Monday, December 30, 2013

Conversations With Conservatives

I have many conservative friends, and, prudently, when in their presence I avoid the usual dangerous topics when I can: religion, politics, history, taxes, etc. But every now and then a polemic discussion rears its inevitable head, and I can't fight back the urge to inject my subversive, sarcastic, and eristic words. Such an occasion happened recently. Here's my reconstruction of the conversation (to the best of my memory):

CONSERVATIVE: I know you don't believe that Jesus Christ is your Lord and personal savior.

ME: that you mention it. The rationalist in me wants to parse that sentence. The phrase "My Lord and personal savior" sounds threatening. Like I'd better believe or else. As if someone is trying to control my thoughts and actions...and if I do not conform (meaning blindly believe that there is an all-powerful white man in the sky waiting to condemn me or save me based on someone's interpretation of a centuries-old book), there will be literally hell to pay.

CONSERVATIVE: Since when is faith a bad thing?

ME: When blind faith shuts down reason, overrides temperance, denies the power of the intellect, and incites intolerance and violence, then it is a bad thing.

CONSERVATIVE: My Christian beliefs forbid me from practicing hate.

ME: Yet you listen to Rush Limbaugh every day--the right wing's high minister of hate.

CONSERVATIVE: That's politics, not religion. Rush is merely pointing out how your side is harming democracy by enforcing a socialist agenda on unwilling citizens.

ME: From my reading of the Bible, Jesus was the most prominent socialist in history. Didn't he say that we will be judged by how we treat the least among us? Didn't he drive the moneychangers from the temple? Didn't he say that it will be harder for a rich man to enter His Kingdom than...

CONSERVATIVE: (Clearly flustered) Jesus wants us to be free. He loves America, and he blesses every day with His riches.

ME: But America is quickly becoming a third-world Republic in the sense that the wealth inequity gap is widening dramatically. The poor are getting poorer and the rich richer.

CONSERVATIVE: Every man--regardless of race, status or creed--has the opportunity to succeed and become rich in America.

ME: Not true. If that were so, capitalism would cease to exist, because the capitalist system requires that there be a few at the top and many at the bottom. The factory owner must have hundreds, maybe thousands, of factory laborers to make his enterprise profitable. And when it does become profitable, he keeps the lion's share of profit for himself. If we had all kings and no peons, capitalism would cease to exist.

CONSERVATIVE: You're perverting the intent of democracy and capitalism.

ME: They are not the same thing. You know what Louis Brandeis said? "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have all wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, but we can't have both."

CONSERVATIVE: Who's Louis Brandeis? One of your atheist, pinko icons?

ME: Supreme Court Justice in the 1920s.

CONSERVATIVE: Well, he's full of crap.

ME: How about James Madison, then? You right-wingers are fond of him, right? He said, "History records that moneychangers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments." That makes America a government of the rich, by the wealthy, and for the few.

CONSERVATIVE: Only Jesus can save heathens like you; I am going to pray for your salvation.

ME: Don't bother. If Heaven is anything like America, I'll pass. I want to go to Paradise. A place where everyone has his own room in the mansion. A place where the First shall be Last and the Last shall be first. A place where there is no suffering. A place where love and peace reign. A place where no man can oppress another. A place where material wealth and power do not matter. Hey wait...that is the Heaven promised us in the Bible. On second thought, go ahead and pray for my soul.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Truman Blasted CIA In Wake of JFK Assassination

Fifty years ago yesterday, President Harry Truman, the man responsible for creating the CIA, had second thoughts about the agency's usefulness and runaway power. He wrote a letter to the Washington Post (reprinted below), exactly one month after the assassination of JFK, when Washington and the rest of the world were whispering about the CIA's involvement in the murder of the President. Truman seems to hint, if only obliquely, his own suspicions in the letter which appeared only in first editions and then was quickly pulled. There is now evidence that Allen Dulles used his considerable influence with the Post's editorial board to squelch the article.

Months later, when the Warren Commission, with Dulles as its de facto head, was ostensibly investigating Kennedy's murder, Dulles tried to get Truman to recant. On April 17, 1964, they met in Washington. Truman stuck to his guns, but Dulles got even anyway. In a treacherous and devious bit of spycraft, Dulles wrote a false denial which claimed that Truman was appalled at the article and never meant it to read the way it did.

In September 1964 Oswald was named as the lone assassin, and the investigation led by Dulles was steered away from one of the prime suspects--Dulles himself.

Here is the article written by the feisty little man from Missouri:

INDEPENDENCE, MO., Dec. 22 — I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA. At least, I would like to submit here the original reason why I thought it necessary to organize this Agency during my Administration, what I expected it to do and how it was to operate as an arm of the President.
I think it is fairly obvious that by and large a President's performance in office is as effective as the information he has and the information he gets. That is to say, that assuming the President himself possesses a knowledge of our history, a sensitive understanding of our institutions, and an insight into the needs and aspirations of the people, he needs to have available to him the most accurate and up-to-the-minute information on what is going on everywhere in the world, and particularly of the trends and developments in all the danger spots in the contest between East and West. This is an immense task and requires a special kind of an intelligence facility.
Of course, every President has available to him all the information gathered by the many intelligence agencies already in existence. The Departments of State, Defense, Commerce, Interior and others are constantly engaged in extensive information gathering and have done excellent work.
But their collective information reached the President all too frequently in conflicting conclusions. At times, the intelligence reports tended to be slanted to conform to established positions of a given department. This becomes confusing and what's worse, such intelligence is of little use to a President in reaching the right decisions.
Therefore, I decided to set up a special organization charged with the collection of all intelligence reports from every available source, and to have those reports reach me as President without department "treatment" or interpretations.
I wanted and needed the information in its "natural raw" state and in as comprehensive a volume as it was practical for me to make full use of it. But the most important thing about this move was to guard against the chance of intelligence being used to influence or to lead the President into unwise decisions—and I thought it was necessary that the President do his own thinking and evaluating.
Since the responsibility for decision making was his—then he had to be sure that no information is kept from him for whatever reason at the discretion of any one department or agency, or that unpleasant facts be kept from him. There are always those who would want to shield a President from bad news or misjudgments to spare him from being "upset."
For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.
I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue—and a subject for cold war enemy propaganda.
With all the nonsense put out by Communist propaganda about "Yankee imperialism," "exploitive capitalism," "war-mongering," "monopolists," in their name-calling assault on the West, the last thing we needed was for the CIA to be seized upon as something akin to a subverting influence in the affairs of other people.
But there are now some searching questions that need to be answered. I, therefore, would like to see the CIA be restored to its original assignment as the intelligence arm of the President, and that whatever else it can properly perform in that special field—and that its operational duties be terminated or properly used elsewhere.
We have grown up as a nation, respected for our free institutions and for our ability to maintain a free and open society. There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel that we need to correct it.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Despite Public Support of Warren Commission, Kennnedys Believed There Was A Plot

Writing in the International Business Times, Joseph Lazzaro provides more proof that the Kennedy family never bought the Warren Commission lies. In fact, they knew from the beginning that JFK had been brought down by a domestic conspiracy, and they had no illusions about whom the like Judases were. Lyndon Johnson, Allen Dulles, Richard Bissell, and powerful Texas oilmen were at the top of the list of suspects. These men had the means, motive and opportunity. And Bobby Kennedy knew it.

Lazzaro writes, "One week after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy privately communicated to the leadership of the Soviet Union that they did not believe accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

"Jacqueline Kennedy and RFK wanted the Soviet leadership to know that 'despite Oswald’s connections to the communist world, the Kennedys believed that the president was felled by domestic opponents.'

"Publicly, Jacqueline Kennedy endorsed the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Oswald acted alone, and it was not until 1999 that her and RFK’s private views were made known, when they were revealed by historians Aleksandr Fusenko and Timothy Naftali in their book on the Cuban Missile Crisis, 'One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964.'

"In the book, the historians reported that when Jacqueline Kennedy’s artist friend William Walton traveled to Moscow on a previously scheduled trip a week after President Kennedy’s assassination, Walton carried the above 'felled by domestic opponents' message from Jacqueline Kennedy and RFK to another friend of the Kennedy administration, Georgi Bolshakov, a Russian diplomat. Bolshakov served as a back-channel link between the White House and the Kremlin during the October 1962 missile crisis."

(Read more in "The President's Mortician," available on Amazon,, and

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

JFK's Wounds Are Glossed Over By History Channel Program

I am just now getting around to watching the multitude of JFK Assassination Anniversary specials which aired last month. Too many to watch live, so I recorded them for later viewing. And while most are the same tired old lies, some are almost fair in their presentation of both sides--conspiracy vs. Oswald did it. On the surface, "The JFK Assassination: The Definitive Guide," a History Channel presentation, appears to give serious researchers a fair hearing, but on second look, the program is cunningly and subtly biased. Each time a legitimate piece of evidence is mentioned, there is a quick cut to a disinformationist like Gerald Posner, Vincent Bugliosi or Max Holland, for refutation. So while pro-conspiracy tidbits get the viewer tantalizingly close to a breakthrough, before the lead is explored in depth, in steps an establishment-approved and historically challenged idiot like John McAdams. Nonetheless, it is worthwhile viewing for the special it might have been.

Stunningly, there is even a mention of one of the most overlooked, yet significant, players in the drama (and, oh by the way, the villain of my book "The President's Mortician), John Liggett. Suspiciously his name is misspelled, as it appears fleetingly on the screen. There is no James Melvin Liggett, but at least they got the middle name right. Other key suspects, like George DeMohrenschildt, Ruth Paine, and Allen Dulles, are mentioned in passing...the message being that they are fringe and insignificant characters. At least "Definitive Guide" is not a complete whitewash like "Lee Harvey Oswald: 48 Hours To Live."

The most glaring cover-up was Posner's easy dismissal of the Dallas doctors' observations about JFK's wounds. At Parkland all medical personnel who attended to the President saw a fist-sized exit wound in the back of the head, near the right ear, in the occipital-parietal area of the head. But the autopsy doctors at Bethesda Naval Hospital saw a completely different head wound, one that was more than three times the size of the Parkland wound, and one that stretched from the rear of the head all the way to the front of the head. In fact, the Bethesda wound was so large that the Bethesda doctors thought at first that surgery of the head area had been performed. Dr. Humes uttered the phrase, "Surgery of the head area, namely in the top of the skull, is indicated." He recognized that someone tinkered with JFK's head wound while his body was in transit from Parkland to Bethesda. Who would do such a thing, and why, and where? The answers to these questions are essential to solving the case for this simple reason: the Parkland wound indicated that JFK was shot from the front; the Bethesda wound indicated that JFK was shot from the rear. Or put another way, if JFK was shot from the front, there is no doubt that a conspiracy took his life because Oswald, the ostensible lone shooter, was behind the Presidential limo at the time of the shooting and could have only hit JFK from behind had he indeed fired a rifle from the Texas School Book Depository. If the wound was altered, there is little doubt that it was done to hide a conspiracy and frame Oswald as the lone assassin.

In his book "Best Evidence," JFK researcher David Lifton puts it succinctly: "The Dallas/Bethesda conflict regarding the fatal head wound was built into the records of the Warren Commission...its existence could not be denied. On November 22, 1963, two groups of doctors saw the President's head, and their descriptions diverged. Only three explanations seemed possible: 1) Parkland Was Right And Bethesda Was Wrong. In that case, the Bethesda autopsy surgeons falsely described a...wound...quadrupled its area, and incorrectly stated that half of the President's brain was clearly visible through the hole in his head. 2) Bethesda Was Right And Parkland Was Wrong. In that case, the many witnesses who saw the wound in Dallas somehow mistook a 6-inch hole at the top of the head as a much smaller hole at the right rear. 3) Both Groups of Witnesses Were Correct. In that case, their descriptions conflicted because the size and location of the wound had been altered during the time interval that separated the two groups of observations."

Astounding as it sounds, only the third option is viable. It is unreasonable to believe that either of two sets of doctors knowingly lied about the wounds of the most important patient they would ever tend to in their lifetimes. As Lifton puts it, "Of the three alternatives, only the third was plausible. President Kennedy's fatal wound must have been altered."

You can find out how, where, and when this was done, by reading my book.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Help Further the Cause of Anti-Gun Violence on the Anniversary of Newtown

On this day, the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre, please take a moment to write your representative or sign a petition (link below), to help prevent children from being the victims of senseless slaughter. Members of Congress who accept donations from the NRA are using blood money to get elected. They are the equivalent of child murderers. How do these disgraceful and corrupt cowards sleep at night? I know how...they have no conscience. What follows is a remembrance published by one of the parents of a murdered child in Newtown:

"My name is Neil Heslin. My son, Jesse, was in first grade -- just six years old -- when he was killed December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The gun used to kill my son and 19 other children that bright December morning was a Bushmaster XM-15, a civilian version of a military weapon. This gun is a profit center of Freedom Group, which makes Bushmaster and other brands of assault rifles. Cerberus Capital Management owns 94% of Freedom Group and collects the tainted profits.

One year ago, Cerberus made a promise to sell its interests in Bushmaster. But now Cerberus executives are dragging their feet instead of honoring their promise, quietly trying to keep profiting off the assault weapon that killed my son. On September 24th, I went to the company’s headquarters in New York to remind the executives about the promise they made, but they ignored my request for a meeting.

Help me make it uncomfortable for investors to profit from gun manufacturers like Freedom Group, to profit from murder."

Remember Jesse & Honor Newtown Families: Divest from Guns @moveon

Thursday, December 12, 2013

CIA's Skeletons Are Being Unearthed: And The Atrocities Are Ugly

The brave few who have challenged the intelligence establishment in this country are slowly eroding the walls the CIA has built around its dirtiest secrets. The Freedom of Information Act provides all citizens the right to peruse the documents we paid for, regardless of which clandestine agency created them and how heinous the crimes reported therein. Thus, some day, hopefully soon, the true story of the CIA's sordid history will be revealed for all to see.

Under great pressure from those who have filed civil suits, the National Security Archive has posted several documents relating to the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953. For those of you who need a quick history refresher, Mossadegh was Iran's legitimately elected leader who just happened to have populist/socialist leanings, and, as such, threatened U.S. business interests in the region--specifically the oil industry. Mossadegh was beloved by the Iranian people, but he was deemed unsuitable by the CIA (Corporations Invisible Army) and was thus overthrown. An iron-fisted totalitarian was installed; perhaps you'll remember him: the Shah of Iran. Despised by the people for his political oppression and his overt corruption, the Shah did a profitable business with U.S. oil companies for a quarter century. When the Iranian people finally took action in the late '70s, the Shah was deposed and American embassy workers were taken hostage. The hostage crisis lasted 15 months, toppled the Carter administration and ushered in the era of Reagan. But the genesis of the crisis can be fully blamed on the U.S. itself, namely the CIA and its corporate allies, for intervening in a sovereign nation's right to determine its own destiny.

This was standard operating procedure for the CIA, which overthrew socialist and communist leaders across the globe from the 1940s on. Among their other clandestine tricks were the rescue and repatriation of Nazi war criminals after World War II and the subversion of the free press in America. Operations we are learning more about each day.

The work of incorporating Nazis into our intelligence apparatus, space programs, medical research, and weapons technology was called Operation Sunrise or Operation Paperclip. Among the well-known "Paperclip Nazis" were:

Wernher von Braun, Nazi V-2 rocket scientist who worked on guided missiles and manned rocket programs for the U.S. He was named Director of NASA's Space Flight Center, and, despite his questionable past, became somewhat of a celebrity in the 1960s. At no time was he forced to publicly renounce his Nazi ideology or made to pay for his war crimes. (He used slave labor camps to build his rockets in Nazi Germany. Thousands died of starvation and brutality in these camps.) A CIA-sponsored feature film, called I Aim For The Stars, was even made which honored his courage and audacity.

Kurt Blome, Nazi chemist who performed cruel experiments on death camp prisoners. He was hired by the U.S. Army to develop chemical warfare weapons.

Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler's top intelligence officer. He got a job spying on the Soviets for the CIA. In fact, he cut a deal with the CIA (OSS) to hire practically his entire Third Reich intelligence network. Much of the information he provided his superiors in U.S. intelligence greatly exaggerated Soviet military capabilities. Gehlen lied to make himself seem more important and useful to the CIA, and this led directly to the escalation of the Cold War and U.S. military buildup in the 1950s and beyond.

Heinrich Rupp, another Nazi war criminal who went to work for the CIA after World War II. In 1980 he accompanied George H.W. Bush, Vice Presidential candidate at the time, to cut a deal with Iran to delay the release of American hostages until after the election of the Reagan/Bush ticket in America in November 1980. The hostages were released on January 20, 1981, just minutes after Reagan and Bush were sworn into office. In return, Rupp promised release of Iran's frozen assets, laying the groundwork for the Iran-Contra deal. So Rupp, the Paperclip Nazi, helped steal an election, control U.S. foreign policy, and helped precipitate one of the worst scandals of the 1980s.

Arthur Rudolph, Operations Director at Mittelwerk factory at the Dora/Nordhausen concentration camps where thousands were worked to death.

Evil as it was, Operation Paperclip was surpassed, some say, by Operation Mockingbird. Mockingbird was a well-organized, systematic destruction of the free press in America in the second half of the 20th century. Why destroy the free press? Because a free and independent press was the CIA's worst enemy. Unfettered investigative journalism would have (or at least should have) uncovered the CIA's dirty secrets and criminal operations. The CIA needed to operate in secrecy, without threat of being detected, in order to get away with murder, coup d'├ętats, drug running, sabotage of democracies, and covert fascist policies.

As outlined by reporter Carl Bernstein in a Rolling Stone article in 1977, the CIA co-opted, bribed, threatened, recruited and partnered with media assets at TV networks, newspapers, publishers and radio outlets across the nation. Frank Wisner, who ran Mockingbird for the CIA in the 1950s, once famously bragged, the program was like his own mighty Wurlitzer, "...I can play any tune I want on it, and America will follow along." William Colby, CIA Director under Nixon, added, "The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media." This meant that it was a simple matter for the agency to print and broadcast propaganda, cover up misdeeds, plant false stories, and smear CIA opponents at will. I believe this is what prevented an honest journalistic investigation of the JFK assassination.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A New Liar to Rebuff

Beware truth seekers, there is yet another deluded JFK author out there. This one is someone named James L. Swanson, and his book is called "End of Days." (It would be more aptly titled "Endless Daze," because it stumbles and bumbles its way from untruth to untruth like an unrepentant drunk trying to convince his wife that the lipstick on his collar is tomato juice.) Even worse, Swanson, like Bill O'Reilly, has begun his own "assassination franchise." His previous work was about the manhunt for Lincoln's killer. Let's hope his next book is "Killing Swanson."

The lone nutters, like children who believe in the tooth fairy, take the original myths spun by the Warren Commission and embellish them as if they are somehow uncovering some new Oswald-damning information. It is the equivalent of a 5-year-old telling mommy that "...not only did the tooth fairy leave me a quarter, but he also talked to me and patted me on the head good-night." (These morons generally aren't even old enough to remember the assassination and, having been raised in the age of Reagan conservatism, mostly hate Kennedy anyway.) Swanson is no exception. In an interview with The Oregonian, Swanson snivels, "One of the most common misconceptions is that Dallas was a conservative or 'right wing' city of hate that killed President Kennedy. That's absurd. Lee Harvey Oswald was a communist, not a conservative. And he spent more time living in the Soviet Union than he ever did in Dallas. Jackie Kennedy described him as a "silly little communist." Another misconception is that people fail to remember how strong the evidence against Oswald really is."

Yes, Dallas was a liberal bastion in 1963; no matter that city leaders printed "Wanted for Treason" posters with JFK's picture on them and freely handed them out the day he was killed. Oilmen like H.L. Hunt and Clint Murchison, who ran Dallas, hated Kennedy and vowed to "shoot him out of office." Dallas was more right-wing insane and hateful than any city in America. Daily radio broadcasts, sponsored by Hunt and listened to by most Dallasites, spewed right-wing hate at JFK constantly. And Newspaper publisher Ted Dealey ran an endless stream of negative stories about the President.

As for Oswald, there is no hard evidence against him. A paraffin test proved he did not fire a rifle that day. He was spotted in the second-floor lunch room of the Texas School Book Depository at the time of the shooting. And someone else's fingerprints were found near the murder weapon: Mac Wallace's, LBJ's personal hit man. Oswald was sent by the CIA to the Soviet Union to pose as a fake defector. This clandestine twist apparently is too spy-crafty for Swanson's little brain. Imagine if he did any real investigation and found that Oswald's best friends in Dallas--George DeMohrenschildt and Ruth Paine--were CIA. Swanson's tiny cerebral cavity would explode...just like JFK's head did when he was shot from the grassy knoll.

Just like anti-abolitionists a century ago, Oswald-did-it historians will be ridiculed and dismissed as charlatans 100 years from now. Future man will ask, "How did pseudo-experts like Swanson get away with their inane fairy tales. Why weren't they challenged by investigative journalists?" Alas, investigative journalism died in the 20th century. As ex-CIA Director William Colby put it, "The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media."

Friday, December 6, 2013

The CIA Began Linking Oswald to Castro Just One Day After JFK's Murder

An obscure memo uncovered among the documents in Boston's JFK Library directly links the Central Intelligence Agency to a Miami publication which, just one day after JFK's assassination, accused Lee Harvey Oswald of being an agent of Fidel Castro. In one stroke the CIA was trying to plausibly deny its own involvement in Kennedy's murder and provide the U.S. with the pretense for overthrowing a communist government 90 miles from our shore. JFK researcher Jefferson Morley recently brought these facts to light; he is currently suing the CIA for release of over 1,000 files related to the JFK assassination.

The magazine the CIA used to make its false allegations on November 23, 1963, was Trinchera, Spanish for "Trenches." According to Joseph Lazzaro, writing for the International Business Times, Trinchera was published by a group which called itself the Cuban Student Directorate or DRE. The JFK Library memo states that the DRE received $51,000 per month from the CIA; that's the equivalent of $389,000 in 2013 money, or $4.8 million annually. No word on where the CIA raised the money to fund its propaganda campaign, but a good bet is its Southeast Asia drug operations which was responsible for generating millions of illicit dollars covertly.

Records declassified under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that the CIA liaison who paid the DRE its money was George Joannides. Joannides, who has other sinister links to the Kennedy assassination, was head of PsyOps at the CIA's Miami station. He was also the CIA's liaison to the House Select Committee on Assassinations (1976-78) which reopened the JFK investigation. As the CIA's point man, Joannides destroyed documents, intimated witnesses, misled committee members, and obstructed justice at every turn. He was vigilant in guarding the CIA secrets and preventing the committee from making the logical connection of CIA involvement in Dallas. Lazzarro writes, "HSCA Chief Counsel G. Robert Blakey said that had he known who Joannides was at that time, Joannides would have not continued as CIA liaison, but would have become a witness who would have been interrogated under oath by the HSCA staff or by the committee. In addition, Joannides’ failure-to-disclose occurred despite the fact that Blakey and the CIA had a pre-investigation agreement between the HSCA and the CIA that CIA personnel who were operational in 1963 could not be involved in the committee’s investigation."

Even the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), created in 1992 after the release of Oliver Stone's JFK, had something to say about Joannides. According to Lazzarro, "U.S. Judge Jack Tunheim, ARRB chairman from 1994-1995, said that had the board known about Joannides’ activities in 1963, it would have been a no-brainer to investigate him: 'If we’d known of his role in Miami in 1963, we would have pressed for all his records.'"

What possible reason could the CIA have to withhold files that are now a half-century old, unless those files expose the agency's culpability in the death of the 35th President?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Reagan as John Wayne in 1980s America

My blogger pal from down under, Greg Maybury, has a new post on his site: Pox Amerikana. It's about the influence of Reagan on America and the world in the '80s. I highly recommend it. You can read it at
. I quote a passage here, with my reply below it.

Maybury writes, "As far as The Gipper was concerned, once inaugurated he was the new Marshall in town, and like all good Marshalls do, when the bad guys drink the saloon dry, break the piano player’s fingers, trash the local whorehouse and rob the town bank, then the only thing he can do is form a posse, pack the saddle-bags and go after them in true John Wayne tradition. In character, political mindset and ideology, and in the timing of his ascension to power, Ronnie was ideally positioned to do just that – bring the bad guys to justice and clean up the town. For Reagan the bad guys were the Keynesians and the Communists, wherever they might be found. More than any other modern president, Reagan walked into the White House with cow-shit on his boots, evoked the mythology of Old West with effortless ease, and for better or worse, successfully reinvented some of those myths for the modern world."

My response: The Gipper-as-John-Wayne analogy works better if we imagine the Duke as the Christian Bale character in "American Psycho," instead of a cowboy in a simple-minded Howard Hawks' shoot-em-up. Reagan put the whip to poor people, not the bad guys. And the posse he led out of town were fatcat defense contractors, corporate raiders, savings-and-loan swindlers, and intelligence schemers. It was more of a getaway than a round-up. When the Duke/Gipper rode off into the sunset he left behind a teetering economy, the highest wealth inequity in our history, a cold disdain for poor minorities, an imperialist reputation despised by the rest of the world, and a sick American predilection for the Gordon Gekkos of the world. Reagan was emblematic of conservatives who were engaged in what Galbraith called, "the oldest philosophical sleight-of-hand: a moral justification for greed."

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