Richard Nixon

1960s: The Decade of Assassinations


If America finally died at Kent State, it had been slowly tortured and already beaten in the decade before it finally went down. The 1960s could easily be referred to the decade when the National sport of political assassinations replaced the National pastime of baseball.

Despite the fact of numerous investigations into the assassination of the Kennedy brothers, Martin Luther King and Marilyn Monroe, there will always be doubt as to their elusory links and to who was the responsible party. Official investigative panels must think the American public is naively stupid to believe that in each murder, the gunman was a lone, crazed malcontent who acted out of single-minded hatred; or that Monroe’s association with the Kennedy men was innocent celebrity cameo.

In their careers, the Kennedy brothers had made enough enemies, burned enough bridges, or double-crossed enough powerful men to have been killed six times over. They were also trio of egalitarian, womanizing, arrogant and condescending hypocrites who suffered the deadly sin of Hubris.

Unfortunately for them they may have been innocent in a naïve way because they learned it at home from their crooked bootlegging father, Joe. Once in power two of these brothers were also determined to erase the history of their father’s close ties to organized crime and to create a future legacy of white washed lily pure family history.

I had a patient who was a CIA operative and who was one of the last agents to leave Havana when Castro came into power. He was also on the beach at the Bay of Pigs when John Kennedy failed to bring in the previously promised and desperately necessary ground fire and air support to aid the landing parties. In relating the fact of this betrayal, he told me how frustrating it had been to see the U.S. aircraft carriers and gun-ships sitting off on the horizon as the Cuba Libre troops were mowed down on the beach.

He also stated that there was a highly-placed mole in some U.S. governmental organization that had alerted Castro to the time and place of the assault.To make matters worse, JFK blamed the fiasco entirely on the agency itself and then tried to dismantle it after the fact. This man then subsequently hated John Kennedy with a passion.

Failing an invasion, there is documented evidence that the President’s office may have recruited the CIA to kill Castro in an eventually failed assassination attempt. They wanted him to smoke a poisoned cigar. my patient stated that the idea was patently stupid.

Kennedy was also hated by the mob boss of South Florida, Sam Traffacante, who wanted to get back his confiscated Havana casinos and nightclubs.

Lyndon Johnson had no love either. He was a politically ambitious conniving snake, whose world was caving in because of the Bobby Baker and Billy Sol Estes scandals; and feared being dropped from the 1964 Presidential ticket. His sole ambition in life was to become the U.S. President; so being a heart-beat away would make him a close second; as well as exempt from scrutiny of his own scandalous financial dealings; including the diversion of military contracts to Texas.

Then lurking far in the distant past was the fact that Bobby Kennedy in his early pre-Attorney General career had sidelined an attempt by Aristotle Onasis to gain U.S. seaport access for his oil tankers.

The Kennedy’s connections to organized crime are well outlined in the book “Double Cross” written by the mafia boss Sam Giancana’s nephew. Old father Joe had been a great asset to the criminal world during prohibition because he supplied their stills with vitally needed sugar. He was also able to freely import Scotch under the diplomatic immunity conferred on him by being Ambassador to England for which services he was owed a favor.

Apparently, the favor was called in and delivered when the Presidential election was handed to the Kennedys on a mob promise to father Joe; having been effected by the ever so ethical mayor of Chicago, John Daly, stuffing the ballot boxes in Cook County, Illinois. This was why it was so poetically and justly pathetic to see John Daly Junior adamantly plea the case of election fraud in Florida when George Bush II was elected over Albert Gore.

Payback can often take a long time, but it is always still a real bitch.

Part of the original deal between the mob and the Kennedy boys was that Frank Sinatra would be the mob’s ambassador as well as its liaison to the White House and that certain special favors would periodically be required of the Kennedy Administration for the big assist at the voting booths. Keep in mind that Nixon had won the popular vote in Illinois and that Cook County only reported the next day when the number of necessary electoral votes to win became known.

However, once in power the Kennedys decided to expunge their father’s past. They not only reneged on the deal but then decided to turn around and break the spine of organized crime in America; thus, hoping to bury their sordid past connections forever. They believed their power placed them above the law of the common man and that the sins of their father should no longer be visited upon them.

Among other things, Bobby Kennedy had the mob boss of New Orleans, Carlos Marcello plucked off the street and unofficially ‘deported’ by dropping him into a jungle in South America. After he miraculously made it safely back o civilization, Marcello angrily castigated Bobby for his cowardice and corruptly brazen use of his office to avoid the customary legal channels of deportation.He was also royally pissed off that his family had no clue as to what had happened to him because if he had at least been plopped down in Sicily instead of in Honduras, this would have been an acceptable and more honorable chess move.

The Kennedys then quietly began to snub Sinatra by making it clear directly that his presence was no longer required at the White House. Bobby then went one step further in bringing mob bosses in front of Congress when he launched his campaign to finally eliminate organized crime in America.

He jeeringly and repeatedly derided Sam Giancana in a nationally televised public display where he stated that Mr. Giancana (Gin-cahna, in Boston brogue) was “giggling like a little girl.”

  • Are you giggling Mr. Gin-cahna. Are you giggling? Is that you giggling? I thought only little girls giggled, Mr. Gin-cahna.

Even as the U.S. Attorney General, discretion would have suggested this to be an insane allegorical accusation.

Add to all this the fact that J. Edgar Hoover, who liked to play the horses, especially the trotters, would regularly meet Sam Giancana on a park bench in Washington D.C. to get his periodic list of sure winners. Some historians believe that not only did John Kennedy want to emasculate the CIA, but he also felt J. Edgar Hoover’s tenure and power was too much for one individual to hold. Hoover also despised having to cow tow to Robert Kennedy as Attorney general.

Richard Nixon felt the same way about Hoover when he became President but recanted his call for Hoover to step aside after Hoover showed Nixon his own FBI file.

Finally, does it not seem strange that Marilyn Monroe, who had three-way sex with Giancana and Sinatra at Lake Tahoe, at some other ill-defined point in the process, then became a paramour to both Kennedy brothers? After Sinatra’s snub the mob simply sent in their moll to get whatever information they felt they needed. Happy Birthday, Mr. President!

Sam Giancana’s nephew sates that the mob planned J.F.K.’s assassination. Giancana wanted to eliminate Bobby instead, but Marcello said that:

  • When the dog bites you, you don’t cut off the tail. You cut off the head because the head has the teeth. Otherwise the dog can come back and bite you again.

He also had a sign outside his office that stated: “Two people can keep a secret only if one is dead.”

Who knows if the CIA or the FBI or the Free Cubans or any rouge element of the same were also involved. Strong evidence supports the premises that one or all were co-conspirators because the stakes were too high and the cover up was too slick. Then once J.F.K. was gone and Bobby resurfaced to run for President, there was little choice but to finish off the job because if not, then the players would have to face a brand-new snarling, dangerously angry, more viciously powerful, and vengeful dog to boot.

That is, unless you happen to believe that Aristotle Onassis, as he admitted to his mistress Maria Callas, paid radical elements of the Arab terrorist world to kill his old nemesis, Bobby, after which he then took the ultimate trophy bride, Bobby’s now sufficiently post bereavement sister in law, Jackie, whom Bobby was already tired of screwing anyway.

Martin Luther King was in a different bind. He was on the wrong side of the FBI, an organization who believed that he was a communist and felt that a grass roots street revolution could not be tolerated. The Watts riot of 1965 would have paled in comparison with what they feared might happen if King could continue his crusade. Blackmailing King by releasing tapes of him banging his girlfriend in a motel room would not have been enough to derail his accelerating popularity.

Marilyn Monroe also had to go because she either knew too much or her role as a spy became too compromising. Who killed her is anyone’s guess. She had played with everyone’s matches before she finally got burned; or rather had her passionate flames  doused by a barbiturate enema.

But for the Kennedys, no matter how you slice it, when your list of enemies includes the FBI, the CIA, Fidel Castro, Richard Nixon, LBJ,  Free Cuban expatriates, and three of the most powerful mob bosses in America it would be very difficult to find a friend, much less even a loyal body guard.

Then, there is the final irony.

After Castro took over Cuba, Santo Trafficante went there in an effort to resurrect one of his gambling casinos. Castro put him in jail. Carlos Marcello sent Jack Ruby to Havana to negotiate Santos release from prison. Castro agreed after the three men then set up a Caribbean heroin drug traffic operation. No. There was no conspiracy to kill Kennedy. It just happens to be a small world.

What I do not really understand however is why there is so much doubt that the assassination of John F. Kennedy was a conspiracy and that the dots were purposefully never connected. Just watch the Zapruder film.

Kennedy takes the first bullet, that going into his back then exits through his trachea and hits John Connelly. Both men react. Kennedy falls slightly forward and to his left while bringing both hands forward with his fists clenched and then up toward his throat. Connelly at the same time turns hard to his right as the bullet goes into his back.

Jacqueline quizzically looks toward JFK and begins to move to assist him, at which time the President’s head is forcefully blown back or sideways by a second shot that coming from the front or the side, rips through his head and blows his brains out the back of his skull. Entry wounds cause a little hole. Not splatter.

This is the point where Mrs. Kennedy panics and tries to crawl out the back of the car.

One can look at mountains of evidence, re-creations, and tedious explanations from both sides of the theory and form opinions either way, but the film is real and the film tells it all. Then there is the testimony of mob hitman James Filer who admitted that he shot Kennedy from the fence behind the grassy knoll.

By adding insult to injury, a mob stooge, Jack Ruby, known to be a soldier employed by Carlos Marcello, then kills Lee Harvey Oswald, a man undoubtedly involved and naively recruited to have been history’s greatest patsy. We are then supposed to swallow the propaganda line that Ruby was so upset about losing his ‘beloved president’ that he simply could not help himself. How perfectly maudlin.

The History Channel airs an astute series on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In the final capitulation one commentator states that if it true the murder was covered up at the highest levels of government, then it is also true we do not live in a democracy, but rather the case that we live in a hierarchy.

One does not even have to link this concept to a political assassination. If we actually lived in a democracy, then even an unemployed blue-collar Pittsburgh steelworker or a Detroit autoworker would have an equal chance to be elected President.

Or even worse, perhaps this country was spared the frightening possibility of reverting to governance by monarchy. Think about twenty-four sequential years of a Jack-Bobby-Teddy Presidency, and because the family breeds like Irish Jack rabbits, following this with endless generations of Kennedy political animals running amok in Washington.

This may have been foremost in the mind of one of LBJ’s daughters, who in being far less than jubilant after his Vice-Presidential nomination in 1959, was told by her father that they had not come to the nominating convention to pout. She quipped back that they had not come to the convention to be the Vice President either.

Funny thing then about the death taking place in Dallas, no?






If you really want to hit a moving target, you must triangulate it. Two shots successfully hit from two different directions. The third one hit the pavement.

Final score: Guns two. Brains nothing



Or if you don’t like triangles, perhaps a perfect Pentagon fits the bill.

  • CIA
  • FBI
  • Mafia
  • Cuba Libre
  • Ambitious Vice President. The man who would be king.
Zapruder clips

Kent State 1970

Kent State 

When I was a freshman in Medical School, fortune smiled on me again. One of the freshman students in my dorm and I decided to go to Harvard Square where we heard there was going to be an Viet-Nam antiwar protest.

The demonstration took place one or two days after an Earth Day demonstration on the Boston Common, which we had also attended. You would think we would have better things to do with our time, but our sincere dislike for Richard Nixon and our sense of moral outrage about Viet Nam continued to seem to get the better of us. We wanted to be a part of it all. We just wanted to help.

The scenario at Harvard Square was eerily similar to the one at Duke, except for the fact that it took place at night, and the authorities were extremely well prepared for potential violence.

In addition, the National Guard had been mobilized and was actually sent in to assist the local police. At Duke, the guard never had to show up.

The odd thing about it all was that the whole thing seemed to have a carnival atmosphere about it, and many of us casually joked with guard members as we walked by. But the tension was still palpable, and as more demonstrators began to show up the radical elements began to polarize the situation by hurling nasty epithets at the police and guard members.

Not a few unpleasant but predictable epithets got hurled back.

  • Hippie, freak, Commie bastard.

The one thing I was particularly bothered by was the obvious fact that the authorities had spotters and armed individuals on the roofs of some of the buildings. They held the high ground. They had the weapons. They had the obvious upper hand. They were also undoubtedly photographing faces in the crowd. Everything was peaceful until some idiot decided to set a newspaper kiosk on fire at which point some people then started to throw rocks through store windows which was the only cue needed to prompt the police and the troops into the action needed to clear out the Square. They were pissed off, not inclined to put up with any more bullshit and acted both swiftly and efficiently.

I knew I was in the wrong place at the wrong time when I saw the police suit up with gas masks, Kevlar armor, riot helmets, Billy clubs, full riot shields, side arms, and worst of all then they brought out the dogs.

My friend and I wasted no time getting out of Dodge when the police formed complete shoulder to shoulder regimental lines across the streets that fanned out from the square and being accompanied by their German Shepherds, formed flying wedges that pushed everyone outward from the middle, as if the streets were spokes on a wheel.

I found myself running across one of the Charles River bridges as fast as I could possibly go while all the time wondering if I was about to be bitten on the ass by some snarling police pet. It was so frightening I never even turned around while the stupidly naïve part of my brain did not even think for one single moment that the police would actually ever open fire.

You would have thought I had learned my lesson at Duke. Police do not cotton well to civil violence or civil disobedience and even though most of us who protested thought we were exercising a right to free speech and public gathering, illegal trespass and destruction of private property takes all bets off the table.

The Harvard Square “riot” took place on September 15th in 1970.

On September 20th Richard Nixon announced the U.S. bombing of Cambodia. This escalation of the war smoldered for a while and then triggered a particularly nasty student riot at Kent State in Ohio that occurred during the first week in May.

The governor sent in the National Guard after a building was burned down by the more radical elements on campus or perhaps even by outside professional communist agitators.

Two mistakes were made at Kent State. One was not arming the guard with plastic bullets. The second was that by not having brought in the local police, who knew the lay of the land, the guard accidentally pushed the main body of protestors up against a fence. The guard was armed, but not with a map of the battleground.

Unlike at Harvard Square or at Duke, the protestors were then trapped and cornered; and there is not a single living animal on earth that reacts well to being trapped or cornered. The situation rapidly deteriorated into chaos. Also apparently some members of the guard either feeling extremely personally threatened themselves, or in simply fully expressing their hatred for anti-war demonstrators, lost control and opened fire.

Four students died that day.

So did America.




Armband distributed at the 1970 Duke protest after the Kent State murders



 Tin soldiers and Nixon’s comin’

They’re finally in our town.

This summer I hear the drummin.’

Four dead in Ohio

(Four Dead in Ohio: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young)






Duke University: The Harvard of the South ( And other Sobriquets)

The Harvard of the South

When I became a member of the Southampton Golf Club it was known as “The one down the road from Shinnecock.” When I went to Medical School at Tufts University in Boston, it was known as “One of the other two Boston Medical Schools.” And when I went to college at Duke University in 1965, it was known as “The Harvard of the South.”

It’s a good thing I do not have a thin skinned inferiority complex, or I might have thought my life to be nothing better than a series of second bests and near misses, both in educational as well as in social venues.

In point of fact, akin to undeveloped real estate that eventually becomes unobtainable once it has been “discovered,” both my golf club and that “other” Medical School eventually became quite desirable and unattainable in their own respective rights. At present, one cannot get into either of them without knowing or blowing someone with inside connections.

As a curious footnote, when in the early 1980s golf was still a sport predominantly enjoyed by blue blooded American gentry but not yet passionately embraced on a national level; even Shinnecock had its precarious moment as it narrowly escaped becoming no better than a desiccated raisin in the sun.

The course was a non-irrigated tract of wispy, windblown fescue, not quite qualifying as a true links course because it is some distance from the seaside. It also happened to be hovering on the brink of receivership because of an ambivalent lack of interest by a sparse population of part time local high-society patrons who were the only denizens able to afford playing the silly sport. Everyone else had to eek out a marginal living by farming, clamming, fishing, waiting tables or being in any other kindred service related businesses that only ran from May through September.

The waiting list for membership was a mere six months, while the fees were only a few thousand dollars, including the initiation cost. Yet despite what essentially equated to a red carpet invitation to join, the club practically had to beg people to even consider it.

Several members of our current hospital medical staff took the opportunity to sign on and are now envied as much as those foresighted people who bought property in the Hamptons when an acre on the ocean went for about $10,000. Today there is no land left to buy, the prices fetch six to nine figures; even in some cases just for a knockdown 1950s bungalow like the one my father is currently living in.

On a parallel track, the Shinnecock waiting list is now infinitely long, the startup cost is not disclosed, and when finding a sponsor, it no longer really matters who you know, because in this day and age everyone knows someone. Local legend has it that even the President of the United States would have to be parked on the member waiting list; especially so if he happened to be a Democrat.The same thing holds true for the National Golf Links, The Maidstone Club and the Easthampton Yacht Club, where being a member’s progeny is just about the only thing warranting an entrée.

You see, everything is either relative or it just boils down to whoever happens to be your relative.

Add to this category the prestigious Duke University and the equally reputable Tuft-New England Medical Center. Duke University currently enjoys a superior reputation for undergraduate and graduate work. It also had a curious reputation for pioneering research in the paranormal, although in retrospect this was more likely to be a pseudonym for clandestine CIA brain function and mental telepathy study projects.

It has fine colleges in Medicine, Law, and Engineering and with its world famous Rice Diet, was also one of the first institutions to mainstream the catastrophic implicative importance of obesity and weight loss. This was decades before the rest of America began eating itself to death, before obesity was a pathetic anomaly instead of being the norm, and well before fasting was something reserved for penitence during Lent.

It is also an institution that is situated in the middle of nowhere, being just down the road from Durham, North Carolina, a city which at the time I enrolled had nothing much to offer except for its local poverty, tobacco processing and cigarette manufacturing factories.

Alumni boast the likes of Bill Gates and Richard Nixon, while the institution’s general notoriety has not been undiminished by its repeatedly stellar NCAA basketball teams, led by the only college basketball coach ever to be widely recognized by a single letter. Coach K.

As a small digression, there is a reason that this particular moniker, and for that matter sports monikers in general, do not require an elaborate academic explanation for their creation. The practice is quite simply rooted in a pernicious tendency for sport casters to combine sloth, ignorance, or esoteric sensationalism with an overarching inspiration to create nicknames.

This is a habit that panders to their equally lazy, ignorant, or cult focused audiences, the” fans,” who then tend to think of it all as sports sophistication.

For example we have:

Catfish, Tiger, The Juice, Dr. J., The Bambino, The Big Unit, Air, Flo-Jo, The Bus, The Mailman, The Golden Bear, The Say Hey Kid, Gronk and The Splendid Splinter: to name just a few.

Why these elite and universally recognized people have to be identified by a sobriquet remains to be fully explained, but probably parallels the WASP habit of nicknaming; which I have previously explained simply as: “nobody can figure out why.”

In a similar vein, it can certainly pose both significant pronunciation as well as spelling errors when sport broadcasting mavens are presented with names that seem to be composed of only consonants. It is akin to a school child who  struggles along with spelling, then in giving up on the difficult words, throws the school binder to the bottom of a drawer, and begins the long walk down the road to functional illiteracy.

So too, the sportscaster will tend to take the easy way out, and with the brainwashed fans gleefully following his lead, will then proceed to finalize the process by making the abbreviated names or nicknames into secret cult code words. Or in a similar vein to Bill Clinton’s testimony regarding the Lewinsky affair:

  • You can’t possibly say you don’t know who Coach K. is.
  • That depends on what the definition of K, is.

Or the sublimely and extremely esoteric example of having referred to the Temple basketball star, Bill Mlkvy, as “The Owl Without a Vowel.”

Trust me on this one, because having lived in Polish immigrant farm country for nearly three decades, if it had not been for the fact of inanely repetitive television broadcasting, and until the point that they finally got it right, the famous Boston Red Sox from Bridgehampton would probably have been forever known simply as Carl Y.

At least is his case they were finally able to boil his name down to a simple three letter ‘Yaz, ‘ whereas unfortunately for Coach K., his name contains just one two few vowels and simply cannot be salvaged; or if his demeanor was not so calm he might be known as Coach Krazy; akin to the current fans.

Imagine myself going through the identical situation when I dated someone with the last name Ratyjyczyk. In lieu of being in the avant-garde of the soon to come male chauvinist pig phenomenon, when making introductions by simply referring to her as “The Pole With the Hole,”, it was rather because of superlative memory training in medical school, combined with retention of a few basic manners, that I made it into a mnemonic rhyme instead. After that I never got the spelling wrong: R-A / T-Y / J-Y / Cz-Y / K    You see, it can be done.

More to the subject at hand, Duke was founded in the early 1800s by Methodist and Quaker families, becoming Trinity College when a deal was struck whereby the college would give free education to Methodist preachers in exchange for financial support from the church. It eventually moved from rural Randolph County, N.C. to Durham, in order to imbue it with an “urban” flavor, although I do not understand why Durham could even remotely have been or even yet be considered urban.

At that time a unique research library was opened under the guidance of John F. Crowell, after which Washington Duke and Julian Carr then generously funded the new school from profits made in tobacco. In 1878, Washington Duke linked the remainder of his donations to the contingency that women be admitted on an equal footing with men; a somewhat rare and radical thought for his time. Bravo and kudos to you, Washington.

Eventually, the Men and Women’s campuses were separated by about a mile, as the Men’s school moved to a new West campus.

Perhaps the founding fathers felt by creating this geographic gender separation, that undesirable and potentially scandalous premarital copulation with the East Campus vestal virgins would be held to a minimum. These being the same corporate tobacco czars who while believing that no man would consider walking a mile for a woman, if he happened to be a nicotine addict, would think nothing of walking ten miles for a Camel. This relative value question should be posed to any man who hasn’t had sex in a month or so, albeit not to the few hard-core nicotine junkies who would in fact rather smoke a cigarette than  get laid.

In any event, because of ongoing support from the Duke family, the institution was able to attract faculty from the great northern schools such as Johns Hopkins and Columbia, and by WW I, had transformed itself into one of the leading liberal arts colleges in the country.

Washington Duke’s son, James, eventually created the Duke endowment in 1924 with a 40 million dollar trust fund that seeded the development of a university on the new West campus and progressively thereafter the schools of Medicine. Law, Nursing, Forestry, Engineering, Religion and Business were opened.

The school was renamed after the Duke family when James agreed to this as a request by the University president, William Few being contingent only on the fact that the school be a memorial to his father and to his family. Apparently that deal was a no-brainer. For 40 million dollars, I would even change my own name.

Other more colorful local legend has it that James B. Duke originally solicited Princeton and offered the money to their Board of Governors, contingent on the fact that Princeton re-names itself Duke University. When the Princeton Board of Governors politely refused, James is said to have returned to Durham where he built the new West Campus on a Gothic architectural style and design pattern that Princeton claims he directly plagiarized from its own hallowed halls.

This is undoubtedly nothing more than Princeton sour grapes, because the architecture of Duke University far and away surpasses that of Princeton, as does its current academic reputation. Perhaps Princeton instead should now refer to itself as the Duke of the North.

Truthfully speaking, I believe the legend to be a mere vehicle for Duke to spite the condescending or patronizing attitudes that were promulgated by the arrogant northern colleges and by those individuals who never truly believed that the South could actually ever rise again, nor for that matter to ever be able to compete on any level. However in this day and age academic excellence at Duke, coupled with a predictably lethal national basketball program, is a combination that is difficult to cursively dismiss when it comes to consistently attracting talent on every level.

All legend and folklore aside, the entrance to Duke University is beautifully engineered in a way that forces one to enter the main campus via a small traffic circle that diverts traffic into a long driveway. The circular driveway entrance is elevated above the level of the campus such that as one enters the drive the visual graphic becomes the Duke Chapel as the distant centerpiece of the roadway. Initially being at eye level, it then ascends progressively skyward as one slowly descends toward the center of the university.

It is a breathtakingly awe inspiring sight, and one I am sure that prompted many students to commit, and then to and fall in love with Duke at first sight. It certainly happened to me when I made my first trip around that circle and entered the long seductive, sloping drive leading down to the large flat mall that then splendidly splays itself out in front of those tall, majestic medieval Gothic spires.

As a sight that never grows old, it remains as one of those memories that is permanently etched in the frontal lobe of my brain. I told my mother when I saw the Chapel that there was no doubt in my mind this was going to be my college.



DUke university
© Photo from Duke University Gift Collection Catalogue: Volume 21 issue 1 2003-2004