To My Mom, On This Sad Anniversary

I have been to Dealey Plaza in Dallas three times. Most recently I was there one year ago, and while I was there I saw pro-Palestinian protesters rallying to condemn Israel for violence against the people of Gaza, as well as to express outrage at how American foreign policy supports such violence.Protest on Grassy Knoll in Dallas

Given that the leader of the world’s most powerful democracy was murdered at that place 50 years ago, I can’t help but marvel at how amazing it is that Dealey Plaza is sometimes used to rehearse, peacefully, the disagreements among us, among We The People.

That is one thing I think about when I think about the assassination of John Kennedy.

But I also think about my mom. In the days leading up to this day, this anniversary of a horrific crime, I have found myself thinking about what the Kennedys, particularly John and Jackie, meant to her.

I was only five years old when Lee Harvey Oswald fired those shots. I have no direct memory of the event. But I most certainly have memories, created a few years later, of thumbing through books and magazines on the Kennedys that my mom had purchased to memorialize her hero. She was a Democrat and, as far as I know, she was a life-long Democrat. And to her the Kennedy family was, as they were to so many, an American royal family.

Several of the photographs we have seen on television the past few days were burned into my memory a long time ago. Those Kennedy books and magazines my mom had in our house likely kindled the interest in politics and politicians that burns in me still. mom dad and meI did not understand at the time what Kennedy’s death meant to the country or to history, but I think I understood what his death meant to my mom.

And that is why for me today brings back memories of a little boy flipping through pages filled with mostly black-and-white photographs of a young president and his family and the savage who killed a man my mom had never met or would never meet, but loved so much.

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57 Comments

  1. Troy

     /  November 22, 2013

    Yes my brotha JFK was her favorite and I do remember the profound affect his death had on her. She was deeply saddened and angered by the events that took place on that day. Although I was only 13 at the time, I too was deeply saddened and shocked to learn of the President’s assassination . It truly was a day that affected us all and still does. I have teared up many times as I have watched all the tributes to this great man . He had such vision for our country. He is deeply missed. And I’m sure if President Kennedy is running for office again that our mother will once again cast her vote for this great visionary. By the way brotha, where did you get that picture? Lol…….uh uh

    Like

    • Yes, I teared up many times, too.

      You are right to say that Kennedy had “such vision for our country.” While he was slow to embrace civil rights, it seemed he became convinced that the country had to change and that he would play a big part in changing it along those lines.

      By the way, that picture came from a special collection that was given to me legitimately…

      Like

  2. Anonymous

     /  November 22, 2013

    I find it truly amazing that a family like the Kennedys, with all their wealth and influence have been the voice of working people for so long.
    I also have a question for you. With your history of being a conservative as a child, was this at your father’s urging? Was your father a Republican or Democrat? I would assume that your entire family shared your early conservative values.Or is it, as I suspect, that the far right has simply changed today’s political landscape to be that the only way for one to call themselves a true Christian is to be attached directly to the Republican Party?

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    • I wasn’t a conservative until I was about 23 or so, about the time Reagan came into office. Up until then, as a teenager, I was a very liberal kid. I was into the ’60s counter-culture stuff all the way through junior high and most of high school, even though that was in the early- to mid-’70s (and I had the hair that went along with that stuff). It was my then-evangelical Christianity, along with my discovery of William F. Buckley, that turned me into a right-winger in the early ’80s.

      My dad was a Democrat, as was my mom. They were working-class Humphrey folks, but my dad especially retained a lot of segregationist beliefs. As far as the rest of my family, only my brother, for a while, shared my conservative beliefs. I think his politics were informed by his Christianity, too. But like me, he has changed. My entire family, both of my brothers and my sister, are Obamacrats. (My late older sister became a Fox “News” Republican, but that’s because, I suspect, she just didn’t like Obama.)

      Duane

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  3. ansonburlingame

     /  November 23, 2013

    “What were you doing when Kennedy was shot” is a question often asked today. I was a junior in college, holding a transistor radio to my ear as I was going to a class. Earlier, as an 18 year old I was on the streets of DC watching Ike and JFK in their limos going up to the Hill for the inaguration. I listened to JFK’s words during that famous speech, a young student in DC at the time. I was a student in college during the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis as well.

    Another question often asked today is “What would America be like had the assination not happened?”. I have no idea and can only guess. It is like more recent times of “What would America be like today, had 9/11 not happened?” Again, I have no idea and can only guess.

    I do suspect, but not know for sure, that if JFK were subjected to the public scrutiny of today, he with his suggested lack of personal moral values would be……, today. What he did with “women in the White House swimming pool” back then would be …… today.

    But having cast doubt on the gleam of amour surrounding JFK today, I remain firmly behind his call of long ago of “Ask not ……”. Oh that the vast majority of Ameicans asked that same question of themselves today instead of looking for “Obamaphones”, etc., today.

    Anson

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    • Sedate Me

       /  November 23, 2013

      Going by how he handled the Cuban Missile Crisis, I think Kennedy would have found a way to wiggle out of Vietnam in his 2nd term, or at least avoid the escalation trap Johnson fell into. That would have taken some of the momentum away from the Military Industrial Complex. But unless he used Johnson as the front-man, I think he would have been less successful than Johnson was on the civil rights front. Johnson knew how to get shit done in Congress.

      I think the biggest difference would be attitudinal. “Best & Brightest”, “Exploring all options” and the idea of questioning military advice may have allowed the chance to prove their worth. I still think the overall direction would be the same, just with a slower trajectory. Same is true of the societal cynicism his death sparked.

      As for Kennedy’s personal life, think Clinton to the 50th degree. The dude was banging a mob boss’ girl for crying out loud!!! That fact alone makes for one hard conspiracy theory to rule out and also makes you wonder about other seedy connections.

      One thing I’m sure of is that Kennedy wouldn’t be able to do ANYTHING today. First, today’s issue-free, scandal focused, media would probably keep him from getting elected. But if elected, he’d be a fighting impeachment from Day 1. Second, even without the scandal, he probably couldn’t break through the gridlock either. Maybe even with Johnson as his Congressional hit-man. Congress is a perpetual non-motion machine.

      As for “Ask not..” that’s as close to the opposite of today’s ethos as you can get. “Ask not what I can do for America, or anybody else. Screw ’em! It’s every man for himself.”

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      • Yep, we didn’t hear much of the scandalous behavior of JFK last week. All for good, as far as I’m concerned. There has been plenty written about that by now. But I don’t think that his behavior had a thing to do with the assassination. I apply Occam’s razor to the killing of Kennedy. The simplest explanation is that Oswald, given the kind of person he was, acted alone on that day.

        Your analysis of a second-term Kennedy administration is, I think, right on. Johnson was a master at twisting arms in Congress. Just listen to him tell segregationist-racist Democrat Senator Richard Russell that he was, whether he liked it or not (Russell didn’t; he couldn’t stand Earl Warren) going to sit on the Warren Commission.

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        • King Beauregard

           /  November 26, 2013

          “Johnson was a master at twisting arms in Congress.”

          That’s the consensus, but I have my doubts. Take a look at the Civil Rights Act and you’ll see that it got zero support, or very close to zero, from the Southern states. Plenty of support from Northern states, yes, but even then it wasn’t universal. And cracks had been forming between the North and South for decades (cf Dixiecrats), so I’m not sure the Civil Rights Act proves what a master negotiator LBJ was, only that he brought the matter to a head when Congress was ready to deal with it.

          But I wouldn’t mind being proven wrong, if I’m not giving LBJ enough credit for swaying Northerners.

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          • I don’t want to prove you wrong, but I do want to share a link with you (here) that is highly critical (from a progressive perspective) of Obama’s negotiating skills vis à vis Johnson’s. Here is a passage I find particularly striking, regarding Johnson’s efforts to get the Republican Minority Leader from Illinois, Everett Dirksen, on his side. It is LBJ talking to Hubert Humphey:

            “The bill can’t pass unless you get Ev Dirksen. You and I are going to get Ev. It’s going to take time. We’re going to get him. You make up your mind now that you’ve got to spend time with Everett Dirksen. You’ve got to let him have a piece of the action. He’s got to look good all the time. You get in there to see Dirksen. You drink with Dirksen! You talk with Dirksen. You listen to Dirksen!”

            I  can’t imagine President Obama having such a conversation, can you? Here’s another link for your consideration.

            Duane

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            • King Beauregard

               /  November 27, 2013

              I can’t imagine Obama having that exact conversation, no; his style is very different. Maybe Obama (or a white 1960s-approved facsimile) could have gotten to the same place with his community organizer approach; per that “another link” we see that there was give-and-take to get Dirksen on board, and we know Obama understands that dynamic. The link also says that Dirksen felt the time had come for Civil Rights action, so it wasn’t really that monumentally difficult of a sale.

              And, I am pretty confident that a modern day black LBJ would do no better with the Republicans than Obama does — thanks to the efforts of real historical white LBJ, the Republican Party is too awash in racism to accept the fundamental legitimacy of a black President.

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              • Perhaps “racism” is too strong a word for what is wrong with the Republican Party. I prefer something like “cultural angst,” which at its worst does have racist elements in it. When it comes down to it, many white folks are simply uncomfortable with the idea of losing their long-time grip on the levers of cultural, including governmental, power. The resulting reactionary ugliness, while characteristic of someone trying to hold on, is quite unseemly, as we witness nearly every day now.

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                • King Beauregard

                   /  December 3, 2013

                  45% of Republicans had a favorable opinion of George Zimmerman after the trial. “Racism” is not too strong a word; there may be more going on, but racism is unquestionably part of it.

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  4. Sedate Me

     /  November 23, 2013

    I doubt I was even a spermatozoa in my daddy’s nut sack yet, but the wounds still hurt like it was only yesterday to me.

    I’ve got to say I’m really amazed at how this year’s coverage tried so hard to wrap up Kennedy’s killing for good. It’s as if the Powers That Be want this to be the last time we ever talk about it.

    Every single special made this year either:

    A) was a nostalgic media highlight real that largely concentrated on the reporters themselves. “Look at all the media stars who were created that day!”

    B) used the Warren Commission as the script. Most specials patronized, or outright insulted, anyone who considered -not just certain conspiracies theories- but the mere possibility that Oswald didn’t act completely alone as mental inferiors. Yes, a couple shows had some interesting evidence supporting the Magic Bullet Theory. But the case against Oswald still isn’t anywhere strong enough to get a “guilty” verdict, let alone prove the official version that his actions came out of the blue and couldn’t be stopped.There was virtually no discussion of the amateurish practises, the secrecy, or the cover-ups that took place, whatever their motive.

    In short, this year was the year of the final coat of white-wash before whatever actually did happen gets brushed down the Memory Hole.

    To me, the assignation wasn’t so much about the actual shooting. The shooting was the Rabbit Hole to another world. With only a mild scratching of the surface, you could see behind the curtain for the first time. You got a glimpse of how the sausage gets made. You got to see the ass covering, the lies, the secrecy, the plotting, the seedy relationships, the misbehaviour and conspiratorial nature of the US government and its officials…and how eager they are to hide the truth from us…the real patsies in all of this.

    And that’s the part of the story that rings true today. In this day and age of Secret Kill Lists, indefinite detention, secret prisons, torture, mass surveillance and total secrecy, we’re again expected to put blind faith in our officials, no matter how undeserving they are. And that’s probably why this year’s specials were so different than the more Conspiracy-friendly specials of 20 years ago.

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    • You do like conspiracies, don’t you?

      I watched, conservatively, 30 hours of Kennedy stuff last week. And I never got the impression I was watching a conspiracy to “wrap up Kennedy’s killing for good.” In fact, I watched even more Kennedy stuff yesterday on MSNBC. I also saw some segments last week touching on the many (and complicated) conspiracies surrounding the murder of JFK. I don’t know how many times I saw the conspiracy-plagued Oliver Stone or that unfortunate (or misconstrued) comment John Kerry made.

      As for those conspiracies, as I told someone else, I apply Occam’s razor. The simplest explanation is often the best one. And given what kind of person Oswald was, his desire to be known to the world, it appears clear to me that he acted alone. I concluded that a long time ago after watching an episode of Nova, dealing with the physics of the murder. It is entirely plausible that Oswald shot and killed Kennedy from that window, notwithstanding the BS about a “magic” bullet.

      Plus, a man I respect a great deal, Vincent Bugliosi (as a teenager I read his excellent book on the Charles Manson case, Helter Skelter), a former prosecutor, wrote a 1600-page book on the Kennedy assassination. While I haven’t read the book, nor do I ever intend to, I did see Bugliosi a couple of times last week talking about it and the overwhelming evidence that Oswald acted alone. All of the evidence, physical and scientific, forces that conclusion, Bugliosi says.

      Most important, I think, is a fact about the various conspiracy theories that Bugliosi hits on: establishing a motive to kill Kennedy is not the same thing as providing evidence that the person or persons with motives to kill him actually killed him. There were lots of people, mostly right-wing people, in Dallas who didn’t like him, even hated him. But it turned out a left-winger who loved Castro and Marx did it. Go figure.

      Duane

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      • King Beauregard

         /  November 26, 2013

        I saw a thing on the History Channel where they were trying to see if the official story actually panned out, through recreations of the buildings and roads, a sharpshooter of Lee Harvey Oswald’s proportions, and so on. The sharpshooter was able to duplicate LHO’s shots to a high degree of accuracy, close enough that I don’t question the plausibility of LHO’s story. (It doesn’t “prove” LHO’s story but it dispels a lot of the conspiracy buzz.)

        As for the nonlinear bullet paths, those twists and turns resolve to straight lines if you bother to pose the passengers as shown in photographs and film, rather than assuming they were sitting down and facing straight ahead like lobotomy patients. No magic required, just more accurate posing of the passengers.

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        • Yes, yes. And by the way, last week was the first time I heard extensive talk about the back brace JFK was wearing, which kept him from slumping over initially, allowing LHO to take that head shot. What a bunch of damned bad luck that day in Dallas.

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        • Sedate Me

           /  November 29, 2013

          It must be said that the Seal Team 3 sharp shooter & CIA “contractor” who did that shooting (& not by much) on that History Channel show said he didn’t think Oswald could have done it.

          He said that shooting stationary targets in a controlled environment is very different than shooting a real, live, person. Especially when he’s the most powerful man on earth, is surrounded by police & moving through a noisy crowd…and without a rehearsal. He also said that, unless Oswald was keeping his skills up in the years since leaving the military, his original ability would have diminished. Seeing as he was deployed as a radar guy, Oswald had never actually shot at a human before Gen. Walker, who he missed from a considerably closer distance, in a shooting that wasn’t remotely time sensitive, wasn’t in a stadium atmosphere, nor did he have a chance of getting caught.

          So, the most this test shooting proved was that it was possible for a professional sniper to do it in a sanitized environment. So, this is yet another “theoretical possibility” attached to the assignation. (Theoretically, the NY Mets can win the championship every season.)

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          • King Beauregard

             /  December 1, 2013

            “the Seal Team 3 sharp shooter & CIA ‘contractor’ who did that shooting (& not by much)”

            Well try to be fair: he had a far harder job than Oswald did. Oswald just had to hit a Kennedy-sized target; the recreation guy had to duplicate Oswald’s shots, and he did.

            Remember that story where Robin Hood splits that other archer’s arrow? Much harder than what the first archer did.

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            • Sedate Me

               /  December 12, 2013

              Not trying to be an asshole here (No effort required) but I’m glad I didn’t delete the recording of that show from my VCR yet. It let me pick up something I missed while checking your Robin Hood claim.

              The Seal Team 3 guy wasn’t exactly trying to split an arrow in the bulls-eye with another arrow. More like hit 3 targets, 2 of which were hit by Oswald’s shitty rifle. This was meant to prove the rifle could potentially pull it off. (Not necessarily the shooter.)

              Seal Team dude was merely trying to shoot 3 bullets off fast enough and while hitting 2 of 3 stationary targets placed to represent where JFK was at the point of each shot. (No attempt at replicating the Pinball Bullet was made, as the man probably only has 40-50 years to live and replicating that effort would take longer.) The super frosty Seal fired all 3 bullets with a whopping 0.07 seconds to spare, but hit the target all 3 times. No bulls-eyes, but solid hits.

              What I didn’t catch the first time was what I really should have expected; that his accuracy progression was much more logical than Oswald’s. The progression was the EXACT OPPOSITE of Oswald’s. Where Oswald’s first bullet (fired from the closest distance) went directly into another dimension, Seal Teamer first shot was his most accurate. Oswald’s 2nd shot was light years more accurate than his 1st, while the Seal Teamer’s 2nd shot was less accurate. Oswald’s 3rd shot was the MOST accurate despite being fired from the greatest distance and in the least amount of time. Whereas the professional sharp shooter’s 3rd shot was his least accurate and seemed less accurate than Oswald’s 3rd shot.

              Conclusion? Well, if Oswald was good enough to make a Navy Seal team AND he kept his skill level that after all those years, theoretically possible. But still highly unlikely in a real-world situation, especially with that shot progression. Watch as this former Seal, with a better shot than Oswald was at his best (and has a similar snarly attitude) attempts to recreate the shoot in multiple attempts.
              http://www.jesseventura.net/conspiracy-theory/s02e05-jfk-assassination/
              (FF to minute 16. That’s where the shooting starts.)
              If nothing else, probably the funniest assignation recreation of all time.

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              • King Beauregard

                 /  December 12, 2013

                You must have seen a different special than I did, because on the one I saw, the professional was not aiming at a stationary target, but a dummy in a car moving like JFK’s convertible. And he found the third shot was the easiest to aim, because of the angle imposed by the window of the depository building.

                But there’s a bigger conspiracy theory afoot, and that is the Magic VCR hypothesis: you have a VCR that you delete things from rather than pop in a new VHS cassette. How can you have a VCR that performs like DVR? This whole story reeks of a cover-up, and there is no clarification (like inadvertently choosing a related acronym) that can reasonably explain it away.

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                • Sedate Me

                   /  December 12, 2013

                  Hey, they don’t make as many VCR tapes as they used to, so I have to record over things.

                  You’re questioning my claims? I’m the authority here. I own the equipment. I control what gets recorded, what recordings get shown, when & to whom, what recordings get deleted & how. If I say I used a $20, manually controlled, Italian VCR made in 1979 to delete the TV show in under 6 seconds without the help or knowledge of anyone else, you have to believe it. Nobody has produced any “credible evidence” to suggest otherwise. So, you’ll just have to trust me in my explanation of events, even though I am a habitual liar with a history of perpetrating violence (and “illegal” copies) around the world that I want to keep secret.

                  But, given the History Channel special you saw had a moving target in the simulated shoot, you actually DID watch a different special than I did, which is a shame because it was the most interesting special I saw in 2013. (I think Jesse Ventura’s JFK show was 2011)

                  Like

      • Sedate Me

         /  December 7, 2013

        Sorry, took a tumble down the Rabbit Hole while writing this one

        No, I hate conspiracies! Conspiracies undermine democracy and destroy public trust in institutions. Unfortunately, our society is rife with conspiracies. From classified tax policy discussions, Dick Cheney energy policy meetings, to everything the Military Industrial Spy Complex touches; public policy is set as far from public view as possible.

        You obviously watched a very different collection of specials than I did, Duane. I watched 20-25 hours of this year’s coverage As I said, a surprising amount were simply nostalgic video compilations. Only a couple specials shot this year treated anything other than the official version seriously. This year’s stuff was undeniably less conspiracy-friendly than 90’s shows. I saw only a couple 90’s shows that took the official version seriously. I find that complete reversal very curious, especially since nothing has changed to support the Lone Nut Theory, other than glitzier CGI. What has changed is that Oliver Stone’s movie led to the creation of the ARRB which declassified 98% of Warren Commission documents, something barely referenced during my 2013 viewing.

        The CBS crowd was particularly dismissive. If I drank a shot every time I saw a current/former CBS employee say “no credible evidence”, “if there was a conspiracy, I’d have found it”, “anybody could have made that shot” or “those simpletons can’t get their puny minds around complex things, so they need complicated conspiracies”, I’d have a hangover worse than Kennedy’s. As for sweeping the assignation down the Memory Hole, I saw Bob Schieffer ask on two shows “Is this the last time we talk about this?” and nearly all participants agreed.

        ”As for those conspiracies…I apply Occam’s razor.”

        That’s hilarious! Occam’s Razor is exactly what I think of when comparing the effort required to “prove” the Warren Commission’s version verses one view of the Zapruder film. The film was buried until the mid 70’s because, after watching it, the “simplest explanation” is a 2nd shooter on the grassy knoll. Right or wrong, the first time most people see that (as Geraldo described) “very heavy” film, the official version looks like a lie & folks pushing it liars. Then they start looking for other explanations, no matter how crazy. Secrecy and lies are the parents of all conspiracies.

        ”given what kind of person Oswald was, his desire to be known to the world, it appears clear to me that he acted alone.”

        A perfectly legitimate theory. However, even within the confines of the official version, it’s just as clear Oswald wanted to be part of something bigger (the socialist struggle) and worked with others (the Fair Play For Cuba Committee). Evidence supports Oswald’s claim he tried to “infiltrate” the DRE, which was a CIA front overseen by the very agent who was the CIA liaison to the 76-79 Assignations Committee. (Nope, nothing suspicious there!) Some believe Oswald was a CIA infiltrator of Fair Play. Either way, Oswald had direct contact with the CIA, including the protest where he was arrested for getting into it with a DRE member. “Infiltrating” DRE sets a precedent. It’s entirely plausible Oswald was part of a conspiracy, but went rogue in order to get the glory you speak of. I think that makes a more plausible Lone Gunman theory than the one we’ve been sold.

        As an aside, Oswald was also the kind of guy who would use the gory murder of a President at his workplace to casually ditch work and see a movie as if nothing happened. This was his sociopathic explanation for why he didn’t stick around afterwards and the main reason he became a suspect. Oswald was one strange, spicy, gumbo.

        “ It is entirely plausible that Oswald shot and killed Kennedy from that window”

        After seeing some speculative ballistic evidence where shooters far better than Oswald proved they could have fired his shitty rifle quickly & accurately enough and, after watching people shoot “bodies” made of boneless jello at unrepresentative angles, it’s somewhat plausible somebody could have hit Kennedy from that window. But even if true, it still goes against simple logic:

        Shot #1 was the closest shot but the bullet missed everything and disappeared, thus making it the real Magic Bullet. Shot #2 was fired from a greater distance. It hit Kennedy, wounded Connally 4 times, bounced off of Sputnik and landed in a hospital stretcher with minimal damage. Shot #3 was fired in the shortest amount of time and from the furthest distance, yet it was the most accurate shot. Unlike the straight line of the previous, indestructible, bullet, this bullet spun inside Kennedy’s head causing both objects to blow to smithereens and Kennedy to fall at an angle that makes no sense.

        Potentially explainable, but a million-to-one shot. However, you have to buy more than just the shooting to buy the Lone Nut theory. There are facts, “coincidences” and misbehaviour that reduces the odds further, casts doubt on some evidence and contradicts claims of Lone Nut theorists. To name a few:

        1) How the hell does a military guy defect to the USSR at the height of the Cold War, marry a Soviet, and come back to America like nothing happened? As I understand, only 8 people defected in that era. Only 2 others returned, both of whom were considered spies. But not Oswald. Officially, his double-defection was ignored by everyone but one lukewarm FBI agent.

        2) Comrade Oswald gets arrested at a demonstration and defends Public Enemy #1, Castro, on TV. In the process, he has direct contact with a CIA front, DRE. But this isn’t worth putting in a CIA file. I can’t order pizza without the NSA knowing what toppings are on it, but Oswald can fight a CIA operative & not generate a paper trail.

        3) The umbrella flapping nut-job coincidentally standing right in front of the kill-shot. Officially, this was a protest against Kennedy’s father that makes sense to only one person on Earth. Today, this clown would have been water-boarded at Gitmo until admitting killing Kennedy, Lincoln, Jesus AND Bill O’Reilly, then released into a wedding party in Yemen that’s about to get hit by a drone.

        4) Ruby, a minor league mobster who mixed with criminals & cops, casually spends the weekend in the police station before performing a mob hit for the cameras straight out of the movies.

        5) The secret Service manhandles doctors just trying to enforce state law, so that Kennedy’s autopsy and the resulting evidence can remain entirely in-house. As a result, under-qualified doctors do the most important autopsy in US history in a 3 ring circus of government agency reps. They fumble, misplace and destroy vital evidence. Somehow, Kennedy’s brain disappears.

        The biggest problem in achieving a Lone Nut ruling is the conduct of the agencies providing the evidence to a Commission with a pre-determined outcome, even if the outcome may have been accurate.

        You talk about evidence verses motive. I’ve seen most of Bela Lugosi’s movies and respect him as both a B-movie actor and critic of GW Bush. However, Lugosi FAILED to get a guilty verdict in the closest thing to a trial Oswald will ever get and has been bitter ever since. You can even see him getting bitter during this fascinating mock-trial. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oYHsicxdQg&list=PL0O5WNzrZqIOubam491Q_OKBOBzfH7RDi

        I think fellow lone gunman theorist, the creepy Gerald Posner, has a much better line; that the authorities (the Secret Service, the FBI and especially the CIA) engaged in unprofessionalism, lies, obstructionism and destruction of evidence. Their top priority wasn’t discovering the truth, but keeping everything, especially their misdeeds, secret for as long as possible.

        To me, too much of the evidence has been tainted or rendered untrustworthy. Certainly more tainted than Mark Fuhrman finding OJ’s bloody glove. For example, this mind blowing nugget was meant to be buried until 2025, but the ARRB declassified it. It’s enough to prove a CIA conspiracy of some description. Its intended purpose is far less clear.
        http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/biographies/oswald/oswald-the-cia-and-mexico-city/

        In short, Mexican CIA employees not only monitored Oswald’s visit to Soviet & Cuban embassies, they had recordings of somebody impersonating Oswald , a guy the CIA claims never appeared on their radar screens, trying to contact a KGB assassin! CIA Head office claims they never existed, even though several at HQ signed to look at the courier package containing copies. What is clearer is that Hoover and Johnson knew this fact the day after Kennedy’s death, before Oswald was dead and the Warren Commission was created.

        Depending on what was on the tapes, this could implicate the CIA and/or the KGB in a conspiracy to kill Kennedy, or to allow the attempt to happen. It might just be set up to ensure the Warren Commission would have the narrowest scope possible and leave the CIA’s incompetence and/or dirty deeds alone. What’s undeniable is that the CIA (an outfit already working with the mob to kill a world leader) was not only sabotaging the investigation before it started, before the assassin was killed by a mobbed up guy who could stroll through the police station at will, but maybe even before the assignation itself.

        But as mock trial loser, Bela Lugosi said, motive isn’t enough. Then again, “proving” Oswald actually killed JFK isn’t enough to invalidate a conspiracy. Thanks to the meddling, I can’t possibly claim Oswald was the only shooter beyond a reasonable doubt. But I can say the CIA tried their best to act like a co-conspirator. Thanks in part to Conspiracy Theorists, a few of the CIA misdeeds came to light. As such, they’ve proven themselves guilty and untrustworthy beyond a reasonable doubt.

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        • Hey, I like rabbit holes. No need to apologize. I like this stuff.

          I respond by saying that finding something “very curious” and positing a conspiracy to explain it are too very different things. In order to prove a conspiracy, even in order to justify its existence as you attempt to do, one does need that “credible evidence” you reference, even if saying so might give you a morbid hangover.

          Of the Zapruder film, you said,

          The film was buried until the mid 70′s because, after watching it, the “simplest explanation” is a 2nd shooter on the grassy knoll. 

          Buried? How so? It was obtained by Life the next morning. I heard the man who got his hands on it talk about how he did it. And apparently Dan Rather (after first being told by Don Hewett to get a copy of the film even if he had to assault Zapruder to get it—something Hewett soon after saw as nuts and phoned Rather back to tell him not to go through with it) claimed he was the first reporter to see the film. He reported on what he saw on November 25, even though his rather inaccurate reporting may have first led to some conspiracy theories about a second shooter on the grassy knoll.

          Frames from the film were published by Life just a week after the murder. And my mom had the Life edition that featured color version of some frames from the film, published in December of that year, as well as in other years. All told, the frames from the film were seen by millions upon millions of people almost from the beginning, even though the film itself wasn’t shown in public until the Shaw trial in 1969. And the Warren Commission used the film in its investigation, some saying they relied upon it too much. Additionally, allegations that the film has been doctored in some way have been proven false, a fact even Oliver Stone has conceded.

          Understandably there was, and remains, a lot of reluctance to show the film publicly. It does, after all, show the President of the United States getting murdered in a particularly gruesome manner. But that doesn’t mean that such reluctance is part of an overarching, and I do mean necessarily overarching, conspiracy.

          Now, to the heart of the matter: You said after someone watches the film, that the “simplest explanation” is the presence of a second shooter on the grassy knoll. Except there is exactly no, and I mean exactly no, evidence for such an explanation. I learned this fact a long time ago, but a recent NOVA episode (“Cold Case JFK”) demonstrated it for all who are willing to accept it. I can’t find a transcript of the episode, but I did find a transcript of an episode of Ira Flatow’s great Science Friday on NPR, one that featured Luke and Michael Haag, described as a “father and son ballistics team.” They are forensic scientists “specializing in ballistics” and are working or have worked for major metropolitan law enforcement agencies. I  would ask that you either watch the NOVA episode or read the transcript, but I will here quote from the latter:

          FLATOW: So from your analysis of the physics, from the evidence, from your own testing, you can confirm that it was a single – the single bullet is not a magic bullet and there was no shot fired from a grassy knoll.

          HAAG: There’s no physical evidence to indicate anything else. That’s correct.

          HAAG: Not in half a century.

          FLATOW: And it would be possible to get off those three shots – you did it yourself – using the same gun.

          HAAG: Multiple times.

          HAAG: It’s the two that’s important, Ira, because we have a missed shot for which there’s no time sequence. But if it’s – when the car turns the corner, there’s plenty of time to do all three of them.

          FLATOW: This is quite interesting stuff. If this crime happened today and we were able to investigate it with the technology we have now, do you think there would be conspiracy theories anymore?

          HAAG: I think there will always be because there’s something in our psyche that likes a mystery, that likes to think there’s got to be more to it than just some loner, loser, ne’er-do-well Marxist or whatever the person’s philosophy might be, could kill the leader of a country. So there’s no stopping it, but my urging would be for those who have a scientific mind to find out what the physical evidence is, then to understand that physical evidence; there’s where the public’s been let down. No one has really explained what the physical evidence is in this case and what it means.

          It probably won’t change the minds of a lot of individuals, but the physical evidence and the findings will be lasting long after I’m gone and even after Mike’s gone.

          As I said, I was convinced by the scientific evidence many years ago. I referenced Occam’s Razor last time, but really there is no need even to appeal to the simplicity of explanations. There is no physical evidence on which to base a conclusion that someone, someone in another location, fired a shot into John Kennedy. Furthermore, as one of the Haag’s makes clear, it would be a very dumb thing for a potential assassin to stand on the grassy knoll and shoot at the President. Very dumb. And the shooter would have obviously been seen and later apprehended. But there are such things as dumb killers, so the fact that it would be very dumb to stand on the grassy knoll and murder the president is not conclusive that one wasn’t there. What is conclusive is the evidence presented by the Haags and others. And there was no shot fired into Kennedy from any other angle than where Oswald was.

          As for the other points you raise about the second and third bullets and the trajectories and angles involved (and your description of “a million-to-one shot”), all of that is covered in the link above. But I doubt any of that empirical evidence will convince you, since you seem to put great weight on “coincidences” and “misbehavior”  and “the conduct of the agencies providing evidence to” the Warren Commission. Even if such evidence were all true, even if every single bit of it was accurate in every regard, in light of the lack of supporting physical evidence it would add up to nothing more than interesting investigative artifacts of any case as big as this one was.

          (Your listing of Jack Ruby’s appearance at the police station is, by the way, one of the most easily explained items. Many of the local cops he knew because they drank in his establishments. It isn’t hard to imagine him getting in the place. Nor is it hard to imagine anyone getting in, for that matter, given all the reporters wandering around in the confusion. Perhaps, as is speculated, that Ruby was pretending to be a reporter, who knows. But what matters is that any conspiracy would involve at least one Dallas cop, who would have to join a large number of other conspirators in what would have to have been the greatest conspiracy in the history of conspiracies. Here we may accurately apply Occam’s Razor.)

          That all being said, perhaps my biggest complaint with your reasoning here is the last thing you present: that because of the CIA’s “meddling,” you “can’t possibly claim Oswald was the only shooter beyond a reasonable doubt.” I would ask you to think about what that means. The CIA wasn’t the sole supplier (or hider, if you want) of evidence in this case. It played a relatively small part in all the evidence, and compared to the actual physical evidence in the case, its part is quite inconsequential (my apologies to Oliver Stone). The logic you employ, that because the CIA may have done some “misdeeds” in some way or another, therefore the other, absolutely incontrovertible evidence, is of no probative value. I just can’t believe you actually hold such a position, to tell you the truth. You’re better than that.

          Duane

          Like

  5. ansonburlingame

     /  November 25, 2013

    I was, as mentioned, a 20 year old college student, attending school within “nuclear range” of Washington, DC during the Cuban Missile Crisis. My thoughts and experiences then were nothing as depicted in the press today. Sure we discussed the situation, in the mess hall while eating, maybe. But we shined our shoes, went to classes, played sports, you name it throughout the crisis. We did not hunker down in bomb shelters, worry about the end of the world, etc. We went about our day to day lives instead.

    I was on the verge of adulthood during the JFK years and for sure had not solidified any political philosophy of my own. I was too busy just getting myself ready to become an adult.

    However I refuse to spend a lot of time wondering what if JFK had not been killed. I also don’t hear much debate over what might have happened had Reagan died from his gunshot wound later on. But as I reflect on some things that happened during JFK’s watch, I note two rather significant things. First, the influence of sea power on HIS history, the use of overwhelming naval power to relieve the situation during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Second I note the huge tax cut enacted during JFK’s watch, arguably one of the biggest tax cuts in American history. From 1941 until the JFK years Americans had labored under very high taxes to win a war and begin to pay off that debt. JFK decided to stimulate the economy with tax cuts as his priniciple tool. Imagine a Democrat doing such today, either one of them.

    Anson

    Like

    • Anson,

      I can not only imagine a Democrat today stimulating the economy with a tax cut, I see him every day on my TV. His name is Barack Obama. The 2009 stimulus plan passed by Democrats was about one-third tax cuts. In January of this year Obama, much to my chagrin, kept permanently in place most of the dreaded Bush tax cuts.

      I find from time to time, Anson, that it is good to clean out the internal interpreter one uses to make sense of the world.

      Duane

      Like

      • Sedate Me

         /  November 26, 2013

        “In January of this year Obama, much to my chagrin, kept permanently in place most of the dreaded Bush tax cuts.”

        Yeah, how the hell did that happen so easily? (I know how, sacklessness, but still.)

        However, Obama is still the most tolerable Republican President in decades. Yet I still long for the day when the Democrats are in charge. Maybe someday.

        Like

        • King Beauregard

           /  November 26, 2013

          “Yeah, how the hell did that happen so easily? (I know how, sacklessness, but still.)”

          You do realize that the dreaded Bush tax cuts included tax breaks for low- and middle-income Americans, right? In a rough economy that is one of the few breaks people are getting, and if that is “sacklessness” then by God this country needs more eunuchs.

          Of course there are other breaks people are getting thanks to the deal. The ceiling on the tax breaks was lifted to the $400,000 level in exchange for expansions of the child tax credit, the earned income tax credit, and college tuition credit; tax credits for renewable energy; an extension of unemployment benefits; and sustaining Medicare reimbursements to doctors.

          What you’re calling “sacklessness” I’m calling “trading up for concessions that otherwise would not have been attainable”. Obama and the Democrats had an opportunity to do what would help people the most, and you’re mad that they took that opportunity? Man, some of you lefties have weird priorities.

          Like

          • Sedate Me

             /  November 26, 2013

            and if that is “sacklessness” then by God this country needs more eunuchs.

            You first!

            If you prefer settling for table scraps, fine. I know there’s some merit in what you’re describing. But until folks are willing to fight for anything more, table scraps is all they’ll be getting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZrgxHvNNUc

            Like

            • King Beauregard

               /  November 26, 2013

              Please describe this “fighting” you are doing to further your cause. Because from what I see, people like me who are willing to settle for table scraps are the ones who actually go out and vote, while the people who make the most noise about Fighting the Power are the ones least likely to vote. And make no mistake, if there are only table scraps being offered, that is a direct result of what happened on Election Day.

              Like

              • Sedate Me

                 /  November 28, 2013

                I know that voting is, no matter how ultimately meaningless, the lone input I am allowed to give in our so-called democracy. As such, I’ve voted in every single election (for all levels of government and every referendum) since reaching voting age, even though voting in my gerrymandered district is pointless. In the last election, the winner got about 15,000 votes more than all other candidates combined. I knew going into the voting booth that a more productive use of my ballot for 2nd place would have been toilet paper.

                While there ARE a lot of big-talking, non-voters, out there, your assessment that “the loudest” are the least likely to vote can’t possibly be correct. Since about 50% don’t vote, that would imply that about half the population are Black Block members. Since there are a few 100,000 Starbucks, McDonald’s and Nike stores that haven’t been burned to rubble, the majority of that non-voting 50% must be made up of people who aren’t that loud.

                Every single study ever done indicates that the higher your economic status, the higher your likelihood of voting and vice-versa. So, if I had to guess, I’d say the disenfranchised are the most likely not to exercise their voting franchise. But let’s face it, voting has minimal influence over how the system works. So despite voting each and every time, I don’t consider myself “fighting” at all. Passive aggressive at best.

                However, when the guy I voted for in this “representative democracy” wins, I DO expect him to fight for what I elected him to fight for.

                Like

          • Good points, all, King B.

            Like

        • Now, you know I have to disagree with you, my friend.

          For whatever reason Obama made those cuts permanent (a long-term fiscal mistake in my view), the act is not a sign that he is a “tolerable Republican.” Even Paul Krugman, who certainly can’t be called anything but a liberal, was for extending the tax cuts as I recall, even though he wasn’t necessarily in favor of a permanent extension.

          In any case, Obama campaigned on letting the cuts expire only for those in the top brackets, a promise he kept. It wouldn’t do for him to campaign that way and then, just a month or so later, renege on that promise. And if he had campaigned on allowing all the cuts to expire, we would be talking about President Romney right now. So, he did what he had to do. I just wish the deal would have had an end date for some of the other cuts. We will need the money.

          Duane

          Like

          • Sedate Me

             /  November 28, 2013

            What? You’re revoking your “chagrin” that quickly?

            I also seem to vaguely recall seeing said Krugman complaining the said stimulus was far too small and way too tax cut focused.

            But again, the fear of a “President Romney” (aka losing) is far too strong amongst Democrats. It keeps them from doing anything remotely liberal, even after they win. Seeking power for the sake of power may win office, but an office without the power to do what you claim you want to do.

            Republicans don’t have this problem. Yet, they’ve been winning the war for the last 30 years.

            Like

            • No, simply trying to put it into context. Anyway, we agree, I think, on at least two things here:

              1) Obama is not as liberal as some of us think he should be, and

              2) Republicans have moved the center of political gravity to the right since 1981 and especially since the 2010 mid-terms.

              What we disagree on is the motives of Democrats. You suggest that Democrats are simply “seeking power for the sake of power” and that their claims of what they want to do are thus hollow ones. I think that analysis leaves a lot of ground untilled. Of course every politician seeks power. But some seek it for better reasons than others. And some of those with good motives also have a more incrementalist, call it realistic, approach to what is possible to get done, given the dynamics of our political system and its volatility from cycle to cycle.

              What refutes your point, I believe, is what happened between January of 2009 and the spring of 2010, before the Tea Party hordes started scaring the bejesus out of a lot of pols. A lot of progressive things got done, including, but not limited to, the largest stimulus in history (even though it wasn’t large enough or properly constructed). And dare I mention something that progressives have been trying to achieve for many generations: health care reform. ObamaCare was no small thing, even though it stopped far short of the ideal. And the reason it stopped far short is because the political dynamics would have made anything more aggressive much more difficult to achieve (even if Obama, in my opinion, should have put up a much stronger fight for a public option), perhaps to the point of making it impossible to achieve. (Remember Joe Lieberman was one of those 60 votes we needed to even get what we got. And remember some of the red state Dems that would have rejected an even more aggressive approach.)

              In any case, I will condemn Democrats for exhibiting some timidity, especially as compared to Republicans in power, but I will not condemn most of them by suggesting they have only a power motive in seeking elective office. It’s much more complicated than that, I argue.

              Duane

              Like

              • King Beauregard

                 /  December 3, 2013

                “even if Obama, in my opinion, should have put up a much stronger fight for a public option”

                The House version of the ACA included a public option and it passed the House. The Senate version was going to include a public option except that Lieberman wouldn’t support any ACA with a public option so it had to be dropped — Lieberman, not any Democrat, was the holdout. Lieberman, who had campaigned against Obama.

                Exactly what could Obama have done to fight more for a public option that the Democrats were already wildly supportive of?

                Exactly what could Obama have done to get Lieberman to support a public option?

                Here is how strongly Lieberman was opposed to the public option:

                http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB125900412679261049

                I say there’s nothing Obama could have done to change Lieberman’s mind, short of taking his family hostage. If you have some sort of fight strategy in mind, I’d like to hear it.

                Like

                • Here’s what I mean by putting up more of a fight: Obama claimed he supported a public option. Okay, I believe he did. But mentally assenting to the idea of a public option and then going out and fighting for it are two different things. Fairly early on in the process he essentially promised health industry lobbyists that the public option would not be a part of the final product. He did that. He did it in order to get their support, which I understand. The lobbyists even bragged to The New York Times about it. But Obama made that deal in the summer of 2009. Like other times he was negotiating to get things done, he caved in too early in the process.

                  Also, Obama could have more publicly sided with what the House was doing. The bill in the House had a public option attached. He could have at least tried to create more robust public support for that bill, even if he had to compromise in the end. Who knows what would have happened. He was very popular at the time and had the public with him. He needed to make the case openly, and then, if he had to, make deals with the industry behind closed doors, possibly with a little more clout on his side.

                  Finally, Obamacare was eventually passed under the reconciliation process, which required only a majority in each chamber. And Harry Reid supported putting the public option into the final legislation, which didn’t need 60 votes, Joe Lieberman be damned. But without strong leadership from the White House—likely because of that deal with the health industry—there wasn’t much of a collective stomach for doing it.

                  It all reminded me of Obama’s wussy attempt to get card check passed, which is to say not much of an attempt at all. He got the strong support of labor unions by saying how much he supported card check. Then not much was ever said about it.

                  Having said all that, I understand that the whole process wasn’t easy and that some compromises were necessary to get something passed. As I said, though, compromises usually come at the end, not the beginning. And too often that is the way the Obama administration has bargained, although I think they have begun to see the light on that backwards way of negotiating. Let’s hope so, what with Social Security and Medicare fights looming.

                  I’m the biggest Obama supporter you may ever meet, but on the public option he really didn’t fight for it at all, even when he had some room to possibly get it done. I wish that weren’t so, but it is.

                  Duane

                  Like

                  • King Beauregard

                     /  December 3, 2013

                    “Who knows what would have happened.”

                    What could have happened differently than it did? A public option had the support of the Democrats but not the non-Democrats. Fighting harder would have been unnecessary with the former and ineffective with the latter.

                    “Finally, Obamacare was eventually passed under the reconciliation process, which required only a majority in each chamber. And Harry Reid supported putting the public option into the final legislation, which didn’t need 60 votes, Joe Lieberman be damned. But without strong leadership from the White House—likely because of that deal with the health industry—there wasn’t much of a collective stomach for doing it.”

                    Reid brought the matter to the parliamentarian to see how the parliamentarian would rule on trying to shoehorn in a public option via reconciliation. We are not privy to the conversation, but from that point on, Reid stopped pushing for the public option, and I suspect I know why. The parliamentarian reminded Reid that reconciliation is for reconciling divergent details (typically spending levels) between the House and Senate versions of a bill, but putting in new policies is well beyond the purpose of reconciliation. Certainly, Lieberman would have been justified in raising a big stink and challenging the validity of the revised ACA, on the grounds that it could never have cleared the Senate with a public option.

                    And you know what? Even as a fan of the public option, I’d have to take Lieberman’s side on that.

                    Like

          • I have enjoyed this debate, first of all.

            Second, I think you actually help bolster my case. I say our side should have fought harder for the public option and you say it would have been fruitless. I say that the reconciliation process could have been used and you suspect that the parliamentarian would nix the idea. The problem is that even if the parliamentarian had ruled that it was against Senate rules, that didn’t have to stop Harry Reid. It didn’t stop him in three years ago, when in order to prevent Republicans from using post-cloture amendments as a de facto filibuster (at least that was the Democrat’s argument). And it didn’t stop Reid recently when he used parliamentary tactics to overrule the acting parliamentarian in order to partially eliminate the filibuster, at least as it applies to most presidential appointments needing Senate approval. Both of those actions were done with a simple majority vote of Democrats.

            Now, having said all that, I confess the whole thing would have been ugly back in 2010. But it was ugly anyway. Republicans have never stopped pointing out how “underhanded” it was that the ACA got passed the way it did. So getting the public option in the deal might have made the rhetoric a little worse, but not much, as far as I can see. And in the end we might have had a public option that would have made it a lot easier today for folks to get more affordable health insurance.

            Again, though, I understand why Democrats were nervous about the whole thing. It was difficult enough just to get done what got done. I’m on your side on that one. But it was still possible to do more, and since Dems are paying a (hopefully temporary) political price for the ACA as we speak, they might be benefiting more now if they had done more then.

            Duane

            Like

            • King Beauregard

               /  December 11, 2013

              You’re pretty nice to discuss with yourself, hombre!

              Let’s assume Reid did decide to strong-arm his way past the parliamentarian and try to pass a public option through reconciliation. What could we have expected? I see:

              1) Republicans would have had a genuine case, for the first time, that the Democrats were abusing their power.

              2) The ACA would have lost a significant degree of legitimacy. I realize the Republicans have been calling it illegitimate all this time, but everyone knows they’re full of it, even the people on their side.

              3) Moderate Democrats in the House might well have balked on supporting the reconciliation bill. The 0-vote margin in the Senate gets all the news, but the 219-212 House vote was a pretty thin majority too. Those 219 votes took a lot of effort to put together; it would have taken only four Democrats voting the other way to kill the ACA. To me it’s entirely plausible that four Democrats might have withheld their approval on a bill passed under shady circumstances. (Might have lost a few Senators too, though maybe not 9.)

              4) Even if the ACA with the public option cleared all those hurdles and got signed into law, a court challenge would have been inevitable. What do you suppose the Roberts court would have made of an ACA that contained elements that could not have passed both the House and the Senate individually? I think even some of the liberal justices would have sided with Roberts in opposing that.

              That’s how the ACA would have met its end — with the Democrats trying to do somethng shady to get a law passed, blowing it, and looking like power-hungry wretches who don’t deserve the trust of the American people. Isn’t that the Republicans’ job?

              Like

              • King B,

                I’ll take your excellent, well-thought-out points one at a time:

                1) Although I think “abusing their power” is too strong, I concede that Republican process arguments would have been more legitimate, especially since the media would have played it that way. I’ll give on this one.

                2) As you acknowledge, Republicans have never conceded the legitimacy of the ACA. Never. Never will, as far as I can see. Hell, some of them still don’t concede the legitimacy of Social Security and Medicare! But just look at the polling right now. ObamaCare has been steadily (and relatively) unpopular taken as a whole (ignoring the popularity of some of its constituent parts). I submit to you, though, that if there were such a thing as a public option in the law, that it is possible, even likely I would argue, that the law would be more popular, not less. Remember that part of its unpopularity is that liberals wish it had gone further. Thus, I think the public option, however it got in the bill, might add to the legitimacy of the bill, not subtract from it.

                3) I can’t say you’re wrong about that. I can only say that the original House version of the bill did have the public option in it and that fact is at least some evidence that it would have had majority support in the end. You might be right that some Dems would have been scared to vote for it under reconciliation, but you also might be wrong.

                4) I don’t know what additional legal challenge that inserting the public option in the Senate bill through reconciliation would have presented. After all, reconciliation was used to pass the bill in its entirety, and I don’t see what adding another provision would have mattered legally. But I do concede that the presence of a public option would have presented Chief Justice Roberts with a different dynamic. He may have decided the case differently, since there would have been more at stake ideologically. Again, I don’t know. But I think this is your strongest argument, since the fate of the ACA hung on a tiny Roberts thread. And I confess I had not properly considered it before. But I still insist that even if you’re right on this point, that is not the reason why Democrats didn’t push for the public option. No one at the time, as far as I know, made the argument that “if we put it in the Senate bill, the Supreme Court will certainly strike it down.” I never heard anything like that. What I did notice, however, was that President Obama did not seem to care all that much about working to get the PO in the bill, and that deal he made with the health industry lobbyists is probably the biggest reason why.

                Duane

                Like

                • King Beauregard

                   /  December 12, 2013

                  “What I did notice, however, was that President Obama did not seem to care all that much about working to get the PO in the bill, and that deal he made with the health industry lobbyists is probably the biggest reason why.”

                  Perhaps I can give you a stronger reason why: because he didn’t want the ACA to go the way of HillaryCare, where the Oval Office dictated the details and it turned out to be something Congress was unwilling to pass. In fact, HillaryCare never even made it out of committee. So Obama left it to Congress to pass what they could, and if you look back at the news from the day, you’ll see that it was like pulling teeth to get Democrats to agree on ANYTHING. We forget it today, but Pelosi did one hell of a job herding the Democrats to accept a “best fit” that made it past the Scylla and Charybdis of the Blue Dogs and the Progressives. (Metaphor very carefully chosen; Blue Dogs will bite your fingers off, while Progressives like Kucinich suck. The little creep voted AGAINST the House version of the ACA, so to hell with him.)

                  One of the very nice features of the ACA is that any state is welcome to implement their own competing plan, provided it meets the coverage objectives of the ACA. So California is toying with the idea of state-level single payer, and you know what? The ACA allows for that. Other states can implement their public options, and I think the idea will eventually catch on.

                  “I don’t know what additional legal challenge that inserting the public option in the Senate bill through reconciliation would have presented. After all, reconciliation was used to pass the bill in its entirety, and I don’t see what adding another provision would have mattered legally.”

                  Well, not quite. I’ll let our friend Wikipedia field this:

                  With Democrats having lost a filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate but having already passed the Senate bill with 60 votes on December 24, the most viable option for the proponents of comprehensive reform was for the House to abandon its own health reform bill, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, and pass the Senate’s bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, instead.

                  Various health policy experts encouraged the House to pass the Senate version of the bill. However, House Democrats were not happy with the content of the Senate bill and had expected to be able to negotiate changes in a House-Senate conference before passing a final bill. With that option off the table, given that any bill which emerged from conference that differed from the Senate bill would have to be passed in the Senate over another Republican filibuster, most House Democrats agreed to pass the Senate bill on condition that it be amended by a subsequent bill. They drafted the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, which could be passed via the reconciliation process.

                  Unlike rules under regular order, as per the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, reconciliation cannot be subject to a filibuster. However, the process is limited to budget changes, which is why the procedure was never able to be used to pass a comprehensive reform bill like the ACA in the first place; such a bill would have inherently non-budgetary regulations. Whereas the already passed Senate bill could not have been put through reconciliation, most of House Democrats’ demands were budgetary: “these changes—higher subsidy levels, different kinds of taxes to pay for them, nixing the Nebraska Medicaid deal—mainly involve taxes and spending. In other words, they’re exactly the kinds of policies that are well – suited for reconciliation.”

                  … The House passed the Senate bill with a 219–212 vote on March 21, 2010, with 34 Democrats and all 178 Republicans voting against it. … The amendment bill, The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, was also passed by the House on March 21, by the Senate via reconciliation on March 25, and was signed by President Obama on March 30.

                  Like

                  • King Beauregard

                     /  December 12, 2013

                    … So thinking about it, the Roberts court would have been the least of the bill’s problems — Roberts might have invalidated the reconciliation piece, but the original Senate bill would presumably continue in full force. So the biggest risk would have been if any 4 of those 212 House Democrats had smelled a rat and withdrawn their support for the entire ACA (both the original bill and reconciliation follow-up bill).

                    Like

                  • Quickly:
                    Let’s remember: Yes, HillaryCare was a top-down failure. But the House (as you note) actually passed a PO version of ObamaCare. And once the Senate passed its non-PO version (as you also note), the general idea had the consent of the entire Congress (albeit all Democrats). So, there was majority (and a supermajority initially in the Senate) agreement among Dems, much different from the Clinton fiasco. The mood was to do something, let’s not forget. And perhaps, just perhaps, a strong effort to do something a little bigger, like the PO, might, just might, have paid off. The worst that could have happened was that the PO could have been withdrawn, when it became apparent that Obama couldn’t get the 60 for it (it was obvious he couldn’t get it after Scott Brown got elected).

                    Also, you said, “So Obama left it to Congress to pass what they could…” Well, actually it appears he was very much involved in some of the details, like those meetings with (and promises to) health industry officials. He also had to sign off on the mandate, which he had opposed while campaigning both for his own plan and against Clinton’s. I agree, though, that he left a lot of the details to the Senate Finance Committee (and at least another one I can’t think of) and to a bipartisan group of Senators who ended up not being so damn bipartisan. That’s where a lot of stuff went bad because of, what else, $$$$$$.

                    Many members of that committee, which was disproportionately conservative, had close ties to the healthcare industry. One of those members, who ain’t a member anymore, was Blanche Lincoln. In 2009, she managed to rake in the second highest amount of “contributions” from health industry lobbyists. Naturally, she very publicly opposed the public option. Could Obama have twisted her arm? Could she have resisted an aggressive approach by the President? Probably not. But I’d have felt better if he had tried. I guess that’s all I’m saying. Knowing that there were so many moderates and conservatives on that committee, I wish he had leaned on them a little harder privately, and made the issue a public one, that’s all.

                    Finally, about inserting the PO via reconciliation, I’m afraid we will never know. But my point was not a parliamentarian one, but a legal one. I’m not sure how anyone would expect the Supreme Court to get involved in an intra-Senate squabble over rules (outside the Constitution). There is, after all, the doctrine of separation of powers. Can you imagine the SC saying to the Senate, “We will tell you how to run the Senate”? I can’t. That was what I was trying to say.

                    Good discussion, my friend.

                    Duane

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  6. ansonburlingame

     /  November 27, 2013

    A waste of time, in my view, to use reflection on the JFK death as another tool in political arguments today.

    JFK was a remarkable, visionary if you will, change from American government of old, WWII and Great Depression government, to one confronting more “modern” issues. Up until 1961 almost all the debate was over defense issues, how to protect and defend America in the emerging nuclear world. Ike fought many hard battles to build, control and sustain a nuclear arsenal. Remember if you can the old Democrat attacks against him for the “missile gap” around the time of sputnik and later. According to LBJ and many others, Ike was selling out the country with a lack of effective defenses.

    All the major confrontations during the JFK presidency were over defense matters as well, Bay of Pigs, missile crisis, etc. But with great and calm leadership, JFK lead us beyond such confrontations with the Soviets. When JFK was killed the real social arguments were just beginning to emerge, civil rights being the impetus but certainly much more that quickly followed, such as the war on poverty and HC for old folks.

    There have been countless books written on “what if JFK had not been killed”. I don’t know of a single one that has been written asking “what if Reagan had died”. But I submit that any books of such a nature are nothing more than guesses, some perhaps more learned than others, but still guesses, speculation, etc.

    JFK and his election for sure changed America. It was a clear departure from old ways to govern and a first step towards more internal resolution of American social issues. But he died so we will never know for sure “what would JFK have done”. All we know for sure is what LBJ DID in the next four years, and what others did after LBJ.

    I for one acknowledge the changes that BEGAN with JFK’s ascendancy to the presidency and give him great credit for his leadership in huge international events that happened on his watch. He at least opened the door for the highest levels of government in America to begin a discussion over domestic issues. But he and his administration only opened the door. In no way did he or his administration resolve the new problems thus exposed.

    I would also submit that those domestic problems, the ones intially exposed by JFK and his administration, are still eating our lunch, politically, in America today with still no resolution on many of them.

    Anson

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    • You mentioned the Cuban missile crisis. Imagine, if you dare to, what would have happened to JFK if there had been a Fox “News” around, with a Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and all the rest of the right-wing blowhards. He would have been driven from office for, first, his “weakness,” and then his “selling out” to the Soviets (when Fox would have inevitably learned that the Jupiter missiles in Turkey were being removed, even though it wasn’t known for sure until later that it was actually part of the deal with Khrushchev).

      You say you give JFK “great credit for his leadership.” But would you have done so at the time? Especially if there was a right-wing televison “news” network pushing bullshit at you 24/7? The Cuban missile crisis would have been the perfect vehicle for conservatives to destroy Kennedy, if they would have had at their disposal such a thing as Fox “News” Channel. We all should think about that and what it means.

      Duane

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      • RDG,
        You make a valid point. It well within the wheelhouse of acceptable conjecture to assume Anson’s visual research resource would accuse JFK of communist appeasing, liberal weakness. Likewise, it is not hard to image Hannity, Megyn Kelly and the Other Blond transforming Khrushchev into Hitler, along with other extraneous comparisons to the Munich Agreement.

        It is strange that the right has resurrected JFK into a supply-side conservative because he favored lowering corporate tax rates, which at the end of the Eisenhower administration topped 91 percent. The link from US News helps dispels this meme-as-myth.

        The other link is interesting, as it contains excerpts from the speech Kennedy never gave at the Trade Mart.

        http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2011/01/26/the-myth-of-jfk-as-supply-side-tax-cutter

        http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/The_Speech_Nobody_Heard

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        • John,

          What a great read from one of Arthur’s sons.

          The crucial question he asks: “If supply-siders are so enamored of JFK’s tax policies, would they advocate a return to a “more sensible” 65 percent top rate?” The answer isn’t just no, but F&%@ no!

          And that Kennedy speech is amazing, no? It sounds like it could have been uttered just yesterday:

          There will always be dissident voices heard in the land, expressing opposition without alternative, finding fault but never favor, perceiving gloom on every side and seeking influence without responsibility. Those voices are inevitable.

          But today other voices are heard in the land – voices preaching doctrines wholly unrelated to reality . . . 

          Amazing stuff.

          It is of some consolation that some future Republicans will, no doubt, be extolling the virtues of Barack Obama by citing his 2009 stimulus tax cuts and his embrace of most of the Bush tax cuts. But we look like we’re a long way from that time, don’t we? But it only took the GOP less than 20 years to make JFK a supply-side hero.

          Duane

           

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    • Anson,

      There is a good reason why no one has wasted time writing a “what if” book about Reagan’s presidency. Considering that he served two terms in office, his record is what it is. Had Reagan not survived his assassination attempt, then I suppose someone could wander through the weeds of hypothetical speculation about George H. W. Bush’s commitment to the Reagan Revolution.

      Like

      • What? Reagan served two terms? The right-wing doesn’t really want to talk about that alleged second term, so until I see it on Fox, I won’t believe it ever happened.

        Like

  7. ansonburlingame

     /  November 28, 2013

    Duane,

    Had there been a Fox News in 1962, there would have been an MSNBC broadcast as well. So both extremes would have had their time in the barrel.

    Media reporting was far different in those days, for sure. But even with much less “insight”, behind the scenes “sources” spreading hate and discontent, there were glimmers of right wing resentment in 1962, Curtis LeMay was no shrinking violet and he called for “nuking Cuba” in 1962. Some agreed with him as well. Only when pictures of Russian ships turning away for courses to Cuba, with America naval power right alongside those Russians. was the crisis defused, publicly.

    But so what, many could say, today, wrongly in my view. Consider this. Iran installs missiles, modern missiles today, in some Maxists South American country opposed to American “aggression”, today. Could those missiles carry nukes? Wow, let the debate begin, today or tomorrow.

    Anson

    Like

    • Yeah, well, you can’t get away that easily. Just bringing up MSNBC as a balance doesn’t relieve you of the burden of defending or criticizing what you know Fox would have done to JFK. Why can’t you just say that, sure, Fox would have smeared him and you, Anson Burlingame, might have held a different opinion because of those smears?

      My scenario has nothing to do with MSNBC. It has to do with the phony fair and balanced network that so many of your friends watch and become misinformed by watching.

      Duane

      Like

  8. ansonburlingame

     /  December 12, 2013

    A long string for sure, but not a bad one at all, in my view. Let me try to sum up at least my position on the various matters.

    Anyone that bases their political views on only one source is going to miss the mark by at least 1/2 today. That is what spin really entails, telling the truth about the “facts” that support your side of the argument. There is another set of 1/2 truths still unanswered on most major issues today.

    Take just one issue, Benghazi. Consider the short speech made by one congressman and shown on only Utube. Go to http://www.youtube.com/embed/A1jeJmeeMjs.

    Please answer each question with the full “truth” and then tell me Benghazi is not something to still be of great concern, today.

    Anson

    Like

    • Anson,

      You see what’s wrong here, right? There were problems in Benghazi, obviously. Anyone can see that, since four Americans were killed. But the people who are asking the “questions” that Trey Gowdy is asking have been asking the same questions from the start; some were even asking them while the damn tragedy was still unfolding. Mitt Romney released a critical statement at 10:25 that night. Reince Priebus was the asshole, who one minute after midnight tweeted: “Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.” I’ll always despise that sonofabitch for that unpatriot, hate-filled remark. And he’s still the goddamned head of the Republican Party and suggested earlier this year that “impeachment” was coming. Oh, yeah? Well then where the hell is it? Hysteria.

      In any case, your side likes to ask a lot of questions and they should. The problem is they just don’t like the answers they get. They don’t like the answers they get because those answers don’t implicate President Obama, or now, as she prepares to run for the presidency, Hillary Clinton. Those answers don’t demonstrate at all that there was some kind of massive cover-up. That’s what’s wrong, Anson. As the discredited 60 Minutes piece proved, there is a strong desire to ignore the actual evidence and create phony evidence in order for there to be a “big story.” Fox “News” has practically dedicated its programming to making sure the phony Benghazi scandal never goes away.

      Finally, of course we all should look at both sides, in fact, all sides of any issue. And with Benghazi, when you do look at all the sides, you find one side is determined to make this a scandal even if there is no evidence that there was a scandal. It’s the same thing with the IRS nonsense. The people on the right aren’t interested in the facts, if the facts don’t support their anti-Obama narrative. That’s why it is so easy to ignore them when they do ask some legitimate questions from time to time. Because of their hatred for the President, because they have spent so much time chasing or creating phony scandals, if there were a real scandal many people wouldn’t pay any attention to right-wingers like Trey Gowdy. And their hysterical reactions, overreactions, are responsible for that.

      I would also say that some on the left in this country have also found a scandal where so far I don’t see one. That is with the NSA and all that business. Regarding “spying” on Americans and all the claims of Snowden, some on the left seem to hate Barack Obama almost as much as most on the right do. It is bleeping pathetic, but it is true. Hysteria should not guide our analysis, Anson. And with the Benghazi issue, I find a lot of hysteria.

      Duane

      Like

      • Sedate Me

         /  December 12, 2013

        I would also say that some on the left in this country have also found a scandal where so far I don’t see one. That is with the NSA and all that business.”

        Then again you find nothing suspicious in anything surrounding JFK either.

        Oh, you said “scandalous”! Right. It’s just business as usual for the American Empire.

        Like

        • Ah, come on now. “American Empire”? That’s a bit tendentious, don’t you think? But, as the following demonstrates, you got me going.

          Having suspicions, and then proving a conspiracy that validates one’s suspicions, are very different animals. Regarding Benghazi, conservatives suspect that there is more to the story. It’s just that they can’t prove it. They have a series of questions that they don’t think they have received truthful answers to, thus they are trying to weave a conspiracy out of them. I understand, politically, why they are doing it, but it doesn’t make them honorable. There may in fact be more to the story. We may find out that there was this giant cover-up. But right now there isn’t much there. Just frustrated partisans trying to score political points.

          And that leads me to the NSA stuff. I just don’t see the great scandal there. Other than the fact that there are some lefties who dislike Obama, I don’t see why the left is so outraged by what we have learned so far. I have yet to hear much that I didn’t already suspect was going on. Is there a need for more restraint? Sure. Is there a need for more oversight? Definitely. Have there been mistakes made by security agencies? Sure, there always is, often stupid mistakes. But I am at a loss to understand what people thought the security complex was doing all that time since 9/11, especially given the Patriot Act. I just don’t see the vast amounts of “abuse” that so many on the left keep referencing. Maybe you can enlighten me.
          Of course, without proper authorization from a court, the government ought not to be spying on American citizens. The scandal here, if there is one, is not what the NSA and other agencies have done illegally, but what they are allowed to do legally. And that issue has been in the public domain since the passage of the Patriot Act; heck, even before that. And Obama has talked about that issue and has pledged to engage with Congress about how to fix it. Will he do it? Beats me. But Congress should do something to fix it, in any case.

          But I want to remind everyone that we do, in fact, have enemies. And the nature of warfare has, we must all admit, changed quite a bit since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the commencement of widespread terrorist activity. How do you propose we keep ourselves safe, or relatively safe, from another 9/11-ish attack? Or something even worse? I don’t like the fact that we have to do certain things that, in a better world, wouldn’t need done. Just like I don’t like the fact that we need a police force here in Joplin. I wish we didn’t. I wish everyone loved everyone else and nobody was trying to steal shit or kill people. I wish parents wouldn’t abuse their kids or husbands abuse their wives. I wish there was a Brotherhood of Man that was worthy of the name. But there isn’t. There are bad guys and gals out there. And some of them want to fly airplanes into buildings in the name of Allah. How do we try to stop them from doing that? That is, I guess, what I wish those on the left, those who are so bent out of shape about what appears to be fixable problems with our security agencies, would answer.

          Duane

          Like

          • Sedate Me

             /  December 12, 2013

            You should be more upset about me botching my HTML than calling the Empire an Empire. I know I am.

            “I don’t see why the left is so outraged by what we have learned so far. I have yet to hear much that I didn’t already suspect was going on…But I am at a loss to understand what people thought the security complex was doing all that time since 9/11, especially given the Patriot Act….Of course, without proper authorization from a court, the government ought not to be spying on American citizens. The scandal here, if there is one, is not what the NSA and other agencies have done illegally, but what they are allowed to do legally.

            So you agree, just bidness as usual? We takes what we wants and we don’t need no stinking warrants!

            But I want to remind everyone that we do, in fact, have enemies.

            Yeah. How does such benevolent utopia have so many people angry enough at it to commit suicide in the delusional hope of derailing it? Beats me. Certainly has nothing to do with anything America has ever done to anybody. All Empires have enemies. It’s part of the job description.

            I’m REALLY not in the mood to get into this (I’ve already deleted 3-4 far better rants on similar topics before posting them and I deleted most of this one). However, bombing random citizens of nations you call your friends, oddly enough, doesn’t make people want to be your friend. Knowing Angela Merkel’s favourite pizza toppings does NOTHING to make you safer, nor does it make her, or her people, want to go to bat for you. Spying on me, an insignificant non-American who’s continuously reminded he has no rights worth respecting, doesn’t make me want to say nice things about your Empire, nor cheer it to greater heights. When the US gov’t reserves the right to snatch my ass up, fly me to some dark hole and torture me because my name rhymes with some guy your spooks think might be “bad”, or because the fucktards running my nation gave some 6 degrees of Osama Bin Bacon “evidence” to your spooks…Hey, why would that make me, or anybody else with nothing much to live for, want to fly ourselves into the Pentagon if given half a chance? My family is starving and my uncle got hit by a drone. Give me a goat and I’m yours.

            I can no longer kid myself. I know that every aspect of my existence is ultimately the potential plaything of the US Empire, should they want to. If I dared to stop being another passive sheep and popped up on their radar, who knows what could happen? It’s not like I wasn’t clearly warned I “was either with us, or with the terrorists” by the previous US Emperor during the most deliberate speech he ever made.

            I just don’t see the vast amounts of “abuse” that so many on the left keep referencing. Maybe you can enlighten me.

            I could, but it’s pointless. If you can’t find the abuse, you need to get an Internet connection, or take the duct tape off your eyes. What I can’t see is the impending “threat” that excuses even the potential for abuse. I think it’s buried next to Oswald’s real CIA file. (Look, an attempt at relevancy!)

            When is America going to stop believing its own nostalgic PR that has become less accurate every year since since Kennedy was killed? Oh yeah, made this irrelevant thread relevant again! When is it going to realize it can’t spy its way into trust or kill its way to a happier, more peaceful, world? When is it going to stop justifying every evil its own bad guys do to “protect” Americans scared shitless of losers setting fire to their underwear? When is it going to realize the ends ARE the means and that “YOU CAN”T REACH GOOD ENDS FROM EVIL MEANS” as another spied upon, dangerous, radical who also needed to be assassinated by a Lone Nut once said.

            Text: http://www.ecoflourish.com/Primers/education/Christmas_Sermon.html
            Audio: http://crooksandliars.com/gordonskene/martin-luther-king-christmas-sermon-pe

            Tracking everyone like they were Osama Bin DeadForYears is an utterly pointless waste of money that will NEVER succeed in the end. It only enriches the Military Industrial Spy Complex, grows their stranglehold on America and allows them to do an increasing array of things that should never really be done. Every dollar used to feed this monster IS an abuse because it’s money that could have gone to a worthier cause. At some point, you’ve got to act like the good guy you claim to be in order to achieve the kind of world you claim you want.

            Ok, hopefully I can drop this now.

            Like

  9. ansonburlingame

     /  December 13, 2013

    I give credit to Duane in his responses to other “lefties” on some of these subjects. It at least acknowledges the potential threats “out there” in a modern world. What to do about such threats is the great debate and he offeres some thoughts on the matter, balanced thoughts to some degree.

    Consider this simple point. What exactly is the “public domain” in today’s world?

    If I was a terrorist, intent on causing harm to say just Joplin, would it be a violation of my privacy if I wrote a Letter the Editor of the Globe and rallied people to my cause, causing grave physical harm to say the city council chambers during a public meeting. Publish such a letter and I hope to hell law enforcement has me on a “list” and keeps a very carefuly watch on what I do and say. I should be “blanketed” with “spying” had I asked for such a letter to be published. Even if it was not published, I would hope that Carol or others on her staff would forward the proposed letter to the FBI, for starters, simply as a matter of public safety.

    But of course I am not dumb enough to write and submit such a letter for publication. Instead I simply use my private cell phone to foment such terrorists actions. But those signals are transmitted in the “public domain”, radio frequencies regulated by government officials.

    Should the FBI be prohibited from reading the letters to the editor of the Globe? Should the FBI be prohibited from listening to radio traffic in the public domain?

    Remember all the witch hunts after 9/11, many suggesting that the Bush administration should have “seen it coming”? Should they have “seen it or heard about it”, beforehand?

    I do know this, having been engaged in “intelligence collection” of a sort (on a submarine off of Soviet coasts long ago). If you publicly state that intelligence cannot be collected in a given “public domain” then guess what the bad guys will use to transmit in some form “intelligence” that should at least be monitored.

    Like it or not, the entire “electronic spectrum” is in fact open and thus public domain in today’s world of technology. The only way to stay private is to not “say” (transmit) anything. We can certainly tie the hands of law enforcement all we like with privacy laws. But who is going to tie the hands of those choosing to cause us harm?

    Oh, by the way, if my “letter” was in fact published and the FBI came to arrest me, just for writing the letter, then I will ask for your help and that of the ACLU for fighting that arrest as a matter of Free Speech. I must ACT on what I say to be held legally accountable, at least in my view. But I would expect nothing less than an electronic blanket to be placed over me, my phone, my house, my car, hell my dog, in order to PREVENT bad actions on my part.

    Anson

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