Violence

Lee Harvey Oswald: Still History's Patsy

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Last night, on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, Frank Rich of The New York Times reminisces about

the walk up to the [JF] Kennedy assassination, [when] there was all this hate talk about Kennedy, and then there was the John Birch Society, they were worried that the government was going to fluoridate the water and poison the country…it always seems to happen when there's a new liberal group taking over…it's not coincidence that the militias started up again in the 1990s or when Kennedy came in…

As Matt Welch and Jesse Walker and others at this site have been pointing out, loose analogies between between angry, sputtering citizens at town hall meetings and Nazis street thugs and political assassins are pretty damn lame. As important, they are almost inevitably the result of a strange ideological lesion that precludes inclusion of inconvenient facts. A propos of the above: JFK was not assassinated by a right-wing crank, but by a demonstrably pro-Castro defector to the Soviet Union who tooks shots at a rising right-wing freakazoid not long before shooting the president (yes, Oswald done did it). And, you might remember, that revolutionary (coff, coff) violence that wracked the '60s and early '70s was the result primarily not of out-of-control Barry Goldwaterites but by groups on the left.

Precisely what relevance any of this has to the current moment is far from clear. Maddow seemed most freaked out by a recent Arizona incident in which people toted guns to a rally near where President Obama was speaking. The incident has been revealed (on CNN) as a stunt pulled by radio show host and longtime Libertarian Party activist Ernest Hancock, not the nefarious workings of a secret army of camo-wearing zombies mad over mandatory UNICEF collections.

But any accounting of sporadic political violence in the past 60 years or whenever should be even-handed as a starting point of analysis, not used as a way of delegitmating a totally different set of dissenters. That is, folks upset at Obama's health care and other domestic policies, and Congress, and politicians more generally.

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  1. Diane Rehm said yesterday that people were showing up at rallies (plural) with “automatic machine guns”. Did someone somewhere actually do that, or is she drooling out teh crazy again?

  2. The John Birch Society was founded in 1958 and one of their chief boogeymen was Eisenhower. That makes it either a deliberate lie or just evidence of a huge lack of historical knowledge to assert that the JBS was founded out of anti-Kennedy hate.

    The militia movement really flowered as a result of Ruby Ridge and Waco. Ruby Ridge was not the result of cabinet-level decision making, so it’s pointless to try to blame it on one party or another. [But if we do want to try, it was on Bush’s watch, so it really can’t be the result of anti-Democrat hysteria.] Waco, however, was the result of cabinet-level decision making, so I suppose you can argue that the portion of the militia movement inspired by Waco was anti-Democrat backlash.

    I would also argue that the LA riots inspired some portion of the militia movement, and the LA riots were also on Bush’s watch.

    So again, it seems either basically dishonest or historically ignorant to assert that the militias arose because of hysteria that Clinton was arrested.

  3. Because Clinton was elected, sorry.

    I think we would have seen different hysteria if Clinton had ever been arrested during the 90’s. [ba-dum-bump]

  4. Maddow is a walking, talking example of how broke our education system is. She is a Rhoades Scholar and a Yale Graduate. Yet, she doesn’t have basic knowledge of U.S. history such that she thinks Oswald, a former Russian defector and Castro lover was a right-winger and the Birch Society only hated liberals.

    I don’t she is lying. She is just ignorant. Even at the highest levels, we don’t teach history anymore.

  5. you might remember, that revolutionary (coff, coff) violence that wracked the ’60s and early ’70s was the result primarily not of out-of-control Barry Goldwaterites

    I thought they were out-of-control Randites.

  6. If you didn’t riot and blame your enemy, how would you hope to affect change? Saul didn’t see the light on the road to Chicago for his own benefit, but for the good of all personkind.

  7. The militia movement was also convinced that George HW Bush was part of a conspiracy to establish a U.N. sponsored world government. The “black helicopter” bullshit started long before Clinton and continued under George W. Bush. We used to get FOIA requests at Fort Hood all the time wanting to know about the UN force we kept there.

  8. Well, to be fair about the Oswald thing, I think the leftists claim that Oswald was actually a crazed right-wing CIA asset, and that his defection to the USSR was part of some strange CIA operation.

    So asserting that Oswald was an example of right-wing hate doesn’t reveal ignorance per se, but a paranoid conspiratorial bent of the Oliver Stone variety. They’re not “uninformed”; they’ve just taken the information available and used it to construct a ludicrous and paranoid narrative, in defense of a cherished myth [that JFK was the One True King, and a sweet-souled pacifist who would have ended the Vietnam war if a giant right-wing corporate military-industrial complex plot hadn’t stopped him].

    1. Lee Harvey Oswald ? The Patsy

      “The thing I am concerned about, and so is [Deputy Attorney General Nicholas] Katzenbach, is having something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin.” –FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, speaking on the telephone to Johnson aide Walter Jenkins two hours after Oswald was murdered by Jack Ruby, HSCA Report, vol. III, pp. 471-73. (The Warren Commission — charged with determining the truth in the JFK assassination — relied upon Hoover’s FBI as its primary investigative arm.)

      “At the first meeting of the newly constituted Warren Commission, [former CIA Director] Allen Dulles handed out copies of a book to help define the ideological parameters he proposed for the Commission’s forthcoming work. American assassinations were different from European ones, he told the Commission. European assassinations were the work of conspiracies, whereas American assassins acted alone.” –Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK

      “We have not been told the truth about Oswald.” –Senator Richard Russell, former Warren Commission member, conversation with researcher Harold Weisberg in 1970, Whitewash IV

      “Lee Harvey Oswald is a question mark to history. The debate is often raised: ‘Was Lee Harvey Oswald alone as the assassin, or was he part of a conspiracy?’ The question is never raised: ‘Is it possible he didn’t do it at all?'” –Robert Groden, assassination researcher, interviewed by Nigel Turner for the documentary, The Men Who Killed Kennedy: Part 4

      Oswald Framed by the CIA

      The following transcribed text is from the documentary, The Men Who Killed Kennedy: Part 4.

      NARRATOR: One person with no illusions about Oswald’s role [as a patsy for JFK’s real killers] launched his own investigation into the Kennedy assassination in 1967, the former District Attorney of New Orleans, Judge Jim Garrison.

      GARRISON: [Oswald] was employed by the Central Intelligence Agency and was obviously drawn into a scapegoat situation and made to believe ultimately that he was penetrating the assassination. And then when the time came, they took the scapegoat — the man who thought he was working for the United States government — and killed him real quick. And then the machinery, disinformation machinery, started turning and they started making a villain out of a man who genuinely was probably a hero.

      NARRATOR: Six months before the assassination, Oswald had taken a mundane job [in New Orleans] with the Reily Coffee Company. But it seems his real activities were centered a few blocks away. From a small office on the corner of Lafayette and Camp Street, Oswald managed a local chapter of the pro-Castro Fair Play For Cuba Committee. Operating from an adjoining office was a sinister figure named Guy Banister.

      (Guy Banister — Former FBI Agent and Naval Intelligence Operative. Also a Member of the Minutemen, the John Birch Society, the Louisiana Committee on Un-American Activities, and Publisher of the Racist Louisiana Intelligence Digest)

      GARRISON: Guy Banister — it’s difficult to say much about him, because he always stood in the shadows and pushed someone else to the front. He was a strongly disciplined man, perhaps the outgrowth of his many years as a special agent in charge of the Chicago office of the FBI. But he was a key man in the assassination, and that’s clear from the fact that Oswald’s “sheep-dipping” — his being portrayed as a Communist — was done out of Guy Banister’s office. So he was sheep-dipped for months as a Communist by giving literature: “Lee, hand this out today. This is your assignment.”

      I came across the fact that Oswald, a private in the Marines, had taken a Russian examination. And I knew that privates did not take Russian examinations unless they were connected with intelligence. So that caused me to be curious about 544 Camp, which was the address stamped on one circular that he gave out one time before, obviously, Banister told him, “Lee, no more addresses.” It turned out that was a side address of Guy Banister’s private detective agency.

      Well I went down there to look at it, and I found myself not merely outside of Guy Banister’s office, but across the street from Naval Intelligence, across the street from Secret Service, around the corner was the Crescent City Garage, the garage for the intelligence community and then, two doors away, the Reily Coffee Company. I used to be in the FBI. I knew people in Naval Intelligence and they were either across the street, around the corner — the whole intelligence community was there, and right in the middle of it was Guy Banister having Oswald sheep-dipped as a Communist….

      When the President ends up being assassinated and the scapegoat grabbed by the federal government, and killed before anything can be done to help him, turns out to be the man that Guy Banister had been the tutor of all the time, you have to conclude that Guy Banister was a key man in the assassination, and possibly the most important man that we encountered in our whole investigation. But he’s been dead so many years it’s a little hard to question him.

  9. John is quite correct. GHWB was the one to coin the phrase “New World Order”. The militia movement was all about NWO and black helicopters, and that’s GHWB-vintage stuff. Not Clintonian.

  10. The screeching hysteria of the ruling class’s apologists is really, really getting hilarious.

    Most Augusts, we are kept distracted by shark attacks, missing interns or the latest witch hunt. But this year we have an actual political circus to entertain and amuse us. But the lions and bears aren’t dancing to the right tune.

    “Governments should be afriad of their people.”

  11. I am under the impression that a fellow name of Traficante had JFK killed. He used Oswald because it Oswald was a willing “dummy” that wasn’t connected.

  12. “They’re not “uninformed”; they’ve just taken the information available and used it to construct a ludicrous and paranoid narrative, in defense of a cherished myth [that JFK was the One True King, and a sweet-souled pacifist who would have ended the Vietnam war if a giant right-wing corporate military-industrial complex plot hadn’t stopped him].”

    It is amazing how they ignore or rewrite history. Kennedy ran on the missile gap. He clained, falsly that the Russians were ahead of us and that Eisenhower had been too soft. It is Eisenhower, in contrast, who had the judgment and the mistrust of the military industrial complex not to buy into the missile Gap. Indeed, Eisenhower was the one who invented the phrase.

    They also forget the Bay of Pigs, the coupe in South Vietnam and portray the Cuban Missile Crisis as his finest moment rather than when a belicoise amateur damned near got us into a nuclear war.

    1. Regarding the Cuba situation, Theodore Sorensen, Special Counsel to John F. Kennedy, said: “We were deeply concerned that Khrushchev would respond [to a U.S. attack on Cuba] with an attack on Berlin, where he had the geographic advantage, and with nuclear weapons, which would have transformed that local battle into a terrible global struggle.”
      Theodore Sorensen, interviewed on CNN.com/ColdWar, 29 November 1998

      After the Bay of Pigs fiasco, President Kennedy said to his friend, Assistant Navy Secretary Paul (Red) Fay: “Nobody is going to force me to do anything I don’t think is in the best interest of the country. I will never compromise the principles on which this country is built, but we’re not going to plunge into an irresponsible action just because a fanatical fringe in this country puts so-called national pride above national reason. Do you think I’m going to carry on my conscience the responsibility for the wanton maiming and killing of children like our children we saw here this evening? Do you think I’m going to cause a nuclear exchange — for what? Because I was forced into doing something that I didn’t think was proper and right? Well, if you or anybody else thinks I am, he’s crazy.”
      Paul Fay, The Pleasure of His Company

      Kennedy also told Paul Fay: “Now, in retrospect, I know damn well that they [the Pentagon and the CIA] didn’t have any intention of giving me the straight word on this thing [the Bay of Pigs operation]. They just thought that if we got involved in the thing, that I would have to say ‘Go ahead, you can throw all our forces in there, and just move into Cuba.’ … Well, from now on it’s John Kennedy that makes the decisions as to whether or not we’re going to do these things.”
      Richard Reeves, President Kennedy: Profile of Power

      “‘[The Joint Chiefs] were sure I’d give in to them and send the go-ahead order to the [aircraft carrier] Essex,’ he said one day to Dave Powers. ‘They couldn’t believe that a new President like me wouldn’t panic and try to save his own face. Well, they had me figured all wrong.'”
      Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye, by Kenneth O’Donnell and Dave Powers

      President Kennedy was correct regarding the intentions of the Joint Chiefs and the CIA. Then-CIA Director Allen Dulles lamented: “We felt that when the chips were down — when the crisis arose in reality, any action required for success [at the Bay of Pigs] would be authorized rather than permit the enterprise to fail.”
      John Ranelagh, The Agency: The Rise and Decline of the CIA

      In a letter to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, 1 December 1963, Kennedy’s widow Jacqueline wrote: “The danger which troubled my husband was that war might be started not so much by the big men as by the little ones. While big men know the need for self-control and restraint, little men are sometimes moved more by fear and pride.”
      William Manchester, The Death of a President

  13. The profession of journalism has, sadly, become a place inhabited by chronic, incurable, sociopathic liars. They no longer even pretend to be objective. The loudest of the bunch have a political agenda and they’re pushing it hard. The hysterical crazies on MSNBC “expose,” without apparent irony, the hysterical crazies in the opposition. We’re presented with a panel of “strategists,” whose task is to lie as quickly and as forcefully as their three minutes allows. It’s the summer of deception. And the only thing preventing a government takeover of medicine is a large pressure group: the “boomers” who are so despised and so routinely maligned by so many of my fellow crackpots here. Talk about irony!

  14. yes, Oswald done did it)

    Two out of three shots, yes. Why? Who knows?

    Google “Mortal Error” to see a logistical explanation of the shots.

    Save the flames. I’m just saying Oswald didn’t fire all three shots. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks this.

  15. the walk up to the [JF] Kennedy assassination, [when] there was all this hate talk about Kennedy, and then there was the John Birch Society, they were worried that the government was going to fluoridate the water and poison the country…it always seems to happen when there’s a new liberal group taking over…it’s not coincidence that the militias started up again in the 1990s or when Kennedy came in…

    Right out of the Alinsky playbook…

  16. I remember JFK assassination well. If one took a poll within minutes of Walter Cronkite’s announcement, I bet there would have been near 100% agreement that some right wing extremist pulled the trigger. I remember taking off my Goldwater pin for about a week, not just in deference to “no politics during the funeral period” but for fear that JFK supporters would take violent exception.
    Little did they know JFK and Goldwater were buddies (rumored to cat around together in the Senate) and respected each other’s positions.

  17. Who cares what a film/theater critic thinks about politics?

    Rich, like Chomsky, should stick to his field of expertise.

  18. “Little did they know JFK and Goldwater were buddies (rumored to cat around together in the Senate) and respected each other’s positions.”

    Kennedy and Nixon were friends to. When Nixon resigned Jacki Kennedy sent him a heartfelt letter explaining how sorry she was that things worked out how they did but that he should be happy for his service to the country and that he left the office alive.

    Actually, Democrats of the World War II generation were not nearly as nasty or as personal as the baby boomer Dems who came later.

  19. And why does the left persistently ignore the fact that Kennedy, while a Democrat, would be to the right of Limbaugh if he were transported to the present?

  20. And why does the left persistently ignore the fact that Kennedy, while a Democrat, would be to the right of Limbaugh if he were transported to the present?

    Ted Kennedy probably has something to do with that.

  21. It just cracks me up the modern Left recasting JFK into the patron saint of liberalism. The guy was the cold warrior’s cold warrior, an exponent of “national greatness” before Bill Kristol’s lips had left his mother’s tit.

    The dopey right fear of JFK wasn’t of his politics, it was about his religion.

    Stupid fucking left-tards.

    1. “When Kennedy took office, Laos was the hot spot, and the departing President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, warned Kennedy he might have to fight there. If so, Eisenhower said, he would support the decision. Over the next few weeks Kennedy made several hawkish public statements. But after the Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba, he changed his attitude. He told several people, including Richard Nixon, that since ‘the American people do not want to use troops to remove a Communist regime only 90 miles away, how can I ask them to use troops to remove one 9,000 miles away?'”
      Roger Hilsman, Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs under President Kennedy, letter to The New York Times, 20 January 1992

      “When Kennedy took office … the first thing Kennedy did was to send a couple of men to Vietnam to survey the situation. They came back with the recommendation that the military assistance group be increased from 800 to 25,000. That was the start of our involvement. Kennedy, I believe, realized he’d made a mistake because 25,000 U.S. military [advisers] in a country such as South Vietnam means that the responsibility for the war flows to [the United States] and out of the hands of the South Vietnamese. So Kennedy, in the weeks prior to his death, realized that we had gone overboard and actually was in the process of withdrawing when he was killed and Johnson took over.”
      John McCone, CIA Director under President Kennedy, interviewed by Harry Kreisler, 21 April 1988

      “I’ve just been given a list of the most recent casualties in Vietnam. We’re losing too damned many people over there. It’s time for us to get out. The Vietnamese are not fighting for themselves. We’re the ones who are doing the fighting. After I come back from Texas, that’s going to change. There is no reason for us to lose another man over there. Vietnam is not worth another American life.”
      President Kennedy, speaking to his Assistant Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff on 21 November 1963, the day before his assassination, James Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters

      “President [Kennedy] heroically kept the country out of war — against relentless pressure from hard-liners in the Pentagon, CIA and his own White House, who were determined to militarily engage the enemy in Berlin, Laos, Vietnam and especially Cuba. Kennedy knew that any such military confrontation could quickly escalate into a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. And he realized that a full-scale invasion of Cuba or Vietnam could become hopelessly bogged down, turning into a bloody and endless occupation…. The only reason Cuba didn’t become the Iraq of its day was that Kennedy was too wise to be snookered by hard-liners into this trap. He had already been misled early in his administration by the CIA, which convinced him that its ragtag army of Cuban exiles could defeat Castro at the Bay of Pigs. JFK vowed that he would never again listen to these so-called national security experts….”
      David Talbot, “The Kennedy Legacy vs. the Bush Legacy,” Salon, 2 May 2007

      “Arthur Schlesinger Jr., in his book ‘Robert Kennedy and His Times,’ documents other episodes showing President Kennedy’s determination not to let Vietnam become an American war. One was when Gen. Douglas MacArthur told him it would be foolish to fight again in Asia and that the problem should be solved at the diplomatic table. Later General Taylor said that MacArthur’s views made ‘a hell of an impression on the President … so that whenever he’d get this military advice from the Joint Chiefs or from me or anyone else, he’d say, ‘Well, now, you gentlemen, you go back and convince General MacArthur, then I’ll be convinced.'”
      Roger Hilsman, Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs under President Kennedy, letter to The New York Times, 20 January 1992

  22. in defense of a cherished myth [that JFK was the One True King, and a sweet-souled pacifist who would have ended the Vietnam war if a giant right-wing corporate military-industrial complex plot hadn’t stopped him]

    Well said, John.

  23. Kennedy also said he was embarassed by the march on Washington. He was no great shakes on civil rights. It was Eisenhower who called out the Guard to Little Rock. It was Johnson who passed the Civil Rights Act. It wasn’t Kennedy.

  24. Most Augusts, we are kept distracted by shark attacks, missing interns or the latest witch hunt. But this year we have an actual political circus to entertain and amuse us. But the lions and bears aren’t dancing to the right tune.

    Which is why the Obamacy wanted to have this swept under the rug by August. (Yes, it’s stating the obvious, but it still needs to be said.)

    “Major political shenanigans in a slow news month, where everyone is off work and has copious free time to peruse the news? NOOOOOOOOO…….”

  25. “Governments should be afriad afraid of their people.”

    QFT. It’s outstanding that some guys have the stones to show up carrying. I don’t think I could do it, even if I owned a gun.

  26. It just cracks me up the modern Left recasting JFK into the patron saint of liberalism.

    I think there is a petty cause to this, and a “deep” cause to this.

    The petty cause is that on the day JFK died, the baby boomers were either children or young teens, and they were permanently stained by the miasma of grief that swept over the nation after the assassination. So JFK became “good” to them, and they later projected their own beliefs and desires, which were also “good” as far as they were concerned, onto him.

    The “deep” reason is that stupid two-bit “Camelot” marketing scheme touches on a recurring myth in European societies, that of the One True King, as I noted above. The Arthurian myth about a sainted king who reigned over a golden age, and whose death ushered in an era of decline, but who could have continued the golden age if only he lived, could easily be overlaid onto the US in the 60’s after JFK’s assassination, because some marketing hack had introduced the meme by accident the year before. When people engaging in mystical and mythical thinking ask themselves, “What would the good king have done if he lived?” the answer is always, “Exactly what I would have wanted done.” In this case, a liberal agenda JFK did not actually share.

    1. “In retrospect, the reason for the assassination is hardly a mystery. It is now abundantly clear … why the C.I.A.’s covert operations element wanted John Kennedy out of the Oval Office and Lyndon Johnson in it. The new President elevated by rifle fire to control of our foreign policy had been one of the most enthusiastic American cold warriors…. Johnson had originally risen to power on the crest of the fulminating anti-communist crusade which marked American politics after World War II. Shortly after the end of that war, he declaimed that atomic power had become ‘ours to use, either to Christianize the world or pulverize it’ — a Christian benediction if ever there was one. Johnson’s demonstrated enthusiasm for American military intervention abroad … earned him the sobriquet ‘the senator from the Pentagon….'”
      –Jim Garrison, On the Trail of the Assassins

      “[Richard] Schweiker told me in his opinion the CIA was responsible for the assassination. That’s a heck of a statement to come from a United States Senator and one who had even been Ronald Reagan’s running mate in 1976….”
      –Robert Tanenbaum, former Deputy Counsel for the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations, “The Probe Interview: Bob Tanenbaum,” Probe, July-August 1996 (Vol. 3 No. 5)

      “When I mentioned about Adlai Stevenson, if he was vice-president there would never have been an assassination of our beloved President Kennedy.” –Jack Ruby’s comment to reporters while being transferred to his prison cell. When asked to explain what he meant, Ruby (Oswald’s killer and a probable conspirator in the JFK assassination) replied, “Well the answer is the man in office now [Lyndon Johnson].” Note: Adlai Stevenson advocated a conciliatory approach to international affairs in stark contrast to Democratic Party hawks like Lyndon Johnson. Johnson assumed the presidency following JFK’s murder and escalated the Vietnam War exponentially. With his comment, it seems that Ruby was dropping a hint about the assassination — that the JFK conspirators could not have achieved their goal of putting a hawk in the White House had Stevenson been Kennedy’s vice-president instead of Johnson.

  27. Fluffy – only one problem with the “deep” theory: that would require most people to acknowledge that the “Great Society” was the beginning of the Dark Ages. Including the 1964 CRA, Medicare…

  28. I was pretty amused at the liberal freak-out over Ernest Hancock’s stunt. If you pay any attention to libertarians AT ALL, “Ernest Hancock did something sort of crazy” is as surprising as “this new Troma movie is sort of offensive.”

  29. Well, the CRA and Medicare are obviously things that JFK would have done. Plus he never would have gotten us into Vietnam, and he would have gotten all our kittens down from the tree in the front yard too.

  30. Any “NAZI” accusations require that said NAZIs are already working for the government. The “Private NAZI” talk is hilarious for its basic stupidity.

  31. Fluffy,

    Don’t forget to that you had a whole group of people like Arthur Schlesenger who had worked for Kennedy and had every reason to lie about how great it was. Once the Left made Johnson take the fall for Vietnam, the stage was set for all the Kennedy people to write about how wonderful everything was and would have been had Kennedy not died.

  32. Arthur Schlesinger is one of the most disingenuous hacks ever. Read his history of the Jacksonian age for a wonderful whitewash of a murderous, power hungry hack, and then his acccounts of the Kennedy administration become more understandable.

  33. But Oliver Stone told me that Oswald was really right wing, and that all the lefty stuff was a front designed to lead people away from the military industrial complex.

    1. “We do know Oswald had intelligence connections. Everywhere you look with him, there’re fingerprints of intelligence.” –Republican Senator Richard Schweiker, member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Village Voice, December 15, 1975

      “The question of whether Oswald had any relationship with the FBI or the CIA is not frivolous. The agencies, of course, are silent. Although the Warren Commission had full power to conduct its own independent investigation, it permitted the FBI and the CIA to investigate themselves — and so cast a permanent shadow on the answers.” –Walter Cronkite, CBS News anchor, June 28, 1967

      “If he had it to do over again, he would begin his investigation of the Kennedy assassination by probing ‘Oswald’s ties to the Central Intelligence Agency.'” –Richard Sprague, first staff director and chief counsel to the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations, statement to Sam Anson of New Times magazine, Gaeton Fonzi, The Last Investigation

      “[Lee Oswald’s mother] Mrs. Marguerite Oswald frequently expressed the opinion that her son was recruited by an agency of the U.S. Government and sent to Russia in 1959, but she stated before the Commission that ‘I cannot prove Lee is an agent.'” –Warren Commission Report, Appendix XII: Speculations and Rumors, Oswald and U.S. Government Agencies, p. 660

      “[Former CIA Director Richard] Helms told reporters during a break that no one would ever know who or what Lee Harvey Oswald … represented. Asked whether the CIA knew of any ties Oswald had with either the KGB or the CIA, Helms paused and with a laugh said, ‘I don’t remember.'” –Helms, chatting with the Washington Post’s George Lardner and other reporters in 1978, during a recess of the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations, Gaeton Fonzi, The Last Investigation

  34. I have to say that it amuses me a little that the left keeps bringing up the specter of political violence in response to the open carry protesters. And now with the Kennedy assassination, which as others have mentioned was committed by a communist, makes me think of another presidential assassination. McKinley was killed by an ultra-left anarcho-communist. #The right sure has a lock on that political violence#

  35. Russ 2000,
    I agree that the Nazi talk is ridiculous, but I don’t think that Nazi accuasations require that the putative Nazis are gov’t agents. It’s not as if the Nazi Party was founded by the German gov’t.

  36. Crap. “…power hungry butcher…” Schlesinger was the hack.

  37. never underestimate the intellectual dishonesty from the likes of Maddow or Rich. They don’t ever dare level the same leering eye at their own, the truth would be too much to bear.

  38. Also, and I know most people here know this, even if they get caught up in using the terms, but the “right” and “left” are useless.

    Fascism as a philosophy was Mussolini’s invention. He came up with it because he 1) didn’t want to rule along with a Politburo; he wanted total control, and 2) he preferred a nationalistic socialism, rather than the ostensibly universal socialism of Marx. In his time, he was a contemporary of Rosa Luxembourg, and I believe he even met with Lenin while the latter was in exile in Switzerland.

    And the “left” of the time loved Mussolini. T S Eliot wrote odes to him. Cole Porter praised him in “You’re the Tops”. It wasn’t until Hitler came along that Fascism didn’t start to look as nice to the “left”.

    Right and left are useless. You either believe in freedom from government constraint or you don’t, on all the issues that affect humans.

    1. Fascism is quite the opposite of socialism. Socialism calls for worker (or government control) of the means of production (farms and factories). Fascism maintains private control of the means of production, and the fascist state usually cozies up to the establishment oligarchy.

  39. “Right and left are useless. You either believe in freedom from government constraint or you don’t, on all the issues that affect humans.”

    Exactly right. Or to put it another way, you either beleive that government can through coercion create a better world or you beleive that individuals through autonomy create a better world.

    1. Government exists to keep capitalists from exploiting workers and to establish a set of rules to keep capitalism from degenerating into a kleptocracy.

  40. It’s not as if the Nazi Party was founded by the German gov’t.

    But it was a party, and it wanted to be the government.

    This is just a mess of opposition, from libertarians to socialist LaRouche maniacs, but mostly unorganized and unideological typical types who’ve spotted a bad deal. They’re not even showing signs of uniting in their opposition; they show up and yell at each other, mostly.

    There’s no similarity to hang a Nazi analogy on. That’s why everyone making the analogy has to make shit up.

    (The pro- side, however, has sent quasi-governmental goon squads out to bash heads for it, if your Godwin finger is itchy.)

  41. skr | August 20, 2009, 10:57am | #

    And don’t forget Booth: a fopping actor!

    John | August 20, 2009, 11:22am | #
    you either beleive that government can through coercion create a better world or you beleive that individuals through autonomy create a better world.

    It amazes me that somehow people have been taught that this question is settled, and I mean even the people who nominally distrust government don’t dare confront it. If that isn’t “Orwellian,” changing language to fit your answer and indoctrinating youth and encouraging a monoculture of media, then I don’t know what is.

    has sent quasi-governmental goon squads out to bash heads for it, if your Godwin finger is itchy
    has sent quasi-governmental goon squads out to bash heads for it, if your Godwin finger is itchy

    And at least a plurality of it could be described as European-style socialist, and it has expressed officially (if you take officials’ statements to be official to the party or that faction of the party) that it should use crises as means to power grabs, and I’m sure there are more fundamental philisophical parallels that one could draw (see Goldberg).

  42. …it always seems to happen when there’s a new liberal group taking over…

    Never allow this to happen. Problem solved.

  43. @ Anonymous

    I didn’t forget Booth. I consciously omitted him for a few reasons. The first is that the Republican-Democrat dynamic of Civil War politics is strikingly different than the contemporary one. This makes contemporary analogies questionable to me. Secondly, Booth doesn’t easily fall into the Dixiecrat category as he was from Maryland even though he was pro-Confederate. He also seems to fall more in the fanatic militia camp of the “sic semper tyrannis” variety. Lastly, although he was an actor, I am pretty sure that he wouldn’t be very welcome at Hollywood parties these days, even before he assassinated Lincoln.

  44. Booth was at heart a radical white supremicist. He hated Lincoln for ending slavery and giving blacks the vote. His white supremacy drove him more than anything.

  45. @ john

    On Booth, agreed.

  46. Lastly, although he was an actor, I am pretty sure that he wouldn’t be very welcome at Hollywood parties these days, even before he assassinated Lincoln.

    I’m not so sure, but I laughed at the image, anyway.

  47. And why does the left persistently ignore the fact that Kennedy, while a Democrat, would be to the right of Limbaugh if he were transported to the present?

    Because that’s utter nonsense. On some foreign policy issues maybe you can make that case – but even Republican politicians in the early 1960s took positions on wage controls, taxation and business regulation that would be viewed as loony leftism by many Obama supporters if you tried them today. Kennedy was not a faithful supporter of free markets (nor was Nixon). Kennedy’s paleocon ideal of asking citizens to put America’s national interest above their own individual concerns is certainly anathema to libertarians or me-first style Limbaugh conservatives. Kennedy (and Eisenhower and Nixon for that matter) would also be well to the left of Limbaugh on Israel.

  48. well to the left of Limbaugh on Israel

    That seems like a false dichotomy.

  49. Vanya,

    Kennedy cut the top tax brackets more than any President other than Reagan. Yes, there were still business regulations in the 1960s that would be unthinkable today.

  50. I was watching a documentary of a major mob boss on the biography channel. they quoted some higher-ups in his org who claimed oswald was hired by the mafia after the government’s failed deal with mobsters in the bay of pigs travesty.

  51. I’m probably getting a little conspiratorial myself, but I can’t help but wonder if some of these leftist howlers don’t wish, deep in their little hearts, that a violent incident would occur. Look at the way they’re blowing this all out of proportion.

    After all, a martyr is a potent political weapon. Heck, even a decent flesh wound would probably make Obamacare sail right through, plus they could pass some bogus gun laws to boot (say, a “Presidential Protection Act of 2009” that would not really do anything to protect presidents but would give a gun-grabber a nice woody).

    Gee, does that sound cynical? Well, yeah. But like Lily Tomlin once said, no matter how cynical you become it’s never enough to keep up.

  52. Enjoy Every Sandwich,

    Obama is worth more dead to them than he is alive. Alive he is just the slow kid who can’t speak without a teleprompter and can’t keep Congress in line. Dead, he is a matyr and the one. He is lost Camelot. If I were Obama, that fact would make me very nervous.

  53. In The Venture Bros universe did they ever say who shot Kennedy?

    For some reason i think they showed a glimpse of Brock Samson’s Hunter S Tompsonesque boss doing the deed….maybe it was a dream i had

  54. well to the left of Limbaugh on Israel

    I am confused…would that be Leibermen or Arafat?….or are they both lumped to the left of him….or to the right of him?

    Is Israel really a left or right thing?

  55. But Oliver Stone told me that Oswald was really right wing, and that all the lefty stuff was a front designed to lead people away from the military industrial complex.

    Ha – just another brilliant ploy by Karl Rove to fool [almost] everyone.

  56. in defense of a cherished myth [that JFK was the One True King, and a sweet-souled pacifist who would have ended the Vietnam war if a giant right-wing corporate military-industrial complex plot hadn’t stopped him]

    Well said, John.

    Actually it was Fluffy that wrote that, Warty, John was quoting him.

    And I agree it was well said, as was, Fluffy’s comment at 10:36am. It was what I would have written, but better.

    Kennedy cut the top tax brackets more than any President other than Reagan.

    Yes, John, and Barry Goldwater opposed those tax cuts. He believed, rightly IMO, that tax cuts without spending cuts would lead to crippling deficits. I believe, to a large extent, that history has proved him correct.

    Yes, there were still business regulations in the 1960s that would be unthinkable today.

    As Vanya notes the political alignments of the 50s and 60s cannot be viewed through the same lens as those of today.

    Kennedy originally proposed LBJ’s Great Society legislation as part of his New Frontier which also included his proposals for a prosecuting the Cold War in a way that would make up for all of Ike’s “appeasement”.

    So you could almost say that JFK ran to the left of Nixon on domestic policy but to the right on foreign policy. Except that that would ignore the fact that Nixon signed all of the Great Society stuff that was left over from the Johnson administration.

    I’m not sure where to put most of those guys but to call Nixon a conservative turns the English language upside down.

  57. Oswald was exactly what he said he was, a “patsy.” The question is whose. E.Howard Hunt confessed knowledge of an assassination conspiracy in the last years of his life.

  58. Was Oswald a spy? After reviewing all available evidence, the answer to the question seems to be a resounding “yes.” The following is a quick look at some of the evidence pointing to Oswald’s involvement with spy work:

    * His childhood — a bright loner who read a wide range of books and was drawn to unpopular ideas, attracted by spy stories (the TV show “I Led Three Lives” and Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels were among his favorites) — perfectly fits the profile of persons most desired for intelligence work.
    * Oswald’s Marine career is checkered with inconsistencies and unexplained events that suggest secret intelligence training.
    * His assignment to Atsugi base in Japan, which housed a large CIA facility.
    * Oswald’s incredible ability with the Russian language. Several Russians, including his wife, said he spoke like a native, yet this high-school dropout reportedly taught himself Russian from books.
    * The fact that several persons — including a former CIA paymaster, Oswald’s Marine roommate, and fellow Marine Gerry Patrick Hemming — have suggested that Oswald worked for U.S. intelligence.
    * The manner in which Oswald traveled so easily in and out of Russia as well as the unaccounted-for funds he used suggests intelligence guidance.
    * The ability of this American “defector” to leave the Soviet Union with his Russian-born wife at a time when most Russians were being denied exit permits.
    * The ease with which this would-be defector obtained passports both in 1959 and 1963.
    * The fact that Oswald wrote a lengthy report on his activities in Russia and, later, made a detailed report to the FBI concerning his Fair Play For Cuba activities in New Orleans.
    * Oswald’s notebook contained the word “microdots,” a common spy technique of photographically reducing information to a small dot.
    * Oswald’s nonbinding “defection” to Russia fits perfectly the profile of an Office of Naval Intelligence program to infiltrate American servicemen into the Soviet Union during the late 1950’s.
    * One of Oswald’s closest contacts, George DeMohrenschildt, was himself an intelligence operative, first for the Nazis and later for the CIA.
    * One of the strongest pieces of evidence for Oswald’s involvement in spy work concerns a small Minox camera found among his effects by Dallas Police. Information developed by the Dallas Morning News in 1978 revealed the camera was not available to the public in 1963. It may have been spy equipment issued to Oswald. This evidence was so explosive that the FBI tried to get Dallas detectives to change their reports regarding the camera and also kept photos taken by Oswald hidden for nearly fifteen years…. Detective Rose told the Dallas Morning News: “[FBI agents] were calling it a light meter, I know that. But I know a camera when I see it…. The thing we got at Irving out of Oswald’s seabag was a Minox camera. No question about it. They tried to get me to change the records because it wasn’t a light meter. I don’t know why they wanted it changed, but they must have had some motive for it.” The motive may have been that the existence of the camera pointed to Oswald’s intelligence connections…. The three-inch-long German-made camera was famous for being used by spies on both sides during World War II.

    Note: The above text is excerpted from the book, Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy by Jim Marrs

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