Howie Carr, "Kennedy Babylon"

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Howie Carr, "Kennedy Babylon"

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Thu Mar 30, 2017 6:35 pm

I haven't seen this book, which is just out.

For those who don't know the author, he wrote a very good study of "The Brothers Bulger". (Whitey Bulger was a right proper villain from Boston. His brother was briefly President of the University of Massachusetts.) He's a good writer.

And, he's very far right, politically. He supported Trump last year and referred insultingly to Elizabeth Warren as "Pocahontas" (a reference to her claim of aboriginal descent, which she was unable to establish convincingly), and at one point simply referred to her with an Indian war whoop. So, he has a nasty racist streak. On his radio show, he used to have a "Police Blotter Facts Friday" devoted to amusing arrests over the week. But whenever the arrested person had an Hispanic surname, he would accompany the story by a few bars from "La Cucaracha." I've heard him comment that "They're only committing the crimes Americans don't want to commit." OK, so he's not going to get any awards at Brotherhood Week.

But he's still a good writer. Now, for the second time, he's apparently laying into his fellow Boston Irish-Americans. (He was vehemently against Cardinal Law during the priest-abuse scandals, and I gather it's been a while since he confessed.) So, on balance, I'm looking forward to reading this new book. I remain ambiguous about Howie Carr, though we do have some common ground in our disdain for the Clintons. And, when he isn't being racist, I like his sense of humor. He'd be horrified by my support for Obama and my implacable hatred of Trump.

If any of you read it before I do, please post on this thread. I plan to get the book sometime next week.
"A general conversion among the boys was once effected by the late excellent Mr. Fletcher: one poor boy only excepted, who unfortunately resisted the influence of the Holy Spirit, for which he was severely flogged; which did not fail of the desired effect, and impressed proper notions of religion on his mind."

James Lackington, Memoirs of the First Forty-five Years of the Life of James Lackington, the Present Bookseller

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Re: Howie Carr, "Kennedy Babylon"

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:03 pm

I've now read the book. I'll say this at the outset: It's not going to win any Pulitzer prizes, either as journalism or as literature. It's just too crowded with anecdotes, as if the author was terrified of omitting even one of the bits he collected in his research. He spares us no details, no matter how trivial. And, although he cites sources, some of them don't appear to have been vetted as a proper journalist should do. Frank Sinatra's valet comes to mind as an example.

To get all the negative stuff out of the way up top, Carr shows plainly that this book was written while he was supporting Donald Trump's campaign. Consider this over-the-top rant from p. 236, very short on facts and logic, but very long on invective:

Howie Carr wrote: That was Ted Kennedy—a national joke. The calamitous effects of his legislation—open borders, an out-of-control welfare state and the subsequent breakdown of the black family, a totally dysfunctional public education system dominated by greedy teachers' unions, tens of millions of abortions, a refugee program that would welcome thousand more terrorists like his brother's Arab murderer Sirhan Sirhan to the nation—the multiple disasters that Teddy had inflicted upon the nation were only now starting to become apparent.


That this farrago of nonsense appears to millions of people to be accurate is sufficient proof that our national dialogue is dead. "Thousands of terrorists" among the refugees???? Was Sirhan Sirhan even a refugee? If so, he counts as one. Where are all the others? The 9/11 terrorists were here on education visas, not refugees. Ted Kennedy, in any case, never advocated open border, just amnesty in preference to the callous breaking up of families. Carr apparently blames Kennedy for Roe v. Wade; how that works is hard to see. I suppose Carr would say that that evil institution Planned Parenthood gets funding thanks to Ted Kennedy (and the overwhelming majority of Americans who support it).

And Congress doesn't determine what education is in the US. That is overwhelmingly a local/state responsibility. And is Ted Kennedy personally responsible for the job discrimination that locked black people into low-paying jobs or locked them out of employment altogether for generations and forced them to live in slums?

He does a little better on the next two pages, quoting a British reporter who found some KGB archives in 1991 in which it was said that Kennedy would assure unlimited propaganda time for the USSR government on American television, the aim being to discredit the Reagan-Thatcher economic assault via the arms race. Of course, he's trying to justify what Trump's people are now accused of doing in 2016, and there is certainly some justice in the accusation, assuming the stated memo is genuine. But it doesn't rise to the level of Watergate-style bugging of Reagan's campaign (which would have been physically impossible in 1984---I don't doubt if it HAD been physically possible, Kennedy would have done it). This is a form of the tu quoque fallacy in logic, but it plays well in politics, which is the game Carr is in.

I could go on, but let me turn to the positive side (which may sound even more negative, since it's about the Kennedy family).

We have here three generations of a family infested with members devoid of any morality except a lust for power and wealth. They aren't all guilty, but a large number of them are, including some of the icons like RFK (a vicious anti-semite) and Ethel Kennedy (another vicious racist), and the third generation of wastrels who make the Royal Family in Britain look stodgy by comparison. For that, and for a LOT of interesting gossip, I thank him and will read volume 2 when it comes out.

But the title is wrong. Babylon was a civilized city with a modicum of culture. The proper comparison should be to Sodom and Gomorrah.
"A general conversion among the boys was once effected by the late excellent Mr. Fletcher: one poor boy only excepted, who unfortunately resisted the influence of the Holy Spirit, for which he was severely flogged; which did not fail of the desired effect, and impressed proper notions of religion on his mind."

James Lackington, Memoirs of the First Forty-five Years of the Life of James Lackington, the Present Bookseller


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