Thursday, August 27, 2009

Doug Drenkow: Remembering Ted Kennedy

by Guest Author, Doug Drenkow

Love him or loathe him, Sen. Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy was an undeniably great public figure. But his greatness did not spring from who he was -- the surviving one of four, larger-than-life brothers of a powerful American family -- but from what he did -- champion the rights of all Americans, including those not born to such wealth and privilege.

Ted Kennedy was not African American, Hispanic American, Native American, or Asian American. But he championed the Voting Rights and Fair Housing laws, immigration laws, and other legislation advancing civil rights, what he called "the still unfinished business of America."

Ted Kennedy was never a person of color in South Africa. But he championed the fight against Apartheid.

Ted Kennedy was not gay or lesbian. But he championed legislation protecting the rights of homosexual Americans and funding AIDS research.

Ted Kennedy was not a girl or a woman. But he championed women's reproductive rights, health and nutrition programs for pregnant women and infants, and Title IX.

Ted Kennedy was not born into nor did he die in poverty. But he championed the minimum wage, Meals on Wheels, and countless other programs helping those far less advantaged than he.

Ted Kennedy was never a working class laborer or even a middle class wage earner. But he championed the Family Leave Act, OSHA, and the rights of labor unions.

Ted Kennedy was never denied a good education. But he championed No Child Left Behind (which President Bush failed to fund as promised) and higher education for all.

Ted Kennedy was never a serviceman in harm's way. But he came to champion the fight against the Vietnam Conflict, which he called "a monstrous outrage"; he pushed to abolish the draft and give 18-year-olds the right to vote; and he voted against the 2002 authorization for Bush to take us to war in Iraq, which he called "the best vote I've made in my 44 years in the United States Senate."

Ted Kennedy was never a victim of gun violence, like his brothers John and Bobby. But he championed gun control legislation.

Ted Kennedy was never mentally disabled, like his sister Rosemary, or until the end afflicted with cancer, like his son Edward Jr., who lost a leg. But he championed the Americans with Disabilities Act.

And as we saw towards the end, Ted Kennedy was never denied any medical care he needed. But for four decades, he championed community health care centers, cancer research, health insurance portability, the Mental Health Parity Act, the State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and other legislation that might lead to universal health care for all Americans, which he called "the cause of my life."

Let health care reform and all the other "progressive" -- intelligent, compassionate, and just -- causes that Sen. Kennedy devoted his legislative life to be our causes as well. What Sen. Kennedy said in his famous 1980 concession speech about the conclusion of his presidential aspirations can be said now, about the close of his life: "For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. 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."

--Doug Drenkow

Addendum: The death of Ted Kennedy seems doubly tragic in itself and for the losses it reminds, needless, tragic losses made so by the evidence that has 'trickled down' through the years that the jihad waged against the Kennedy family on behalf of the increasingly rabid and irrational right wing was perpetrated by the CIA for a panoply of stupid, ruthless and often irrational motives. Most recently the BBC reported the CIAs involvement in the murder of Robert Kennedy.
The CIA had no domestic jurisdiction and some of the officers were based in South-East Asia at the time, with no reason to be in Los Angeles.

Kennedy had just won the California Democratic primary on an anti-War ticket and was set to challenge Nixon for the White House when he was shot in a kitchen pantry.

A 24-year-old Palestinian, Sirhan Sirhan, was arrested as the lone assassin and notebooks at his house seemed to incriminate him.

However, even under hypnosis, he has never been able to remember the shooting and defence psychiatrists concluded he was in a trance at the time.

Witnesses placed Sirhan's gun several feet in front of Kennedy but the autopsy showed the fatal shot came from one inch behind.

--CIA role in Kennedy killing
It is not surprising that the CIA would be implicated in the murder of RFK. It is tragic that the same scrutiny was not forthcoming sooner --when it might have done some good. It is tragic that the murder of JFK was not likewise scrutinized. It is tragic that the investigation of RFK's murder was left in the hands of an incompetent Los Angeles Police Department about which there is no adjective to describe the utter incompetence given this case. Earlier there was no adjective to describe the criminal neglect given the murder of JFK in Dallas!

The world's number one terrorist organization, the CIA has committed heinous acts of terrorism abroad, murdering critics of US foreign and domestic policies and has done it on behalf of an increasingly tiny, privileged American elite. This tiny elite of some one percent owns more than the combined wealth of 95% of the entire population. [See: the L-Curve] On behalf of this tiny, privileged base, the CIA has placed itself above law and supervision. The CIA's war on the world has claimed an estimated 12 million to 20 million victims, far more than the best estimates attributed to Adolph Hitler's 'Holocaust' of World War II. --The Existentialist Cowboy

Evidence That the CIA Murdered Bobby Kennedy

Tributes to Ted Kennedy

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Shakespeare, Marlowe and the Elizabethan 911

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

When Mary of Guise garrisoned an additional four thousand troops in Edinburgh, England decided that it was time to launch a pre-emptive strike based upon the "intelligence" that was available. Norfolk's position was basically this: you are either for us or against us. He proposed a pre-emptive strike to smoke out 'heretics' [terrorists?] and bring them to justice, that is to say --the rack or the noose or both!

Sir William Cecil --later Lord Burghley --admonished spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham who urged caution. Cecil's position was: 'you're either for us for you are for the heretics!'
I do not like wars. They have uncertain outcomes.

--Elizabeth I of England

Scotland, however, was never capable of launching a full scale invasion of England --either under Mary of Guise as regent or later under the rule of Mary Queen of Scots. Mary, a Catholic, was "dispatched" to Scotland because Francis II had died and Mary's mother-in-law, Catherine de Medici didn't like her. Mary, Queen of Scots was Catholic, of course, but while she was welcomed in Scotland she soon fell from grace, called a 'mermaid', slang for 'whore'. She sought asylum in England but that turned out not to have been a good idea. Hers is a sad life.

She represents one of several significant links to the Italian Renaissance. She was the daughter-in-law of Catherine de Medici. Catherine was the daughter not of Lorenzo de Medici called Il Magnifico but of Lorenzo de Medici II. It was this "second" Lorenzo to whom the exiled Machiavelli had kissed up in hopes of regaining his position of influence in Florence. He was not successful and lived out his life whoring, writing and tending his fields.

The religious "cultural" wars were worse in France, officially Catholic, where Protestants --called Huguenots --insisted upon the freedom to worship as they chose.

A brutal massacre of Huguenots in 1572 --called the Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve --was the 911 of its day, a bloody act of terrorism that divided Europe. Some six thousand or more men, women, and children, were butchered on the streets of Paris. As was the case during the Christian slaughter of Muslims in Jerusalem during the First Crusade, blood ran ankle deep through the streets of Paris. These horrific events would inspire the famous play by Christopher Marlowe, The Massacre of Paris, a work of protestant propaganda, designed to rally righteous indignation and, perhaps, justify similar atrocities against Catholics.

Shock waves reverberated throughout Europe at this act of 'terrorism'. Queen Elizabeth cancelled negotiations for the hand of King Charles's brother, Francis, Duke of Alencon. He was sent packing by the protestant Queen.

Shakespeare wrote convincingly about life in a police state; his productive life was spent in one. Shakespeare probably witnessed cousins drawn and quartered for being Catholic. The 'downfall' of his father, prominent in Stratford, may be because the elder Shakespeare still professed the "Old Faith" --Catholicism. 'Shakespeare' may have lived out his entire life "underground" only to revert to the "Old Faith" on this death bed.

'Shakespeare' railed against tyrants and got away with it because he made his points in historical context. From within a cover that James Bond might have envied, 'Shakespeare' could always plead innocence of sedition. It was only show biz!

A production of Richard II infuriated Elizabeth I who saw herself in it and suspected that it had been performed to incite public opinion against her. Performed on the very eve of Essex's planned coup d'etat, Shakespeare's 'players' had been paid to perform Richard II. It was alleged that the performance was timed to inflame the crowd, to set the stage for the Essex 'coup d'etat'.

Essex was late for his own coup d'etat --unable to decide upon a proper shirt! History may have turned upon a cuff or ruffle!

"Do ye not see that I am Richard II?" Elizabeth had said. We may suppose, then, that Shakespeare had come close to being hanged, disemboweled, drawn and/or quartered.

Later, Shakespeare and his fellow actors would perform his MacBeth --the tale of the murder of a Scottish King --for a Scottish King who had only recently become King of England. Following the Gunpowder plot, it was nervy, courageous, perhaps, foolhardy! King James himself had cried havoc and let loose the dogs of oppression --if not war. Guy Fawkes was accused of planning to blow up Parliament, an act of treason!

Suspiciously, the gunpowder was traced to the government's own store, just as Don Rumsfeld's 'missile that struck this building' may have been a US Global Hawk, not Fl 77. Then as now, the country had a "war on terrorism" to fight, a divided Kingdom to consolidate! James exhorted a near hysterical public: "We dinna need the papists now!!" He might have added: we will smoke them out or you are either with us or with the terrorists!

If the 'official conspiracy theories' are correct, Christopher Marlowe did not write Shakespeare. Marlowe, it is said, died of a knife wound in 1593 and was long dead by the time Shakespeare wrote Hamlet, Richard II, Richard III, MacBeth, The Merchant of Venice (inspired by Marlowe's "Jew of Malta"?).

Nevertheless, the 'facts' and circumstances of Marlowe's death intrigue us. The 'official theory' is that Marlowe, a known homosexual and atheist, had gone too far in Flushing, boasting of his sexual preferences, denying the divinity of Christ, declaring that he had as much right as the Crown to mint coins. Marlowe, often called 'Marley' or 'Morley', was immediately targeted for investigation, suspected of heresy and high treason.

The most famous story is that a rake, a liar, a common grifter like Richard Poley might have helped Marlowe fake his own death in Deptford in 1593. A passage from MacBeth has fueled much speculation along those lines. It is, therefore, tempting to hear the bard's voice in the following lines describing a murder and a resurrection:
The time has been
That, when the brains were out, the man would die,
And there, an end. But now they rise again
With twenty mortal murders on their crowns,
And push us from our stools.

--MacBeth, III: 4

Recent writers have claimed that the lines "...the brains were out, the man would die" reference the "murder" of Christopher Marlowe. But --if a bard has license then likewise audiences and readers. It is tempting to read much into those lines beyond MacBeth's murderous coup and his eventual fall. Whatever happened in Deptford, there was most certainly something in it for Poley, Ingram Frizer, and Nicholas Skeres --all of whom were not only on the make but helped frame Mary Queen of Scots in a 'sting' and thus groom her for the block.

Shakespeare had good reason to be a "closet" Catholic. Sir Francis Walsingham, a master spy, employed a small army of accomplished agent provocateurs to enforce the "state" religion. Christopher Marlowe may have been one of them. Both Marlowe and Poley had been spies for Walsingham, a fanatic protestant. Once a spy, it is difficult to indulge a change of heart, an attack of conscience. It may be too late to come in out of the cold.

I am not addressing authorship issues in this article, rather the politics of the time, a 'politics' that might have motivated many another to live, literally, underground as did many 'Catholics' in the Midlands. In the end, 'Shakespeare' is that body of work that we call 'Shakespeare'. Presaging A.J. Ayer and the philosophers of philosophical analysis, the bard himself put it this way: 'What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet'.