounded in reality.

From The Daily Mail
By Charlie Laurence

Senator Edward 'Ted' Kennedy stood for sleaze. Bloated and drunken, he used his standing in the Kennedy clan to chase vulnerable women - which brought his dream of reaching the White House to a shameful end.

The hope of America that went so wrong: (From left) Jack, Bobby and Ted Kennedy in July 1960

He was the youngest of the four Kennedy brothers, and by far the longest lived.

Incredibly, he was in line to inherit his brother John F. Kennedy's legendary presidency, but his chances were dashed following the drowning of the pretty, young campaign assistant Mary Jo Kopechne.

Forever known as the Chappaquiddick Incident after the Massachusetts island where it took place, the scandal in 1969 broke the Kennedy grip on the White House.

A drunk Ted had been driving back from a party to the family 'compound' on Martha's Vineyard when he veered off a bridge and into a deep tidal dyke.

Mary Jo was in the back seat and, while he claimed he was just giving her a lift back to her hotel, it was widely thought that he had picked her up for sex. Kennedy swam ashore to save himself, but left Mary Jo to drown - in fact, it was even worse than that.

It was nine hours before he reported the accident. In the meantime, he walked back to his motel, complained to the manager about a noisy party, took a shower, went to sleep, ordered newspapers when he woke up and spoke to a friend and two lawyers before finally calling the police.

Divers later estimated that if he had called them immediately, they would have had time to pull out Mary Jo. She had not drowned, but had survived in an air pocket inside the car - she was asphyxiated only when the oxygen ran out several hours later.

As always, Ted used the family name to save his neck. In any other state but Massachusetts, the Kennedys' home turf, and with any other name, he would have been charged with homicide.

Instead, he escaped with a slap on the wrist: a two-year suspended sentence and the loss of his driving licence for a year. He had been allowed to plead guilty to no more than the charge of leaving the scene of an accident.

Kennedy lawyers arranged for him to pay £55,000 to the Kopechne family from his own pocket with a further £30,000 from his insurance. Mary Jo's mother later said: 'I don't think he ever said he was sorry.'

At the height of the scandal, Kennedy went on TV to explain himself in an extraordinary 13-minute address in which he denied driving drunk and rejected rumours of
'immoral conduct' with Kopechne.

He said he was haunted by 'irrational' thoughts immediately after the accident, and wondered 'whether some awful curse did actually hang over all the Kennedys'.

He said his failure to report the accident right away was 'indefensible'.

Yet the tragedy and his actions appalled millions of Americans.

Tragic: The wreckage of Ted Kennedy's car in which he left Mary Jo

Tragic: The wreckage of Ted Kennedy's car in which he left Mary Jo

Edward Moore Kennedy was born on February 22, 1932, and took over the U.S. Senate seat once held by JFK in 1962. He was 30, the youngest age allowed.

By this point in the family's extraordinary history, JFK - John Fitzgerald Kennedy - was President and the next in line, Robert 'RFK' Kennedy, was Attorney General. Their eldest brother, Joseph Patrick Kennedy Jr, had died in World War II.

Ted at first impressed his family and his electorate with hard work and legislative skill in the Senate.

When JFK was assassinated just a year later, Ted was at work on a committee and reportedly stood stunned and unable to move when he heard.

The assassination would prove to be the opening shot in the destruction of the family that in 1960 had held the promise of an era of unprecedented hope in the U.S.

Less than a year after the assassination, Ted experienced his own brush with death in a plane crash. The pilot and one of his Senate aides were killed. He was left with a permanent back injury, broken ribs and a punctured lung.

He was immobilised for seven months, but the family's dominance of Massachusetts politics was so powerful that he nevertheless easily won his first re-election.

In 1964, as his brother 'Bobby' Kennedy began to prepare for his own accession to the White House in the 1968 election campaign, the younger Kennedy made his name in the Senate by steering crucial reforms through Washington with President Lyndon Johnson.

But then RFK was gunned down in Los Angeles and Ted Kennedy became de facto head of the family.

The shattering blow left him barely able to deliver his brother's funeral eulogy in New York's St Patrick's Cathedral. He retreated from politics to spend the next ten weeks brooding and sailing alone off Cape Cod.

But then he stood before the TV cameras once again to announce: 'Like my brothers before me, I pick up the fallen standard. Sustained by the memory of our priceless years together, I shall carry forward the special commitment to justice, excellence and courage that distinguished their lives.'

It was not to be. The steamroller Kennedy political machine, combined with his popular opposition to the then raging Vietnam War, made him favourite for the 1972 presidential election, but the drunken drive that killed Mary Jo snuffed out his bid.

Edward Kennedy's character flaws would have sidelined any man from a lesser family before his career had begun. Schooled in the height of privilege, like his brothers, at exclusive boarding 'prep' schools, Kennedy went on to Harvard.

But he was expelled from that Ivy League bastion for persuading another undergraduate to take his Spanish exams for him. It was an episode that should have served as a warning to the voters.

Kennedy joined the Army to redeem himself and was later readmitted to Harvard. He followed the classic path of the American elite to law school, graduated and was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar.

But he did not take a single case. He believed that, like his brothers, he was destined for greatness. As he could not stand for the Senate until he was 30, the Kennedy machine arranged for a 'stooge' candidate to hold the family seat for two years, when JFK left it for the White House.

Ted won his first election easily, but not before his rival for the Democratic nomination remarked with prescience: 'If your name was simply Edward Moore instead of Edward Moore Kennedy, your candidacy would be a joke.'

As he entered the Senate, Kennedy was admired for his commanding 6ft 2in stature and the good looks that seemed a family blessing. But he was already drinking and womanising with the greed that has become known as a vice of Kennedy men.

Keeping such a vice under wraps seemed to run in the blood (as did charisma). His father, Joe, the patriarch who had got away with bootlegging in the Prohibition years to establish the family fortune, had also behaved that way.

While Ted drank and took advantage of compliant women in Washington, his wife Joan stayed at home in Boston to look after his three children. Like her sister-in-law Jacqui, she seemed to have learned that Kennedy women had to put up with humiliation.

The effort ruined her health, however. Kennedy's unending philandering turned her into an alcoholic and, in 1983, she could take no more.

She could no longer stand the hypocrisy of her husband posing for the public as if he lived for family values. She divorced, publicly confessed to her alcoholism and helped shatter what was left of the Kennedy aura.

Charisma, political skill, good timing and ruthlessness had enabled the family to dominate U.S. public life, despite foibles from links with Chicago gangsters to the sexual arrogance that had, according to legend, seen both JFK and RFK seduce Marilyn Monroe.

A writer once noted: 'Ted Kennedy born and bred to act like the last of the Regency rakes: to be a boor when it pleases him, to take what he wants, to treat women as score markers in the game of sexual sport and to revel in high stakes risks.'

His brothers got away with it, but Ted Kennedy's divorce removed the last bounds of shame and he plunged into a life that left him looking like a Saturday night drunk, waving a bottle and calling for any woman who could tolerate him. He staggered from scandal to scandal, reduced to fodder for lurid ' supermarket' tabloid newspapers.

One congressional aide, just 16, told of being propositioned by Kennedy from the back seat of his limousine in Capitol Hill. She testified that he leaned from the window, waved a wine bottle and asked whether she or a friend she was with wanted to join him.

He reeked of drink by nine in the morning and could be relied on to be bawling drunk at four in the afternoon. In Washington's top La Brasserie restaurant, he once threw a waitress over a table in a private room and tried to have sex with her.

His face, once handsome, became as round as a football, bloated and criss-crossed with the broken veins of an out-of-control drinker.

Remarkably, he held on to his political clout and his legislative skills. He won re-election after reelection, dying in office as America's second-longest serving senator.

He was also responsible - or credited by the Left - for an unrivalled body of 'liberal' legislation. He reformed immigration and labour laws, supported 'pro-choice' abortion rights, voted for tougher gun laws and against the Iraq war, and supported gay marriage.

It wasn't long before he became embroiled in another Kennedy family scandal. In 1991, the U.S. was outraged when clan-member William Kennedy Smith was accused of a date rape.

The Kennedy men had gathered at the family's winter beach house in Florida. Smith (Ted's nephew) was accused of taking a young woman, Patricia Bowman, on to the beach late at night and forcing her to have sex against her will.

Smith was found not guilty after building a defence of 'rough', but consensual, sex.
But at the young man's trial, Kennedy was left, once again, with his trousers down. Witnesses testified that he had been lounging in his boxer shorts as Smith coaxed Bowman on to the beach, and did nothing to intervene.

It had been Kennedy who had earlier woken the younger men in his party and insisted that they go out to a nightclub to hunt for women.

After that, Kennedy seemed to seize a final chance to gain a measure of personal control. He offered a mea culpa in which he said he recognised his 'shortcomings, the faults in the conduct of my private life'.

He married a second time, to Washington lawyer Victoria Reggie, who survives him, and said of her: 'She has enriched my life beyond measure.'

At 60, his Kennedy mane still thick but snow white, it finally seemed as if the youngest brother had learned his lesson.

Indeed, it was another tragedy that devastated the family and the nation that partly rehabilitated Kennedy in the public mind: the death in the light aircraft of John Kennedy Jnr, the son of JFK and the heir presumptive to his Camelot.

He was the little boy photographed saluting his father's coffin, and who had become a handsome young man with true potential. America was heartbroken.

Edward Kennedy, for once, rose above his own character defects to preside over the mourning at the funeral.

In his eulogy for John, he said: 'We dared to think, in that other Irish phrase, that this John Kennedy would live to comb grey hair. But like his father, he had every gift but length of years. He had a legacy and he learned to treasure it. He was part of a legend and he learned to live with it.'

In his own right, Ted Kennedy was a legend, too - but for all the wrong reasons.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bill Bennett on Edward M. Kennedy

From National Review Online

There is a lot one could say of Senator Kennedy — positive from supporters, negative from critics. They say one should not speak ill of the dead. True. But I am of the view that one should not lie about the dead either. So I will not go on.

Whatever one thought of him, there is no one in the Senate of his force, sheer power, and impact. If you think there is his equal in this, tell me who it is.

He and I attended the same church, and whenever he saw me he would be pleasant. But in the political battles, he was a fierce and tough — and sometimes a ruthless — operator. When he spoke in the Senate, people paid attention, regardless of party. As CNN reports: "Kennedy was one of only six senators in U.S. history to serve more than 40 years. He was elected to eight full terms to become the second most-senior senator after West Virginia Democrat Robert Byrd. He launched his political career in 1962, when he was elected to finish the unexpired Senate term of his brother, who became president in 1960. He won his first full term in 1964."

His biography is not complete without noting the tragedies of and in his family. Nor is it complete without saying he was an early and strong supporter of comprehensive health-care reform and also the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama.

There are the personal failings and tragedies that will mark any obituary of his as well, including the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. Were it not for his self-imposed recklessness, he may very well have been president.

He assaulted our causes and nominees with vigor and rancor. Still, in his day he was a powerful orator — and historians will mark his speech to the 1980 Democratic convention as a high water mark and example. To his supporters, I simply give them his words, and leave the rest to historians: “For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.” To the American Left, he was their lion. To the American conservative movement, he was our bane. But today, we put the politics aside and wish him and his family God’s peace.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Honoring Ted Kennedy is an Insult to IRA's Victims

Simon Heffer despairs at Gordon Brown's decision to honor a champion of Irish terrorism.

From The Telegraph
By Simon Heffer

Even I felt sorry for Ted Kennedy when I heard he had a brain tumour. I temporarily forgot the support he gave to IRA murderers during the 1980s and 1990s. Since some nasty people flew airliners into a few buildings in 2001 the Americans have stopped seeing the glamour of terrorism.

Until then, however, Fenian murderers were routinely feted on St Patrick’s Day, and no American welcomed them more warmly than Ted.

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