Tuesday, March 17, 2009

JFK in Ireland: A Journey Home

It is that quality of the Irish--that remarkable combination of hope, confidence and imagination--that is needed more than ever today. The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics, whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were, and ask why not. It matters not how small a nation is that seeks world peace and freedom, for, to paraphrase a citizen of my country, "the humblest nation of all the world, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of Error." President Kennedy's address to the Irish Parliament June 1963.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dallek on JFK and LBJ: How Not to End Another President's War

How Not to End Another President’s War (L.B.J. Edition)
By Robert Dallek
On Nov. 24, 1963, two days after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, President Lyndon B. Johnson met with his principal national security advisers to consider the most volatile issue he had inherited: Vietnam. A coup at the beginning of November — approved by the Kennedy administration — had toppled Ngo Dinh Diem’s government and taken his life. Concerns about the ability of his untested successors to withstand Vietcong insurgents backed by Ho Chi Minh’s North Vietnamese Communist regime gave Johnson a sense of urgency about an issue that could threaten United States interests abroad and undermine his standing at home.
Johnson’s first concern was to assure that he was acting in concert with Kennedy’s plans. But no one could provide authoritative advice on J.F.K.’s intentions. By increasing the number of military advisers in Vietnam from 685 to 16,700, Kennedy had indicated his determination to preserve Saigon’s autonomy. His agreement to a change of government in hopes of finding a leader who could command greater popular support than Ngo Dinh Diem seemed to confirm Kennedy’s commitment to preventing a Communist victory.
Lyndon Johnson tried to give his nation guns and butter. In the end, he provided neither.
At the same time, however, Kennedy had signaled his intentions to reduce America’s military role in Vietnam by directing that 1,000 of the advisers be brought home by the end of 1963. He had also rejected requests from his military chiefs for the use of American ground forces in the fighting. In addition, he had told several advisers that he intended to withdraw American military personnel from Vietnam after the 1964 election.
See: http://100days.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/12/how-not-to-end-another-presidents-war-lbj-edition/

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sen. Kennedy to get honorary British knighthood

The First 100 Days: Lyndon Johnson Fulfilled Kennedy's Legacy

Johnson wanted to assure the country that he would carryout the policies of his predecessor
By Kenneth T. Walsh
Posted March 5, 2009

Books: 'The Last Lion'

The Star-Ledger - NJ.com
Minneapolis Star Tribune - ‎14 hours ago‎
For instance: At the time of John F. Kennedy's assassination, Robert Kennedy had had enough of their domineering mother and told Ted to go "call your mother ...
Books: 'The Last Lion' traces Kennedy's life from playboy to patriarch

Dressy Jacqueline Kennedy: A Retrospective (SLIDESHOW)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dressy Jacqueline Kennedy: A Retrospective (SLIDESHOW)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Lion Roars Once More Kennedy Makes Emotional Pitch For Health Care Reform

A day that was designed to produce conversation and cohesion on reforming the health care system ended with an emotional pitch.

President Barack Obama, concluding a summit with leaders from Congress, the non-profit world, the medical and the insurance industries, entered the closing session at the East Room of the White House with a guest by his side.

"Ladies and gentlemen," the voiced boomed over the loudspeaker, "the president of the United States accompanied by Senator Ted Kennedy."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


by Josiah Thompson


Try a simple experiment. Crank up Google and make a quick trip to the internet offerings on the Kennedy assassination. It’s like a visit to a carnival midway. Pitchman after pitchman is offering his or her wares. Over here you have somebody using a bad copy of the Zapruder film to show that Agent Greer turned around and shot JFK with a flashy chrome revolver. Over there is someone claiming George Bush was in Dealey Plaza or that Richard Nixon arranged the whole thing. Many film clips attempt to show that this or that photo from Dealey Plaza has been falsified by unknown conspirators. After a few minutes of this, you’ll come away convinced that the only way to keep up-to-date on developments in the case is by subscribing to one of the supermarket tabloids.

It wasn’t always like this. How did this change come about and what will be its likely outcome? I’ll try to answer the first question right off while leaving the second for the end of this essay.

In the years immediately after the assassination, things were different. There was no internet and there was an almost unanimous feeling in the country at large that the Warren Commission got it right. Those of us who questioned the official story were mindful of the larger picture and particularly careful to avoid mistakes. The early books on the assassination were carefully fact-checked and edited.. Mark Lane’s "Rush to Judgment" was worked over by numerous helpers in London, England. Edward Epstein’s book, "Inquest," started out as a master’s thesis at Cornell and hence was subject to scholarly discipline. For the rest of us... private individuals working on the assassination for a variety of reasons.. modesty of claim was the order of the day. We were willing... even eager... to have our claims vetted by other researchers. Those of us who challenged official opinion were meticulous about avoiding mistakes. Any mistake of fact or misinterpretation of evidence would be held against all of us. For this reason, articles or essays were fact-checked and discussed exhaustively before publication. Sylvia Meagher checked chapters of my "Six Seconds in Dallas" and I checked chapters of her "Accessories After the Fact," both before publication. Sylvia ended up doing the index for "Six Seconds."

Things are quite different now. The popularity of the internet and print-on-demand publishing have brought about a drop-off in research standards. There are exceptions. Books published by JFK Lancer, for example, are still fact-checked and copy-edited. But things took a decided turn for the worse with the publication of Professor Fetzer’s first book, "Assassination Science" in 1998. No longer was there a small community wherein opinions and theories could be vetted before publication. With a penchant for the tabloid style, Fetzer gave voice over the years to a number of researchers who competed with each other to produce dramatic (often outlandish) claims. As book followed book, Zapruder film alteration became the central focus of Fetzer’s promotion. Rather than doing research himself, Fetzer became the pitchman for this view. His tabloid style meant that nothing was checked in advance of publication. The basic idea was to publish first and ask questions later. This led to the collapse of many claims as soon as critical attention was paid to them.

Such was the fate of the claim that is the subject of this essay.