Fifty Years Later, Kennedy Shooting Less Certain than Lincoln Conspiracy

Written By: William Boardman

JFK

Is Dead Kennedys Just a Hard Core Punk Band to Younger Americans?

50th anniversary commemorations of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy will include a tickets-only memorial at the scene of the crime, Dealey Plaza, in Dallas, Texas.  No doubt there will also be celebrations in some places, just as there were in the aftermath of the November 22, 1963, killing.

Whatever events are held, whether formal or impromptu, they will all have one thing in common: no one knows the full story of what happened.    The official version put out by the Warren Commission, is long since discredited, but independent investigations have yet to present a coherent alternative narrative.

That there is such a narrative is certain, since that would be the event as it happened.  One reason we don’t know what happened is that our government has kept assassination-related material secret – protecting national security secrets say secrecy defenders.  Others say stonewalling.

Polling in April 2013 suggests a waning interest in the Kennedy assassination, since only 59% of Americans now believe the official version is false.  That number is considerably lower than a 2003 Gallup poll in which 75% of Americans said the Kennedy killing was a conspiracy.

In 1978, the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations’ lengthy inquiry concluded that JFK “was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.”   The official version holds that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone and fired only three shots.  The House Committee produced evidence that at least four shots were fired.   While coming to the inevitable, evidence-based conclusion that a conspiracy killed Kennedy, the committee did not reach a conclusion as to who was part of the conspiracy.

We Know It Was a Conspiracy, But Not Who Were The Conspirators 

Myriad books have been published arguing various versions of events, but for the most part the big money from publishers has gone to writers (Gerald Posner, Vincent Bugliosi).  But other, conspiracy-centered writers (Mark Lane, Jim Marrs, Anthony Summers) have far out-sold the official version

That’s perhaps to be expected when the majority of Americans have believed for almost 50 years that their government is lying to them about the Kennedy assassination, just as the government has lied about so many other important things, such as the Viet-Nam war, and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and assassination by drone.

A couple of Hollywood movies are in the works, both based on books: “Legacy of Secrecy” with Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert DeNiro (the Mafia did it) and  “Parkland” with Colin Hanks and Paul Giamatti (Oswald did it alone).   Academy Award winner Erroll Morris is working on a documentary of the assassination (he hasn’t said who did it).

From the start, other suspects have included the CIA (because Kennedy wanted to get out of Viet-Nam), Castro (because the CIA was trying to assassinate him), and the KGB (because they’re Russian or something).

Another popular suspect has long been Lyndon Johnson, who was Kennedy’s Vice President at the time, when there were rumors that Kennedy was going to replace him on the 1964 presidential ticket.   Johnson is the most obvious first choice, at least based on the traditional analysis of means, motive, and opportunity.

Texas attorney Barr McClellan put the case against LBJ pretty strongly in his 2003 book, “Blood, Money & Power.”   McClellan was one of LBJ’s personal lawyers, but his book did not get wide notice in the mainstream media at the time – when his son, Scott McClellan was serving as White House Press Secretary for President Bush.

“Blood, Money & Power” Did Not Appear on 2003 Bestseller Lists 

The New York Times referred to McClellan’s book dismissively in early 2004:  “It is the most serious of public accusations, but it is so serious that serious people dismiss it as nuts. “

The only reason the Times brought it up then was that Barr McClellan had repeated his accusation on a History Channel program about the Kennedy assassination, “The Guilty Men.”  The Times was reporting on serious, and eventually effective pushback against the program by “Bill Moyers and other powerful men who worked for President Johnson,” as the Times put it.

Early in May 2013, the same charge against LBJ was lodged by Roger Stone, in early publicity for his book, “The Man Who Killed Kennedy – The Case Against LBJ,” due out in the fall.   The publisher, Skyhorse Publishing in Manhattan, begins its description of the book this way:

“Lyndon Baines Johnson was a man of great ambition and enormous greed, both of which, in 1963, would threaten to destroy him. In the end, President Johnson would use power from his personal connections in Texas and from the underworld and from the government to escape an untimely end in politics and to seize even greater power. President Johnson, the thirty-sixth president of the United States, was the driving force behind a conspiracy to murder President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.” 

Skyhorse started publishing in 2006.  In 2011, the company issued a paperback edition of Barr McClellan’s “Blood, Money & Power.  Skyhorse has some 2,000 titles in print, including “Guns Across the Border” (about Operation Fast and Furious), “Hit List” by Richard Belzer (about mysterious deaths of JFK assassination witnesses), “Shooter’s Bible,” and “Big Breasts & Wide Hips” (a novel).

Roger Stone Hinted at Running for Governor of Florida as a Libertarian

As described on Huffington Post, “Roger Stone is a legendary American Republican political consultant who has played a key role in the election of Republican presidents from Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan to George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. Long a an outspoken libertarian Republican Stone stunned the political world when he announced he would leave the GOP over it’s lurch to the far-right on social issues and join the Libertarian Party. The Libertarians will be on the ballot in all 50 states.”

Roger Stone (along with Karl Rove) worked for the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP), Richard Nixon’s 1972 campaign committee.  Reportedly, Stone has a tattoo of Nixon on his back.

According to Stone, when Nixon was in the House, Johnson told him to hire Jack Ruby, which Nixon did.  In 1963, Jack Ruby shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald in the Dallas police department.

Richard Nixon was in Dallas on business for his client Pepsi Cola at the time of the assassination, leaving Dallas on the morning of November 22.

There was a fingerprint on the rifle found in the “sniper’s nest” in the Texas School Depository on November 22, 1963, that did not belong to Lee Harvey Oswald.  That fingerprint belong to an associate of the vice president, a convicted murderer named  Malcolm (Mac) Wallace, according to Barr McClellan and others.

According to LBJ biographer Robert Caro: “In attaining this influence, [LBJ]  displayed a genius for discerning a path to power, an utter ruthlessness in destroying obstacles in that path, and a seemingly bottomless capacity for deceit, deception and betrayal in moving along it.”

JFK Assassination 50th Anniversary” is the name of a Facebook page dedicated to encouraging a grassroots letter writing campaign to get the U.S. to release all its information relating to the 1963 assassination.  Started in August 2012, this page had 286 “likes” as of late May 2013.

A Solution Without a Problem

2nd Amendment Rally - February 23, 2013Last month I attended a gun rights rally at the state capitol held in response to S.32, proposed gun control legislation introduced by Senator Phil Baruth on January 15th.  The rally was held just four days later, on Saturday the 19th, after a scramble to organize and promote the event.  Even with this quick turnaround, the demonstration managed to draw a sizable crowd of around 250 people (which was initially reported as “more than 100 people” by many local media outlets).  When I left that day, it felt good to have been present to support a cause that I believe in and I was happy to have given flyers to over fifty individuals interested in hearing more about the platform of liberty supported by the Libertarian Party, but I couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed that the event hadn’t drawn greater attendance.  Nonetheless, We the People were heard and Senator Baruth withdrew S.32 from consideration two days later.

This past weekend, Vermonters united once again to defend our 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, this time in opposition of Vermont House bills H.124 and H.243.  The previous week, gun control advocates held their own rally, which around 100-150 people attended (again, local news sources misrepresented these numbers, claiming an attendance of 300).  My greatest fear was that gun rights supporters would have “better things to do” on a Saturday and not show up.  However, knowing that this event had several weeks of planning leading up to it, I was cautiously optimistic that we might have a few more attendees this time around.  If we reached 400-500 in attendance, I would consider it to be significant progress from the previous rally and an overall success.  Apparently, I set the bar too low.

Crowds begin to gather for the 2nd Amendment rally - February 23, 2013 @ 11:40

Crowds begin to gather for the 2nd Amendment rally
February 23, 2013 @ 11:40

When I pulled up to the state house at 11:40, twenty minutes before the rally was set to kick off, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  The crowd that gathered on the capitol steps was already approaching the numbers that had attended the S.32 rally, and there was still a steady procession of demonstrators arriving!  By the time the rally began, the crowd had already reached my hopes of 400-500 present, and the arrivals still weren’t slowing down.  During the peak of the rally, I looked down at the crowd from the top of the state house steps.  The group that had gathered en masse was breathtaking.  Counting people across the front row and along one side of the most crowded landing yielded a rough count of 722 in attendance (through simple multiplication) without even considering those gathered on the surrounding steps.  I would venture to guess that there was somewhere between 850-1000 people present in total.  A raffle that was held, for which a single ticket was allowed per attendee, received over 500 entries.  Those running the raffle estimated that there were hundreds who did not manage to make their way to the entry table before the drawing, pushing the headcount even higher than the ticket pool.

Again, the Burlington Free Press and other local media would beg to differ, citing an AP estimate of “about 300 people” as having attended.  To their credit, the BFP did participate in a productive online conversation about this discrepancy, asking those who attended for their estimates, and conceding in their final report that those in attendance estimated upwards of 500.  Nonetheless, I find it to be a travesty that a Vermont news outlet like the Free Press couldn’t send a representative to the rally instead of counting on the nationally syndicated AP to provide coverage of a local event.  Or, at the very least, when presented with irrefutable photo documentation of the demonstration, one would hope that the staff of an “independent” media outlet would be able to think for themselves and come up with a more accurate statistic to report.  But, I digress.

Both crowds were estimated at 300 people...What is more important than the biased media coverage that continues to plague the discussion of gun rights/control is the message that was sent on Saturday.  A picture speaks a thousand words, so I won’t say much about comparing the numbers for the gun control and gun rights rallies this month.  Just take a look for yourself.  It would appear that Vermonters have clearly spoken as to how they feel about the issue.

Patrick Brennan (R - Colchester)

Patrick Brennan (R – Colchester)
“Governor Shumlin, don’t say things in Washington that you wouldn’t be willing to say here in Vermont.”

Unlike the first 2nd Amendment rally in January, this rally felt like a well-oiled machine had been set into motion.  Professional sound equipment and operation were provided by Blue Moon Entertainment, and allowed for the crowd to enjoy speeches from elected state officials, gun rights group organizers, and activists of varying backgrounds.  There was not much love shown for Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin following his remarks on gun control made in Washington DC the previous night.  In that interview, Shumlin catered his message to a national audience, voicing his support for universal background checks and limits on magazine capacities.  This was in stark contrast to his previous remarks on the issue.  In response, Representative Patrick Brennan (R-Colchester) called out the Governor, warning him not to “say things in Washington that [he] wouldn’t be willing to say here in Vermont”.

Candidate Paul Dame (Essex)

Candidate Paul Dame (Essex)
“We have a legislature that is spending an awful lot of time working on a solution that does not have a problem.”

Perhaps (in my opinion) the most moving orator of the day was the liberty-minded Essex candidate for State Representative, Paul Dame.  In his speech (see video below), Dame pointed to many fallacies in the logic behind seeking stricter gun control laws, specific flaws in the proposed legislation to be considered in Vermont, and the reality that Vermont (with the third lowest violent crime rate in the U.S.) has much more pressing issues to address than pursuing gun control initiatives.  He also offered an alternative to the suggestion that the government should restrict the rights of law abiding citizens, which applies well beyond the conversation of gun rights:

“Stop restricting the people and go back to restricting the government for a change!”

From My Cold Dead Hands

Vermont State Senator Philip BaruthI don’t know about you all, but I am outraged with the proposed firearms and magazine ban that Vermont State Senator Philip Baruth has introduced.  Following suit with the draconian measures recently implemented by our neighbors to the west, this legislation, while slightly less restrictive, would impose a ban on semi-automatic “assault weapons” and restrict magazine capacities to no more than 10 rounds.

My question is this:  HOW ON EARTH can anyone look at Vermont’s violent crime statistics (3rd lowest in the nation) and come to the conclusion that we need STRICTER gun control laws?  Our crime rates are so low, in part, thanks to our strong support of 2nd Amendment rights, giving would-be criminals a reason to second guess themselves for fear that their potential victims might be equipped to defend themselves.  So how will a ban on arbitrarily designated “assault weapons” serve to improve our currently admirable track record?  How will limiting magazine capacities to 10 rounds aid in deterring violent crime?

The fact of the matter is, if someone wanted to carry out a Sandy Hook type of attack, they would not be deterred by this legislation.  For one, they would certainly still be able to obtain the firearms and magazines proposed for ban if they so desired.  Criminals, by definition, do not follow the law.  Secondly, if acquiring such firearms proved too daunting, there would be plenty of firearms not criminalized by this legislation that operate identically to those that would be banned, differing only in aesthetics.  And finally, criminalizing a 30-round banana clip would prove to be completely ineffective, as it would take no great feat of intelligence to figure out that three 10-round magazines would be just as efficient and can be switched out in a matter of seconds.  Not to mention the fact that the vast majority of gun crimes committed in our country are perpetrated using weapons that would not be in any way affected by this legislation.  A criminal armed with several semi-automatic hand guns is just as lethal as a criminal armed with a so-called “assault weapon” or any other semi-automatic weapon.

This legislation is a knee-jerk reaction to an unfortunate and terrible tragedy, as well as the political equivalent at trying to keep up with the Jones’.  Our state carries a deep-rooted tradition of celebrating 2nd Amendment rights and, as such, some of the most well-educated civilian gun owners and operators in the nation.  We understand the power and responsibility that comes with utilizing any firearm, and we instill these values in our children and our society.  We hunt.  We target shoot.  We avidly collect.  And, we defend ourselves and our families when/if the need arises.

I, for one, would not submit to such tyrannical legislation, even is it were to pass, and believe that many other Vermonters would feel the same.  I strongly believe that this legislation will not garner enough support to be enacted, but why take the chance?  We should all contact our elected representatives and make our voices heard, and encourage everyone that we know to do the same.  If now is not the time to stand and be heard, then that time shall surely never come.

Manufacturing a Generation of Hostility

Drone StrikeI have been seeing many posts on social media lately about the drone strikes in the Middle East, especially in Pakistan. One such post made reference to an alleged strike on October 30, 2006 on a school in Bajaur, in which 80 young people between the ages of 7 and 17 were killed.  Much confusion and speculation surround this strike, even today.  There were many responses to the post, some supportive and some critical, but one jumped out at me in particular. It was along the lines of (and I paraphrase here): “Good riddance. Collateral damage. They are all future terrorists anyway”.  Whether the strike was perpetrated by U.S. and whether this post was accurate are both inconsequential.  The sentiment of the response was clear, and such ignorance could not go without reply from yours truly.

Sweeping generalizations like this are often the weapon of choice by those who are uninformed sheep.  If these young men are future terrorists, it is because they grow up in a world where they have to worry about bombs dropping on their heads EVERY DAY. Many of today’s terrorists were young children when the “War on Terror” began. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone who lived in the Middle East hated America when we began our campaign of manifest destiny into the Middle East during the first half of the 20th century.  And, believe it or not, this remained the case on the day that two planes crashed into our largest city.  Sure, there was a large enough and influential enough group to orchestrate such an attack, but that was not representative of the whole population or of Islam at large.

Children, watching their family members become “collateral damage” and their country fall under the indefinite control of a foreign occupation, learned to hate America. Just as we grow up the product of our culture and our life experiences, so do children in the Middle East. We are manufacturing a generation of hostility that will remain a threat to our country for decades to come if we do not take the necessary actions to return to the nation that we once were. A nation that values freedom above all else. A nation that respects the freedoms of other countries to differ from our own, while coexisting in a diverse world of many cultures.

Our forefathers would be disgusted at how we have twisted the meaning of those sacred documents that helped forge our nation and were meant to serve as a reminder of the shortcomings of the empires that have risen and fallen before us. They were meant to be a cautionary tale, to pass down the wisdom that lead to the successful rise of America to the “shining city on a hill” that drove foreigners to dream of living here, not plot to carry out terrorist attacks. We know how to be that city on the hill; we have just abandoned the principles that got us there. A nation that has something truly good going for it does not need to force its policy onto others; they will replicate it on their own. I support our troops, but I do not support sending them to die on foreign shores in a failed campaign to dictate global policy. We need to realize that the best offense against those that would do us harm, is a good defense. Get our troops home, end foreign occupations, invest in defensive infrastructure here in America, cut unnecessary military spending, get our fiscal house in order, and start leading by example again!