Category: <span>RFK</span>

Mcbridge

On occasion, I find myself coming back to the murder of President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963). His assassination remains one of the America’s darkest moments and officially, the crime is still an open case for the Dallas Police Department. Some may express surprise at that statement but it should be remembered that no one was ever convicted for Kennedy’s murder. A twenty-four year-old former Marine named Lee Harvey Oswald (1939-1963) was convicted in the court of public opinion as the assassin but was himself murdered before he could stand trial in a Dallas courtroom. Roughly forty-five minutes after Kennedy’s murder, Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippit (1924-1963) was shot to death after stopping a pedestrian walking in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. Oswald was arrested at the Texas Theater and charged with Tippit’s murder. But due to his death at the hands of nightclub owner Jack Ruby (1911-1967), he was never officially tried and convicted of Tippit’s murder, which is still an open homicide case. The Warren Commission established that Oswald committed both murders before hiding in the Texas theater and for years many have accepted the “lone gunman” theory. But if we look closer, there are many things about both murders and Oswald himself that just do not add up. Author Joseph McBride has spent thirty years researching and writing this book that takes us into the nightmare that occurred on November 22, 196,3 in Dallas, Texas. And what he has to say might make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

The book opens with a recap of McBride’s childhood in Wisconsin during 1960 when Kennedy was ramping up his campaign for the presidency. McBride’s parents were both reporters and his mother was part of the local Democrat committee. Her position in the committee provided McBride to meet Kennedy on several occasions and during one of those occasions, McBride took a photo which is included in the book, of Kennedy in what could be described as an unguarded moment. On the day of Kennedy’s murder, McBride relates that information presented during news broadcasts raised his suspicions about the crime Those seeds of doubt grew into a life-long quest to find the truth about Kennedy’s murder. I should point out that McBride’s focus here is primarily on the murders of Oswald and Tippit. The book is not a broad discussion of the crimes such as Jim Marrs’ best-selling classic Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy, but a more streamlined approach to examine what former commission member David W. Belin (1928-1999) called the “Rosetta Stone” of the case.

Seasoned researchers into the Kennedy assassination will know that there has been a lack of focus on the life of J.D. Tippit. He has typically been portrayed as the simple yet heroic officer who tried to stop Lee Harvey Oswald and died in the line of duty. On the surface it fits the narrative of the good cop/bad suspect line that we are taught from a young age. However, if Tippit was attempting to arrest the man who allegedly had just shot the president, then why did he not have his gun drawn as he got out of his squad car? And how would he have known to stop Oswald when Dallas Police had yet to learn Oswald’s name according to the official timeline? There are seemingly endless mysteries surrounding both Tippit and Oswald regarding their alleged encounter. McBride journeyed down the rabbit hole and provides what I have found to be the most in-depth analysis of what may have taken place in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas on that fateful day.

I believe that by putting his focus on the Tippit murder, it allows readers to digest critical information without being overwhelmed by other events that took place in and around Dallas that day. Tippit’s murder undoubtedly is the Rosetta Stone of the case but not for the reasons that Belin believed as McBride makes clear. To be clear, McBride is not a conspiracy theorist. In fact, what I found is that he remains unbiased and does not shy away from presenting contradictory evidence when addressing a topic. I believe that makes the book even more fascinating. McBride presents an honest and thorough discussion of the Tippit murder. And at no point, did I feel he has moving too far in one direction but rather he moves through the book like a veteran detective with an eagle’s eye for clues. And frankly, the amount of information he provides about Tippit’s personal life is just staggering and has caused me to see the murder in a very different light. And although secrets remain about Tippit’s murder, the version presented in the Warren Commission’s report should be taken with a grain of salt. If you want to learn about the real J.D. Tippit, this is without question a book that you need to read.

Although Tippit’s murder is the nexus of the book, McBride does focus on other strange events that day after shots rang out in Dealey Plaza. The most telling are FBI reports from field agents in Dallas that reveal some very surprisingly decisions taken by Dallas officials. And the discussions between J. Edgar Hoover (1895-1972) and former President Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) underscore the problems Dallas detectives faced in making their case. Further, a particularly deeply distburbing fact comes to light about the attitude of Dallas police towards Kennedy’s murder. I found myself staring in disbelief and what former detective Jim Leavelle (1920-2019) reveals about the effort to solve Kennedy’s murder. Before leaving Washington, Kennedy had been briefed on the right-wing climate of hate in Dallas and was advised not to travel there. But he insisted on doing so to show that the President of the United States cannot be afraid to travel within his own country. It was his fate to go to Dallas but the local police owed him far more of an effort than what is shown in the book.

The revelations of the numerous problems of proving Oswald’s guilt, provide the context for a discussion on the many problems with regards to the lone gunman theory. Capt. William Fritz of the Dallas Police Department was certainly aware of this and as McBride shows, most officials knew that making a case against Oswald would be a monumental task. Of particular interes are McBride’s notes of his discussion with former Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade (1914-2001). The statements by Wade in response to McBride’s questions are nothing short of mind-boggling and a sharp defense attorney would have made a name for himself picking apart the indictment against Oswald. However, that is only a small piece of the puzzle that McBride puts together to show the lack of evidence, planted evidence, hidden information and various other anomalies that make the lone gunman theory even more ludicrous.

There has always been confusion as to what Tippit was doing before he was killed. According to the Warren Commission report, there exist at least forty-five minutes between the shooting in Dealey Plaza and his murder in Oak Cliff. But much of what Tippit and Oswald were doing during that time remains shrouded in mystery. To piece the story together, McBride draws on several sources that include Tippit’s widow Marie, witnesses near Oak Cliff who spotted Tippit prior to his death, Dallas Police Department radio transmissions and witnesses to the murder, some of whom were never called to testify by the Warren Commission. As I read through the statements and series of events, I felt a chill run down my spine as I realized that there was a lot more to the events in Oak Cliff that we have been led to believe. Not only was Tippit out of his assigned area but his murder took place near the home of Jack Ruby who shot Oswald live on national television on November 24. Questions have persisted if Oswald, Tippit and Ruby knew each other. While I would stop short of saying that there is a smoking gun, what we do learn raises suspicion that many figures in Oak Cliff were more connected than the Warren Commission wanted to acknloweledge.

McBride’s analysis of the murders that day is spellbinding and anyone that has doubts about the official story should absolutely read this book. There are no outlandish theories or witness bashing. It is simply an honest and open discussion built on facts discovered by the author through meticulous and exhaustive research. I guarantee that after you have finished this book, you will find yourself looking at the murder of John F. Kennedy in a completely different light.

ASIN: B00EP6B0J0

JFK RFK

bobbyJune 5, 1968 – Senator Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968) (D-New York)  concludes his speech at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California after scoring a critical primary victory in his quest for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.  As he walked through the pantry while exiting the hotel, he was shot and mortally wounded.  Twenty-six hours later in the early morning hours of June 6, 1968, his life and the dream he inspired came to a tragic conclusion.  He is survived by his widow Ethel and eleven children, the youngest of whom was born after his death.  Her name is Kerry Kennedy and along with brother Robert, Jr., she keeps her father’s memory alive and well.  Her book Robert F. Kennedy: Ripples of Hope: Kerry Kennedy in Conversation with Heads of State, Business Leaders, Influencers, and Activists about Her Father’s Impact on Their Live  is a fitting tribute to her late father’s life and is yet another testament to the profound influence he had on those who knew him and even those who never met him.  His alleged murderer Sirhan Sirhan, remains incarcerated at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego County, California. The official narrative paints a picture of Sirhan being a deranged lunatic determined to murder Kennedy at all costs.  He was initially sentenced to life in prison after his conviction but several years later, his sentence was commuted to life. In the eyes of many, he is the man who killed Kennedy in an open and shut case. But there have always been questions surrounding Sirhan’s actions that night that cause many to pause before proclaiming his guilt.  Did Sirhan Sirhan really act alone and did he fire the shots that took Kennedy’s life?

Tim Tate and Brad Johnson have taken another look at one of America’s most tragic murders fifty years after Kennedy gave his last speech, examining the crime from start to finish.  And in the process they have raised many questions which have never been answered by the Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”) or the State of California. In fact, what we can see very clearly, is an investigation full of missteps, inaction and disturbingly, outright deceit by law enforcement.   The investigation became a mixture of destruction of evidence, stonewalling and witness intimidation as the LAPD focused its attention on Sirhan with the intention of convicting him at all costs. But as Tate and Johnson show, there were many reason to doubt Sirhan’s guilt and proof that more than one gunman was in the pantry area that night.  While they do not provide a smoking gun as to who the shooter may be, they do establish that there was more that occurred that night than police were willing to admit.  And Sirhan may not have been the person he has been portrayed to be.  We know that he did discharge a gun that night, but the authors have given reasons to believe here, that none of his bullets struck Kennedy.

As I read through the book,  at times I could not believe my eyes.  Similar to the murder of John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), Bobby’s death became shrouded in controversy as rumors swirled of a conspiracy.   At the center of the many conspiracies is the infamous  woman in the polka dot dress. The authors examine her role in the matter and give a strong explanation regarding her possible identity.  Readers curious about the mystery woman will find Fernando Faura’s The Polka Dot File on the Robert Kennedy Killing: Paris Peace Talks Connection a good read regarding this infamous figure who official remains unidentified and ignored by supporters of Sirhan’s guilt.   However,  the authors have shown that not only did multiple witnesses see the woman, some had personal encounters with her, including Sandra Serrano, a worker in Kennedy’s campaign.  Her experience with LAPD investigators is one of the most bizarre parts of the story but also reveals an important clue about the department’s motives in streamlining the investigation.  We may never know who the woman in the polka dot dress is or was, but what is clear is that she was not a figment of anyone’s imagination.

Previously, I had read material on Kennedy’s murder but this assessment of the assassination, revealed many things which I did not have prior knowledge of.  Sirhan’s trial was an easy win for prosecutors as they successful painted Sirhan with the image of a lone gunman with a deadly fixation on Kennedy.   As the shadow of Dallas hung over the trial, authorities made sure Sirhan was tried and convicted as expeditiously as possible.  However, there was one aspect of the trial that no one could completely put to rest which would come back to haunt the case until this very day.  Sirhan’s claim of having no memory of the shooting was at first dismissed but as the authors show, there was and is strong evidence to support this theory. And at this point in the book, the story kicks into high gear as a cast of characters appear including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).  And we are forced to ask, was Sirhan a “Manchurian Candidate”? To some, the idea sounds like another crack pot theory.  But as Tate and Johnson show, the CIA  actively engaged in mind control through several different programs it admitted to conducting, the most well-known being MK ULTRA. I would like to stress the fact that the authors never claim to have a smoking gun regarding Kennedy’s death.  However, they do succeed in providing ample evidence provides a strong basis for a new investigation into the murder of Robert Francis Kennedy.

If you are curious about Kennedy’s murder or have studied it previously, then this book is a must have.  To say it is mind-blowing is an understatement.  The authors pull no punches, leaving the reader with chills as they show the side of the investigation police never intended for the public to see.  Highly recommended.

ISBN-10: 1786080818
ISBN-13: 978-1786080813

RFK

20180716_212634Recently, I watched the Netflix series Bobby Kennedy for President, a look back at Robert K. Kennedy’s (1925-1968) memorial campaign for the oval office in 1968 that was tragically cut short by his assassination at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California on June  5, 1968.  The footage is good and the sense of loss from his death is evident from start to finish.  His daughter Kerry is the president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and a world-renowned activist for social change and instrumental in keeping her father’s legacy alive.   And with this recently published masterpiece, his legacy is assured to remain intact for future generations.

The book is not a biography of her father.  There are others that have been published for that purpose including the well-respected and widely read Robert Kennedy and His Times, by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (1917-2007)   The purpose of this book is far different and in fact,  it does not include biographical information.   The book is a collection of interviews with a wide range of individuals who either knew him or were inspired by him.   Quotes from him can be found in between interviews and sometimes in the middle.  Also included in the book are photos of Kennedy, some of which may have been rarely seen until the publication of this book.  Contained within the pages of this book are some of the best interviews I have ever read.  Each speaker reflects on Kennedy but they also explain their own personal story, how Kennedy relates to it and how they intend for society to move forward.

The list of speakers is too long to type here but the first is Harry Belafonte, now in his 90s but still sharp as a tack.  His interview is deep, thoughtful and sets the tone for the rest of the book.  And with each speaker, the words become even more powerful.   Following his tone, we read the words of Bono, Tony Bennett, Alfre Woodward and even former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.  One interview that stood out to me among several, is that of MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough who until recently, was a registered Republican.  His interview highlights Kennedy’s ability to transcend party lines and reach people from all walks of life.   Scarborough is candid and he remains an important voice on the state of politics in America.

Author Thurston Clarke provides the foreword and an important question comes us that forms the premise of the book, “what did he have that he could do this to people?”.  The question arose as his funeral train made its way to Arlington, Virginia.  An estimated two million people lined the train route from New York to Washington, D.C.  They came from different political parties and ethnic backgrounds but were united in grief.  The question itself is one that America has been trying to answer since his death.   In the pages of this book, it becomes clear that he had more than any of us could have imagined.   Unfortunately for myself,  I never had the opportunity to see him speak in person and have had to settle for his writings and those of others who knew him or decided to write about him.   But his quotes and actions throughout his life have served as part the foundation upon which I live my life.   Because of him,  I have always understood the amount of courage it takes to speak your mind freely for the right cause even if it brings the wrong reaction.   He was the first and the only politician I have ever seen walk into the most desolate and impoverished areas in this country.   Instead of lip service to constituents, he possessed the drive and empathy to venture where no politician dared. And this point of view is firmly supported by the interviews in this incredible collection of words of wisdom sparked by a man whose main sense of purpose was those around him.

Kennedy’s transformation from Attorney General to Senator and then candidate for President of the United States had not been seen before and has not been seen in America since.  In fact, the transformation was so surreal and the heartache so great, that David Halberstam made it the subject of a book, The Unfinished Odyssey of Robert F. Kennedy.  In death, Kennedy has become one of the greatest what if questions we have.  What if he had lived and been elected President? I think if he had, I and millions of other people would live in a very different America.   Did he have the ability to end all of America’s problems? Not at all, no one does.  But he would have set the country on the path it needed to be on.  Some of the interviewers stated that they feel that the United States never got over his death.  After reading about his life and studying his words, I believe they are correct.  His death and that of John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) continue to haunt this nation as reminders of the dangers of extremism and the uncomfortable truth that those who dare to speak out and commit to profound change, remain targets for those committed to violence and social upheaval.

This past June, marked fifty years since he died and the passion with which people speak of him, speaks volumes about his life.   We shall never see another Bobby Kennedy but what is consoling is that he lives on in the spirit of millions who have taken his messages to heart.   Love him or hate him, his impact on America then and now is uncanny.

Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live” – Robert Francis “Bobby” Kennedy

ISBN-10: 1478918241
ISBN-13: 978-1478918240

RFK

Mary JOn July 18, 1969,  Senator Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy (1932-2009) lost control of his vehicle while crossing the Dike Bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts. In the passenger seat was a twenty-eight old former staff member of Robert F. Kennedy’s (1929-1968) presidential campaign and member of a group of women known as the “Boiler Room Girls”.  She was later identified as Mary Jo Kopechne.  In death she became a permanent part of the history of Chappaquiddick and a reminder of what happens when we are negligent in our actions.  Over time she has been largely forgotten, having been overshadowed by the lives of the Kennedy family.  And with regards to Chappaquiddick, she has been known as the “woman in Kennedy’s car”.  But the real Mary Jo Kopechne has an interesting story of her own that was cut short at only twenty-eight years of age.

Her cousin, Georgetta Potoski and her son William “Bill” Nelson, decided to tell Mary Jo’s story so that we finally have a complete picture of her short but dedicated life to the causes she believed in.   Interestingly the book is not just about Kopechne’s short life but those of her parents Joe and Gwen whose lives were never the same after her death.  The thousands of letters they received and kept after the tragedy help to shed light on just how many people their daughter had an impact on.  Some of the letters are included in the book.  The photos shown in the book compliment the story at hand and reveal a close-knit and happy family that believed in reaching one’s full potential and the importance of hard work.   The Eastern-European roots of the family’s progenitors remain intact and their story is similar to that of other immigrants who came to America to make a new life.

We all know how she perished but what is often left out is how she became acquainted with the Kennedys.  That part of the story is filled in here with even more information about her time with  Senator George Smathers before joining the Kennedy camp where she would remain up until her death.  There are many interesting facts that are revealed in particular how important she was to Robert F. Kennedy whom was known to all as simply “Bobby”.

Readers expecting to find anything about Chappaquiddick will be disappointed. In fact, the authors intentionally left it out of the book.  I understand their decision for the book is about Mary Jo and not about the incident or the investigation that followed.  To have included with have resulted in a completely different book.  This is Mary Jo’s story or more appropriately, the story of her life that remains unknown to most.   Her cousins have done a great to her memory by presenting this book which gives a permanent voice to the often forgotten victim of Chappaquiddick.

ASIN: B07466W8S8

Biographies RFK

20180603_134806.jpgThe election of Barack Obama to the office of President of the United States marked a turning point in American history.   His successful campaign and subsequent eight years in office vindicated the late Robert F. Kennedy who in 1961 said he believed that in forty years a negro could be president.  At the time the thought seemed absurd as American struggle with social division fueled by ethnic discrimination.  But if we look back on his words, we can see that his foresight was not only accurate but uncanny.  From time to time I think back on the many quotes from him regarding his views on society.   His assassination during the 1968 presidential race left a void in the United States that has never been filled. He remains one of the most popular, unpopular and tragic figures in the history of this nation.

Following the death of John F. Kennedy, life took on a different meaning for the former Attorney General.   He became the patriarch of the Kennedy family and struggled with his own future and emotions resulting from the untimely death of his older brother.  As a member of the president’s cabinet and younger sibling, he was present during ever major crisis faced by the new administration. The wisdom and insight that he gained from his time in service of the country makes him one of history’s wisest witnesses.  The Kennedys have always been controversial. Most people either love them or hate them.  No matter which side of the fence you find yourself on, one thing that is true is that the election of John F. Kennedy was one of the brightest moments in world history.   From 1964-1967, Kennedy gave closed-door interviews to Anthony Lewis (1927-2013)who worked as a columnist for the New York Times, John Bartlow Martin (1915-1987) who served as an Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (1917-2007) who served as JFK’s special assistant and John Francis Stewart who was chief of the Oral History Project at the John F. Kennedy Library from 1966-1969.   The interviews sat dormant for over 20 years before this book was published in 1988. They were then edited and composed into this insightful account of the workings behind the scene in the Kennedy administration.

Kennedy was always very frank in his statements and never one to sugar coat anything. This book is no different.  In fact, he is even more frank and I believe part of the reason is because not much time had passed between the assassination in Dallas and when he began to sit down for these interviews.  The wounds were still open and many raw emotions were in play.  However to his credit, he answers each question directly and quite extensive. Only on a handful of times does he express disinterest in speaking about a certain topic. Considering what had just happened to his brother, it was remarkable that he was able to sit down and open up about a lot of topics.  But the one topic he does not discuss at all is the assassination itself.  He does talk about a few events following the murder and in particular his encounters with the new president Lyndon Johnson. It is no secret that the two did not get along and Kennedy does not hide his contempt for Johnson.  He gives clear reasons for his dislike for Johnson and leaves it up to the reader to decide whether they’re justified or not.

In addition to Johnson, Kennedy is asked his opinion about many other political figures at the time and he gives his honest opinion on all of them.  What I came to find in Kennedy was a man rigidly principled in a world where things were either right or wrong but not so much in between.  In his eyes either you were effective at your job or you were of no use.  As cold as it sounds to the reader, for a new administration that survived one of the closest elections in history, a senate filled with rabid Democratic southerners opposed to the “Catholics”and civil rights, a tight ship was needed in order for the new president to enact domestic legislation and compose effective foreign policy.  When his brother appointed him as Attorney General, even he thought it was a mistake.  But as we can see in hindsight, it was one of the best decisions made by John F. Kennedy.   The level of trust and dedication exemplified by Robert Kennedy to his brother, the administration and the country are inspiring.  Of course, we could point out many errors made along the way.  The same could be done with every administration.  However, their vision to steer America on a new path was bold and unprecedented a time when America was still struggling with a dark and violent past.  The challenges they faced through opposition and inefficiency are cleared explained by Kennedy giving us a sense of the staggering amount of difficulty JFK faced in dealing with the Senate and House of Representatives.  Incredibly, in spite of the opposition, they succeeded on many fronts and would have continued on the same path.

President Kennedy served in office less than three years.  But in those three years, he faced some of the biggest threats to the safety of the United States. Berlin, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam put the world on edge as democracy in the west came face to face with communism in the east, backed by the ideology of the Soviet Union, the nation’s fiercest opponent.  As they weathered each storm, they stood side to side making critical decisions to carefully avoid the outbreak of a nuclear confrontation.  And it may scare some readers to learn just how close we came to war with the Soviet Union. The place where it would have happened might surprise you as well.  There are other small tidbits of information revealed by Kennedy that cast light of the severity of maintaining world peace.

The questions he was asked were strictly about the administration. There are nearly no discussions about the personal lives of anyone except for a question regarding the rumor that JFK had been married prior to meeting Jackie. The reason is that the interviews were done for the JFK Library and needed to be as exact as possible. Furthermore, there are plenty of books that tackle the personal lives of the Kennedys.  The most popular being Seymour Hersh’s The Dark Side of Camelot. This book is Kennedy’s show and he shines in his assessment of what it was like helping his brother run the country and the many challenges and successes they had.

ISBN-10: 055334661X
ISBN-13: 978-0553346619

RFK

polka dot fileEach time I drive across the Robert F. Kennedy memorial bridge as I pass from Queens to the Bronx and sometimes Manhattan, I think about his importance to the State of New York and the United States.  The former attorney general, senator and presidential candidate was one of the most polarizing figures of his time.  His murder on June 5, 1968, shocked the world leaving millions of people speechless about what they had just learned. A young Jordanian immigrant named Sirhan Sirhan was later tried and convicted for the murder and the case is considered solved in Los Angeles County.  Similar to the murder of John F. Kennedy 5 years earlier in Dallas, Texas, upon closer examination, many disturbing facts emerge that cast a chilling doubt over the official story.

Fernando Faura worked for the Hollywood Citizens News at the time of the murder, and subsequently began his own investigation into one aspect of the crime that has never been solved; the identity and role of the woman in the polka dot dress seen exiting the Ambassador Hotel while declaring “we shot him”.   To this day she remains a mystery.   What we do know is that several witnesses all confirmed that not only was she there but that she did in fact make the declaration of Kennedy having been shot.  Unsatisfied with the LAPD’s official story, Faura began his own research into the crime and his incredible journey to find the truth is documented in this excellent account that he calls the polka dot file.

Some researchers into the murder of John F. Kennedy have said that the murder of Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippitt is the Rosetta Stone of the crime. Like Dallas, the woman in the polka-dot dress is the Rosetta Stone of this crime and as we see through Faura’s notes, finding her was similar to looking for a needle in a haystack.  The crime occurred in the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Police Department, but as Faura points out, more than 400 FBI agents worked the case.  The FBI’s investigation contradicted some of the LAPD’s findings and remain disputed.  Witnesses to the crime were badgered and coerced into changing their stories by the LAPD and photographs of the crime taken as it happened by a 15-year-old fan of Kennedy, disappeared while in police custody. The originals have never been found.  The LAPD made a mockery of the investigation, ignoring many clues and witnesses and in the process, allowed Sirhan to be convicted while the other conspirators escaped.

But just why is the woman in the polka dot dress so important?  It is alleged that three prior to the murder, she was seen in Sirhan’s company and even on the night of the murder. Further, it is also alleged that she was seen in the company of Anne Chennault, the wife of the late Claire Chennault, founder of the Flying Tigers.  Chennault has long been suspected of helping Richard Nixon with getting the South Vietnamese government to refuse to attend the Paris Peace Talks to the chagrin of President Johnson.  At this point in his life, Kennedy was fiercely against the war and the possibility that his assassin was in the company of a woman linked to Chennault, friend of Nixon and acquaintance of many in the South Vietnamese government, would have added a mind-blowing and treasonous element to the investigation.  The results would have been far-reaching, possibly all the way to the White House.

Faura’s pursuit of the woman resulted in several important interviews that shed light on the events of that night.  It should be noted that the witnesses stuck to their stories and one of them, John Fahey, even took a polygraph examination, passing on all but two questions asked of him. Sandra Serrano, castigated by the LAPD, is vindicated here and her testimony is corroborated by others.  Sadly, Serrano and many other witnesses were either discounted or ignored by investigators.  The chance to learn exactly who the woman in the polka dot dress was, had been lost to history.  We can only speculate as to who she might have been or what her motives were or if she’s still alive.  She was seen in the company of at least one male companion. His identity is also unknown.  Faura was on the right path in his investigation.  The refusal of the LAPD to be more cooperative and their efforts to sabotage his investigation are regrettable and disheartening for the truth about Kennedy’s murder might never be known in full.  If things had gone different, perhaps history would be telling a different story surrounding the murder of Robert Francis Kennedy.

 

ISBN-10: 1634240596
ISBN-13: 978-1634240598

RFK

313839On January 30, 1957 the United States Senate Select Committee on Improper Activities in Labor and Management was created to investigate corruption in American labor unions.  Designated with the role of Chief Counsel was a young attorney who later went on to become attorney general and 1968 democratic presidential hopeful, Robert F. Kennedy.  In this memoir of his time on the committee, Kennedy recounts the exhaustive investigative efforts of those who served on the committee in an effort to shed light on the nefarious dealings of union and labor officials and effect reform throughout the United States.   At the center of the committee’s target lay James R. Hoffa and his International Brotherhood of Teamsters.  Starting with Dave Beck, Kennedy carefully reconstructs the deeply seated mismanagement of union funds resulting in the most opulent lifestyles for top officials. Facing a culture in place for many years, Kennedy and his staff are met with opposition and resistance to efforts to probe into the dark side of American labor unions.   It’s no secret that Kennedy and Hoffa had a strong distaste for each other and on more than one occasion, Hoffa threatened the future attorney general with physical violence.  Kennedy would respond with his “get Hoffa squad” in an attempt to bring down the man who Kennedy believed was a menace to the American way of life.

Kennedy’s memoir serves as a step back into time when labor unions and the American criminal underworld were held together with strong ties resulting in a  dark cloud hanging over workers throughout the nation.   And while John Kennedy does make an appearance, this is Bobby’s show and he does not disappoint. Some of the most notorious figures in underworld history also make an appearance such as Johnny Dio, Joey Glimco, Larry and Joe Gallo.  Their testimony and the anecdotes about their appearances  before the committee are both humorous and mystifying.  We see through Kennedy’s recollections and samples of committee testimony that a very dark side to American labor unions remained unknown to the American public for many years.  But this phenomenal account one of America’s most defining eras, has stood the test of time as a go to source for information of the mission to stop the legendary and infamous James Riddle Hoffa.  And as Kennedy reminds us at the end, in order for society to move forward and for justice to prevail, we must always be willing to confront the enemy within.

ISBN-10: 0306805901
ISBN-13: 978-0306805905

RFK

51jzkyhnbul-_sx322_bo1204203200_The assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy (D-NY) on June 5, 1968 shattered dreams of second Kennedy administration and a new direction for America.  His death brought back memories of Dallas in November, 1963 and the violent manner in which he died was similar to the deaths of his brother John, Medgar Evers, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.   During his campaign, his safety was always of the utmost concern.  Kennedy never gave into the fear that gripped those around him and believed himself to be the candidate of the people.  From his days as a young attorney general to the candidate that had his eyes on the oval office, Kennedy had embarked on an odyssey which he never completed.  That journey and transformation is reviewed here in this first hand account of the late Senator’s presidential campaign presented to us by the late David Halberstam (1934-2007). Halberstam was a noted journalist and historian and followed Kennedy on the campaign trial.

For many years following JFK’s death, Robert of RFK for short, had lived in his brother’s shadow.  Finding himself at a loss for words and thoughts after Dallas, it would take several years for the feisty ninth child of Joe and Rose Kennedy to regain his composure and throw his weight into the 1968 election for the presidency.  During this time, Kennedy began to evolve both as a candidate and as a human being.  His speeches are covered in the book as well as the non-stop efforts of RFK and his staff as they move from city to city in their efforts to recruit potential voters.  Through Halberstam’s words, we are able to see the incredible transformation that occurs and the potential in the hands of Kennedy as he becomes the man of the people similar to his late older brother.

The true tragedies behind Kennedy’s death are the widow and ten children he left behind and the ended of a dream that could have possibly changed the course of history for the United States.  Lyndon Johnson had removed himself from the election and Kennedy became the overwhelming democratic favorite after winning the California primary. The next stop was Chicago, the state that proved to be critical for Jack’s successful election in 1960.  Fate however, changed of all of this and ended the journey Kennedy was on to reinvent himself as not only a candidate for president but one of the greatest figures in American history.  In the aftermath of his death and even today, there are many what if questions that remain.  We can only guess as to what he would think to have seen the election of Barack Obama and strides that minorities have taken in the United States.  Poverty, discrimination, corruption and pollution would still enrage him and he would be at the front of all causes to remedy each one.

Kennedy once said that tragedy was a tool for the living to learn from, not by which to live.  His prophetic words still have yet to be learned not only in America but across the world.   The tragedy of his death and the deaths of others committed to social reform, equality and prosperity for all people, remind us that there are many afflictions that continue to plague society and those among us committed to wrongdoing and inducing heartache.  But it takes those with hearts and minds as strong as Kennedy to stand up and demand reform.  In his speeches, actions and writings, we can study the mind of one of America’s fallen angels, the night watchman who believed in getting things done by any means necessary.  And by honoring his memory and following his lead we bring out the best in ourselves.

ISBN-10: 0394450256
ISBN-13: 978-0394450254

RFK