Dec 17, 2012

“Killing Kennedy”: Bill O’Reilly wimps out

“Killing Kennedy”: Bill O’Reilly wimps out

Believe it or not: Bill O'Reilly once showed guts reporting on JFK. His new insta-history shows a bulldog gone weak

Commentator Bill O'Reilly checks himself out before an interview at the Republican National Convention. (Credit: Reuters/Lisa Miller)
Once upon a time, Bill O’Reilly had balls when it came to investigating the Kennedy assassination. Back in 1991 — as a reporter for the tabloid TV news show, “Inside Edition” – O’Reilly had the guts to track the epic crime all the way into the dark labyrinth of the CIA. Following up on the important work done by investigators for the House Select Committee on Assassinations in the late ‘70s, O’Reilly boldly told his “Inside Edition” audience that there were “crucial” links between alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald and the CIA. O’Reilly also reported that the CIA had infiltrated the office of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, who brought the only criminal case in the JFK assassination to trial, in an effort to sabotage Garrison’s investigation.
That was then – when O’Reilly was a scrappy reporter for low-budget syndicated TV. But now, of course, he’s BILL O’REILLY – Fox News icon, a lavishly paid centerpiece of the Murdoch empire. Everything he says   – every windy pontification and dyspeptic remark – is writ LARGE. He can no longer afford to have the courage of his suspicions. In O’Reilly’s new ideological mold, the CIA is not the incubator of an unspeakable crime against American democracy – it’s the defender of the greatest nation in the world.
And so we have the Fox News star’s latest instant bestseller, “Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot,” co-written by Martin Dugard, who collaborated with O’Reilly on his earlier runaway success, “Killing Lincoln.” There is almost nothing in this Kennedy for Beginners book that indicates O’Reilly once did some original research on this murky and still deeply haunting subject. Most of this surprisingly dumbed-down book is a biographical rehash of the Kennedy story that will contain nothing new for even casual readers of People magazine and viewers of Kennedy soap opera biopics over the years. Once again, we get the story of JFK’s PT-109 heroics in the South Pacific; the lurid tales of Jack’s womanizing and Jackie’s anguish; the requisite cameos of Sinatra, Marilyn and the Mob; the familiar snapshots of a deeply disgruntled Lyndon Johnson, continually humiliated by the Kennedy brothers and their elite Harvard crowd. None of this is worth the book’s $28 price of admission.
When it comes to the assassination of President Kennedy, these days Bill O’Reilly embraces the lone nut theory, pinning sole blame on Lee Harvey Oswald. But his case against Oswald is feeble, and he’s obviously still haunted by the suspicions of the younger, freer Bill O’Reilly. In “Killing Kennedy,” he can’t help returning to those earlier suspicions, in fleeting moments of the book, as if darting a tongue at a nagging tooth.
O’Reilly floats the name Allen Dulles, the CIA spymaster who became deeply embittered toward Kennedy when the president fired him in the wake of the spy agency’s disastrous 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. He also throws out the name Curtis LeMay, the Strangelovian Air Force chief who was willing to risk doomsday by launching preemptive nuclear attacks on Cuba and the Soviet Union – and who considered JFK weak for putting the brakes on the military. And he considers the Mafia, whose godfathers expected lenient treatment from the Kennedy administration, after their cozy relationship with family patriarch Joe Kennedy, but instead came under relentless pressure from the morally fervent young attorney general, Robert F. Kennedy.
But, in the end, O’Reilly returns to the safe path, following the hapless young ex-Marine Lee Harvey Oswald on his trail toward infamy. O’Reilly cuts back and forth between the JFK story line and Oswald’s. If his portrayal of Kennedy is at least reassuringly conventional, his portrait of the accused assassin is hopelessly muddled and confusing. O’Reilly tries to make a case for Oswald as a “crack shot,” a man supposedly capable of pulling off the magical act of marksmanship in Dealey Plaza. But then he acknowledges that Oswald couldn’t even hit an easy sitting target, when he allegedly took an errant shot at former Army general Edwin Walker, while the reactionary military man was huddled over his taxes in his Dallas home.
O’Reilly seems intent on building a profile of Oswald as a bitter loser who resented JFK for everything from his sex appeal to his war on Castro’s Cuba. But, in the end, O’Reilly – who employs a weird use of the present tense that is more corny than dramatic — concedes that “Oswald does not hate the president … in fact, Oswald would very much like to emulate JFK.” O’Reilly observes that Oswald was so smitten by Kennedy that he checked out JFK biographies and the president’s bestseller, “Profiles in Courage,” from the New Orleans Public Library.
Predictably, O’Reilly then makes a stab at tying Oswald into a vague communist plot. “Castro definitely wants [Kennedy] dead,” he flatly asserts, without offering a shred of evidence. In fact, in the months before the president’s assassination on Nov. 22, 1963, Kennedy was sending out peace feelers to the Cuban leader, to the great alarm of Washington national security hard-liners when they found out. As news of JFK’s violent death reached Havana, a deeply unnerved Castro blurted out, “Everything is changed,” according to a French journalist who was interviewing him at the time. Castro predicted that the post-Kennedy U.S. government would make life much tougher for him.
In the end, O’Reilly is at a loss to explain Lee Harvey Oswald. The Fox News anchor is clearly unsettled by the fact that Oswald never proudly took credit for the assassination, as do most slayers of kings and presidents, including John Wilkes Booth (“Sic semper tyrannis!”), the villain of his last book. In contrast, Oswald proclaimed his innocence to the end, shouting out to reporters in the Dallas police station, “I’m just a patsy!” O’Reilly finds the remark “tantalizing,” but does nothing to follow it up.
O’Reilly continues to be intrigued by a key player in the Oswald story, an elegant, White Russian, globetrotting oilman named George de Mohrenschildt.  In his new book, O’Reilly writes that de Mohrenschildt “may have CIA connections.” But back in his “Inside Edition” days, the TV newsman was more definitive, calling him “a crucial link between the CIA and Lee Harvey Oswald.” In fact, de Mohrenschildt was a CIA contract agent with long family ties to Allen Dulles – the man who perhaps looms largest in the Kennedy assassination drama. Even after he was fired by JFK as CIA director in 1961, Dulles continued to play a subterranean role in U.S. intelligence that was unknown by Kennedy. And following the assassination, Dulles took the dominating role in the Warren Commission investigation, carefully guiding the panel away from CIA-related areas he found too sensitive.
Many Kennedy assassination researchers have concluded that de Mohrenschildt acted as Oswald’s CIA “baby sitter,” when the young man returned to Texas from the Soviet Union, after a “defection” that observers in the U.S. embassy in Moscow found oddly “staged.” Later, de Mohrenschildt introduced Oswald and his Russian wife, Marina, to another young Dallas couple, Michael and Ruth Paine, whose family also had deep personal and business connections to Dulles. It was Ruth Paine who would find Oswald his job in the Texas Book Depository a month before the gunfire erupted in Dealey Plaza.
O’Reilly waits until the end of the book to break his only bit of news. In the afterword, he reveals that in March 1977, as a young TV reporter, he tracked de Mohrenschildt to a home in swanky Palm Beach, Fla., and was knocking on the door to interview him when a shotgun blast exploded inside. Authorities later declared that the mysterious de Mohrennschildt, who had been subpoenaed to testify by the House Assassinations Committee and was a figure of growing interest in the JFK case, had taken his own life. But some assassination researchers who looked into de Mohrenschildt’s death, like attorney Mark Lane, insisted that the former CIA asset had been silenced because he knew too much. Again, Bill O’Reilly – the tough guy who prides himself on his bulldog news instincts – leaves this story dangling. He has nothing new to add to this perplexing Kennedy footnote.
In a reader’s note that prefaces “Killing Kennedy,” O’Reilly comments that the tragedy of John F. Kennedy is “somewhat personal for me … my Irish-Catholic family had deep emotional ties to the young president and his family.” But there is nothing to indicate the tribal toughness of the Irish in this weak and limp effort. O’Reilly’s book simply exploits the public’s powerful curiosity about the assassination without offering any fresh insights into the monumental crime. With friends of the Kennedy family like Bill O’Reilly, who needs enemies?
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David Talbot Salon founder David Talbot is the author of the New York Times bestseller, “Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years,” and most recently, “Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror and Deliverance in the City of Love.”

Stone ageless: 20,000 fans go wild as Mick, Keith, Ronnie and Charlie mark 50 years

Stone ageless: 20,000 fans go wild as Mick, Keith, Ronnie and Charlie mark 50 years

The sprightly legends – who average 68 year of age – kicked off with I Wanna Be Your Man in a blistering set

50 not out: Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones
50 not out: Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones strode on stage to celebrate 50 years as a band last night and got 20,000 fans rocking.
The sprightly legends – who average 68 year of age – kicked off with I Wanna Be Your Man in a blistering set including Paint It Black, Wild Horses and Gimme Shelter with R&B’s Mary J Blige.
Strutting Mick Jagger, wearing black skinny trousers and a fedora at London’s O2 Arena, said: “What a year it’s been for British celebration. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. We didn’t do that.
“The Olympics. We didn’t do that either. James Bond – we didn’t do the song for that. But we’re glad we here tonight.”
Mick also joked about controversy over ticket prices, which ranged from £95 to £950. “Everyone all right in the cheap seats?” he asked. “But they are not really cheap are they, that’s the trouble.”
 The foursome of Mick on vocals, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood on guitar and Charlie Watts on drums were joined by ex members Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor.
The legends are due to play another show at the venue on Thursday and three more in the US. But a source said: “Given the demand is sky-high and last night’s fireworks, extra dates are looking more likely by the minute.”
And Keith said recently: “My experience is that once the juggernaut starts rolling, it ain’t gonna stop.”
The band, who have this year produced photo book The Rolling Stones 50 in collaboration with the Mirror and written two new singles, are reportedly getting £15.7million for the five shows.
It’s been five years since their last tour. Last week Ronnie revealed they were still trying to decide which songs to play.
He said: “We’ve been thinking long and hard about the setlist but still haven’t finalised it. You forget how hard it is.”
There are still tickets on sale to see The Rolling Stones on Thursday night here.
- To order your copy of The Rolling Stones 50 book, call the Mirror Bookshop on 0871 8036772.

copied from THE MIRROR

MIck Taylor back with the Stones--Mick Taylor Predicts More Rolling Stones Rocking Ahead

Mick Taylor Predicts More Rolling Stones Rocking Ahead

by Gary Graff, Detroit  |   December 14, 2012 5:30 EST
Mick Jagger (lead singer of 'The Rolling Stones') with new band member, Mick Taylor (guitarist) following the announcement of Brian Jones leaving the group (9th June 1969). In Hyde Park, London on 13th June 1969.; (Photo by Monitor Picture Library/Photoshot/Getty Images)
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Artists in this Article

The Rolling Stones
Mick Taylor

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copied from Billboard.......

As the Rolling Stones prepare to wrap their 50 And Counting "tour" with Saturday night's pay-per-view show in Newark, N.J., former guitarist Mick Taylor -- a guest at four of the five concerts -- predicts we'll be seeing more of the group in the probably near future.

"I think the Stones have always done things their own way, and they will always continue to do things their own way," Taylor, who was with the Stones from 1969-74, tells Billboard. "I think everybody is having a good time on stage. It's more than just nostalgia. I think they just feel re-energized and possibly very enthusiastic about doing things in the future. I just have an intuitive feeling that if they want to do some more shows, they can. There's no reason why they shouldn't be able to."

ROLL WITH IT: More Stones

Taylor -- who recorded some new guitar parts for the 2010 expanded re-release of "Exile on Main Street" -- acknowledges that he "had my doubts" about how the Stones would hold up on stage these days, and how he'd fit in with them. But he says that any concerns were dispelled after rehearsing for the two shows at London's O2 Arena in November. "It's been really amazing, thrilling and exciting," he notes. "It's been great to play with the band again. I still get the same feeling that I used to get when we played on stage before. I'm a lot more outgoing and not quite as shy as I used to be, so in that respect it's different. I feel re-energized by the experience, too."

Taylor joined the group for "Midnight Rambler" on the shows he's played so far, recalling that "it was always one of the highlights of the shows during my tenure with the Stones in the 70s." And he's enjoying its current incarnation with three guitarists (himself, Keith Richards and Ron Wood). "We didn't even think about it; in a strange way all three guitars kind of blend seamlessly into each other, especially if the sound is really good on stage," Taylor says. "It's one of the longest songs we play at the moment, and it gives Mick (Jagger) the opportunity to play some blues harmonica, which he's very good at."

Taylor says the Stones began working on "Can You Hear Me Knocking" before Thursday's show in New Jersey, but he wasn't sure if it would be performed at Saturday's show. The "One More Shot" pay-per-view concert begins at 9 p.m., with Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga and the Black Keys also scheduled to make guest appearances.

On his own, Taylor has been working on "a stack of songs I'd like to record," which he plans to get back to after wrapping up with the Stones. But while he's not sure what his old band will be doing next year, he's "absolutely" will to play more shows if the call comes. "I'm up for 150 percent, yes," he says. "We weren't thinking about 50 years back when I was (in the band). We were living in the moment...and I'm really enjoying the moment right now."