American History

Chappaquiddick, Ted Kennedy scandal that left a young woman dead chronicled in new doc

Sen. Ted Kennedy’s political career was tarnished on July 18, 1969, when his car crashed off a bridge on the tiny Massachusetts island of Chappaquiddick, plunging into the dark waters of the tide-swept Poucha Pond and killing 28-year-old passenger Mary Jo Kopechne — a mystery that continues to haunt “America’s Royal Family.” The shocking events leading up to the political aide’s demise are the subject of Fox Nation’s new documentary titled “Scandalous: Chappaquiddick,” which aims to investigate how the youngest Kennedy narrowly escaped from drowning and returned back to his hotel room unharmed. The Fox Nation special features never-before-seen interviews and retellings of the events that night, cracking down on the truth, pieces of evidence and errors that were apparent. That fateful night, Kennedy offered Kopechne a ride from a party at Chappaquiddick — and less than 10 hours later her dead body was being pulled from the soaked vehicle. At the time of the accident, Kennedy told police he was “unfamiliar with the road,” and that he came up to a narrow bridge at which point the car “went off the side of the bridge.” According to a description from a 1969 New York Times article, the road approaching the bridge is “narrow” with “no warning side on the approach.” Kennedy also claimed he had “no recollection” of how he got out of the car but added he “came to the surface and repeatedly dove down to the car in an attempt to see if the passenger was still in the car,” noting he was “unsuccessful in the attempt.” The accident was not reported by Kennedy, but rather by a mother of a little boy who saw the overturned car in the pond when he was fishing. Kennedy later described his failure to report the incident to police as “indefensible.” At the time members of the media swarmed Chappaquiddick, right off the east coast of Martha’s Vineyard, and unraveled Kennedy’s multiple mistakes during the evening — derailing Kennedy’s presidential ambitions for certain. Kennedy would go on to become one of the longest-serving U.S. senators, despite previously speaking of a “Kennedy curse” following the incident, questioning whether “some awful curse did actually hang over all the Kennedys.” The circumstances surrounding Kopechne’s drowning remain muddled nearly 10 years after the senator’s death in 2009 at age 77.

How Ted ever got elected to the Senate, and was re-elected over and over, speaks to the mindset of the folks in MA during that time.  Had any one of us done the same thing, we would have been charged (and yes, convicted) of at least involuntary manslaughter and fleeing the scene of the crime.  But, he was a Kennedy.  So, he literally got away with murder, and became a U.S. Senator.  Typical..  For more on this story, click on the text above.

South Carolina town remembers Confederacy’s founding

The Sons of Confederate Veterans have put up a new memorial honoring the men who signed the document for South Carolina to leave the United States. The Confederate heritage group paid for the monument on private land in Abbeville on what is called Secession Hill after key speeches there led the state to decide to leave the Union after President Abraham Lincoln’s election in 1860. The 20-ton (18,100-kilogram), 11-foot (3.3-meter) tall granite marker has the names of the 170 men who signed the Ordinance of Secession and an excerpt of the document’s text. The Sons of Confederate Veterans unveiled and dedicated the marker Nov. 10. Group member Albert Jackson, who raised money for the project, said it’s important to push back against people who think remembering Southern heritage is racist and wrong. “We don’t want too much. We just want our heritage to be left alone. We want our heritage, our monuments, out flags and everything else we represent. Nothing more and nothing less,” Jackson said at the dedication. The group originally wanted to put the monument in Charleston, where the Ordinance of Secession was signed, but the Patriots Point Development Authority and North Charleston both rebuffed efforts to put the marker on public land. Instead, Robert Hayes, who owns the Abbeville site where a series of speeches was credited to pushing South Carolina to leave the Union, offered his land. Hayes plays Confederate President Jefferson Davis at historical events and for years ran a shop in town full of Confederate memorabilia, from flags to T-shirts to bumper stickers with slogans like “If at first you don’t secede, try, try again.” The marker joins a marker known as The Rock, marking the spot where men gave their speeches in 1860. “Some of us true secessionists kiss it and wish for it again,” Hayes said of The Rock, according to The Greenwood Index-Journal. “Ladies and gentlemen, you’re on scared ground. And it is henceforth going to be more sacred.”

1-in-3 pass ‘US Citizenship test,’ just 19% for Americans 45 and younger

Just a third of Americans can pass a multiple choice “U.S. Citizenship Test,” fumbling over such simple questions as the cause of the Cold War or naming just one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for. And of Americans 45 and younger, the passing rate is a tiny 19 percent, according to a survey done for the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Worse: The actual test only requires that 60 percent of the answers be correct. In the survey, just 36 percent passed. Among the embarrassing errors uncovered in the survey of questions taken from the U.S. Citizenship Test and conducted by Lincoln Park Stragtegies: 72 percent of respondents either incorrectly identified or were unsure of which states were part of the 13 original states. 24 percent could correctly identify one thing Benjamin Franklin was famous for, with 37 percent believing he invented the lightbulb. 12 percent incorrectly thought WWII General Dwight Eisenhower led troops in the Civil War. 2 percent said the Cold War was caused by climate change. The foundation did the survey to make the point that Americans need to brush up on history and current events if they want to make a reasoned pick in the upcoming midterm congressional elections. “With voters heading to the polls next month, an informed and engaged citizenry is essential,” Woodrow Wilson Foundation President Arthur Levine said. “Unfortunately this study found the average American to be woefully uninformed regarding America’s history and incapable of passing the U.S. Citizenship Test. It would be an error to view these findings as merely an embarrassment. Knowledge of the history of our country is fundamental to maintaining a democratic society, which is imperiled today,” he added. Only 13 percent of those surveyed knew when the U.S. Constitution was ratified, even on a multiple-choice exam similar to the citizenship exam, with most incorrectly thinking it occurred in 1776. More than half of respondents (60 percent) didn’t know which countries the United States fought in World War II. And despite the recent media spotlight on the U.S. Supreme Court, 57 percent of those surveyed did not know how many Justices actually serve on the nation’s highest court.

Be afraid..   To counter this spectacular deficiency, we recommend adding “The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History” by Thomas Woods to your library…and making it mandatory reading for your kids.  Clearly our schools are teaching American Civics.  So, it’s up to us to look to alternative sources.  That book is a good start.  Hillsdale College in Michigan also offers free online courses on the Constitution and other basics.  You can also sign up for a free subscription to their “Imprimis” newsletter.  Lots of goodies there as well.

Confederate monuments: This 124-year-old women’s group is fighting to keep them around

On the first anniversary of the Charlottesville protests, which turned deadly in clashes between white nationalists and anti-fascists on opposing sides of whether to keep a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in the Virginia city, a group of persistent activists is fighting to protect the controversial statues. The United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), a 124-year-old organization, issued a rare public statement after the Charlottesville riots last summer: “We are grieved that certain hate groups have taken the Confederate flag and other symbols as their own,” the UDC’s president general, Patricia M. Bryson, wrote following the August clashes that resulted in the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer and the brutal beating of DeAndre Harris. However, while Bryson insisted that the UDC condemned anyone who “promotes racial divisiveness or white supremacy,” she argued that the Confederate ancestors honored by these memorials “were and are Americans.” In the year since the riots, more than 30 cities across the United States have removed or relocated Confederate statues and monuments amid an intense, ongoing debate about race and history. Bryson issued a call of her own a year ago: “Join us in denouncing hate groups and affirming that Confederate memorial statues and monuments are part of our shared American history and should remain in place.”

Agreed!!  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.

Representative government in America began this week — 399 years ago

If you were at Jamestown—the tiny English settlement on the banks of the James River in Virginia—399 years ago this week, you probably would have been aware that something unusual was happening. Over in the rough-hewn, thatch-roofed church building, 22 duly elected settlers, six councilors, and their newly arrived governor, all white males, were braving the intense summer heat to attend the first meeting of the “general Assemblie.” A new English charter a year earlier had authorized formation of this first representative assembly in the dozen-year-old colony, and the new governor, Sir George Yeardley, had seen to the charter’s implementation. It was the beginning of representative democracy in America, the forerunner of our Congress, state legislatures, and other representative bodies. Planted in Virginia a year before the Mayflower arrived from England, representative government would take root firmly, blossom in 13 largely self-governing colonies, and after independence grow into the great tree of American liberty, inspiring similar plantings in much of the world. It hardly seemed like a monumental event at the time. The burgesses met for less than a week, dealt with practical concerns like setting a tobacco price floor, relations with the Indians, and some criminal cases, and then departed one man down. Mr. Shelley of Smyths Hundred grew ill and passed way from the heat. Governor Yeardley and others also fell sick but survived. Representative government is frustrating today, but at least the survival rate has improved. Next year will mark the 400th anniversary of this hugely important, if rudimentary and tragedy-laced, beginning. It will present an opportunity to reflect on how far representative democracy has come and how far it still has to go. In addition to ceremonial events, the 2019 “American Evolution” Commemoration will feature highly substantive dialogues on the challenges confronting representative democracies today.

To learn more, click on the text above.

Inside JFK’s door-to-door search for a French call girl — and why she had to look like Jackie

In May 1961, an elderly woman in Paris heard a knock at the door of her six-story walk-up apartment. It was only the most powerful man in the world. The president of the United States was going door-to-door hoping to find the call girl he had discreetly arranged to meet. John F. Kennedy, it turned out, used a fake excuse about a doctor’s visit to attend a long-arranged dalliance while in Paris for a crucial summit, only to wind up in the wrong building, knocking on the doors of random Parisians who were left with the surprise of their lives. The tale of this ill-advised but ultimately, er, successful liaison is recounted in “Madame Claude: Her Secret World of Pleasure, Privilege, & Power,” by William Stadiem (St. Martin’s Press). Madame Claude, born Fernande Grudet on July 6, 1923, in Angers, France, was one of the world’s most successful madams. Starting in 1957, she ran an exclusive, high-class prostitution ring that offered a very specific type of woman — tall, supermodel-gorgeous, classy and upscale (or at least trained to appear so) — to the world’s richest and most powerful men. The young women who worked for her were known as Claude girls, which became a well-known and powerful brand. She scouted them carefully, paid for plastic surgery if needed, and ultimately hoped to marry them off to aristocracy. “A date with a ‘Claude girl’ was one of those pinnacle Paris experiences,” writes Stadiem, “like staying at the Ritz or dinner at Maxim’s or wearing a Lanvin suit . . . an apotheosis of luxury that the French do better than any other nationality.” According to Stadiem, Madame Claude’s client list included the world’s most successful men of the time: Kennedy, Frank Sinatra, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Sammy Davis Jr., former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, three generations of Gettys, the Shah of Iran, Marlon Brando, Darryl Zanuck, Groucho Marx. If you were rich, famous and male in the 20th century, chances are Madame Claude knew what you liked in bed, and provided exactly that. For Kennedy, his desired liaison required almost as much detailed preparation as an actual political summit. After the Bay of Pigs fiasco in April 1961, Kennedy thought a meeting in Europe with French and Soviet leaders Charles de Gaulle and Nikita Khrushchev, respectively, could serve as a reset for his presidency. He decided that he and first lady Jackie Kennedy would embark on their first official European tour. This would be the trip where Jackie so entranced the French that Kennedy famously introduced himself as “the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris.” But while Jackie was thrilled at the prospect of meeting novelist and newly appointed French Culture Minister Andre Malraux, one of her literary idols, her husband looked to fulfill a different sort of fantasy. “If JFK had a type, it was the wholesome, snooty, proper, preppy girl whose flaunted untouchability he could violate . . . girls like Jacqueline Bouvier,” writes Stadiem, who notes that Kennedy learned about Madame Claude from Sinatra. “Here was a madam who specialized in exactly what JFK was after.” The liaison, Stadiem writes, was arranged directly between Madame Claude and Pierre Salinger, Kennedy’s press secretary. When Salinger first proposed the arrangement, Claude turned him down, fearing the many things that could go wrong if the president’s visit to a prostitute went haywire. But Salinger, the brains behind many of Kennedy’s most impactful speeches, convinced Claude that any problems could work in her favor — that a scandal would make her a legend to the sex-comfortable French, and that a successful dalliance would bring her to the attention of the world’s most powerful men. “‘Rise to the occasion,’ Salinger exhorted Claude. ‘Do it for your career. Do it for your country,’ he riffed, paraphrasing JFK’s inaugural address. ‘Think big!’ ” Stadiem writes. “Weighing risks and rewards like the shrewd banker she might have otherwise been, Claude decided to go for it.” On the trip, Kennedy hoped to hook up with French actress and Jackie Kennedy-lookalike Anouk Aimée, who had just appeared in the Federico Fellini hit “La Dolce Vita.” The president, Stadiem writes, had been “obsessed about her.” “What does he want her for? He’s already got her,” Claude, referring to Aimée’s resemblance to the president’s wife, asked Salinger. “The explanation was that JFK liked the package more than the contents,” Stadiem writes. “He was drawn to Jackie’s looks but wanted a more seductive, sexual version.” Aimée, however, was horrified at the suggestion, rejecting it outright — not for any reticence about a paid encounter, but because she considered Kennedy a “puerile warmonger.” Claude told Salinger only that she was away on business and, therefore, unavailable. While Claude searched for a suitable replacement, Kennedy and Salinger spent much of their time in the month before the summit determining how they would fit this diversion, for which they had a maximum of one hour, into the two-day trip without anyone finding out. They even had a code, speaking about “buying Jackie a gift saddle at Hermès” whenever they needed to discuss the side excursion. “If the world had any idea how much of his time was focused not on NATO or Algeria or Vietnam, but on a hot date from Madame Claude, the perception of history would have been dubious, to say the least,” Stadiem writes. Claude found Kennedy’s dream date in a 23-year-old Sorbonne graduate who worked as a fitting model for Givenchy. That last detail added an intriguing element to the liaison. Kennedy and the first lady fought incessantly about the trip, as the president wanted the former Ms. Bouvier to dial down her natural “Frenchness” and reflect a more American image. On this front, Jackie thought her husband should stuff it. Salinger and Claude, aware of this, both thought that a Jackie lookalike adorned in a dress from the most French of designers would be like “waving a red cape at a bull; the bull was sure to charge, as was the president.” For secrecy’s sake, it was determined that the dalliance would take place at the young woman’s apartment.

JFK was a well-known womanizer and cheat.  And yet, the liberal media just gave him a pass and fawned over him….referring to his presidency as “Camelot.”   Why?  Because he was a liberal Democrat and a Kennedy.  He could do no wrong.  The liberal media still fawns over him.  Ridiculous..   Anyway, to read more of this story, click on the text above…

George Washington’s Church Says Plaque Honoring First President Must Come Down

Leaders at the church that George Washington attended decided that a plaque honoring the first president of the United States must be removed. Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia will take down a memorial marking the pew where Washington sat with his family, saying it is not acceptable to all worshipers. “The plaques in our sanctuary make some in our presence feel unsafe or unwelcome,” leaders said, a reference to the fact that Washington was a slaveholder. “Some visitors and guests who worship with us choose not to return because they receive an unintended message from the prominent presence of the plaques.” “Many in our congregation feel a strong need for the church to stand clearly on the side of ‘all are welcome- no exceptions,'” they concluded. A memorial to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee will also come down. The decision comes in the wake of renewed controversy over whether statues honoring Civil War figures should be no longer honored. The debate broke out again over the summer after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia killed one and injured others. President Trump expressed concern that the censoring of Confederate generals would lead to dishonoring Thomas Jefferson and George Washington as well.

Clearly he was right…  This erasing (or revising) of our American history is very dangerous stuff.  George Washington DID own slaves.  That’s true.  The perpetually offended should get the hell over it.  That was just something that happened back then.  We don’t excuse or condone it.  We simply acknowledge it as a fact.  Washington also was our nation’s first President (a title he never wanted), and lead our country’s war for independence against the British.  He held our country together when it almost fell apart. Instead of erasing our heritage, we need to celebrate these contributions by our founding fathers.  Shame on this church for caving to the whining of a few tourists, who probably wouldn’t go back anyway, and denying the rest of us the opportunity to be awed by this piece of American history.  Unreal..