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If You Are Really Into U.S. Presidents, Don't Watch This Special Freedom Watch Episode Featuring Nick Gillespie

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Reason.tv editor in chief Nick Gillespie appeared on a special President's Day episode of Judge Napolitano's Freedom Watch alongside historians Monica Crowley and Tom Woods to discuss the legacies of several U.S. presidents. Is Jefferson really a suitable libertarian icon? Was Woodrow Wilson the country's first technocratic president? Why is FDR revered by Progressives? Who really killed JFK? And did Reagan's governance match his small-government rhetoric? Gillespie and his fellow panelists discuss these topics and more.  Air Date: February 21, 2011.

Approximately 27 minutes. 

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  1. The conspiracy mindset of libertarians annoys me to no end.

    Who killed JFK? Oswald!

    Duh

    1. There is absolutely zero evidence supporting the Oswald-JFK theory. Well, except for the fact that they can positively place him at the scene, and they have the spent bullets which came from a gun that he owned and was known to have on his person the day of the shooting and he was known to be one of the few Americans with enough experience with said rifle to be able to shoot rounds as quickly as they were shot, and that he attempted a political assassination a few months earlier and that he shot a police officer in his escape attempt.

      1. Yeah, but I read in the Huffington Post that Oswald was driven by the atmosphere of right-wing rhetoric in Texas fomented by the John Bircher who he had attempted to assassinate. Now, you’re probably saying to yourself that makes no sense — but the key is that you gotta realize the whole commie thing was a cover!

        And I know it’s so because RFK, Jr. says so!

  2. …. no KVH to beat down? depressing.

  3. You all will be relieved to learn that my response to the JFK assassination question is: “I’m gonna go way out on a limb and say Lee Harvey Oswald.”

    1. I knew you would answer correctly, the jacket gives you unprecedented powers of erudition. My beef is that the question got asked in the first place.

      1. But he wasn’t even wearing the jacket! That must mean…his erudition was there all along!

        Yay!

    2. Having been to Dealey Plaza and looked out the window, as a former Marine, while it’s not a particularly difficult shot, I wouldn’t call it “easy.” But the shot doesn’t make any sense at all, from a shooter’s perspective, to wait until he’s driven past you, moving away… when you’ve got a perfect headshot/killshot as the car makes the slow right turn onto and proceeds down Houston St. Waiting till he’s gone past you only makes sense if you’re coordinating fire with other shooters and moving the target into a killzone. Maybe Oswald, maybe Oswald with others, maybe not even Oswald at all… but more than one shooter – tactically makes more sense.

      1. I don’t know how credible it is, but theory is pretty interesting

      2. Oswald did take a shot as the limo passed under the window but it missed because of the side to side motion of the target in the scope. When the target began to move slowly away from him it was steadied in in his sights making for an easier shot.

      3. I’ve thought that too, Rob. I’ve not paid the ridiculous fee to go the Sixth Floor, but I’ve walked Dealey Plaza. Like you, I couldn’t figure why he wouldn’t just shoot JFK when the car made the right turn. One thing though, is that taking the head on shot exposes your muzzle flash to the driver. Waiting until he’s going down the slope denies the driver and target that warning. It’s also almost a dead straight-away shot, with next to no windage needed.

        As dirty as I feel for saying this, I recommend the JFK Reloaded simulation for working out the various angles involved. (It’s also great fun vicariously killing LBJ.) Map isn’t the territory, and all that, but I never could score a hit with the car making that right turn. The simulation models a bullet velocity around the speed of a slow-pitched softball…making windage estimates tricky. I also found hard to make the killing shot without JFK’s car slowing down, as it did between shots 2-3.

        One of life’s little ironies, if the shots didn’t come from the TSBD, and the shooter had to wait for the limo to clear the County Records building and make the left to go down the hill, the likely place for the shooter is in the top floors of the Dal-Tex building. The owner of the space on the top floor with windows overlooking the road? Abraham Zapruder. (it was a garment manufactory—kind way to say sweatshop, I suppose.) Conceivably, you could make the shot from the uppermost corner of the building behind the Dal-Tex building as well…(you have to shoot over the overhanging roof of one of the buildings in front, IIRC)

        But, though conspiracy theories are nothing but good clean fun, I too think Oswald was the only shooter. His reticence to fire I explain by his being a coward—he needed to see the target to work himself up to shooting. It’s also psychologically easier for a shooter to shoot someone in the back, or otherwise not have to see their face. (Per Richard Rhodes’s explanation of Einsatzgruppen executions. I believe that’s how the Russians did it as well.)

        And with all that, Oswald still missed the first shot (and clipped James Teague with concrete spray from the ricochet.) If the SS driver had just stomped on the gas with the first or second shot, JFK’d still be here. As an invalid, probably, but still here.

  4. I’m jealous of Nick’s shirt. I have a hoodie with almost the same design, but it’s not nearly as awesome.

  5. this whole epidsode just reinforces the fact that all presidents cannot be trusted to avoid becoming power hungry.

  6. Having been to Dealey Plaza and looked out the window, as a former Marine, while it’s not a particularly difficult shot, I wouldn’t call it “easy.” But the shot doesn’t make any sense at all, from a sniper’s perspective, to wait until he’s driven past you, moving away… when you’ve got a perfect headshot/killshot as the car makes the slow right turn onto and proceeds down Houston St. Waiting till he’s gone past you only makes sense if you’re coordinating fire with other shooters and moving the target into a killzone. Maybe Oswald, maybe Oswald with others, maybe not even Oswald at all… but more than one shooter – tactically makes more sense.

    1. Sorry, not sure why this showed up 2x. Apologies.

  7. Featuring Nick Gillespie?? More like Tom Woods who was on every segment, and rightfully so.

  8. As a libertarian I have to say I like silent cal better than jefferson.

  9. Interesting stuff, but I was wondering why it skipped over the segment about Lincoln. Not only was Nick lacking but Napolitano had to resort to the cherry picking hack DiLorenzo to back up his anti-Lincoln rant. Lincoln like Jefferson believed in a limited federal government, strict view of the Constitutional powers and the natural rights of all people. He repeats this numerous times in the Lincoln-Douglas debates by saying that blacks are entitled to life, liberty and the ability to keep the profits of their own work. Yes, he spoke of an inability for blacks to live and associate with whites, but remember when he lived and who he was speaking to. He even said that it could be 100 years before America was ready to treat blacks as equals…an estimate he was pretty close on.

    As for his suspension of habeas corpus, it is a power given to the federal government in times of rebellion. Unfortunately, Congress was not in session at the time so Lincoln suspended the writ and had it confirmed when Congress came to session. Furthermore, nearly all of those imprisoned by the Lincoln were released within a short amount of time once the initial secession panic had abated.

    I also like how they use the limited nature of the Emancipation Proclamation as evidence against Lincoln; Lincoln limited the EP because he knew that was all the Constitution allowed him to do. To use this and his push to return blacks to Africa as proof of his diabolical racists nature is laughable. He truly believed that whites would never accept blacks as equals (something post Civil War history seems to confirm for at least 100 years like Lincoln had asserted), and that deportation would be best for them.

    It would be nice if Napolitano read some primary source material about and by Lincoln before relying on hacks like DiLorenzo. Yes, by todays standard Lincoln was a racist, but he was a man torn between his strong belief in the idea of inalienable natural rights and his culturally ingrained racism. This is something that his beloved Jefferson also struggled with, but where Lincoln choose to set men free, Jefferson died content to keep his slaves in eternal bondage. I know who I would judge to the more libertarian of the two.

    Benjamin

    1. I forgot to add that a quick Google search on “Freedom Watch President’s Day” will bring up videos from the episode in question and allow one to watch the lincoln segment.

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