Weekend reflections

It’s time again for weekend reflections, which makes space for longer than usual comments on any topic. Civilised discussion and no coarse language please.

37 thoughts on “Weekend reflections

  1. Of course there’s a lot I could write on the issue of JFK.

    Kennedy’s role in key events in his term need to be understood in terms of his circumstancse in office. He was amidst the very ‘military industrial complex’ of which former President Eisenhower warned. So, at times he made decisions that he almost certainly found abhorrent, but which he judged to be necessary compromises, and sometimes he even lied publicly in the course of his manoevres against these people. One was when actually seemed to defend involvement of the US in Vietnam (which I think was a serious error of judgement on his part), but the intention of National Securtiy Action Memorandum (NSAM) 263 was clear to withdraw 1,000 personnel in 1963. His intnerion was to implement Robert MckNamara’s recommendations to plans were to complete the withdraw “the bulk of US personnle by 1965”. He also intended to sack Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge who was working behind his back to escalate the war, but all that, of course, changed after he was murdered.

    When asked why was profoundly against the escalation of the war and wasting of US lives in that war, because, as he said, “because I was there!”, having visited Vietnam in 1954 (or around then) and having learnt first hand of the war the French had waged to hold on to theri colony. (Sowhere early in “JFK and the unspeakable”, can’t cite the page right now.)

    I think many would find the denial of the incontrovertible evidence of JFK’s good intentions by much of the left perplexing.

    Much of the truth of JFK’s assassination is known and is to be found in Douglass’s book and I don’t intend to discuss it here except to say that the claim that LHO killed him can very easily be seen to be a lie. Aslo, there is evidence, that whilst working undercover for the CIA and also as an FBI informant, Oswald came to admire the man whom he was accused of murdering:

    Lee Oswald had become personally interested in the life and vision of Kennedy. On July 1 1963, as library records revel, he checked out of the New Orleans Public Library William Manchester’s cameo of Kennedy, Protrait of a President. He followed it up two weeks later by reading JFK’s own Profile in Courage. He became so interested in Kennedy that when he returned Protrait of a President he took out another book, The White Nile by Alan Moorehead, only because Manchester had mentioned in passing that Kennedy had read it recently.

    Oswald told his wife, Marina, as she revealed later, that he “liked and approved of the President and believed that for the United States in 1963, John F. Kennedy was the best President the country could hope to have.” (Douglass pp330-331)

  2. @Tristan Ewins

    Very good article, particularly given ILO auspices.

    he finds the problem ….

    Let me simplify it even more – if all the employees in a particular country put their wages and salaries together, they will not have enough money to buy all the goods and services that they have produced. The same principle applies when we talk about the entire world economy.

    But does not look for underlying causes for this worrying symptom…

    So is forced to conclude …

    Thus, it is rather difficult to come up with a solution when the entire economic model caves in. This only proves that the existing economic paradigm (including college courses in economics and MBA’s) that serviced that model must change as soon as possible.

    This does not really help.

  3. i read it about 3 months ago daggett, great book i thought

    on the asylum subject its all ok, cos afghanistan and sri lanka are safe,

    so the troops will be home immediately presumably?

  4. Glad to know that you share my very high regard for “JFK and the Unspeakable”, smiths.

    In most instances the value of political leaders is exaggerated out of all proportion. The example which come to mind are the two scoundrels who were the subject of that recent tome by Paul Kelly.

    However, in JFK’s case, he deserves all the adulation anyone can ever heap upon him.

    Gerard, that’s interesting. However, even if that did not occur, no knowledgeable person, least of all any President of the United States could possibly be left in any doubt about who killed JFK and why.

    What you right roughly concides with Russ Baker’s hypothesis of US Presidents being effectively prisoners of the US security state.

    The reason why JFK was not as malleable as the rest, as explained in “JFK and the Unspeakable”, is that he literally did not fear death. This was exmplified by his heroism in the Second World War when he saved the lives of the surviving members crew of PT 109 that he commanded after it had been rammed and broken into two in the middle of the night by a Japanese destroyer in the Solomon Islands.

    After they managed to reach an island with Kennedy dragging a badly burnt crew member the whole distance, he swam out into the middle of the sea the follwoing night in the hope of being able to draw the attention with a torch of other PT boats that he hoped would be patrolling the area in the middle of the night. He actually became unconscious and somehow did not drown. By the morning, by sheer luck he found the currents had taken him back in a circle instead of dragging him out deeper into the Pacific Ocean, so he was able to swim back to shore.

    He had medical problems all his life and came close to death on many occasions, so by the the time he became President he had overcome any fear of death he may ever have had.

    Chris Warren, Freelander,

    Those perceptions of JFK’s role are completely wrong.

    Much of the evidence to the contrary has been known for decades and at least since 1992 when material related to the JFK assassination was released in response to Olver Stone’s JFK. That all those people continue to uphold their demosntrably wrong views about President Kennedy is not to their credit.

    In regard to the Bay of Pigs invasion, as I said, Kennedy inherited it from Eisenhower. Whilst some may choose to judge Kennedy for not stopping it altogether, he made it clear that he was not prepared to authorize US military forces to back it up if the invasion failed.

    One reason he tolerated the invasion was that he was still a captive of anti-communist Cold War ideology (which I consider understandable given the crimes of Stalin and the brutality of the USSR’s post-war occupation of Eastern Europe), so he would have regarded the overthrow of the “Communist” Castro government by a popular uprising that the CIA assured him would be triggered by the Bay of Pigs invasion, as not an altogether bad thing.

    When the Bay of Pigs invasion failed (as the CIA always knew it would contrary to the story they fed Kennedy), Kennedy refused to accede to demands that he authorise US armed forces to back up the invasion. Kennedy said, “They were sure I’d give in to them and send the go-ahead order to the [Navy’s aircraft carrier] Essex. They couldn’t believe a new Presidnet like me wouldn;t panic and try to save his own face. Well, they had me figured all wrong.”(Douglass p14)

    After it failed Kennedy sais he that he wanted to “splinter the C.I.A. in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.” (Douglass p14). He began to put this into effect by sacking CIA Director Allen Dulles.

    Alice.

    That’s interesting about Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac. I recall that J K Galbraith opposed the Vietnam War because he realised the cost of it would undermine the whole New Deal project started by President Roosevelt.

  5. Glad the introduction of the Kennedy’s and their competence or otherwise into the conversation has not stopped it from remaining civil.
    Am a boomer, so remember the era as a kid. The “Perils of Communism” was the big night terror, so my off the cuff comparison would be Kennedy as comparison today with someone like Rudd or Obama wafffling on about the”Perils of Terrorism”.
    Which should not be surprising, since Kennedy was the first of of a subspecies followed by so many, Whitlam, Blair (early)Clinton, Carter etc.
    Half beleiving it too.
    Yes,I am taking the coward’s way out and adopting the Warren and Daggetts position as the two poles between where something exists that would express my view.

  6. @daggett

    I don’t think you wil find much that is “completely wrong” and if you think there is an alternative view from a few particular sources then OK for you.

    I agree that Kennedy was driven by various forces, but this was because he was obligated to act as the President of America even against his personal inclinations. He specifically told his brother that he had to act in this way otherwise he would have been impeached.

    The Cold War is not the whole story – America has long wanted to invade Cuba well before the Cold War.

    The Cold War heighten matters, but Cuba had huge justifiable fears about an American threat, greater than whatever America could reasonably fear from Cuba.

    Cuba was no real threat to America but some “threat” could be artificially whipped up by political rascals in their own interests, and using convenient Cold War tools.

    Anyway as an interesting sidelight: America never had any proof that the missiles in Cuba were nuclear, it could have been a clever ploy by Khrushchev.

    Proof that there were nuclear weapons only came out in 1995 when Soviet and Americans met in an international conference to discuss the episode.

  7. Cuba was no real threat to America

    any country which demonstrates an alternative to the american sytem is a threat

  8. Chris Warren,

    Unfortunately my most recent post (on my browser, numbered 31) is ‘awaiting moderation’, possibly because it is lengthy and contains quite a few links. I was spurred to write much of it when I discovered, just this morning, that material I had posted over two months ago to a Facebook discussion amongst people who were members of Trotskyist parties in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s had been deleted. (So much for the Trotskyist tradition of being practitioners of free and open disucssion. In the 21st century, most who wear that label seem to be as averse to free and open discussion as the Stalinists ever were.) In spite of the length, I believe it is likely to be of interest to more than a few here.

    I intend to adapt it in order to post it to my blog, so if it doesn’t appear here it can be found there.

    The reason that it is important that we learn the truth about JFK is that it is important to know that principled, well-meaning and uncorruptible people can attain high political office. The widely held ‘structurlalist’ claim that all political leaders who go anywhere near the real levers of political power must necessarily become corrupt and tools of the ruling elites has served to dissuade decent honest activists from seeking to attain office and has, consequently, left unchellenged the the stranglehold that the current class of corrupt political leaders have over our political institutions.

    JFK’s story, and to some extent, the story of his younger brother Bobby Kennedy is a powerful repudiation of that myth.

  9. I find it difficult to believe (and believe that Kennedy believed) that Kennedy would have been impeached if he had cancelled the invasion of Cuba. How can you be impeached for not doing something that the US was trying to pretend it was not doing anyway. There seems to be substantial airbrushing of JFK going on here.

  10. smiths I am sure Cuba posed a threat to the American oligarchy, but not to the American people.

    None other than Henry Kissinger said so in 1970, although in regard to Salvadore Allende’s Chile, rather than Cuba:

    The example of a succesful elected Marxist government in Chile would surely have an impoct on—and even a precednt value for —other parts of the world, especially Italy. (cited in “The Shock Doctrine” (2007) p451 by Naomi Klein)

    So much for economic neo-liberal dogma that socialism is inherently less efficient than the free market.

  11. Freelander :
    I find it difficult to believe (and believe that Kennedy believed) that Kennedy would have been impeached if he had cancelled the invasion of Cuba. How can you be impeached for not doing something that the US was trying to pretend it was not doing anyway. There seems to be substantial airbrushing of JFK going on here.

    Are you pulling my leg? In this day and age – there is no excuse for such agnosticism:

    Just google

    “He would be impeached” kennedy

    and all will be revealed.

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