Tag Archives: JFK

Get out of the way, RFK Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is really pissing me off … in a serious sort of way.

Now he’s talking smack about the traitors who are jailed for storming the Capitol building on 1/6, refusing to call them what they are, criminals who were caught seeking to overturn the results of a free, fair, legal and moral election.

Democratic Party officials — many of whom with fond memories of Junior’s father and uncles — now want the independent presidential candidate to drop out of the race. I join them in their anger at RFK Jr., who’s sounding more like a crackpot than a serious candidate for POTUS.

Man, I never thought I was say these things about the scion of one of America’s great political families, and the second-oldest son of my first political hero.

The great Robert F. Kennedy no doubt would climb out of his Arlington National Cemetery grave — if he could — and deliver a serious ass-kicking to his son.

Does Junior not understand what this treasonous mob sought to do and does not appreciate the consequence he could bring to the result of an election he has zero chance of winning?

These guys were ‘really rich’

Quiz time: Did you ever hear Mitt Romney, or Nelson Rockefeller, JFK, RFK or Teddy Kennedy proclaim to adoring crowds that they were “really rich”? 

Time’s up. I didn’t think so.

But yet … this year’s presumptive Republican presidential nominee has made such a proclamation. Many times, in fact, since he became a politician in the summer of 2015.

Well, it turns out he might not be quite as “really rich” as he bragged. It is being reported widely that the guy who also proclaimed himself to be “really smart” and would hire “the best people” to work for him cannot raise the $400-plus million bond he is ordered to pay in the defamation case brought by E. Jeanne Carroll, whom a jury has ruled was raped by the former Idiot in Chief.

I am reluctant to say “I told you so,” but I have maintained all along that anyone who claims out loud to be as rich and smart as the former POTUS more than likely is neither.

New York Attorney General Leticia James now faces the prospect of seizing the ex-POTUS’s assets to make him pay for what he owes the court. Wouldn’t that be, um, rich beyond belief.

Mitt Romney said out loud what many of us knew already prior to the 2016 election. He called the so-called “really rich” guy a “phony” and a “fraud.”

Am I stunned at what might happen soon? Yes! Am I surprised? Not one little bit!

Elvis is still dead!

Yesterday marked an event that is burned indelibly into my memory and for the life of me I cannot explain precisely why.

I walked into a convenience store in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 16, 1977 to make a purchase of some kind. I looked down at The Oregonian news rack that carried the early edition of the next day’s paper and saw the headline in big, bold type:

“Elvis Presley dead at 42”

What the … ? 

Hey, you know that moment has to rank right with other seminal moments in my life and in the life of Planet Earth. We know where we were when President Kennedy was gunned down, when the shuttle Challenger exploded, when 9/11 occurred, when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.

What’s more, I remember my first kiss (and the girl’s name), the first time I laid eyes on the woman I would marry, the day the Army summoned me for service, the first time I heard the greatest song ever recorded, “Hey Jude.”

And when we learned that the King of Rock ‘n Roll had passed on.

He was a young man. I can barely remember my 42nd year in this world which, I suppose, makes me an old man. I get it. That’s because I am!

My wife and I visited Graceland a few years ago. We got a glimpse of how Elvis lived. I look back on that visit now and nod in understanding how it was that he was gone at such a tender age.

Rest in eternal peace, Elvis.

Oh, how she loved this land

The lady you see in this picture passed away 45 years ago on this very day; therefore, I want to take this opportunity to salute her while honoring the birth of the nation she loved with all her heart.

She was my maternal grandmother. Her given name was Diamondoula Panesoy. She married my grandfather after being betrothed to him for many years. This intrepid Greek woman made a harrowing journey from Marmara, Turkey, to the United States, boarded a train from New York City to Portland, Ore., and got married.

They produced three children, one of whom was my mother. The kids you see in this picture with our Yiayia are my sisters and me.

She chose to become an American, which to my way of thinking makes her an exceptional citizen of this great land. Yiayia — which is Greek for grandma — would repeatedly brush off suggestions that she return to “the old country” to visit, to see her “homeland.” She would answer, “But I am ‘home,’ where I belong.”

She never looked back once she left southeastern Europe.

Yiayia died on July 4, 1978. She had been battling many illnesses. My late wife, Kathy Anne, quipped not long after Yiayia’s passing that “She chose to die on this date just to make sure you would remember.”

Yiayia was without question a most memorable individual. Everyone knew her as “Yiayia.” That included the kids in her Southeast Portland neighborhood, the kids’ parents, the mailman, the milkman, the guys who picked up her trash, the clerks at the grocery store where Kathy Anne and I would take her on occasion.

Above all, she was a dedicated American citizen. She worshiped FDR and JFK. She always remembered to vote. As one of my uncles once noted, she probably was a closet socialist. She believed that government should help every American.

She made our nation better simply by being among its taxpaying, voting, red-blooded American citizens. Yiayia strengthened this strong land by loving it openly and without a hint of reservation.

So … this is my way of offering a heartfelt birthday wish to a great land, which opened its doors to a woman who — in my view — would become one of its greatest Americans.


Poignancy added to this exhibit

FORT WORTH — I have visited this exhibit many times over the years, dating back to the time before my wife and I relocated to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

You’ll find it across the street from the Fort Worth Convention Center and in front of the hotel where President and Mrs. Kennedy spent the president’s final night on Earth before flying to Love Field in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

We all know what happened next.

My son and I went there this weekend to gander and gawk at downtown Fort Worth, just take in the sights of the place. I saw the pictures behind JFK’s statue and was struck immediately about their poignancy.

They were taken literally hours before a gunman killed the president. The president was smiling, as was his wife. One photo shows JFK standing in front of then-Texas Gov. John Connally, who also would be injured by a gunshot on that horrible day in downtown Dallas.

The poignancy was heightened, strange as it might seem, by the loss I have just suffered in my own life. A little more than three months ago, cancer took my bride, Kathy Anne, from me, robbing my sons of their mother, my daughter-in-law of her good friend and confidante and my granddaughter of Grandma, who loved her beyond measure.

Seeing pictures such as what my son and I saw reminded me as well of how precious life is and how we must treat it as a gift we should treasure.

Just a short time — a few weeks, actually — prior to the terrible diagnosis we got regarding Kathy Anne, we were returning from a lengthy RV trip out west and we were looking forward to spending the rest of our life charting new journeys and adventures.

My life without my beloved bride is taking an entirely different course. I don’t know where it will lead me. I am just intending to be ready to embark when the time comes.


NATO stands as one

It is impossible to overstate the diplomatic victory that President Biden has scored as he seeks to get Russia to stand down in its military invasion of Ukraine.

The victory involves the unanimous support for Ukraine by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which leads me to hope — if not yet believe — that Russian goon Vladimir Putin will resist launching an attack on any of the NATO nations that border Ukraine.

NATO has this document called Article V, which declares that an attack on a single NATO nation is an attack on all of them. It reminds me of the warning President Kennedy issued in October 1962 when the USSR was erecting missile launch sites in Cuba; JFK told the Soviet leadership that an attack against any nation in the Western Hemisphere would bring a “full retaliatory response” from the United States.

President Biden has made essentially the same declaration, as has NATO, which is that the organization formed to protect Western Europe against the Soviet threat would respond collectively if the  Russians attacked any NATO state.

Think of where U.S.-NATO relations have gone since the Donald Trump administration. Trump castigated NATO over whether European members were paying their fair share of the cost. Yes, many of the nations have stepped up their financial load, but they did not trust the U.S. president to be there if a crisis exploded.

President Biden has helped restore that trust and in the process well might have acquired some leverage to keep the Russians from committing an act of utter foolishness.


A flash from recent past worth repeating

The picture you see here takes me back. It was taken in 1961. It shows two presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy and the man he succeeded, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Kennedy won the 1960 election by a razor-thin margin over Richard Nixon, who served as vice president in the Eisenhower administration.

What precisely are these men discussing as they stroll through the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md.? Beats me.

But the picture came with some text that someone posted on Facebook. It reads in part:

This is not a political post. I am posting as a service to Facebook users too young to recall such times. This is a picture of President Kennedy, a Democrat, and former President Eisenhower, a Republican … It hasn’t always been, “I won and you lost.” We used to understand that we are all better together than we are when grouped in opposing camps. Competition is fine, as long as you understand who you are competing against. It’s not productive to burn something down, just so you can stand on the smoldering ashes.

This photo seems rather quaint, but it’s also instructive to those who have no memory of how we used to function at the highest level of our government. Men succeeded each other at the pinnacle of power and the individual who ceded that power to his successor made himself available to provide counsel and advice.

We haven’t seen this occur in recent times. The most recent presidential election, tragically, has resulted in perpetuating hatred among Americans of differing points of view.

The cause of that ill will is clear to me: It comes from the defeated candidate for president in 2020 refusing to concede that he lost. His refusal has fed the anger that still burns among those who follow him down some path to oblivion.

I am no Pollyanna. I know there is a way to restore the collegiality that formerly existed between those of differing political parties. It can start simply with the defeated former president doing what is right. He could stand before a crowd of journalists and call put an end to The Big Lie, the one he repeats by telling us about phony allegations of “widespread voter fraud.”

It won’t happen. I just thought it helpful to show you how it used to be … and how it could be once again.


Biden needs an RFK

Who functions in the Joe Biden administration as the tough guy in international negotiations? Who can President Biden rely on to get the message delivered in clear and unambiguous terms that the United States means business when it threatens the other side with severe punishment if talks break down?

I refer to someone such as Robert F. Kennedy, who filled that role for his brother, President John F. Kennedy, during the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

The situation today isn’t precisely identical, but to my eyes and ears it reminds me a bit of what transpired in 1962. Russian troops are massing on the Russian border with Ukraine. Russian thug Vladimir Putin is threatening to invade Ukraine if certain conditions are not met. President Biden is trying to talk Putin off the proverbial ledge.

In October 1962, the Soviet Union began assembling missile sites in Cuba. JFK got wind of it and set out to talk Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev out of deploying the missiles that could hit U.S. cities. He ordered a blockade of Cuba, using U.S. Navy ships to turn back any vessels heading for Cuban ports. He then dispatched his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to negotiate with the USSR envoys at the United Nations.

RFK laid down the law: either dismantle the missile sites or face the mighty wrath of American military might. The Soviets backed down. We gave them some concessions, to be sure, such as taking down our own missile sites in Turkey. The point is that JFK had RFK to do his dirty work.

Is there someone in the Biden administration to fill that task now? Man, I hope so.


End conspiracy talk … OK?

I watched a four-part documentary tonight titled “Bobby Kennedy for President.”

It was touching, deeply moving and it brought back memories for me about the 1968 presidential campaign during which Sen. Robert Kennedy’s life was cut short by Sirhan B. Sirhan in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

The fourth part of the film talks about the “conspiracy” theories being kicked around to this very day about whether Sirhan acted alone in killing RFK.

I’ll clear the air right now. I hate conspiracy theories. I do not believe in them … generally.

Investigators have looked time and again at the events leading up to moment that RFK was gunned down. They have determined there is no evidence of a second gunman. No evidence! None! Zero!

Sirhan Sirhan acted alone. He killed RFK.

Why do I disbelieve these theories? Because secrets such as what has been alleged are impossible to keep. It’s been 53 years since Sirhan shot Sen. Kennedy. How in the world does anyone keep any information about that terrible event from the rest of the world for that period of time?

The Netflix series probes into the questions that just won’t wither away. I wish they would, but I also know they won’t. They will persist for as long as human beings draw breath, just as those conspiracy theories about President Kennedy’s murder five years earlier will live forever.

Count me out!


Who killed JFK?

Many mainstream media observers have talked over the past couple of days while commemorating the 58th year since President Kennedy’s murder in Dallas about the right-wing conspiracy theories that permeate our politics to this day.

They have noted the John Birch Society’s brochures printed at the time of JFK’s visit to Dallas that accused the president of surrendering U.S. sovereignty to the United Nations, of appointing “anti-Christians” to government posts. It’s pretty standard right-wing wacko stuff.

Indeed, in the time leading up to the visit to Texas in 1963, there was considerable concern expressed by those close to the president about the perceived threats to him from the far-right wing of political thought.

However, let’s hold on and take a brief look at what happened on that day.

Who killed the president on that glorious Dallas day as he rode in the motorcade through downtown en route to the Dallas Trade Mart where he was to deliver a speech that afternoon?

The cops arrested a card-carrying Marxist named Lee Harvey Oswald. He was seen in the book depository building and captured later at the Texas Theater after he killed a Dallas police officer, J.D. Tippitt.

It seems, to me at least, that the authorities were looking the other way when this loser Oswald managed to change the course of world history with three rifle shots from the sixth floor of the Dallas office structure.

Why don’t the media talk about that tragic twist of fate?