Saturday, February 28, 2009

New look at life of Mary Meyer

This summer we will see another chronicle of the tragic life of Mary Pinchot Meyer, ex-wife of Cord Meyer, the man that rose to the position of Assistant Deputy Director of Plans at CIA. He was also a friend of James J. Angleton, the bizarre Chief of CIA Counterintelligence until Angleton's dismissal in 1975. Ms. Meyer was romantically linked to JFK and died under mysterious circumstances in a sudden daylight murder in 1964 which remains unsolved. Very soon after, Ben Bradlee (editor of the Washington Post) caught Mr. Angleton at Ms. Meyer's residence. Angleton was seeking Mary Meyer's diary. Ms. Meyer was also the sister of Antoinette "Toni" Bradlee, Ben Bradlee's first wife. In January of 1963, Philip Graham the publisher of the Washington Post publicly referred to her affair with the president but no newspapers picked up the story and Graham himself was taken immediately into seclusion. Graham died of a self inflicted gunshot wound in the summer of 1963.
In an interview with Nina Burleigh, Kennedy aide Meyer Feldman said, "I think he (JFK) might have thought more of her than some of the other women and discussed things that were on his mind, not just social gossip." Author Peter Janney is the son of Wistar Janney a high ranking CIA official in its early days and until the 1970's. He was also well known as a member of the "Georgetown set", a group of primarily former OSS officials who formed the nucleus of what became the CIA.

For release in July, 2009.
From the publisher:
Mary's Mosaic Mary Pinchot Meyer & John F. Kennedy and their Vision for World Peace
Peter Janney (Author), Dick Russell (Foreword by)

"Challenging the conventional wisdom surrounding the murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer, this exposé offers new information and evidence that individuals within the upper echelons of the CIA were not only involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, but her demise as well. Written by the son of a CIA lifer and a college classmate of Mary Pinchot Meyer, this insider’s story examines how Mary used events and circumstances in her personal life to become an acolyte for world peace. The most famous convert to her philosophy was reportedly President John F. Kennedy, with whom she was said to have begun a serious love relationship in January 1962. Offering an insightful look into the era and its culture, the narrative sheds light on how in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis, she helped the president realize that a Cold War mentality was of no use and that the province of world peace was the only worthwhile calling. Details on her experiences with LSD, its influences on her and Kennedy's thinking, his attempts to negotiate a limited nuclear test ban treaty with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, and to find lasting peace with Fidel Castro are also included.
Peter Janney is a former psychologist and naturopathic healer and a cofounder of the American Mental Health Alliance. He was one of the first graduates of the MIT Sloan School of Management's Entrepreneurship Skills Transfer Program. He lives in Beverly, Massachusetts. Dick Russell is the author of Black Genius: And the American Experience, Eye of the Whale, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and Striper Wars: An American Fish Story. He is a former staff writer for TV Guide magazine, a staff reporter for Sports Illustrated, and has contributed numerous articles to publications ranging from Family Health to The Village Voice. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts and Los Angeles."

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ted Kennedy Celebrates 77th Birthday

February 22, 2009 9:24 AM

ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports:

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., who turns 77 today, is scheduled to spend his birthday "celebrating with a bunch of family and close friends" in Florida, according to his spokesman, Anthony Coley.

The Lion of the Senate plans to return to Washington in two weeks for a March 8 "musical tribute" in his honor at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.

The senator returned to Washington last week to cast his vote in the Senate's first version of the economic stimulus bill. However, Kennedy missed the final passage vote on the compromise bill.

Coley said Kennedy, longtime chair of the Senate's Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, is determined to see legislation for health care reform. "He sounds as strong as I have heard him sound," said Coley.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Caroline Kennedy at Store Opening

Giorgio Armani's new store during Fashion Week in New York.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

AP: Guatemala Apologizes to Cuba for Bay of Pigs invasion

HAVANA (AP) — Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom apologized to Cuba on Tuesday for his country's having allowed the CIA to train exiles in the Central American country for the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.
"Today I want to ask Cuba's forgiveness for having offered our country, our territory, to prepare an invasion of Cuba. It wasn't us, but it was our territory," Colom said during a speech at the University of Havana.
He added that he wished to apologize "as president and head of state, and as commander in chief of the Guatemalan army."
About 1,500 Cuban exiles trained under CIA guidance in Guatemala before invading the island in April 1961 in an unsuccessful bid to overthrow Fidel Castro's communist government. The Bay of Pigs invasion ended after three days with about 100 invaders killed and another 1,000 captured by Cuban forces.
During his official visit to Cuba, Colom was awarding Guatemala's highest honor to Castro. It was unclear if the ailing 82-year-old former president would receive the medal in person or if it would be delivered to him later.
Castro met in recent days with two other visiting Latin American presidents, Cristina Fernandez of Argentina and Chile's Michelle Bachelet. Photographs of him with each of the presidents were later released by their respective governments.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Look At JFK's Popularity Polls by Debra Conway

Question: Do you approve or disapprove of the way President Kennedy is handling his job as President?

I've read and heard it claimed that one of the reasons JFK went on his final tour, including Texas, was because his popularity had fallen so severely. In fact, one well-known person in the Dallas research community claimed Kennedy's popularity was even down to 20%. I've tried to find out exactly what was the truth and here are a few examples of what I've found, that while President Kennedy’s popularity polls were on a slow decline by 1963, there is more than enough data to show that one Dallas researcher was wrong.

Beginning with TIME Magazine's article (Jan. 5, 1962) awarding President Kennedy “Time's Person of the Year,”(1) which stated, “In the latest Gallup poll, 78% of the American people said that they approved of the way he is doing his job. But personal popularity, as Kennedy well knows, is not always reflected in widespread support of public policy. To translate popularity into support is the job of the politician — and the job to which Kennedy has come increasingly to devote his time and energy." These statements would prove themselves to be true of Kennedy's presidency as his popularity averaged in the 70s for 1961-1962 during some of the most trying and dangerous situations he faced.

In the St. Petersburg Times, March 1, 1963, there is a story headlined "JFK Popularity Drops Six Points In A Month"(2). The article stated, "In the latest nationwide Gallup Poll, 70% of voters say they approve of the way Kennedy is handling his job as President." Only a few months earlier, in January, it was 76%. "The 6-point drop-off is one of the sharpest declines in Kennedy's popularity during any one-month period since he took office."

What category of voter changed their opinion? The next paragraph makes it clear that the Democrats polled (surprisingly including the Southern Dixie-crats) did not change their opinion at all, “Kennedy has lost ground sharply since January with independent voters, while holding firm among his fellow Democrats.” What caused the loss of confidence? According to the writer it was “a month marked by partisan crossfire over the Cuba situation.”

In fact, in his book Popular Images of American Presidents by William C. Spragens, in the chapter titled "Popular Images of JFK In Polling Data"(3), Spragens wrote “a source told the author that toward the end of his tenure, Kennedy was much concerned about his decline in popularity after the 1962 [midterm] elections...[while] the average popularity rating of President Kennedy was 70 percent. His high point - 83% - was reached just after the Bay of Pigs failure April-May 1961 (after seeing one popularity poll, JFK quipped, ‘Jesus, it's like Ike. The worse you do, the better they like you.’(4) ) while the low was September 1963, just after the Civil Rights March on Washington, at 56%.” Another low, Spragens reminds us, was in October 1962, after President Kennedy informed the world that the Soviet Union was building secret missile bases in Cuba and everyone held their breath for 13 long days. But one month later, November 1962, his popularity was back up to 72%, in January 1963, 75%.

However, the polling of Texas showed a different trend. In the Houston Chronicle, published Nov. 22, 1963 and headlined, "Chronicle Poll Sees Goldwater Over Kennedy; Conservatism Would Carry Republican in Critical Texas Areas" the article claimed, "Sen. Barry Goldwater's conservatism would carry him to a victory over President John F. Kennedy if the presidential election were held today in Texas. If a predictable 2.5 million votes were cast, Goldwater would roll up about 1.3 million to Kennedy's 1.2 million. That would mean a margin of 52 percent for Goldwater to 48 percent for Kennedy, a statewide survey by the Chronicle indicated Thursday. The decisive manner in which Goldwater apparently would take Texas is indicated by comparing his anticipated vote with the presidential vote of 1960, when Kennedy downed Republican Richard Nixon by 46,000 votes for a 51-49 percent margin. General "disenchantment" with the Kennedy administration and an adverse reaction to his civil rights program are the two most frequently mentioned reasons for the President's decline in popularity in Texas. The picture could brighten for Kennedy by voting time next November..." Sadly, the day of this article's publication would be the end of days voters would have a choice to vote again for President Kennedy.

There are many more sources for Kennedy's popularity polls and how they specifically related to the tremendous challenges facing him in the years of his presidency. These are only a handful. An exceptional source is the American Presidency Project for the polls of 1961-1963:
8/29/63 - 62% and 10/09/63 - 58% where Kennedy's popularity leveled off and stayed until his death.

09/10/1963 09/10/1963 56
10/09/1963 10/09/1963 58
11/08/1963 11/13/1963 58

Comparing JFK’s popularity to other presidents, Spragens wrote, “JFK maintains a respectable level in comparison with all his successors.” And “Nonetheless, the average popularity rating of President Kennedy was 70 percent…when seven out of ten Americans look favorably on the president, that is a good showing.” According to records of Kennedy's own polls and the one's that are public, President Kennedy's concern about his popularity and his resulting effectiveness did drive him to campaign trips such as Florida and Texas that Fall of '63.

In conclusion, Kennedy’s popularity polls are pretty easy to follow, as they are based on exactly what TIME Magazine projected, his ability to translate popularity into support by devoting his time and energy. At the end 58% of American voters believed he was doing a good job. He was on the campaign trail as a leader, a strong defender of America, a conservationist and peace candidate. His lovely wife, still grieving over the loss of their infant son, was staunchly at his side. All he needed was time.


1. TIME “Person of the Year 1961”

2. St. Petersburg Times, "JFK Popularity Drops Six Points In A Month” March 1, 1963. See also my “Cuba-CIA-Mafia Timeline” for March 1963: Two-Tracks: JFK and the State Dept. begin their own two-track process towards Cuba. The Republican right adopts the cause of liberating Cuba from Castro.

3. Popular Images of American Presidents by William C. Spragens (Greenwood Press) 1988.

4. President Kennedy: Profile Of Power by Richard Reeves (Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group) 1994

5. Houston Chronicle, “Chronicle Poll Sees Goldwater Over Kennedy” Nov. 22, 1963. “Gallup Poll had indicated that 63 per cent of Americans disapproved of the March [on Washington], and that 38 per cent thought he was pushing too fast on integration.” William F. Buckley Jr., National Review, December 31, 1994.

6. American Presidency Project: Presidential Job Approval-JFK

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