It counters a report that predicted he was going to block the release of the documents due to national security reasons.
President Trump said Saturday morning he will allow the release of the classified files related to former President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.
“Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened,” Trump tweeted.
Trump’s announcement counters a report that predicted the president was likely going to block the release of some of the documents by the National Archives, which cited pressure from the CIA over possibly harmful national security information being revealed.
Still, White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters told Politico Magazine that the Trump administration was trying “to ensure that the maximum amount of data can be released to the public.”
The White House later put out a statement couching Trump’s pledge to release the files on one caveat.
“The President believes that these documents should be made available in the interests of full transparency unless agencies provide a compelling and clear national security or law enforcement justification otherwise,” a White House official said, according to an afternoon press pool report. Read the rest of this entry »
Breathtaking: Richard Fowler Repeats Cuckoo Bananas Lefty Smear that Mass Murderer Jared Loughner was a Tea Partier.
…By the standards of Democratic demagoguery after Gabby Giffords was shot, the left owns every drop of blood spilled by cop-killers since BLM got going. Remember, the argument at the time wasn’t that Jared Loughner had read or heard some particular bit of right-wing invective that had inspired him to shoot Giffords.
“Why were so many on the left so quick to tie a few comments made by alleged tea party members to the entire tea party?!”
The argument was that the sheer accumulation of lefty-bashing by the right, from talk radio to Sarah Palin’s “crosshairs” map to signs carried at tea-party rallies, had somehow created an “atmosphere” of rage that Loughner had tapped into as permission to murder a member of Congress.
“Even here, with Kelly demanding accountability from the left for its double standard on incendiary rhetoric, the lie that the tea party somehow bears responsibility for Giffords’s near-murder slides easily into the conversation.”
It’s the same argument the left uses when it tries to shift blame for JFK’s assassination from fellow traveler Lee Harvey Oswald to the anti-Kennedy Birchers in Dallas. Rage towards the left and its agenda is the true criminal offense. Pinning it to an actual crime, regardless of who committed it, to make accomplices of all conservatives is a formality.
That’s why, to answer Kelly’s question, the “atmosphere” of rage towards cops promoted by BLM can’t similarly be said to have influenced the degenerates who have been murdering officers: Rules of civility that are designed to criminalize opposition to liberalism can’t be applied to a left-wing movement, no matter how overtly violent their rhetoric (“pigs in a blanket, fry them like bacon”) gets.
“It’s the same argument the left uses when it tries to shift blame for JFK’s assassination from fellow traveler Lee Harvey Oswald to the anti-Kennedy Birchers in Dallas.”
In fact, incredible as it may seem, at about two-thirds of the way in here the guy debating Katie Pavlich (and Kelly) actually repeats the lefty smear that Loughner was a tea partier. Pavlich tries to call him on it but he doesn’t miss a beat. Read the rest of this entry »
Salon’s Credibility on Life Support: Marxist Zealot Lee Harvey Oswald Revised and Repackaged as a ‘Right-Winger’Posted: July 25, 2014
“This entire article is a nonsensical mishmash of broken logical connections, slander, and outright historical ignorance.”
Via Salon today comes one of the most truly bizarre pieces of revisionist history I have ever seen, even within the context of articles appearing at Salon. The basic outline of the piece is as follows:
- Dallas in 1963 was full of crazy right-wingers;
- These people had guns;
- John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas in 1963;
- Barack Obama likewise has many right-wingers who oppose him; therefore
- It’s only a matter of time before one of them shoots him.
The baseless appeal to sensationalism and emotionalism is the primary (and usually only) tool in the gun control advocate’s toolbox. To that end, I have to admit that this is well played on Salon’s part; every reasonable person of all political stripes in America is legitimately terrified at the prospect of President Joe Biden. The problem (as always, when dealing with a gun control advocate) is that reason, logic and history demand a completely opposite conclusion. Let us grant for just a moment that Dallas in 1963 was full of various fringe right-leaning groups that were well armed. I don’t know; it might or might not be true. I’m not a Dallas historian and it’s not really relevant to the point of this post. The point is that factually, John F. Kennedy was killed by an avowed communist because of that communist’s belief that Kennedy was too tough on commies. These are not facts that are in reasonable dispute. Even if you are one of the grassy knoll people you have to concede Lee Harvey Oswald’s place as at least one of the shooters which means that, without a doubt, Kennedy was killed by left-wing extremists not right-wing extremists. In an especially delicious bit of irony, while trying to somehow pin Kennedy’s death on the anti-communists, they omit mentioning that seven months before assassinating Kennedy, Oswald attempted to assassinate one of the most prominent anti-communists in Dallas, General Edwin Walker. Read the rest of this entry »
Records Commission Was Created To Gather, Release Evidence In 1990s
In the wake of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a member of a board that collected records on the assassination in the 1990s talked about its process and findings.
As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, Columbia University history professor emeritus Henry Franklin Graff was one of five members of what was called the Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
He said all the evidence indicated that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.
Lee Harvey Oswald and the ACLU
Jarrett Stepman writes: Although conspiracy theories abound as to who orchestrated President John F. Kennedy’s murder 50 years ago, there is little doubt regarding who actually pulled the trigger and shot the 35th president: left-wing radical Lee Harvey Oswald.
This fact escapes most of the liberal media members who often attribute Kennedy’s death to conservatives or “right-wing hate.”
For instance, the New York Times recently published an article called, “The City With a Death Wish in its Eye,” in which the author, James McAuley, called Dallas the “city of hate,” a city that “willed the death of a president.”
This bizarre and un-factual conclusion has been peddled for many years, especially by left-wing politicos that attempt to paint every conservative political movement as a diabolical conspiracy to kill liberal politicians.
I meant to wrap up our multi-volume series on Kennedy yesterday, but a this one caught my eye. It fits in with the contrarian view–a reality check on Kennedy myth–to counter the Kennedy inflation that characterized much of the coverage of the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination this month. If you’re a Kennedy skeptic, this is for you. If you’re a Kennedy admirer, the Washington Posts’s WonkBlog‘s Dylan Matthews is here to rain on your parade.
Dylan Matthews writes: Fifty years ago Friday, Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy. The assassination was a tragedy — and it turned the target into something of a secular political saint. There are few modern presidents about whom The Post’s own George Will and E.J. Dionne can agree, but JFK appears to be one.
“It tells us a great deal about the meaning of John F. Kennedy in our history that liberals and conservatives alike are eager to pronounce him as one of their own,” Dionne notes. A Gallup poll last week found that Americans rate him more highly than any of the other 11 presidents since Eisenhower. A 2011 Gallup poll found that he came in fourth when Americans were asked to name the greatest president of all time, behind Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, and Bill Clinton, but ahead of George Washington, Franklin Roosevelt, and Thomas Jefferson.
Some of that reputation is hard to argue with. Kennedy was a brilliant rhetorician who inspired a generation of young Americans, and his death left a lingering scar on the American psyche. But it’s important that his presidency be evaluated on its actual merits. And on the merits, John F. Kennedy was not a good president. Here are six reasons why.
1. The Cuban Missile Crisis was his fault
Historians disagree on what exactly lead to the October 1962 crisis that almost ended in a nuclear exchange. But basically every interpretation suggests that, had the Eastern Seaboard been wiped out that month, it would have been the result of Kennedy’s fecklessness.
Daniel Pipes writes: In three main ways, the JFK murder still has repercussions for Americans and the world. It also has a unique place in my life.
First, had the assassination attempt not succeeded, arguably neither the Vietnam War nor the Great Society expansion of government would have afflicted the United States as they did. The Virtual JFK: Vietnam If Kennedy Had Lived project concludes that “JFK would have continued to resist a US war in Vietnam. Even though the Saigon government, weak and corrupt, was destined for the dustbin of history, he would have resisted those calling on him to send US combat troops to Vietnam. He might have ended all military involvement.”
As for government expansion, American historian Don Keko writes that Kennedy “lacked Lyndon Johnson’s legislative abilities which would have doomed much of what became known as the Great Society. . . . Without the Great Society, the nation does not experience massive budget deficits and the economy would have been stronger.”
Second, Kennedy’s assassination profoundly impaired American liberalism. James Piereson’s 2007 book Camelot and the Cultural Revolution (Encounter) establishes how liberals could not cope with the fact that Lee Harvey Oswald, a Communist, murdered Kennedy to protect Fidel Castro’s control of Cuba. Kennedy died for his anti-Communism; but this wildly contradicted the liberals’ narrative, so they denied this fact and insisted on presenting Kennedy as a victim of the radical Right, reading Oswald out of the picture.
1. Camelot. The brief Kennedy years represent for many in the media their own golden moment. JFK was their royalty, their idol, their ideal, their handsome and rich young war hero. Jackie Kennedy was their queen. And then it was all cut short, like a Shakespearean tragedy or fairy tale. The mythic Camelot fell to lust. The American Camelot fell to an assassin. For those of us who grew up after JFK, it’s all so much history. I grew up around Dallas and heard about the assassination any time I visited anywhere else as a child, and later on I visited the Sixth Floor Museum. It’s haunting but it’s history. For many in that generation, which was mostly born after World War II and then ended up losing Vietnam, JFK provides a meaningful anchor point, or at least a point that they have infused with meaning. Don’t bring up his womanizing or how the Kennedy patriarch behaved toward the Nazis. None of that has any place in the myth.
2. It provides them a chance to bash handy villains they already hate: Dallas, Texas, and the South. Not a JFK anniversary goes by without the New York Times publishing at least one piece blaming the assassination on Dallas, and more broadly on Texas and the South. The fact is, while Dallas had its share of mainstream Kennedy-haters, none of them fired a shot. Texas went narrowlyfor Kennedy in 1960. Dallas citizens actually turned out on November 22, 1963, to greet the Kennedys warmly. Even the horrible Zapruder film shows happy, cheering crowds lining the streets in Dealey Plaza just to get a glimpse of the First Couple.
One lone nut can change all that, and did, which is unsettling to the point of horror. But Dallas was not and is not to blame, any more than Ford’s Theater is to blame for Abraham Lincoln’s killing. Texas is not to blame. The South is not to blame. But many on the left would rather blame their preferred villains than look at the truth.
3. The truth is more horrible than the fiction. The truth is, the assassination of John F. Kennedy is the killing of one of life’s genetic lottery winners by a small-time loser. If JFK was larger than life, his killer was much smaller than life. The JFK assassination could have been a conspiracy, but it probably wasn’t. The evidence points directly at one man whose ideology, coupled with his combination of grandiosity and mediocrity, led him to kill the president in order to elevate himself.
Rich Lowry writes: For all these years, they’ve hidden the truth about the Kennedy assassination.
It didn’t require a conspiracy. It just took repeating a falsehood until it was accepted as conventional wisdom. The myth about the Kennedy assassination is that President John F. Kennedy, at great personal risk, traveled to Dallas a.k.a. the City of Hate, and was somehow murdered by an atmosphere of intolerance. The truth is that he was shot by a communist.
[The 2nd in a 3-part series on JFK this morning]
Warren Mass writes: As the nation pauses to reflect on the tragic assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, the respectful and civil recollection of this horrific act is already being marred by those who seek to politicize Kennedy’s killing to serve their own agenda.
With the passage of 50 years’ time, it becomes more and more doubtful that we will ever learn the entire truth behind the assassination. However, since some members of the media have already started to rearrange the events of 50 years ago to divert blame from a self-described Marxist — Lee Harvey Oswald — onto those they like to label as (variously) “ultra-conservative,” “archconservative,” or simply “right-wing,” a sane and sober look at these claims is definitely called for.
Leading the charge against the “ultra-conservatives” is Scott K. Parks, who penned an article for the Dallas News for October 12 headlined: “Extremists in Dallas created volatile atmosphere before JFK’s 1963 visit.” Parks lamented that following November 22, 1963, “Dallas became known to the world as the city of hate, the city that killed Kennedy.”
Parks proceeded to assign blame for exactly who was responsible for manufacturing this “hateful” atmosphere in Dallas, and — lest anyone miss his point — his explanation falls under a subheading, “John Birch Society HQ.”
The years Kennedy’s assassin spent in Minsk only deepened his isolation, biographer Peter Savodnik says.
Heather Maher writes: To mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, a wave of books has been published in the United States covering everything from Kennedy’s legacy to alleged new details about his death. One new title examines the Soviet chapter of the life of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who shot Kennedy. Oswald defected to the Soviet Union in 1959 and spent two and a half years living in Minsk before he grew tired of the adventure and returned home. In The Interloper: Lee Harvey Oswald Inside the Soviet Union, Peter Savodnik looks at why Oswald fled America, his life in Minsk, and what ultimately led him to climb to the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas and aim a rifle at Kennedy’s head on November 22, 1963. An interview with the author follows:
You write that Lee Harvey Oswald’s decision to defect to the USSR was part of an unhappy pattern that existed throughout his entire life and was established by his mother.
Peter Savodnik: Before joining the Marines [at the age of 17] and leaving home, Oswald moved 20 times with his mother. And each move was precipitated by some failure on her part—a failed relationship, a lost job, or some rupture or crisis. The point is that Oswald never has, throughout his childhood or adolescence, anything akin to a home, a sense of rootedness. And if you view the Soviet foray through this prism, then it becomes pretty clear pretty quickly that the whole point of going there—even if Oswald wasn’t aware of it—was to find some sense of permanence, a place to call home. Read the rest of this entry »
From 1945 onwards, J Edgar Hoover’s FBI spied on Camus and Sartre. The investigation soon turned into a philosophical inquiry…
Andy Martin writes: I was leafing through some FBI files on French philosophers when a new candidate for occupancy of the populous Grassy Knoll in Dallas leapt out at me. To the massed ranks of the CIA, the Mafia, the KGB, Castro, Hoover, and LBJ, we can now add: Jean-Paul Sartre. FBI and State Department reports of the 1960s had drawn attention to Sartre’s membership of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, of which Lee Harvey Oswald was also a member. And—prophetically?—Sartre had “dismissed the US as a headless nation.” Naturally I rushed around trying to work out exactly where Sartre might have been on 22nd November 1963. Could he, after all, have been the Second Shooter? Suddenly all the pieces started to fall into place.
But subsequent references in the main Oswald file showed that the FBI, although generally perturbed by the “Leftist tendencies” of Sartre, and his association with Communists, Castro, and Bertrand Russell, were specifically concerned that he was now—in addition to protesting against US involvement in Vietnam—threatening to “take an active part in the French Who Killed Kennedy Committee” (according to an article in the Washington Post of 14th June 1964). The FBI was wedded to the Lone Gunman theory. The emphasis of their interest in Sartre, then, was not on whether he had participated in any conspiracy, but rather that he was a believer in conspiracy theory and “supported the position that Oswald was not the true assassin of President Kennedy.”
Repeat after me: JFK was killed by a Communist. Again: JFK was killed by a Communist. One more time…Posted: November 20, 2013
Because the New York Times keeps telling us how the Dallas of 1963 was a right-wing “city of hate.” The latest installment comes today:
“In the early 1960s, a small but vocal subset of the Dallas power structure turned the political climate toxic, inciting a right-wing hysteria that led to attacks on visiting public figures. … In sermons, rallies, newspapers and radio broadcasts, the city’s richest oil baron, a Republican congressman, a Baptist pastor and others, including the local John Birch Society, filled Dallas with an angry McCarthyesque paranoia.”
Darn it, Lee Harvey Oswald’s Communism is such an inconvenience for these people. (Antidote: James Piereson’s recent article in the Wall Street Journal.)
Don’t worry, though, there’s still plenty of hate in Texas and, well, all over the place.
“The extremism in Dallas in 1963 still thrives in Texas today, though less so in Dallas itself. Back then, commentators on the radio program sponsore by the oil baron H. L. Hunt said that under Kennedy, firearms would be outlawed so people would not “have the weapons with which to rise up against their oppressors.”
This past February, in West Texas, the sheriff in Midland County, Gary Painter, said at a John Birch Society luncheon that he would refuse to confiscate people’s guns from their homes if ordered by the Obama administration and referred to the president’s State of the Union address as propaganda.
Other Texas politicians in recent years have embraced or suggested support for increasingly radical views, including Texas secession, Mr. Obama’s impeachment and claims that the sovereignty of the United States will be handed over to the United Nations. And, of course, it is not just in Texas.”
So if another murderous left-winger does something terrible in 2014, the New York Times will find a way to blame it on conservatives. It will always find a way.
JFK was killed by a Communist. JFK was killed by a Communist. JFK was killed by a Communist…
- JFK: Casualty of the Cold War (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
Two lives change forever after a brush with Lee Harvey Oswald
Quin Hillyer writes: One of the few men who ever interviewed Lee Harvey Oswald ended up renting my old room for about four years. Another man, one of the few innocents who lost their jobs due to the Kennedy assassination, wrote feature stories for me when I was managing editor of the New Orleans weekly Gambit. The reverberations from that assassination a half century ago altered not only the course of a nation but also the course of numerous private lives, in ways poignant and deep.
For the two men I knew, Ed Butler and Jesse Core, August 16, 1963, was a fateful day. It was then that Lee Harvey Oswald was passing out leaflets for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, outside the International Trade Mart in New Orleans. Core was the Trade Mart’s publicist; as Oswald started causing a commotion, Core tried to shoo him away to avoid bad publicity for the Trade Mart. Core promptly reported the incident to the FBI. Five days later, Butler, as the head of an anti-Communist outfit called the Information Council of the Americas (INCA), joined a Cuban exile and two local reporters on WDSU radio to interview, or debate, Oswald.
Hauntingly, it is one of only two readily available recordings of Oswald before the assassination. It was Butler who helped goad Oswald into proclaiming that he was a Marxist — an admission that the late U.S. representative Hale Boggs, who served on the Warren Commission and who greatly admired INCA, thought was highly important in establishing Oswald’s motives. Read the rest of this entry »
Lee Harvey Oswald was a communist who idolized Castro and hated America
James Pierson writes: It has been 50 years since President John F. Kennedy was cut down on the streets of Dallas by rifle shots fired by Lee Harvey Oswald, a self-described Marxist, defector to the Soviet Union, and admirer of Fidel Castro. The evidence condemning Oswald was overwhelming.
The bullets that killed President Kennedy were fired from his rifle, which was found in the warehouse where he worked and where he was seen moments before the shooting. Witnesses on the street saw a man firing shots from a window in that building and immediately summoned police to provide a description. Forty-five minutes later a policeman stopped Oswald in another section of the city to question him about the shooting. Oswald killed him with four quick shots from his pistol as the policeman stepped from his squad car. He then fled to a nearby movie theater where he was captured (still carrying the pistol).
Yet opinion polls suggest that 75% of American adults believe that JFK was the victim of a conspiracy. Most of the popular books published on the murder have argued for one or another conspiracy theory, with the CIA, FBI, organized crime or right-wing businessmen cast as the villains. Why does the Kennedy assassination still provoke so much controversy?
The obsession with all aspects of JFK’s murder is toxic to our cultural health
Mona Charen writes: The 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s murder is being marked, not primarily by retrospectives on his life and accomplishments, and not by reflections on the myth versus the reality of his presidency, but instead by one of the features of our media age that are poisonous to our cultural health — a macabre focus on the details of his murder.
National Geographic aired a film with the title “Killing Kennedy” (based on a book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard). Trailers featured images of the first couple in the open limousine and close-ups of the actor who played Lee Harvey Oswald raising a rifle to his face and closing one eye. The movie Parkland likewise features a reenactment of the fatal day Kennedy was shot, complete with descriptions of the president’s “shattered head” when he reached the hospital.
CBS’s contribution will put CBS figures front and center. JFK: One PM Central Standard Time will reportedly focus on “the story of two men forever linked in history — Kennedy and CBS anchor Walter Cronkite, who delivered the tragic news to millions of TV viewers.” Bob Schieffer will also get his opportunity to bask in the reflected gore with As It Happened: John F. Kennedy 50 Years, during which Schieffer will reflect on the “fear and tension” in Dallas.
“I always tell people I’m not a bookworm. I’m a book anaconda,” John Judge says, as he turns sideways and carefully maneuvers his large frame down a narrow staircase into the main library of the Coalition on Political Assassinations, a nonprofit dedicated to researching the killings of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr. Carved deep into a hill in Penn Branch, a quiet, leafy community in Southeast Washington, the room might otherwise be a basement, were the house not inhabited by a man who for the past 45 years has been obsessively reading and researching every facet of the Kennedy assassination.
He scans through hundreds of books, carefully pulling from the shelves some of the foundational texts of the assassination canon: Mark Lane’s best-selling Rush to Judgment, the first book he ever read on the case, and Robert Groden and Harrison Edward Livingstone’s High Treason: The Assassination of JFK & the Case for Conspiracy. Judge gestures to 26 hardcover volumes of the Warren Commission report, the official government investigation that fingered Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone gunman. On a shelf beside him sits a self-satirical bumper sticker: “Humpty Dumpty was pushed.” Judge, who has wavy silver-white hair and a goatee that fans out beneath his chin, smirks, “I tell people you can call me a conspiracy theorist if you call everyone else a coincidence theorist.”
Jesse Walker writes: Last week I mentioned that a majority of Americans thinks it likely that a conspiracy killed John F. Kennedy. One member of that majority turns out to be Secretary of State John Kerry. Politico reports:
Pressed in an interview aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to explain his beliefs that JFK’s death was part of a bigger plot, Kerry said: “I just have a point of view. And I’m not going to get into that. It’s not something that I think needs to be commented on, and certainly not at this time.”
“I’m not going to go into it. It’s just inappropriate, and I’m not going to do more than say that it’s a point of view that I have. But it’s not right, or worthy, or appropriate for me to comment further,” Kerry told host David Gregory.
Kerry said in a recent interview with NBC, as the 50th anniversary of the assassination approaches, he doubts the official story.
“To this day, I have serious doubts that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone,” Kerry said about the suspect arrested in the 1963 assassination.
Hat tip: Bryan Alexander. As for me, I think the most persuasive account of Kennedy’s death and life is this one:
Kennedy assassination nostalgia reveals the deeply engrained generational arrogance of the baby boomers. After 50 years, let’s hope the fever is breaking.
Nick Gillespie writes: If there’s one November tradition less digestible and more shart-inducing than Thanksgiving dinner (sorry, Mom!), it’s the seasonal and ritualized fixation over the assassination and broad legacy of John F. Kennedy.
Each fall since November 22, 1963, regular programming is pre-empted and whole rainforests are clear-cut to bring us books filled with the latest minor (and often delusional) variations on who killed Kennedy and why; the supposedly transformative effect of the “Camelot” years on contemporary geo-politics and, more plausibly, the hat-wearing habits of the American male; and counterfactuals about just how awesome—or awful—JFK’s second term would have been.
Dallas, Texas: It was no City of Hate—no matter what the Left says.
The “Dallas-did-it” community of storytellers, historians, biographers, and myth-makers, having gone relatively unchallenged for half a century, are finally encountering a long-overdue confrontation. First George Will, Then here, of course, then Mark Hemingway, now William Murchison.
“Dallas was a City of Hate only in the overactive imaginations of people with axes to grind…”
For the American Spectator, Dallas native William Murchison writes: After a time, ruts appear in the intellectual landscape, engraved through repetition of the same words, the same notions and incantations. “City of Hate” would be one of those; another, “right-wing hysteria”; also “paranoia,” “kooks,” “extremists,” “deranged,” “out of control.” The image of Dallas, Texas, the city where President Kennedy was slain in 1963, has the familiarity of a television commercial played so many times that reflex takes the place of reasoned assessment. Why analyze or appraise? Dallas, if it didn’t gun down the president, certainly furnished the stage and props for a creep like Lee Harvey Oswald. What else is there, my friends, that’s worth knowing?
From the historical standpoint, that is. I’m not convinced, actually, that vast numbers of Americans spend their days plotting to make the city of Dallas pay for the assassination—in Dallas, by a Dallas resident—of a president not understood as one of “The Immortals” until he became so at the Triple Underpass in Dallas. It was a long time ago, 50 years this November 22. The caravan moves on. The burgeoning, self-assured city of Dallas, to which the Kennedy party came in 1963, bears only happenstantial resemblance to the great North Texas “metroplex” of which modern Dallas is just one constituent element, albeit a large and highly important one.
For all that, we may anticipate that the Kennedy observances this fall—centered, naturally, in Dallas, and with the city’s robust participation—will require in the minds of some a retelling of the legends: the patient reconstruction, block by block, street by street, of the City of Hate. Some just can’t get past it. I’m sorry for them. Their mental batteries need a recharge.
George Packer of the New Yorker Doubles Down on Stupid: believes Dallas’ collective right-wing-extremist “invisible magical spirit forces” assassinated John F. Kennedy (instead of a doomed Marxist leftist, Lee Harvey Oswald)
Left-wing Fantasy Projection: “From Dealey Plaza to the Tea Party”
Here we go again. This is too stupid to seriously contemplate, but just as predicted, the Left is actually trying to forge a link between Kennedy’s assassination, and the grassroots elements of the current Republican party. Desperate, you say? Absolutely.
This utter nonsense has been thoroughly debunked [see Society is to Blame: When Liberalism Lost its Way, Dallas, 1963] and revealed for what it is–self-serving propaganda and revisionist historic fantasy.
“…The authors describe the potent brew of right-wing passions, much of it well organized and well funded—Bircher anti-Communism, anti-Catholicism, racism (Dallas was the last large American city to desegregate its schools), Kennedy hatred—that suffused many people in Dallas with the spirit of dissension and incipient violence during the early sixties, including some of its leading citizens: elected officials, Baptist ministers, the billionaire oilman H. L. Hunt, the right-wing zealot General Edwin Walker, even the publisher of the Morning News, Ted Dealey. During the 1960 Presidential campaign, Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, the state’s most powerful politician, and his wife, Lady Bird, were spat upon in Dallas; Adlai Stevenson, J.F.K.’s Ambassador to the United Nations, was assaulted there just a month before the assassination. “WELCOME MR. KENNEDY TO DALLAS …,” ran the headline of a black-bordered, full-page ad in the Morning News on the morning of November 22, 1963, with a bill of particulars that stopped just short of accusing the President of treason. Kennedy had warned his wife, “We’re heading into nut country.”
Oswald was an avowed Marxist, which might seem to absolve the city’s right wing of any responsibility. But “Dallas 1963” places the assassin in context as a malleable, unstable figure breathing the city’s extraordinarily feverish air. Judge Sarah T. Hughes, who administered the oath of office to Johnson aboard Air Force One at Love Field, later said, “It could have happened anywhere, but Dallas, I’m sorry to say, has been conditioned by many people who have hate in their hearts and who seem to want to destroy.”
This item by George Will is notable because it bypasses the current political drama and looks into the history of 20th Century Liberalism with a wider lens, and sweeps into a moment in time that bears thoughtful reflection. It’s an event that continues to influence post 20th-Century liberal thought, in ways that we have to live with, like it or not, every day.
If you don’t read anything else this week, read this one.
I also found it timely because I found myself listening to news on NPR yesterday, something I only do when I’m in my car, and was shocked to be reminded of a strain of Liberal thought that’s always troubled me: the theory of ‘collective’ crime, or collective guilt. Collective repentance. Collective salvation. But until this NPR segment, I hadn’t connected it the contemporary grievance culture all the way back to 1963.
I learned, contrary to common sense and written history, that President Kennedy wasn’t killed by an assassin with a rifle. Turns out (according to NPR) he was killed by a “climate”. Dallas did it. Society murdered JFK. It was the ‘climate of hate” that permeated Dallas Texas, in 1963. Apparently, this ‘stew’ (as the NPR reporter called it) of “hyper-patriotism, anti-semitism, racism”, etc., that was simmering in Dallas, reached a boiling point. The invisible brain-waves of anti-Kennedy hatred moved through the air in Texas, affecting anyone in that climate-stew, and concentrated itself in Dealy plaza, until President Kennedy’s head exploded, spontaneously, just from the pressure of all that collective hatred.
There goes the single bullet theory.
Liberals really believe this, too. Not that JFK’s head exploded spontaneously. But that Dallas killed Kennedy. That the city was so full of hatred for the President, so full of bitterness and bad thoughts, that the concentrated hatred assembled itself in the person of one unhinged individual, Lee Harvey Oswald (leaving aside conspiracist’s claims of additional gunmen) who acted upon this pent-up rage. The unavoidable fate–the Kennedy-death wish–had to be unleashed, and realized.
So, shots were fired. Resulting in the ghastly murder of the President, executed on society’s behalf. According to this narrative, the collective dark urge had to find expression. It was wound too tightly, had to be released. It wasn’t Owsald’s fault. It was Dallas’ fault. It was society’s fault. It was America’s fault.
How potent was this Kennedy vitriol, in Dallas? Well, you can clearly see, in photos, and newsreels, all those people waving and smiling as the motorcade passes. The moms with their babies, the kids with American flags, the civilians, soldiers, policemen. The crowds with cameras, eager to glimpse the President. Don’t let their happy expressions fool you. Those smiles and waves? They were masking deep, murderous, collective hatred.
Update: Tim Graham at PA Pundits has a much more informed report on NPR’s original segment (of which I caught the tail end of, or the following day’s listener mail) and quotes sections of the NPR interview with author Bill Minutaglio, who peddles this “right wing hysteria” fantasy:
BLOCK: As we approach the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, a new book dives deep into the city where the murder took place. “Dallas, 1963″ explores the swirling forces of right wing fanaticism at work in the city during the three years leading up to JFK’s assassination. By this account, Dallas in the early ’60s was a stew of super-patriotism, fueled by anti-communist paranoia, fierce racism and anti-Semitism.
Reading Tim’s account, it appears that historians and authors on the Left not only still dust off and promote this toxic mythology, they’re doubling down on it. Or at least Bill Minutaglio is, in his new book. And, I’m sure, ties it to the Tea Party, casually and dishonestly mislabeling it as a racist, radical pro-white, ‘hate’ group. Identical to those “right wing fanatics” in Dallas who collectively killed Kennedy, dragging America with it. Good grief. Who is the paranoid one here?
Besides George Will, I hope other rational reviewers take Minutaglio’s book apart, and expose it for what it is. Paranoid Left Wing Fantasy. Reason-free, heartfelt, self-affirming propaganda. Other historians are sure to agree. It hits all the right notes, in harmony.
As Tim notes:
Among the book blurbs for Minutaglio is one of the liberal media’s favorite historians/hysterians, Douglas Brinkley:
“Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis’s DALLAS 1963 is a brilliantly written, haunting eulogy to John F. Kennedy. By exposing the hatred aimed at our 35th president, the authors demonstrates that America–not just Lee Harvey Oswald–was ultimately responsible for his death. Every page is an eye opener. Highly recommended!”
I really thought that by 2013 the “mass-Dallas-fanatic-hysteria” narrative would have withered under the bright light of contrary evidence. (as most of the other muddled assassination conspiracy theories inevitably have) It appears the narrative is even stronger than I realized, like a virus that’s mutating, adapting, poised to inform new generations of readers.
There’s so much to say about this. About the conflict between those who accept individual sovereignty, individual morality, individual responsibility, individual accountability, individual salvation, vs. those who believe in collective morality, group rights, group entitlements, tribalism, class-warfare, social justice debts, and collective guilt. The dreamlike romantic notion that we’re all part of an invisible web of interconnected thoughts and feelings, and the actions of an individual are really nothing more than a necessary expression of a larger unspoken wish. These are drastically different world views. And from this tainted collectivist narrative came the post-1960s Liberal grievance culture. As George Will explores in the following article.
Make no mistake, I do believe that a climate of hatred can afflict a culture. And that a society that tolerates crime and violence, tends to breed more crime, invite more violence. And that a system that enables corruption to flourish, reaps what it sews. And so forth. Yes, these things can have a corrosive effect on individuals in society.
But the notion of collective guilt that emerged from this historic miscarriage signaled a complete change of direction for the post-war Liberal project. And the sour, scolding, reactionary tone of postmodern Liberalism can be traced back to the aftermath of the events in Dealy Plaza, and the Left’s efforts to reconcile them.
From this poisoned well sprang the liberal historians’ deranged lie that “right-wing fanaticism” killed America’s beloved President. Even Barry Goldwater was somehow implicated. Why? Because for the Left, the truth was too disturbing to confront. That Kennedy was murdered, not from the right, not from random invisible hate-brain-waves, not by shadowy, clandestine, fanatical forces, but from the left.
Stripped from all the mythology, the uncomfortable truth remains: A radicalized Marxist crackpot with a cheap Italian rifle, acting–almost certainly–in solitude, completely disinterested in the social “climate” in Dallas that day, shot JFK. For his own reasons. Not society’s.
Next: George Will’s column: