In less than two weeks, our nation will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. I’ve spent quite a bit of time recently reading books and articles about the assassination and it’s aftermath. I have wanted to write a post about it, but I just haven’t been able to do it. For me, the JFK assassination is still a very painful issue–in fact, it has become more and more painful for me over the years as I’ve grown older and wiser and more knowledgeable about politics and history. Anyway, I thought I’d take a shot at writing about it this morning. I may have more to say, as we approach the anniversary. I’m going to focus on the role of the media in defending the conclusions of the Warren Commission.
I think most people who have read my posts in the past probably know that I think the JFK assassination was a coup, and that we haven’t really had more than a very limited form of democracy in this country since that day. We probably will never know who the men were who shot at Kennedy in Dallas in 1963, but anyone who has watched the Zapruder film with anything resembling an open mind, has to know that there was more than one shooter; because Kennedy was shot from both the front and back.
The reasons Kennedy died are varied and complex. He had angered a number of powerful groups inside as well as outside the government.
– Powerful members of the mafia had relationships with JFK’s father Joseph Kennedy, and at his behest had helped carry Illinois–and perhaps West Virginia–for his son. These mafia chiefs expected payback, but instead, they got Bobby Kennedy as Attorney General on a crusade to destroy organized crime. In the 1960s both the CIA and FBI had used the mafia to carry out operations.
– FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover hated Bobby Kennedy for “interfering” with the FBI by ordering Hoover to hire more minorities and generally undercutting Hoover’s absolute control of the organization.
– Elements within the CIA hated Kennedy for his refusal to provide air support for the Bay of Pigs invasion (which had been planned by Vice President Nixon well before the 1960 election), and for firing CIA head Allen Dulles.
– Texas oil men like H.L. Hunt and Clint Murchison hated Kennedy for pushing for repeal of the oil depletion allowance.
– The military hated Kennedy because of the Bay of Pigs, his decision to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis by pulling U.S. missiles out of Turkey in return for removal of the missiles from Cuba instead of responding with a nuclear attack, his efforts to reach out to both the Nikita Krushchev of the Soviet Union and Fidel Castro of Cuba, his firing of General Edward Walker, and his decision to pull the military “advisers” out of Vietnam.
– Vice President Lyndon Johnson hated both Kennedys, and he knew he was on the verge of being dropped from the presidential ticket in 1964. In addition, scandals involving his corrupt financial dealings were coming to a head, and the Kennedys were pushing the stories about Johnson cronies Bobby Baker and Billy Sol Estes in the media.
What I know for sure is that after what happened to Kennedy (and to Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy), there is no way any president would dare to really challenge the military and intelligence infrastructure within the government. Richard Nixon found that out when a number of the same people who were involved in the Kennedy assassination helped to bring him down.
To long-term government bureaucracies, the POTUS is just passing through the government that they essentially control. Any POTUS who crosses them too often is asking for trouble. People who think President Obama should simply force the CIA, NSA, FBI and the military to respect the rights of American citizens should think about that for a minute. Can we as a nation survive the assassination of another president?
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Obama hatred has really reached a crescendo today, and I’m not talking about hatred spewed by the Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, or Rush Limbaugh. I’m talking about people who identify themselves as “progressives.” Twitter is mobbed emoprogs making a concerted effort to ensure that if there is a deal with Russia and Syria to prevent military action over Syria’s use of chemical weapons, President Obama will get zero credit for it.
Meanwhile supposedly “left-wing” pundits Robert Dreyfuss and Robert Scheer are praising Russia’s anti-gay, ex-KGB agent President Vladimir Putin for leading the way to peace.
Check this out from Dreyfuss at The Nation:
It’s tempting to enjoy the moment, that is, the humiliation of President Obama and the short-circuiting of his war push by a brilliant coup conducted by Vladimir Putin, that sly old dog and ju-jitsu expert, along with Russia’s ally, Syria. President Obama might as well not bother giving his Oval Office speech tonight, because the chances that Congress will approve Obama’s Authorization to Use Military Force are zero, and the possibility that the United States will go to war against Syria without congressional support are now less than zero.
You know, I really don’t take pleasure in seeing the President of my country humiliated; and I have to wonder about the judgement of a “journalist” who does–especially a journalist who probably doesn’t want to see a President Ted Cruz elected in 2016.
Dreyfuss can’t imagine a scenario in which Obama doesn’t particularly want to bomb Syria but threatens to do so in order to pressure Russia to respond with a diplomatic alternative. However he can picture Putin doing something clever and sneaky. Dreyfuss even quotes Tucker Carlson and Fox News–of all people!–in support of his belief that Obama is utterly incompetent and incapable of guile.
Ask yourself–if instead of threatening military strikes, Obama had simply asked Assad in a nice way to give up his chemical weapons, what would have happened?
Robert Scheer also wrote a snide piece at Truthdig that isn’t quite as in-your-face nasty as Dreyfuss’s but it’s pretty bad, and Scheer also quotes a right-wing pudit–Peggy Noonan! Scheer writes:
…there was a moment Monday when the odds for sanity seemed to finally stand a chance of prevailing. It came when President Obama acknowledged the Russian proposal for Syria to avert war by agreeing to destroy its chemical weapons stock as “a potentially positive development.” It was quintessentially an un-Bush moment when suddenly this presidential “decider” seemed possessed of a brain capable of reversing his disastrous course.
Because Obama has, until now, been completely intractable and inflexible, with a Bush-like brain?
The bipartisan rejection of the inevitability of a military response has been stunning in its geographical reach, and as Peggy Noonan, a leading Republican intellectual as well as a former top speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, observed in her Wall Street Journal column Saturday: “The American people do not support military action… . Widespread public opposition is in itself reason not to go forward.” Although underscoring the need to “rebuke those who used the weapons, condemn their use, and shun the users … a military strike is not the way, and not the way for America,” she wrote.
She is right. The use of chemical weapons cannot be ignored, even though the U.S. did just that decades ago when then-Mideast special envoy Donald Rumsfeld embraced Saddam Hussein after he deployed those heinous weapons on his own people and in his war with Iran. A strong response to the use of those weapons is in order, but instead of more violence that would inevitably kill innocent people, why not give peace a chance? At the very least, even if the Syrian government continues to deny responsibility for the chemical attacks, it must abandon its arsenal of these weapons that are inherently inhuman.
So what would that response be? Scheer credits Russian foreign minister Sergey V. Lavrov with a sudden brainstorm in response to a supposedly off-handed remark from John Kerry.
Lavrov seized upon Secretary of State John Kerry’s purely rhetorical point that Syria could abandon its chemical weapons supply and asked, why not? It was a serious plan, given that it had been previewed in a phone conversation between Lavrov and Kerry and that Syria’s foreign minister, who was in Moscow at the time, welcomed the sentiment.
Except if Kerry and Lavrov had discussed the idea previously, then Kerry’s remark wasn’t an off-handed gaffe that destroyed Obama’s dream of war, was it? Scheer truly wants to describe events in such a way that Obama comes out looking like a stupid, incompetent war monger.
Since Dreyfuss’ and Scheer’s diatribes were posted, we’ve learned that Obama and Putin have been discussing diplomatic solutions to deal with Syria’s chemical weapons for months. Laura Rozen of Foreign Policy writes at The Back Channel:
U.S. and Russian officials confirmed Tuesday that they have had discussions about removing Syria’s chemical arms going back months before the August 21st alleged chemical weapons attack outside Damascus, and that the idea was not born out of a stray comment made by US Secretary of State John Kerry at a London press conference Monday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that he and President Obama had “indeed discussed” the idea during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia last week.
He and Obama agreed “to instruct Secretary of State [John Kerry] and Foreign Minister [Sergey Lavrov] to get in touch” and “try to move this idea forward,” Putin told Russia Today in an interview Tuesday.
According to Rozen, Obama and Putin discussed the issue a year ago when the two met at the G-20 summit in Mexico and John Kerry talked about it further with Putin when he was in Moscow in April of this year. I guess in the time of Wikileaks, Snowden, and Greenwald, it’s now assumed that government are permitted no secrets and diplomacy must be carried out in the glare of TV cameras. Well, folks, that really isn’t how it works.
And now, as Sam Stein noted on Twitter, emoprogs are “this close” to hoping for a failure of the diplomatic solution so that Obama can be further mocked and humiliated.
I’m not sure where all the Obama hatred is coming from, but it’s really ugly; and the more I see of it, the more I want to give Obama the benefit of the doubt. I really like Bob Cesca’s take on this: A Deal to Prevent an Attack on Syria Reveals Obama as JFK, Not GWB.
Is anyone else here old enough to recall the Cuban missile crisis? Kennedy had learned that Russia had installed missiles in Cuba. His advisers urged him to attack Cuba and take out the missiles, but that would have forced the Russians to retaliate and likely led to World War III. Instead Kennedy set up a blockade around Cuba, and gave both sides some breathing room. From Wikipedia:
in secret back-channel communications the President and Premier initiated a proposal to resolve the crisis. While this was taking place, several Soviet ships attempted to run the blockade, increasing tensions to the point that orders were sent out to US Navy ships to fire warning shots and then open fire. On October 27, a U-2 plane was shot down by a Soviet missile crew, an action that could have resulted in immediate retaliation from the Kennedy crisis cabinet, according to Secretary of Defense McNamara’s later testimony. Kennedy stayed his hand and the negotiations continued.
The confrontation ended on October 28, 1962, when Kennedy and United Nations Secretary-General U Thant reached an agreement with Khrushchev. Publicly, the Soviets would dismantle their offensive weapons in Cuba and return them to the Soviet Union, subject to United Nations verification, in exchange for a US public declaration and agreement never to invade Cuba. Secretly, the US also agreed that it would dismantle all US-built Jupiter IRBMs, armed with nuclear warheads, which were deployed in Turkey and Italy against the Soviet Union.
Now that we know that the US and Russia have been engaging in “back-channel” negotiations over Syria, isn’t that a better comparison to the current situation than Bush and Cheney lying us into Iraq?
Don’t feel up for writing much this morning, so I apologize in advance.
This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. My parents, living in Tampa at the time, tell tales of bomb drills…when you had to duck under your desk. As if that was really going to save you if the shit hit the fan.
- Barbrady: Okay people, listen up. As we near the top of the mountain, the chances of our encountering some lava becomes great. Therefore, I have special ordered this training film to assist us in volcano safety. Mr Garrison, if you would, please?
[Garrison turns on the movie projector to watch a 1952 training video called Lava and You.]
- Instructor: Hard bringers of sorrow, natural disasters can be the cause of troubling and undesirable stress – and a volcano is no exception. But what should you do if a volcano erupts near you or your family? Here, we see the Stevens family enjoying on their picnic. But suddenly, daughter hears a noise: it’s a volcano. Junior seems worried – but have no fear, Junior. Jane learned in school what to do when you hear a volcano erupt. [Jane uses a picnic blanket, covering her family] That’s right, Jane – duck and cover. [lava passes through blanket, leaving family unharmed] So what will you do when you hear a volcano erupting? That’s right, duck and cover. Looks like you got the idea. Duck and cover. Thank you and goodbye. [end of film]
- Barbrady: Okay, any questions?
- Chef: That has got to be the most ridiculous load of pig crap I have ever seen!
- Barbrady: That’s enough outta you!
That is a spoof South Park did on this video:
And now….I’ve got some articles about the Cuban Missile Crisis from all over the world, even Cuba! So check these out:
From Cuba…October Missile Crisis Still an Issue Today – This link is pro Castro…just fyi.
Fidel Castro delivering a speech in October 1962 – the point ‘Soviet ambitions were checked’ARMAGEDDON, with the courtesy of four minutes’ warning: that was the prospect facing the world 50 years ago, as the Cuban missile crisis threatened thermonuclear war on a scale that experts today believe would have cost more than 200 million lives.With the passing of half a century and the declassification of many documents on both sides, certain perspectives have changed; but no new insight has discredited the notion that it was one of the most perilous moments in the Cold War.
From England: How Cuba won the missile crisis
President John F Kennedy ‘never allowed the affair to escape from his capable hands’. Photograph: Art Rickerby/LIFE
Half a century ago, in October 1962, the world woke up to the Cuban missile crisis. The Russians were unloading nuclear missiles on Cuba, and the Americans were demanding they be withdrawn. For some people, perhaps for many, it seemed the moment to drag out the old evangelical poster: The End of the World is Nigh. One prominent anti-nuclear campaigner fled noisily to the west coast of Ireland, imagining mistakenly that there she might be safe. It was a frightening time. Even today I can remember the chill in the air, something not just the result of autumnal bad weather.
Video news story here: BBC News – Cuban missile crisis: The other, secret one
The Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962 is generally accepted as the twentieth century’s moment of maximum peril.
On the 50th anniversary of the crisis, the BBC has had exclusive access to new information that paints an even more dangerous picture of how the crisis unfolded.
Papers to be published next week reveal that far from the crisis ending neatly with the deal struck by President Kennedy and Soviet leader Khrushchev at the end of October, there was a second secret stage to the crisis with staggering implications for the world.
Joe Matthews spoke to Dr Svetlana Savranskay, Director of Russia Programmes, National Security Archive in Washington DC, about her research and has this report.
Australia…down under: Fifty years since Soviets blinked over the Cuban missile crisis
John F. Kennedy chairs a US executive committee meeting during the Cuban missile crisis. Source: Supplied
There is a nifty graphic at this Associated Press link: AFP: Cuban missile crisis: when the world held its breath
Just a few more, looking at these photographs is something…many of you probably have vivid memories of this.
You can always learn something new about old events, even heavily covered ones like the Cuban Missile Crisis.To that end, the National Archives on Thursday will release more than 2,700 pages of papers from its Robert F. Kennedy collection, many of them dealing with the Cuba crisis that became the most dangerous moment of the Cold War.”The National Archives is pleased to open these materials as the nation and the world mark the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis,” said David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States. “Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy played a crucial role in the peaceful resolution of the crisis, and researchers and the public are keenly interested in the information and insights contained in these documents.”
News reports from Pakistan on Sunday said that Malala Yousafzai has about a 50-50 chance of survival, maybe a little better, according to her doctors. She remains stable but unconsciousin an army hospital in Rawalpindi.Military doctors have reportedly consulted with two civilian Pakistani neurosurgeons who have recommended that Ms. Yousafzai be sent abroad for treatment. President Obama also has offered U.S. medical assistance to the Pakistani government, including a military air ambulance.Dr. Khalid Butt, a former army physician, in a letterto the Dawn newspaper, said “we may lose Malala Yousafzai if we do not send her to Dubai or the UK immediately,” adding that “armed forces doctors are not very proficient in complicated injury cases in peacetime.”He asked military leaders to stop “dilly-dallying” and not make it “a matter of ego and send Malala somewhere where she can be treated better.”
After a daylong series of delays stemming from trees bordering the street and a particularly narrow stretch of road, the space shuttle Endeavour is not expected to arrive at its final destination until after 5 a.m. Sunday.
The shuttle, now at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Leimert Park, will turn right onto Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard sometime before midnight. It will then creep along in the predawn darkness, never exceeding 1 mph, for the last leg of its final journey,
“It’s not the turning–the turning is easy. We can turn this thing 360 degrees in place if we have to,” said Ken Carryion, project manager for Sarens, the company controlling the transporters on which Endeavour rests. “it’s limited visibility. Even though we have light, it’s not the same as daylight.”
There are some cool photos here: PHOTOS: Endeavour rolls through the streets of L.A.