International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Reality Check
+ Readers Responses
Moore Kennedy 1932-2009
It is a good thing Ted Kennedy is Irish
Catholic. He is going to heaven. That's how it works. No matter
what kind of sham your life is, what type of negligent homicide
you're guilty of, scores of hypocrisy you've dabbled in, and the
fraudulent legacy you leave behind, the slate is clean. They bring
a priest in, throw some incense on you and you're fast-tracked to
the pearly gates.
And if there's
something akin to the heaven the Kennedy's believe in, then Mary Jo
Kopechne will be waiting there to greet him; the beautiful, young Boiler
Room Girl with bouncy blonde locks and a dazzling New England smile
standing across from the ravaged, wrinkled, cancer-ridden shell of the
man who left her to drown in a dark inlet at Chappaquiddick 40 years
And if there is a God, she will kick him squarely in the testicles.
It is a heartwarming story worthy of Revelation; the part of the Holy
Bible where it all comes to pass -- the shit rain, the seven-headed
beasts, bottomless chasms, and the torture of the unrepentant. Humanity,
in a phrase, is "kicked in the testicles". Twice.
It is a book Ted Kennedy knew well. Every Kennedy knew Revelation backwards
and forwards. Mother Rose insisted on it. She made them read it aloud
every night before cookies and milk, later admitting it was a veiled
attempt to wipe away the terrible iniquities of her husband, the bootlegger,
who after visiting 1930s' Germany framed the Jewish slaughter in Europe
this way: "They brought it on themselves." Later, the patriarch
became a master at fixing elections, buying off laws, and hosting Senator
Joseph McCarthy and his loving family up at Martha's Vineyard for weekend
détentes on how to "strip Commie Jew bastards of their rights".
But despite the insanity of their parents and the ill-gotten fortune
they would exploit to power, three of the four Kennedy boys became victims;
the eldest, Joseph Jr. in World War II, and Jack and Robert to assassins'
bullets two decades later. Not baby, boy, Ted. He was a survivor. He
was the one Kennedy that understood the lessons of Revelation. The Big
Bad Senator had to look out for Number One. And this philosophy served
him well for 47 years of public service.
Edward M. Kennedy was the genetic run-off of America's Royal Family;
a boorish toad of a man with the scruples of a desperate crack addict
and the brains of a dung beetle. Everything he stood for or achieved
was bought for him, handed down from the crimes of greater men and far
more accomplished cretins. He was a failure and a geek and caused so
much family embarrassment he was repeatedly sent on beer runs during
the famous shirtless Kennedy football games. He was booted from Harvard
as a dumb ass jock and stumbled into the Senate in a cesspool's sludge
His professional career consisted of manic bluster on inconsistent drivel,
including flip-flopping on abortion whenever it benefited him. He personally
screwed two Democratic presidential candidates by stringing the party
along like a coquettish debutante; leaving the doomed George McGovern
to choose a shock-treatment patient for vice president during a cantankerous
convention the Kennedy Camp ignited. Four years later, Kennedy blew
his best chance at the White House when his shameless behavior of six
years earlier - leaving a girl to die on a drunken night of lunacy with
his pregnant wife convalescing at home - forced him to back out. Four
years hence, he and his cronies haunted the weakened incumbent in a
nasty primary race, all-but sealing the fate of an embattled Jimmy Carter.
Minutes before the death rattle, Kennedy ignored party diplomacy and
snubbed the president on the convention stage, symbolically hoarding
his delegates and creating what later would become the Reagan Democrats.
Kennedy wasn't even a decent drunk; surpassed by his first wife, Virginia
Joan Bennett's Herculean consumption of barbiturates and vodka. Mrs.
Kennedy's lasting comment on living with Teddy was she eventually had
to check into several rehab stints after trying to drive her car off
a cliff in a botched escape scheme. But escape she did in 1978, separating
from Kennedy, but inconceivably remaining married to aid his botched1980
presidential run before divorcing him outright the next year.
Even from the grave Teddy remains a survivor. Just this week, on his
deathbed, Kennedy lobbied to strike a 2004 law he championed to let
the naming of his successor fall into the hands of the governor rather
than the previous law, which handed it over to a special election, a
process that could drag on for months and leave a crucial Democratic
seat open for the eventual vote on Health Care Reform; his lifelong
It was a seamy, partisan, almost mean-spirited move, but summed up what
Ted Kennedy, like any servable political survivor excels at. And no
one clinging to this ragged democracy should begrudge him. Ted's problem
was that he could never keep his mouth shut when the other side pulled
the same treacherous chicanery. He flew into a rage upon the pardoning
of Richard Nixon in 1974, only four years after his Chappaquiddick fiasco,
mustering the gall to comment, "Do we operate under a system of
equal justice under law? Or is there one system for the average citizen
and another for the high and mighty?"
Kennedy's spectacular exercise in hypocrisy was also on display during
his vocal attacks on Supreme Court nominees Robert Bork in 1986 and
Clarence Thomas in 1991, the latter of which he had to slink away due
to its "sexual harassment" theme, something the Kennedy boys,
and most assuredly Teddy Boy turned into an art form. In fact, only
weeks before the hearings, the senator's nephew, William Kennedy Smith
was arrested on rape charges, allegedly meeting the victim at a bar
with his soused uncle.
I am proud to say in the wake of his passing, having thrown words down
for public consumption over 20 years and in this space for a dozen now,
I have never, ever written a single positive thing about Ted Kennedy.
He was no Jesse Helms.
© James Campion August 28th 2009
Ah, the true voice
of reason speaks once again! (THE HEALTHCARE SHUFFLE -- Issue: 7/29/09)
If I could maintain a sense of humor in the face of all the crap I hear
on the news, from either political bent, such as you somewhat evince
here, maybe I wouldn't feel such agita over what's going on. I thought
we were done with this mess when Hillary's plan was sent to bed, and
the fact that we're facing it again, at an accelerated pace with Obama,
scares the living shit out of me. No question some reform has to happen
- i.e. the reduction in the cost of healthcare - but for the government
to control it or make that determination? Shoot me now. If Medicaid
and Social Security are already in trouble, what makes anyone think
public healthcare would work even better? Who said the definition of
insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a
different result? Hello! Stop the freakin' insanity!
Elizabeth Vengen from the Villa
Bravo...Obama is trying to push this monstrosity through based upon
his likeability. By the time this mess is finished, his tarnish could
be completely off. "We can fund two-thirds of this, we just need
to find a way to come up with the other third. Sounds easy until you
realize that other third is in the trillions over a 10 year period!
Tax the "rich" (families making over 380 k ) won't cut it
on this one!
Dear Mr. Campion:
I realize that your final paragraph was just a shot at USDHHS (sic),
but I wanted to say that when it comes to cigarettes, I fully support
every sketchy and bizarre little effort by various organizations at
all levels of government to get restrictive legislation passed. I know
that "Big Tobacco" will never be duly inconvenienced by such
piddling restrictions as we have in the U.S., and Christ knows we will
NEVER get Tobacco declared an illegal drug (guffaw), but these little
radical efforts help keep us all a wee bit healthier. Yes it is our
choice to be obese, listless and dissipative, but the parents who are
smoking like chimneys in cars and homes with their children involuntarily
joining in their habit is something that I think should go the way of
the dodo. Meanwhile, Big Tobacco is free to continue a full court press
in addicting the "developing world" while saying out of the
other side of their collective mouth "we're spending money to keep
kids in the U.S. from smoking! Smoking is bad for you!"
p.s. Love your column, have been reading since the start of the Iraq
war (I was Over There).
What is funny is that in NY, NJ and MA, we already have ObamaCare. Granted
we call it Small Group Healthcare Reform but it is in essence ObamaCare.
In the 3 "reform" states we have guaranteed issue, limited
and liberal Pre-X rules that definitely favor the consumer, mandated
coverages and rates both new and renewal that are approved by the state
government. So that means government tells us what carriers will be
allowed in the state, what plans will be offered, what services will
be covered at what amount and what premium the people will pay for that
In NJ, NY and MA there is already government run healthcare and it is
a non-competitive mess. Renewals are averaging 20% a year, no new carriers
get admitted and no relief is in sight.
As a broker I have been saying for the last 2 years that we are at a
saturation point. It can't get any worse or the product will be priced
to the point of unaffordability.
Government cannot cure this as they are the cause of it. So, just so
you and your readers will see that the GOP is not simply a party of
"No" here are some real reform ideas that do not include ObamaCare.
1. Allow for Catastrophic Care plans. Many people look at healthcare
in the same way they look at homeowners insurance in that they are only
looking to insure the major issues. Currently, state run healthcare
systems do not provide for this coverage.
2. Allow for Association Health Plans in all 50 states. Currently NY,
NJ and MA do not allow these plans which is destroying effective competition
by not allowing small business owners in like businesses to band together
to increase their pool number which will lower their exposure risk and
help lower premiums for all involved.
3. Allow Small Business Owners to Waive Mandates. Currently the mandates
are taking up to 40% of an average premium. Allowing a small business
owner who is either skewing younger or healthier, this is a way to cut
4. Allow Small Business owners to waive guaranteed issue. Allowing a
small business owner who is skewing younger demographically or have
employees living a healthy lifestyle they should be able to reap the
benefits of that healthy lifestyle by having lower health premiums through
a proper risk management evaluation.
5. Disband either Medicaid or NJFamilyCare and merge their membership
into one organization. By ending one bureaucracy and absorbing their
membership into one organization there will be cost savings to be found
not to mention the network building power that will ensue which will
help their members get access to more and better care.
6. Allow AARP to offer their "55 Plus" plan. Right now, the
government is not approving the AARP's "55 Plus" plan. Right
now, these folks are just shy of Medicare eligibility are on group plans
which is killing the median age and thus driving up the rates. If the
government got out of the way and allowed this plan this would help
everybody. It would give coverage to the people who need it and it would
help provide a good waiver on group which will help lower rates.
7. Effective and Fair Tort Reform. Lowering med mal rates will help
lower what doctors need in reimbursements to stay in business. This
will ripple across to all carriers in what they are paying out doctors
and thus will not need as much in premiums from consumers.
See, we do have ideas. HillaryCare was wrong and stupid and ObamaCare
is no better. Let the market figure this out, government intrusion has
only made it costlier and tougher to afford.
The answer is pretty
simple--not to socialize medicine, but basically to socialize insurance.
It's simple and it'd be cost effective. You buy it if you want it. It
won't be as good as the privates, but if you can't afford any better,
it beats nothing. I think this is the gist of what Obama wants to do
(I gave up following) calls for a lot of money. I don't know why. If
people pay in, that should generate most of the revenue. It shouldn't
be free ... just affordable.
Hope it does go
down. Remember all the drunken conversations we've had about this crap.
The future of our drunkenness would be under scrutiny and disallow us
medical treatment. Thank you Blue Cross.
Temptation of Obama
Cool Must Rally To Save Progressive Movement - Barack Obama is, as stated
more than once in this space for over a year, the yin to Reagan's yang
Speaker of The House and its Majority Leader decided it would be a good
idea to deftly illustrate how arguments can be utterly bereft of reason
while simultaneously driving home the point of their opponents.
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