« | Main | What killed liberalism »

November 18, 2013


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I was working three jobs and sleeping four (4) hours a day in two (2) hour shifts when President Kennedy was murdered and do not remember where I was when it happened. But I did the following morning when I loaded up my bundles of newspapers off the Arizona Republics loading docks and later more bundles from off the back of a Hurley truck. Conspiracy theories about the assassination abound by the hundreds.
We never got to interrogate Oswald much and Jack Ruby didn’t say much either. Roy Elson might have had as much insight into these matters but it’s too late to ask him now. My sources say Elson knew “where the bodies were buried.”
In 1995-96 while backpacking across America, I stopped in Dallas. It was apparent that the Dallas citizens had little respect for JFK based on my observation of the pigeon shit covered memorial. Confederate statues were much better cared for.
A note: While in Texas as a white guy talking to white guys I learned that Black folks were not welcome, Mexicans were OK picking lettuce and cleaning your house but interesting was that I could not get these same white guys to talk about Indians, “American Natives” . They wouldn’t say good or bad things about their Indians.
But today, not to fear, the NSA has got your back.

It is to this day the greatest of ironies that the corporate welfare that we know as the 'defense budget' is still the millstone around this country's neck when it comes to funding our own progress.

In order for LBJ to get the Great Society legislation, he was obliged to pursue the Vietnam War, lest the cold, old hands of the Masters of War brand him as a weakling in the press.

And the Masters of War still need more. They just picked up a few billion from the food stamp program. They ignore the wisdom and have learned naught from Sun Tzu.

Suzanne, I will throw this down here for U as it was posted on the previous blog.
"I was six as well, but not at all precocious. However, I too remember the sadness felt by those around me. And, while I think it fruitless to continue to ponder the conspiracies that may be true, I believe strongly that the murders of John and Robert Kennedy had a chilling effect on our nation.
That consequence is interesting to me; I wonder if anyone has written a book or a good article?"

Kennedy and the USA are both more myth than fact.
Unaware of the Nixon/King connection, thank you.
@Cal Lash...speaking as a displaced Southerner, racism there never extended to Native Americans, they always got respect that was not given to blacks and browns. Not until I moved west and met Midwesterners did I hear the term "wagon burner".

Writer Robert Caro is a profound document-er and his writings come highly recommended by other writers.

Speaking of conspiracies:
If you would like to think you know who flew the rifles to Dallas you might want to read Charles Brandt's book. "I Heard You Paint Houses": Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran and the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, and the Last Ride of Jimmy Hoffa

100 octane thanks for verifying what seem to be my experience in Texas.

Meanwhile in Texas:
catch an illegal

"They ignore the wisdom and have learned naught from Sun Tzu."


"@Cal Lash...speaking as a displaced Southerner, racism there never extended to Native Americans, they always got respect that was not given to blacks and browns."

Ever heard of the "Trail of Tears"?

Southerners have a way of twisting things so that the truth of their own mendacity is invisible to them.

...like the 'War of Northern Aggression'.

I agree with U also Headless.
Im just saying.
I could not get those same white dudes to talk about Indians.
Now I did get a Giant American Indian in Texas to tell me a story of how the Texas Highway Patrol killed his brother in an act of vengeance.

"Ever heard of the "Trail of Tears?"....yes, not sure what that has to do with a comment about attitudes 100+ years later of the people I grew up around. But you might see my previous comment about America being a myth.
"Southerners have a way ...."
No, they are just stupid.
If you are looking for someone to argue with I am not interested.

Headless U got a post on the previous blog that goes here.

"Ever heard of the "Trail of Tears?"....yes, not sure what that has to do with a comment about attitudes 100+ years later of the people I grew up around.
If you are looking for someone to argue with I am not interested."

Well, the states who display the stars and bars and claim it is in to honor their very special history seem to be referencing something quite a bit in the past -- at least as long as long ago as the Trail of Tears.

Why is a comment from you that southerners don't disparage Native Americans and that what happened over 100 years ago is therefore not relevant.

I don't care what you believe and I wouldn't waste my time arguing with you because you are the proof of my statement. To wit:Southerners have a way of twisting things so that the truth of their own mendacity is invisible to them.

...like the 'War of Northern Aggression'.

Kennedy's murder was the first lighting bolt in America's epic struggle to finally conclude the 19th century's Civil War. By the time this struggle was over, the Neo-Confederates won the presidency in 1980 and liberalism was finished as a muscular force in American political life. From that point forward, there was a scorched-earth procession of surrenders and capitulations. And it still isn't over.

LBJ was the last great liberal in American political life but he was no match for the array of political forces ripping apart American society. Nor were the flower children with their fables of personal goodness and innocence. The counter-culture was the naive notion that America would somehow levitate from its own up-tight anger and fears about "others". But the Great Reaction waged a much more effective counter-offensive than the left thought possible. All You Need is Fear.

The loss of innocence is the most grievous wound in America's spiritual emergency. We can't believe "they" got away with it (i.e., assassinations, the corporate coup, the wars based on lies, starting with Vietnam, the systematic assault on liberties and voting). And it's this odd coupling of cynicism and naiveté that weakens our resolves and ultimately makes us politically ineffective. We should be angry, motivated, and even enthralled. But instead, we're too busy playing Nobody's Fools. Rather than engage the opposition, we sit on our hands and wonder if we're good enough for our lofty ideals. Instead of street fights and barricades we fight ourselves. The oligarchs located our vanity at the nexus of narcissism and frustration. We can't fight because everything is so complicated! And the enemy is so ridiculous with their antic conspiracy theories and fundamentalist cognitive styles. Why even bother?

America will eventually win despite us, despite our vanity, despite our narcissism. The Neo-Confederates fight like wolverines because they're not ashamed to be vicious. We are, and that's our problem. We're looking at a nation hobbled by extremists and charlatans and we can barely muster enough outrage to complain about it on the internet. But despite ourselves, the war we can't win is winning itself. Young people come into the arena untainted by our defeatism and they laugh at the geezers and blowhards in their Tea Party regalia. They watch Stewart, Colbert, and Maher. They know their targets are crazy, mean, stupid, and formidable. The young are our hope because they're not so vain that they make politics about their own virtue.

I want to see blood. Not because I like violence or because it's transformative in some mystical way. No, I want to see it because as a nation we cannot survive unless there's that clarity about our future. If this country is worth fighting for, it's worth dying for. We've been losing this war because we thought ourselves too special to ever do anything too upsetting. But the arc of history is bending to the horizon once again. Is it justice? Yes, and it's dark red.

re Lash -- You mean the response to AZReb's comment about the post Kennedy Bozoid presidencies??

I thought AZRebs image of a parade of presidential Bozos was funny.

Soleri is the only reason I read comments, no offense anyone else, he is just lights out must read

No offense taken dawn.
Soleri is as you say.
so now, are you ready to bleed?

I remember JFK, where I was when the news came and remember believing the Soviets were going to invade. I didn't admire JFK nearly as much as I grew to admire RFK. You're right, Jon, that liberalism died with Bobby that night in LA.

I was thirteen years old.

November 22, 1963 was the day America stopped making sense.

After that, all hell broke loose.

As a yankee transplant to Texas in the early eighties, the southern good ole boys would tell me the Civil War was not over. They sounded crazy but looking back those country whites new more about the Neo -Confederacy than I could have imagined.

I was five when JFK was assassinated. I remember my Dad coming from the backyard and saying the president had been shot. He heard about it on a little transistor radio.

Soleri is starting to sound like Ted Rall (and is absolutely right).

Texans and Southerns don't have anything bad to say about the 500 Nations because they exterminated them.

That day is still riveted in my mind. I was having lunch at a restaurant across the street from the department store where I worked. Walter Cronkite's voice broke in on the TV to tell us of the tragedy. Very quietly we went back and tried to resume some sort of "normal" schedule, but there were literally no customers in this huge, 12 floor retail cathedral. That weekend, events were cancelled and we sat in numb disbelief.

Did we hold the presidency in higher esteem then? I think so. Even my very Republican grandfather spoke of JFK in respectful tones. Today, it warms my heart to see Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg as our ambassador to Japan. Camelot lives on . . . at least a little bit.

re: photo above.

Who's the dude in the dress??

I wish I had added the assassination of MLK earlier because I think it was he and Robert Kennedy that knocked the wind out of liberalism and opened the door for Nixon.

MLK liberal.

JFK, RFK politicians.

MLK, JFK and RFK all threats to the establishment. KKK - Kikes, Katholics and Koons all shot down with no serious investigation into the gun behind the gun.

Kennedy hatred in Dallas looks a lot like Obama hatred today:


Gee Whiz Reb, dude in the dress?
All that beautiful woman lacks is a cashmere sweater. Wanta bet she is wearing bobby socks?
Please note that is Phoenix Gazette she is reading, a paper unknown to most readers here.

Im still waiting to know if Dawn is willing to bleed. Soleri's post reminds me of the current PBS series by Professor Gates of the civil rights bleeding

Cal, bleeding means I am alive, so absolutely

Dawn, excellent, see U on the front of the protest lines.

Speaking of Bleeding, Mexico continues to have an artery open but there is hope.


Viva Mexico

How we yearn for a gated community.
got to keep out the rabble.

Has anybody done any research on the Black Bloc tactic?

Nixon and King.

Agreed Cal, much hope for Mexico's economic and social progress. Also one very solid reason for residing in Arizona and enjoying the wonderful cultural and linguistic influence it receives from Mexico.

Rogue, I really appreciate The Front Page article selections, not just the current ones, but always.

cal, Nixon and King is informative. Also, in consideration of your interest in the Zuni.

A good read: Newton Minow's "How We Should Remember John F. Kennedy:


The Atlantic article is excellent.

Thank you

Mr. Talton wrote:

"Kennedy's one unassailable achievement had been avoiding nuclear war in the Cuban Missile Crisis. But even here, the public didn't know that JFK agreed to secretly remove U.S. Jupiter missiles from Turkey as a quid pro quo."

JFK may just have "saved the world". The Joint Chiefs meetings during the Cuban missile crisis were taped and the tapes have only recently been declassified and released. These include comments made by the military chiefs of staff when Kennedy and his civilian advisors had left the room and the generals thought they were alone. They wanted a full invasion and were bitterly abusive of Kennedy for failing to support this option.

In fact, still more recently revealed secrets show that such an attack would probably have been the beginning of the end:

"Long after the world thought the Cuban Missile Crisis had ended, with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's withdrawal of his medium-range nuclear missiles announced on October 28 -- and two days after President John F. Kennedy announced the lifting of the quarantine around Cuba -- the secret crisis still simmered. Unknown to the Americans, the Soviets had brought some 100 tactical nuclear weapons to Cuba -- 80 nuclear-armed front cruise missiles (FKRs), 12 nuclear warheads for dual-use Luna short-range rockets, and 6 nuclear bombs for IL-28 bombers."


The Cubans were ready and able to use tactical nukes to repel an invasion force. That likely would have resulted in an escalation of force ending with a full nuclear exchange between the U.S. and the USSR.

The fact that Kennedy was open to negotiations with Khrushchev and was willing to make major concessions needed to end the threat, despite the strong and persistent urging of his military chiefs of staff (and some others) demonstrates rare qualities of leadership, insight and judgment.

The fact that he was willing to make a secret deal to remove U.S. nuclear missiles from Russia's doorstep in exchange for the same from Cuba is really quite remarkable. This kind of equivalency and quid pro quo was entirely at odds with the American Cold War narrative. Also remarkable is the fact that this remained secret for so many years. Don't believe someone when they say that governments can't keep secrets simply because they are large bureaucratic bodies and that many individuals are involved in the keeping of major secrets.

There were indications that the Soviet leadership was also split on this question. The day following Khrushchev's offer, publicly published Soviet government policy statements contradicted it. The Kennedy administration was upset that the Soviets were changing the terms of the deal before they had even answered, but also realized that different factions there might be jockeying for power -- they even wondered if perhaps Khrushchev had even been removed from power because of his offer. Fortunately, they continued seeking a direct diplomatic resolution instead of retreating into the comfortable familiarity of Cold War military attitudes and habits.

Mr. Talton wrote:

"The Vietnam War killed liberalism. Bobby might have avoided that fate."

Can someone explain to me how the Vietnam War killed liberalism? (I'm not being argumentative, I just don't understand this claim.)

My personal view is that liberalism was undercut by elements of the New Left who considered liberalism passe and who lost the focus on political economy and splintered into myriad identity groups, all either indifferent to each other or actively competing: Black-power and Black separatism (not integration); radical feminism (not equal rights); antipathy to the police and the criminal justice system simply because they "served capitalism" (not community control of police and general legal reforms); and a reflexive need to demonstrate through literature and movies that middle-class life (as a symbol of capitalist development) was inherently empty, unsatisfying and hypocritical. The goal was no longer to expand the American Dream to include all, but to demonstrate that the American dream was a sham and that everything you thought was decent and good was a lie.

In short, they lost focus on broad-based, unified economic and social justice that could attract the support of a large coalition across race and class lines. Naturally, many Americans became disaffected with a "liberalism" that seemed hostile to them. Whatever the reality behind it all. This allowed the political right to use propagandistic talking points to devastating effect.

When "stagflation" reared its ugly head in the 1970s the economic justification of liberalism became questioned as well. All of this set the stage for "morning in America" as expounded by the charismatic B-movie actor Ronald Reagan.

P.S. A fascinating first-person memoir of the Vietnam War (from the political perspective of a non-Communist nationalist who served briefly as post-war Minister of Justice but who soon fled Vietnam for political asylum in France (!) is Truong Nhu Tang's "A Vietcong Memoir".


Glad to have you back, Emil.

"Can someone explain to me how the Vietnam War killed liberalism?"

The costs of the war made the Great Society fiscally untenable. For more detail, you can contact Professor Emeritus Monte Poen at NAU. Last I heard he was still kickin'.

I agree with Emil’s assessment of the undercutting of liberalism. Once again Emil sounds like a Oxford research professor. So maybe one might find some thoughts from the man who knew it all.

And Good Morning Vietnam with Robin Williams and The Quiet American with Michael Caine

Friend and I just left the Mesa Performing Arts theater where we watched Russell Pearce and Alfredo Gutierrez duke it out after a premiere showing of the PBS Frontline film, The Arizona Story.
Pearce kept taking about enforcing the rule of law and twice he was filmed driving with out his shoulder strap seat belt in a very nice new truck with the license plate SB1070. Once with his grand daughter in the back seat.

My lady friend and Gutierrez were both born in Miami, AZ. I agreed to later buy them both a drink at the Portland.

If you look at Kennedy's record, he seems like a conservative to me. The two main focuses of his presidency were fighting communism and lowering taxes.

Stephen, Getting it done.
Makes you wonder LBJ not Kennedy,
Hillary not Obama?
The kooks will sacrifice the nation to keep Obama from accomplishing anything that might be good for the people.

The big dogs


DEA more powerful than the president and Attorney General?

DEA, police and prosecutors are out of control in the US.
Way too much power.
the people need to take it back
from cal lash a retired cop, conservative republican and an old man

"Hillary not Obama?"

The Rethugs are keeping Benghazi alive to hound Hillary Clinton when she runs.

...and the military/industrial complex, having learned that expensive and useless wars were not only profitable, but they made liberalism fiscally untenable, have kept to that plan ever since.

Lest I be branded a naïve conspiracy theorist, I will say that I am more of a Skinnerian behaviorist when it comes to some historical arguments.

If small, expensive and useless wars are very profitable and keep the political opposition at bay, that kind of behavior has been rewarded and will be repeated.

Gary Hart on JFK murder:

I'll chime in on the Cuban Missile "Crisis". I have come around to agree with Noam Chomsky that the Russians put nukes in Cuba to deter a US invasion and to put an end to the terrorist attacks the US sponsored against Cuba (assassinations, machinegunning beaches from speed boats, etc.) They agreed to take them out if the US would stop, but in the end the US did not and relations with the Russians got even worse as they now knew the US would never negociate in good faith.

Here's a little throwback to 2012 election:


Lincoln's appearance ices it.

Do not forget its Camus 100 Birthday party.

cal, How many Presidents, back through time, tried to realize universal healthcare reform? It is a major accomplishment and Hillary did not do it. Ok, the sausage was disgusting but President Obama, somehow, got the job done.

Don’t know, maybe Hillary will have her chance too.

We will see how much of the ACA survives the desire of Kooks to destroy the country just because there is a Black person in the White house.

Suzanne, to my knowledge the presidents who attempted it were Truman and Nixon.

That is about correct, except that you left out Clinton. And, “if you lower the bar” a la politifact.com “John F. Kennedy. Kennedy voiced strong support for legislation that would ultimately become Medicare. On May 20, 1962, he held a televised rally to push the proposal at a packed Madison Square Garden in New York City. . . .
Theodore Roosevelt. He did endorse the idea of expanding health insurance to all, but only as as a presidential candidate for the Bull Moose Party in 1912, not during his earlier term in the White House.
Franklin D. Roosevelt. In his State of the Union address in 1943, Roosevelt called for a social insurance system that would extend "from the cradle to the grave," and he was preparing a program and a speech on national health insurance at the time of his death. . . .
Dwight Eisenhower. Eisenhower reacted to Democratic proposals for single-payer health care by proposing an expansion of care within the model of private-sector medicine. Eisenhower’s approach was to make permanent the tax break for employer-sponsored health coverage (which remains today) in order to encourage as many Americans as possible to get covered through their workplace. For those who were not employed, Eisenhower proposed that the government "reinsure" private insurance companies to encourage them to add less profitable populations to their coverage rolls.
Ronald Reagan signed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, which requires hospitals to serve patients in urgent need, and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA, which allows individuals to keep paying for coverage if they lose their insurance. . . .
George H.W. Bush, worried about the Democrats getting traction with health care in a 1991 Senate special election, sent a plan to congress. "Bush didn't like the issue, but he had a really good health team that put together a pretty good republican proposal," Morone said.
George W. Bush pushed for and signed the expansion of Medicare to include prescription drug coverage.

Thanks, Suzanne. Forgive my brain fog.

Thanks Jon for doing the homework most of us don't. So much complexity to the Kennedy story that we love to gloss over. Still, I personally love to wallow in the "what ifs"

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)