Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Income trajectories, Jim Garrison: On the Trail of the Assassins, JFK: Battling Wall Street

Income trajectories from 1967 to 2016: We examine changes in income and class position over two fifteen-year periods (1967 to 1981 and from 2002 to 2016). According to the Panel Study on Income Dynamics (PSID) the findings are: -The median income growth experienced by prime-age Americans over a fifteen-year period has been cut by almost two thirds, from 27% to 8%. -The proportion experiencing a large income loss has more than tripled, from 4% to 12%. -The upper middle class has expanded significantly, while the “middle” middle class (MMC) has shrunk from 50% to 36%. -Income growth at the top of the distribution has been almost twice as fast as in the middle (48% at the 95th percentile, compared to 26% at the median). -Upward mobility out of poverty has declined, from 43% to 35%. -Downward mobility from the MMC has doubled, from 5% to 11%. -More education has become more closely associated with a higher income; 59% of those with a BA+ are in the upper middle class or higher, up from 37%. The analyses presented here confirm the broadly accepted picture of rising income inequality and slowing income growth for middle-class. Slower income growth for of the rest of the population, combined with a heightened risk of losing economic ground over time, may help explain the current discontent of many in the American middle class. Source:

On the Trail of the Assassins sold about forty thousand copies when it was originally released in hard cover. Jim Garrison's book was the primary source material for Oliver Stone’s hit film JFK—is Garrison’s own account of his investigations into the background of Lee Harvey Oswald and the assassination of President Kennedy, and his prosecution of Clay Shaw in the trial that followed. In what was probably an unprecedented campaign in the history of American cinema, the MSM attacked the film JFK seven months in advance of its release. In fact, Ben Bradlee and the The Washington Post sent George Lardner to Dallas to write a story as the film was being shot in Dealey Plaza. Lardner’s article was the first volley in a seven-month MSM campaign that was intended to make sure that the reception of JFK was jaundiced in advance. Many of the same people who attacked Garrison back in the sixties were brought back to do so again, like Hugh Aynesworth and Edward Epstein. The fact that neither of these men was at all credible or objective on the subjects of the Kennedy assassination or Jim Garrison was irrelevant. The goal was to savage the film before it had a fair hearing.

In spite of this assault, JFK did well at the box office, both at home and abroad. It was nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture. But to show the reader just how nutty the anti-JFK crusade was, consider the following. On the eve of the Oscars, an anonymous author bought an ad in the trade journal Variety. The ad asked that no voters cast their ballot for the film as Best Picture. Researcher Rich Goad did some detective work and found out that the ad was paid for by the late Warren Commission counsel David Belin. Garrison had always insisted that, for various reasons, he was never able to reveal most of the evidence he had secured from 1967-69. Authors like William Davy, Joan Mellen and myself went through what the ARRB attained and we saw The Garrison files in the Archives hold an abundance of utterly fascinating material on a wide array of subjects dealing with many aspects of the JFK case. Does the MSM reveal any of this to the public? No. In the twentieth century, and up until today, the American media has been controlled by an oligarchical class. Some authors call this class the Eastern Establishment. Some call it the Power Elite. 

As sociologist Donald Gibson explained in his fine book Battling Wall Street, President Kennedy was not a part of that group. He never joined the Council on Foreign Relations; he did not join any secret societies at Harvard; he didn’t like working intelligence during World War II. He got transferred out to the South Pacific and served with a bunch of Joe Six Pack guys on what were close to suicide missions. As this author demonstrated in the second edition of Destiny Betrayed, both in the Senate and in the White House, Kennedy was opposed to much of what this Power Elite was doing abroad, especially in the Third World. After his death, the progress that he did make in the White House was largely reversed. Jim Garrison was probably the first critic of the Warren Commission who understood this matter. And it is probably one of the reasons the MSM decided to smear him beyond recognition. With the release of Garrison’s files by the ARRB, there is no doubt today that Clay Shaw used the pseudonym of Clay Bertrand. The declassified files contain over ten witnesses who stated this was the case. It is further revealed that the FBI knew this as well. 

It is also now shown that Clay Shaw lied about his association with the CIA. That association has turned out to be a long service and a lucrative one. Not only did Shaw lie about it at his own trial, the CIA continually lied about it, and Robert Blakey fell for it. In the HSCA volumes, Shaw is referred to as part of a large businessman’s contact program in the Agency. Not true. Shaw was a well-compensated contract agent from at least the fifties. The CIA tried desperately to cover up these facts, even going as far as altering Shaw’s files. (William Davy, Let Justice Be Done, p. 200) The ARRB later discovered the CIA had gone even further and destroyed Shaw’s 201 file. As the late Yale educated attorney Allard Lowenstein once said regarding the Robert Kennedy assassination: in his experience as a lawyer, people who have nothing to hide don’t hide things. As authors like William Davy and Joan Mellen have shown, the media utterly destroyed Jim Garrison. Before Garrison took on the Kennedy assassination, he had a promising career ahead of him as a Louisiana politician. Many thought he could have been governor or senator from the state. That career was utterly wrecked by the two-year roasting he took in the press from almost every outlet imaginable: CBS, NBC, NY Times, Life Magazine, Saturday Evening Post, to name just a few. Garrison was eventually defeated in his District Attorney re-election bid due to two sets of phony pinball kickback charges, which he defeated at trial. But the publicity weakened his position and strengthened his opponent Harry Connick, who defeated him in a close election in 1973. To most legal observers, Connick turned out to be a very poor DA compared to Jim Garrison. 

After Jim Garrison was retired from the DA’s office, it took him years to recover from the ordeal he went through. At that time, people who visited him in New Orleans said he had a small office that he rented from a larger firm. This is the man who likely would have been residing in the governor’s mansion if not for the JFK case. As the declassified files reveal, before Garrison’s probe was exposed, he was making a lot of progress. Afterwards, it was open season on him. And he was targeted by the big guns of the media. NBC sent in Sheridan, Newsweek sent in Hugh Aynesworth, and the Saturday Evening Post sent down James Phelan. Many writers have shown how these men obstructed Garrison once his inquiry was out in the open. In fact, the only sensible thing that is uttered through the entire 30 minutes of this program is by James when she says if she had known what was going to happen, she would have recommended leaving that matter alone. One reason she may have said this is due to another matter that, surprisingly—almost shockingly—the program leaves out. Five days after the James story ran, David Ferrie was found dead in his apartment. Although the coroner ruled Ferrie had died because of a ruptured berry aneurism, he left two typed, unsigned suicide notes. A later coroner, Frank Minyard, pointed out that in photos, one could see bruising on the inside of Ferrie’s mouth and inside the lower lip. Minyard theorized that Ferrie could have been poisoned with some kind of solution that could have caused the aneurism. As Bill Davy and others have demonstrated, Garrison had called Shaw in for questioning as early as December of 1966. Davy analyzed why Shaw’s answers during questioning provoked Garrison’s further interest in the man. As his inquiry began to pick up steam, Garrison discovered that Shaw knew Ferrie, Banister, and Oswald. And he was seen in the Clinton/Jackson area with Ferrie and Oswald. The idea that this program leaves, that somehow Shaw was an admirer of President Kennedy, is contradicted by no less than Ferrie himself. Ferrie said that Shaw hated JFK. The CIA eventually declassified documents which show Shaw was well compensated for his services dating back to the fifties. As per the expenses for his defense, Shaw’s defense team was getting tons of help from Washington. Source:

Jim DiEugenio: Lyndon B Johnson reversed almost all of Kennedy's major foreign policy programs: Congo, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, and Vietnam. He also completely mishandled Kennedy's civil rights program and his planned war on poverty, which ended up being stillborn. Harry Truman did to FDR what LBJ did to Kennedy. Once FDR died disastrous things happened: the atomic bombings of Japan--killing over 200,000 civilians in three days--and the igniting of the Cold War. And we are living with those two horrendous events today. This is why Republicans like George Will like HarryTruman. He is the indirect father to the neocon movement, which controls foreign policy today. The alternative was FDR and Henry Wallace. Eisenhower, as the authors of that fine book Subversion as Foreign Policy note, was the father of American assassination plots and regime change in the Third World. It was Ike who directly ordered the assassination of Patrice Lumumba. It was Ike who ordered the plans to overthrow Castro. He gave free rein to the Dulles brothers and their ideas about American dominance in the Third World: Guatemala and Iran. 

The idea that Woodrow Wilson was a progressive president is also belied by his creation of the privately held Federal Reserve Board, the stock in that monstrosity was owned by the Rockefellers, Morgans, and Warburgs. This is progressive? Obama promised us Hope and Change. Yet his plan on salvaging the economy differed little from what Paulson originally announced in 2008 (TARP) and started doing in January of 2009. Geithner essentially revised it a bit and expanded it. People like Krugman criticized the program on the grounds that they were really non-recourse loans from which asset managers would benefit greatly--in other words, not only would no one be indicted, they would be rewarded for the disaster they created. In foreign policy, did Obama, on his own, stop any of the NSA surveillance programs? Did he get us out of Afghanistan? Its pretty bad when Trump does the things that Obama should have done. Defending Obama by saying that he did not have a veto proof senate reminds me of the shameless defense of Clinton that says well, derivatives and the destruction of Glass Steagall had the votes anyway! Well, Clinton could have vetoed both. He did not.

In 1936, after the first New Deal, FDR made his famous speech upon being nominated. He said words to the effect that in his first term he had tamed the wild beasts of corporate greed. In his second term he planned on bringing them to their knees. With the Obama/Biden actions of 2009, Wall Street brought Washington, the White House and the American taxpayers to their knees.The annual deficits rose under Obama as compared to George Bush, and they were pretty bad under Bush. They did not begin to stabilize until about 2013. But even then, they were worse than they were under Bush. The price of all this is America became a bankrupt country. To do anything now one needs to use the Fed. And we will be paying for it for a long time.

When JFK began his partial test ban treaty everything was stacked against him. He worked on it day and night: it passed overwhelmingly. When he began his civil rights bill in 1963 he was not even close to getting it passed--back then you needed 67 votes to dodge a filibuster. So, in June of 1963, he began the biggest lobbying program in modern history. That program paid off when, after his death, RFK, Hubert Humphrey and Tom Kuchel broke the filibuster in the summer of 1964. Senator Richard Russell later admitted that it was JFK's courting of, and bringing into Washington, the midwest Protestant ministers that eventually broke the filibuster. To me, that's leadership. Source:

Monday, August 10, 2020

John F. Kennedy Jr: Political Superstar

In 1991, Oliver Stone's popularized a version of President Kennedy's assassination, JFK featured U.S. government agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the military as conspirators. The HSCA had reinvestigated the murder and issued a new report, but their records were sealed until the year 2029. Stone suggested at the end of JFK that Americans could not trust official public conclusions had they been made in secret. Congress passed legislation—the JFK Act—that released the secret records that prior investigations gathered and created. "Oliver Stone called for the remaining CIA and FBI documents pertaining to the assassination of Kennedy to be released. Clifford Krauss reported in the New York Times that members of the Kennedy family supported his movie. The historian Stephen Ambrose argued that "the crime of the century is too important to be allowed to remain unsolved and too complex to be left in the hands of Hollywood movie makers." The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, or the JFK Records Act, was passed by the United States Congress, and became effective on 26th October, 1992. —"Assassination of John F. Kennedy Encyclopedia" (2012) by John Simkin

“John F. Kennedy Jr. considered himself a crusader in the tradition of his father JFK and uncle Robert Kennedy, for equal justice for minorities and the poor,” journalist Leon Wagner claims. “John was outraged by the idea that the people who had the least ability to defend themselves would be most vulnerable thanks to Joe Biden’s 1994 crime bill, and he called Biden 'a traitor'.” Early on in the coverage of John Kennedy Jr’s “missing” airplane, it was reported that he radioed the control tower at 9:39 p.m., reporting his position as “13 miles from the airport, not more than 10 miles from shore,” indicating that he was planning his landing. Note that the crash wreckage was found 7 miles off the coast, 19 miles from the airport. Remember that the last location they said was reported on radar was only 16 miles from the airport. Thus, according to the official version, while plunging at 6,000 feet per minute (according to the last two radar blips), from an altitude of 1,100 feet, with only 11 seconds to impact at that rate, the airplane, which was traveling northeast, managed to fly 3 miles to the west in only 11 seconds! Shades of the “magic bullet” theory again? Victor Pribanic, a fisherman at Squibnocket Point (identified by the number “1”) reported to the Martha’s Vineyard Times that he had heard a “loud explosion-like sound" from the direction of Nomans Land. This “ear witness” report, ignored by mainstream media, corroborates the 13-mile distance that Kennedy called in to the control tower. A reporter for the Vineyard Gazette newspaper (identified by the number “2”) is reported to have told WCVB-TV in Boston that he saw a "big white flash in the sky" off Philbin Beach, on the southwest coast of Martha’s Vineyard. Other reports indicate that approximately ten witnesses reported an explosion or flash of light “from the south” at about the time of the crash. A guest of the Kennedys (identified by the number “3”), is reported to have witnessed an explosion. Based on the reports of witnesses and Kennedy’s own report to the control tower, there is little doubt that the crash occurred in the vicinity of Nomans Land, some six-and one-half miles from where the wreckage of the plane was officially found. Sherman Skolnick advertises himself as the producer/moderator of the Chicago public access, CableTV Program, Broadsides, and the chairman/founder of the Citizen's Committee to Clean Up the Courts. In an e-mail, he writes of John Kennedy: “He planned to reveal a well-kept secret about August 1, 1999. He was to announce he was running for president.” 

1078 Sasco Hill Road, Fairfield CT: This 4-acre property on Sasco Hill Road in Fairfield known as Bella Vista was admired by John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife, Carolyn, and they wanted to purchase the spacious, beachfront home that was originally commissioned by Mrs. Hugh Auchincloss, Kennedy's maternal grandmother, and designed in the Newport Georgian style by architect Roger Bullard in 1927. “Kennedy Jr. was taken with the quiet life it might provide him after a life of constant colliding with the world’s media,” Cathy Griffin, a speaker for Movoto Real Estate, confirmed. “When he was in the neighborhood, he and Carolyn would drive around the property, asking about the possibility of it hitting the market.” The price tag on the mansion now is $7.75 million. Carolyn Bessette Kennedy may have been pregnant when she died with her husband. Ann Freeman, Carolyn and Lauren Bessette's mother, received an indemnization of approximately 25 millions dollars by Caroline Kennedy. Ann Freeman, John Jr's mother-in-law seemed to foresee the fateful destiny of their daughters when during the wedding reception of John and Carolyn, she made a vague allusion to "the Kennedy curse."

At age 39, John Jr had made up his mind to launch his political career by seeking an electoral mandate in New York State, and he was about to announce it publicly. He had also expressed to his friends his ambition to ultimately reach for the presidency. Given his personality and his popularity, he had high chances to make it in less than 20 years. He might realistically have become U.S. president in 2008 or 2016. Brought up in the worship of his father, John Jr had taken a keen interest in “conspiracy theories” about his death at least since his late teens. His knowledge deepened in his thirties, made him aware of State and media cover-ups in other affairs, and motivated him to publish, eight months before his death, a cover article by Oliver Stone, director of the groundbreaking film JFK, titled “Our Counterfeit History”. John Junior was probably not yet ready for the presidency— although some insiders, like Pierre Salinger, believed he would have run for president in 2000. But on the other hand, for many reasons, he was a more natural candidate than RFK, with more potential. RFK Jr. had always been suspect of the strange circumstances surrounding the death of his father Robert Kennedy (he came to the conclusion Shirhan Shirhan was not the guilty man and he expressed his doubts about JFK Jr's accidental plane crash as 'very suspicious.')

Laurence Leamer captured the Kennedys philosophy in his book The Kennedy Men: 1901-1963  (2011). Joe Kennedy, he writes “believed that a few powerful men were the rightful leaders of their generation. Joseph P. Kennedy knew that he had achieved so much in America because of the liberty and opportunities. He believed that sons of privilege and wealth had an obligation to serve their country and to return something of the bounty that they had inherited. Joe taught that they must trust each other and venture out into a dangerous world full of betrayals and uncertainty, always returning to the sanctuary of family.” Jackie Kennedy, the guiding spirit in John Jr’s life, definitely saw her son as Camelot’s standard-bearer. In her last letter to him before dying to lymphoma in 1994, she wrote: “You, John, especially have a place in history.” According to presidential historian Doug Wead, Jackie “knew in her heart that, some day, the stars are gonna line up, and he’s gonna be president.” “My mom sort of pressured me to get into politics,” John Jr. told Lloyd Howard in 1997. “She expected me to follow in my father’s footsteps, and of course I will. But I don’t think the time is right just yet." In 1999, at age 39, John was trying to sell his magazine. He had new plans. According to Gary Ginsberg, a close collaborator who was with John the night before he died, “That last night he was very focused on two things: finding a buyer for George and his political future.” “There seemed little doubt in the minds of those who knew him that John was on the brink of a bright political future. He was probably a more natural politician than any of the other Kennedys," historian David Halberstam said, “and that includes his father. John had all the makings of a political superstar.’” Source:

Sunday, August 09, 2020

Christopher Fulton's The Inheritance, JFK: An Unfinished Life by Robert Dallek

Christopher Fulton: I received a phone call and heard the distinguished voice of Mr. Warren P. Weitman Jr. “Mr. Fulton, thank you for the book you sent documenting President Kennedy’s Cartier wristwatch. After careful review by several heads of departments, we’ve come to the conclusion that Sotheby’s would love to sell it privately for you, but we will require your legal release before we can contact the Kennedy family. Once we have a confidentiality agreement in place we can proceed. We’ve already prepared the release; all we require is your signature.” “Of course,” I said, “but there must be several stipulations: one, nobody but the immediate family of JFK is to see the information; two, my name is not to be shared with anyone without my prior written permission; and three, the evaluation material I sent you is to be retained by you and returned to me at the close of the transaction, with no copies made.” I thought if the family requested any further information or documents, we could draw up a contract specifying the care that would require. “Consider it done,” Weitman said. “I’ll have the release faxed to you within the hour. Thank you, Mr. Fulton.” I was concerned about how the Kennedys would react. I was in a difficult position, but if the sale proceeded, the watch would find its proper place and I could get on with my life. Once the agreement arrived, I signed it and sent it back for Weitman’s counter signature, along with a personal letter I had written for JFK Jr.

It read: "First, let me congratulate you on your marriage; I wish you nothing but happiness. I want to inform you that my corporation has acquired a personal item that belonged to your father, through his late secretary, Evelyn Lincoln. The auction Sotheby’s held on behalf of your mother was so well done that I want to sell the item in my possession to your family through them. I want no publicity, so we have signed non-disclosure agreements. The item in discussion is the documented Cartier wristwatch your father wore on Dallas November 22. Because of the highly personal nature of this piece, I wanted to contact you personally. I suggest that 15% of the proceeds be given to the JFK library, and another 10% to a cause of your choice. Your concerns and/or suggestions are encouraged and appreciated. If you are not interested in purchasing this item, I would like Sotheby’s to sell it publicly. If you are adamantly opposed to a public sale, please write a letter to Sotheby’s stating your feelings as such, and I will honor your wishes. Thank you, and best to you and your wife." Janet Reno explained: “We didn’t put an injunction on the auction because Robert White, the main consigner, cooperated with us, signed our agreement, and relinquished the items we requested and JFK Jr. told us he would secure Fulton’s evidence for the National Archives. Ted Kennedy was concerned about JFK Jr.’s involvement, so we had a sealed indictment and warrant ready for Fulton when he came into the country; we were going to arrest him at the airport in New York before his transaction with JFK Jr. took place.” I knew extradition was a very expensive and complicated political undertaking, something that would make headlines. I was in a lot of trouble if the U.S. Government wanted me this badly. It must be about the evidence, and my meeting with John Kennedy Jr. “I sold physical and documentary evidence in JFK’s assassination, evidence Bobby Kennedy had collected and withheld from the government in the ’60’s. I gave a private interview to John F. Kennedy Jr. in Florida for an expos√© about it. It’s going to run in George magazine.” While I was in Florida with John Jr., he told me Robert White had been under investigation by the FBI for obtaining items of national security that were willed to him by President Kennedy’s personal secretary, Evelyn Lincoln.

I was still trying to come to terms with what the Federal Government had done to my life. Now I lamented the loss of John Jr., for myself and for the country; we’d all had something precious stolen from us. The next days I operated like a robot, performing my meaningless duties within the federal labor camp. I listened to the radio and I understood there hadn’t been a real search and rescue for days after they were reported missing. Then the military took over the investigation, and on the sixth day, the bodies were recovered. The United States Government and military had spearheaded the investigation, and it took six days to find the plane and recover the bodies just off the coast. The reports said John was reckless, that it was pilot error and he was responsible for the crash. I knew it wasn’t true. I heard excerpts of Ted Kennedy’s eulogy for John; the words rang in my ears for days: “John F. Kennedy Jr. had only just begun, there was in him a great promise of things to come.” John Jr. was eliminated before he could expose the lies in his father’s murder and the hardships of Robert Kennedy, Robert Bouck, Angela Novello, and Evelyn Lincoln in their courageous efforts to secure and preserve the truth. There would be no story at all, except the story of another dead Kennedy. Fidel Castro addressed his people on a broadcast that was displayed on every television and radio in Cuba. “I have sad news to tell you tonight; a fine young American, along with his wife and sister-in-law, has died in a plane crash into the ocean. His name is John Kennedy Jr., the promising son of the former President of the United States. John Jr.was my friend, and Cuba’s friend; I will miss him, and I will always wonder about what greatness we have lost but will never realize. I don’t cry, but I've cried today.” These truths were not just Bobby Kennedy’s mantle, or Evelyn Lincoln’s or John Jr.’s, or even Robert White’s or mine; they belonged to the country. They belonged to all of us. —The Inheritance: Poisoned Fruit of JFK's Assassination (2018) by Christopher Fulton

David Heymann has faked interviews in his books. First of all, the fact Heymann has done this is beyond dispute. I myself demonstrated several instances in which this had happened. David Cay Johnston exposed Heymann in Newsweek, 2014, in "Getting Away With Literary Fraud": "Heymann was a fraud, and his biographies of high profile people are filled with sensationalized falsehoods and flat-out lies. John Simkin somehow missed, or deliberately ignored all this. Secondly, the idea that this would somehow eliminate Heymann from being published is preposterous. Everyone in this field--except Simkin--knows that any author who writes a hatchet job on the Kennedys gets welcomed with open arms into the publishing world. And their work is never questioned. Which is how Heymann gets away with it. This of course is because the political/economic milieu today favors the practice. Harris Wofford in his book Of Kennedy and Kings wrote about this phenomenon. Publishing houses asked him to add some dirt to the book or they wouldn't publish it. Conservatives and Republicans did not like JFK, because he was thoughtful. Their favorite weapon against him was their account of his love life, which according to them involved Mafia molls and Marilyn Monroe. They must have worked themselves into fits of envy over Marilyn Monroe, the hottest woman of her time. Unlike most presidents, Kennedy was able to break with the conventional thinking of the time. From his experience with the Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Joint Chiefs’ “Operaton Northwoods,” Kennedy concluded that CIA Director Allen Dulles and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Lemnitzer were both crazed by anti-communism and were a danger to Americans and the world. But the point is, because Kennedy's foreign policy and his civil rights program contrasted with Eisenhower, it was part of the new excitement of the early sixties. Kennedy had promised to get the country moving again with his New Frontier speech at his nominating convention. And this became a part of the trajectory of that fateful decade. One that began with so much expectation and hope. Yet it ended with tens of thousands of body bags returned from Indochina, blood in the streets of Chicago, and LSD supplied by the CIA. The end was captured symbolically by the stoned out acid rock of Woodstock.

Robert Dallek has no sensitivity to any of this. Or President Kennedy's role in it. For many years–actually decades–Vietnam had been saddled with the subtitle of being McNamara's War. In other words, contrary to what Dallek is postulating, many observers saw it as a war that McNamara actually advocated. During the debates about inserting combat troops in 1961, McNamara was one of the many who advised Kennedy to do so. Many of the president's advisers-e.g. Rostow, Taylor, Ambassador Nolting, Ed Lansdale, and Deputy Defense Secretary Alexis Johnson – wanted him to insert combat troops into Vietnam in 1961. It was Kennedy who rejected each proposal. As Goldstein notes, only two men backed Kennedy in arguing against Americanizing the war: George Ball and John Kenneth Galbraith. They were outnumbered by a factor of about 3 to 1. In May of 1963, there was a meeting in Hawaii with McNamara. At this meeting, McNamara reiterated he wanted the plans speeded up. The documents on this meeting, declassified in 1997, were one of the key finds released by the ARRB.

Begrudgingly, Dallek admits "Kennedy began planning the withdrawal of U.S. military advisers in May of 1963." (An Unfinished Life, p. 668) What shows Kennedy was genuine in his new approach was the fact that he put Dick Goodwin and Adolf Berle in charge of the new policy formation. Goodwin was a liberal Harvard lawyer, congressional investigator and speechwriter. Berle had been a member of the FDR Brain Trust, and was assistant secretary for Latin America from 1938-44. Berle was very much for moving economic development forward in the southern hemisphere. Goodwin asked for input from Latin American academics in Washington. In his appointment of Douglas Dillon to Treasury, Kennedy was making the usual blow to Wall Street. Walter Heller, one of the most noted Keynesian scholars of his time, found Kennedy very interested in the economy, and the forces which drove it. Kennedy was determined to expand "the Nation's investment in physical and human resources, and in science and technology." Or, as Donald Gibson notes in his long analysis of Kennedy's economic program, "Kennedy consistently used his office in an attempt to inject growth-oriented planning into government policy." Also, Kennedy had an interest in fostering progressive governments in the Third World. In US Steel's Chairman Roger Blough's eyes, Kennedy's agreement with US Steel reminded him of Roosevelt's New Deal planning. Source:

Friday, August 07, 2020

Robert Kennedy for President (A hero's journey), White Fragility, Ratched (A Compelling Villain)

The scope of Robert Kennedy’s story—a hero’s journey, even an Augustinian allegory—possesses a grandeur missing from Washington right now. Kennedy was killed in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, just after winning the California Democratic primary of 1968. That Kennedy’s moral fiber was rooted in his family’s staunch Catholicism is a point made early in Episode 1 (“A New Generation”). After his brother’s assassination—a point after which a hint of sadness never quite leaves R.F.K.’s eyes—he evolves, gradually, into social progressive and crusader. Kennedy saw himself as the only hope for both ending the Vietnam War and keeping someone like LBJ or Nixon out of the White House. While running for president is usually not considered an act of self-sacrifice, for Kennedy it was—though to what extent, no one could have foreseen. The cast of talking heads that Porter assembled further this image of Bobby as a man worth idolizing despite his faults. His shrewdness, according to “Bobby Kennedy For President,” is integral to understand just how large his metamorphosis was into the radical humanitarian he became.

Not only do they tout his political acumen and his ability to connect with people across the country, but they claim that he was never an absent father, that he was the quintessential family man. What’s apparent throughout the film is how many of the problems Kennedy spoke up about during the 1960s continue to divide America today. In 1968, the year of Kennedy’s presidential run and assassination, the country seemed driven by violence. January saw the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, and subsequent protests raging at home. At the end of that month, the journalist Pete Hamill wrote a letter to Kennedy imploring him to run for president, which Hamill reads from in the series. “I don’t think we can afford five summers of blood,” Hamill had written. “If you won, the country might be saved.” In April, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Porter includes archival footage of Kennedy breaking the news to a largely black crowd in Indiana, and quoting Aeschylus. What the country needs most now, he tells them, isn’t more division and hatred, but “love and wisdom and compassion toward one another.” Just a few months later, Kennedy himself was assassinated in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Porter, who has an extraordinary amount of footage to work with, restages the event via photographs of a dying Kennedy lying in the arms of a busboy, Juan Romero. She interviews Romero, as well as Paul Schrade, one of Kennedy’s staff members who was also shot that day. There are certainly parallels to be drawn between current extremist movements in the U.S. and the wave of assassinations of political figures in the ’60s, but Kennedy himself is such a charismatic presence throughout that the series loses momentum after his death. The question of who might have killed him—and why—is obviously a compelling one. The final line in the series is Kennedy quoting Tennyson. “Come my friends,” he intones. “It's not too late to seek a newer world.” Source:

In short, White Fragility is a horrifying call for Whites not simply to be paralyzed by White guilt, but to become active participants in their decline, and willing accomplices in their demographic destruction. Robin DiAngelo’s introduction begins with accusation. America “began with the attempted genocide of Indigenous people. American wealth was built on the labor of enslaved Africans and their descendants.” So far, so familiar. But the book very quickly moves to an outline of the theory of White Fragility. DiAngelo points out: “Of course, some whites explicitly avow racism. We might consider these whites actually more aware of, and honest about, their biases.” In other words, even if we’re moral monsters in DiAngelo’s eyes, we aren’t “fragile.” Again, because of the extremes of the some of the dialectics here, certain truths emerge. DiAngelo remarks early in the book that “race matters,” something that many of our readers would agree with, even if it’s from a slightly different angle than the author intends. She also argues that: "All humans have prejudice; we cannot avoid it. People who claim not to be prejudiced are demonstrating a profound lack of self-awareness. Ironically, they are also demonstrating the power of socialization — we have all been taught in schools, through movies, and from family members, teachers, and clergy that it is important not to be prejudiced. Everyone has prejudice, and everyone discriminates." I couldn’t agree more: Whites have been uniquely affected by mass propaganda designed to brainwash them into viewing as morally evil something that is natural and instinctive to all humans. DiAngelo concludes her book with the blunt assertion that “a positive white identity is an impossible goal. White identity is inherently racist; white people do not exist outside the system of white supremacy.” White identity is therefore to be destroyed wholesale, and White ethnic interests crushed alongside it. DiAngelo proclaims with all the vigor of the subversive or the brainwashed that she will “strive for a less white identity, for my own liberation and sense of justice.” Liberation and justice. These words were uttered a long time ago in France. The beheadings started soon after. Source:

Why does Hollywood feel such a need to humanize a villain? I feel like since the popularity of Breaking Bad, where we see Walter White go from being a good person to a disgusting kingpin, Hollywood took the wrong lesson away from it. They saw it as “oh, people like humanized villains who do horrible things but are just like us at core. So let’s make every villain that.” I’m okay with showing shades of grey and making a compelling character. But to outright make someone who murders for fun someone you should feel bad for is morally fucked. You shouldn’t sympathize with someone who sees murder as their only solution.

The Joker shouldn’t be seen as a character to look up to. You should never use mental health as a reason why a man starts a movement to kill others who are bothering you. The half baked storyline of mental health in Phillips' Joker pisses me off, because it could have been better but he was more focused with remaking Scorsese movies. For what it's worth, Joker's presentation of its main character is morally dubious. It's exactly the sort of underdog lone wolf vengeance narrative that would appeal to basement-dwelling alt-right sociopaths, whether or not that's what the filmmakers actually had in mind. Although I don't think that problem is necessarily a result of Fleck being humanised in the script; you can just as easily glorify a total asshole without humanising them (look at Nolan/Heath Ledger's Joker - an inhuman monster - for a perfect example). 

In TV, we'll soon have a new show called Ratched created by Ryan Murphy about the villain of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. Nurse Ratched is going to be more sympathetic since she'll be shown as mentally unwell. No sane, rational, or caring person would withhold lifesaving medication as part of a power play or lock people in boiling tubs. This show is from the same guy who made Hollywood, where Henry Wilson (the Harvey Weinstein of early Hollywood) got a happy ending by making the first big screen gay love story. At no point did anyone look at that and say “maybe this isn’t a good idea?” I’m okay with showing shades of grey, and making a compelling villain you want to feel bad for. But these films glorify the killing, they make it seem like this is the right thing to do, they justify it. They take a bad guy and make him someone to look up to instead of making sure that he/she is seen as the bad guy. I know I’m coming off as “humanizing a villain shouldn’t be done.” But you can humanize a villain and still show why they are completely wrong and you never shouldn't see them as an idol. Source:

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

The Garrison Tapes, Camelot and the Kennedy's mystique, Political Satire: Bulworth

Douglas Caddy: This morning (08/06/020) I had a cup of coffee at a donut shop in Houston with a friend, Philip Dyer. I casually mentioned to him that I had recently viewed The JFK Assassination: The Garrison Tapes directed by John Barbour and I was impressed with his work. Phil then told me that he had met Clay Shaw in New Orleans sometime after Shaw had been found innocent by the jury in the trial brought by Garrison. This occurred while Phil was visiting his close friend, Bill Howard, who was New Orleans' premier interior decorator, and Howard invited him to join an unnamed friend that he planned to have breakfast with. Upon arrival at the restaurant Howard surprised Phil by introducing him Clay Shaw who was already seated. Phil said that Shaw was impeccably dressed and had piercing blue eyes. Because Howard was a close friend of Shaw and Phil was a close friend of Howard, Shaw was relaxed in his conversation at breakfast. So Phil decided to ask him whether he knew Lee Harvey Oswald. Phil told me that Shaw replied, "I knew Lee very, very well." Phil then asked Shaw whether he believed Oswald killed President Kennedy. Shaw replied, "You need to know that Lee Harvey Oswald was a patsy." Later that day Howard invited Phil to join him in attending a party at the residence of Tennessee Williams. Phil said they walked from Howard's residence in the French Quarter to Williams' house that had an immense back yard of grass, so it was likely in the nearby Garden District.

Phil said there were a hundred people at the party and they were the most beautiful people he had ever seen. I remarked to Phil that it was tragic the way Tennessee Williams later died swallowing a bottle cap that got lodged in his windpipe in his throat. It is amazing how some celebrities leave this world. Nelson Rockefeller had a heart attack while having sex with a young woman, Andy Warhol died of neglect in New York Hospital, and Dorothy Kilgallen allegedly died of a drug overdose but more likely of murder. So just add Tennessee Williams to the list. Phil Dyer is my closest friend in Houston. I have known him for years. He had told me this story before several times but it wasn't until I listened to The Garrison Tapes recently that I realized the significance of it. Phil is extremely intelligent and I said to him that what he had told me about meeting Clay Shaw and what Shaw had said made him a supremely important witness to history. I do not know whether Phil at this late stage in his life is willing to go public with what he knows and as a result become a public figure with all the headache and controversy that goes with that. I do think he would be agreeable to having a phone conversation with Jim DiEugenio so that Jim as a historian would be able to vouch later as to what Phil told me in the conversation. Source:

Jill Abramson, New York Times’s executive editor: An estimated 40,000 books about JFK have been published since his death. Readers can choose from many books but surprisingly few good ones, and, maybe with the exception of JFK & the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by James W. Douglass, not really outstanding ones. It is a curious state of affairs, and some of the nation’s leading historians wonder about it. “There is such fascination in the country about the 50th anniversary, but there is no a great book about Kennedy,” Robert Caro lamented. The situation is all the stranger since Kennedy’s life and death form “one of the great American stories.” Caro should know. His epic biography of Lyndon B. Johnson brilliantly captures parts of the Kennedy saga, especially the assassination in Dallas, revisited in the latest installment, “The Passage of Power.”

Robert Dallek, the author of “An Unfinished Life,” probably the best single-volume Kennedy biography, suggests that the cultish atmosphere surrounding, and perhaps smothering the actual man may be the reason for the deficit of good writing about him. “The mass audience has turned Kennedy into a celebrity, so historians are not really impressed by him,” Dallek told me. His own book included a good deal of fresh information on Kennedy’s severe health problems and their cover-up by those closest to him. Dallek is also good on the fairy-tale aspects of the Kennedy family history, and he closely examines the workings of the Kennedy White House. Indeed, a dolorous mood of “what might have been” hangs over a good deal of writing about Kennedy. Arriving in time for November 22 was the aptly titled “If Kennedy Lived. The First and Second Terms of President John F. Kennedy: An Alternate History,” by the television commentator Jeff Greenfield, who imagines a completed first Kennedy term and then a second. This isn’t new territory for Greenfield, who worked for Kennedy’s brother Robert and is the author of a previous book of presidential “what ifs” called “Then Everything Changed.”

Thurston Clarke, the author of two previous and quite serviceable books on the Kennedys, also dwells on fanciful “what might have beens” in “JFK’s Last Hundred Days,” suggesting that the death of the presidential couple’s last child, Patrick, brought the grieving parents closer together and may have signaled the end of Kennedy’s compulsive womanizing. What’s more, Clarke makes a giant leap about Kennedy as leader, arguing that in the final 100 days he was becoming a great president. One example, according to Clarke, was his persuading the conservative Republicans Charles Halleck, the House minority leader, and Everett Dirksen, the Senate minority leader, to support a civil rights bill. Once re-elected, Kennedy would have pushed the bill through Congress. Bad books by celebrity authors shouldn’t surprise us, even when the subject is an American president. The true mystery in Kennedy’s case is why, 50 years after his death, highly accomplished writers seem unable to fix him on the page.

Arthur Schlesinger Jr., who wrote three magisterial volumes on Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, attempted a similar history in “A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House.” Published in 1965, it has the virtues of immediacy, since Schlesinger, Kennedy’s Harvard contemporary, had been on the White House staff, brought in as court historian. He witnessed many of the events he describes. In 1993, the political journalist Richard Reeves wrote “President Kennedy: Profile of Power”, a minutely detailed chronicle of the Kennedy's White House. As a primer on Kennedy’s decision-making, like his handling of the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban missile crisis, the book is fascinating. What’s missing is a picture of Kennedy’s personal life, though Reeves includes a passing mention of Marilyn Monroe being sewn into the $5,000 flesh-colored, skintight dress she wore to celebrate the president’s birthday at Madison Square Garden in 1962. 

Balancing out, or warring with, the Kennedy claque are the Kennedy haters, like Seymour M. Hersh and Garry Wills. In “The Dark Side of Camelot,” Hersh wildly posits dubious connections between the Kennedys and the mob. The sum total of this oddly polarized literature is a kind of void. Other presidents, good and bad, have been served well by biographers and historians. We have first-rate books on Jefferson, on Lincoln, on Wilson, on both Roosevelts. Even unloved presidents have received major books: Lyndon B Johnson (Caro) and Richard Nixon (Wills). Kennedy, the odd man out, still seeks his true biographer. Why is this the case? One reason is that even during his lifetime, Kennedy defeated or outwitted the most powerfully analytic and intuitive minds. In November 1960, Esquire magazine commissioned Norman Mailer’s first major piece of political journalism, asking him to report on the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles that nominated Kennedy. Mailer’s long virtuoso article, “Superman Comes to the Supermarket,” came as close as any book or essay ever has to capturing Kennedy’s essence, though that essence, Mailer candidly acknowledged, was enigmatic.

Here was a 43-year-old man whose irony and grace were keyed to the national temper in 1960. Kennedy’s presence and light was at once soothing and disruptive. He carried himself “with a cool grace which seemed indifferent to applause, his manner somehow similar to the poise of a fine boxer, quick with his hands, neat in his timing, and two feet away from his corner when the bell ended the round.” Finally, however, “there was an elusive detachment to everything he did. One did not have the feeling of a man present in the room with all his weight and all his mind.” Mailer himself doesn’t know “whether to admire this elusiveness, or to beware of it. One could be witnessing the fortitude of a superior sensitivity or the detachment of a man who was not quite real to himself.” And yet Kennedy’s unreality, in Mailer’s view, may have answered the particular craving of a particular historical moment. “It was a hero America needed, a hero central to his time, a man whose personality might suggest contradiction and mysteries which could reach into the alienated circuits of the underground, because only a hero can capture the secret imagination of a people, and so be good for the vitality of his nation.”

Those words seemed to prophesy the Kennedy mystique that was to come, reinforced by the whisker-thin victory over Nixon in the general election, by the romantic excitements of Camelot and then by the horror of Dallas. Over fifty years later we are still sifting through the facts of the assassination. Among the more ambitious is “A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination,” a work of more than 500 pages. Its author, Philip Shenon, a former New York Times reporter, uncovered a new lead, in the person of a heretofore overlooked woman who may have had suspicious ties to Lee Harvey Oswald. But when Shenon finds the woman, now in her 70s, in Mexico, she denies having had a relationship with Oswald, and Shenon’s encounters with her prove more mysterious than illuminating. Kennedy’s murder was bound to attract novelists, and some have approached the subject inventively, if with strange results. Stephen King’s “11/22/63,” a best seller published in 2011, takes the form of a time-travel romp involving a high school English teacher who finds romance in Texas while keeping tabs on Oswald. At more than 800 pages, the novel demands a commitment that exceeds its entertainment value. Most critics seem to think the outstanding example of Kennedy assassination fiction is “Libra,” Don DeLillo’s postmodern novel, published in 1988. The narrative is indeed taut and bracing. But the challenge DeLillo set for himself, to provide readers with “a way of thinking about the assassination without being constrained by half-facts or overwhelmed by possibilities, by the tide of speculation that widens with the years,” exceeds even his lavish gifts.

Kennedy may have enjoyed the company of writers, but the long history of secrecy and mythmaking has surely contributed to the paucity of good books. In recent years, the protective seal seems to have loosened. The Kennedy family, including Edward Kennedy and his sister Jean Kennedy Smith, gave unfettered access to their father’s papers to David Nasaw, the author of “The Patriarch,” a well-received biography of Joseph P. Kennedy. Caroline Kennedy has been open to the claims of history and was involved in the publication of two books and the release of accompanying tapes. One of them, “Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life With John F. Kennedy,” contains the transcripts of the first lady’s interviews about her husband with Schlesinger, conducted in 1964 but kept secret until 2011. Unfortunately, the tapes of William Manchester’s two five-hour interviews with Jackie Kennedy, who seems to have regretted her frankness, remain under seal at the Kennedy Library until 2067. This is a final sadness for a reader sifting through these many books. Taken together, they tell us all too little about this president, who remains as elusive in death as he was in life. Source:

The House of Kennedy (2020), written by James Patterson and Cynthia Fagen, does something I would have thought no writer could possibly do in 2020. In the long section dealing with JFK, I detected not even the mention of the Vietnam conflict. This is astonishing—for two reasons. First, there have been many important documents released by the National Archives that help define President Kennedy’s intentions and policies in Vietnam. If the authors did not want to read those documents—and it’s pretty clear whoever the team was behind this product did not—then there were books based on those documents that one could consult. Patterson and Fagen did not do that either. How on earth can anyone write any kind of biography of John Kennedy, or description of his presidency, and leave that subject out?

Also, you will not learn anything about what Jack Kennedy did in his 14-year congressional career in this book. That is quite a negative achievement, because author John T. Shaw wrote an entire book about that subject: JFK in the Senate: Pathway to the Presidency (2013). Shaw came to the conclusion that Kennedy’s most important achievement on Capitol Hill was his forging of a new foreign policy toward countries emerging from the bonds of European colonialism. This policy grew directly out of Kennedy’s opposition to what had come before him in the form of both the administrations of Harry Truman and Dean Acheson and that of Dwight Eisenhower and John Foster Dulles. The great schism between Senator John Kennedy and Eisenhower/Dulles came in the form of Kennedy’s famous Algeria speech of 1957. In that speech, the senator denounced the Eisenhower administration’s inability to break away from loyalty to France in the colonial war. John Kennedy said that the White House did not seem to understand that what was going to happen in Algeria was a reprise of what had just happened in 1954 at the siege of Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam. That is a resounding French defeat, with the USA on the wrong side of history again. Source:

Jonathan Rosenbaum (The Chicago Reader): "Warren Beatty sounds off angrily and shrewdly about politics, delivering what is possibly his best film and certainly his funniest and liveliest." Bulworth (1998) is a onetime Kennedy liberal (like Beatty himself), an incumbent senator from California who is accused by an opponent of being "old liberal wine trying to pour himself into a new conservative bottle." Distraught because of his own corruption and the sad state of American politics, Bulworth hires an assassin to kill him, an act that gives Beatty a new lease on life. Invigorated, he sets about appropriating African-American slang and culture, as well as telling "the truth." Beatty directed, produced and co-wrote "Bulworth," and it's doubtful that any other Hollywood power could have put a story like this on the screen or would want to. A shrewd political observer for decades, Beatty has fashioned a hilarious morality tale that delivers a surprisingly potent, angry message beneath the laughs. Hollywood rarely embraces political satire on this level as if it were impolite and would make people uncomfortable but Beatty's lampoon excels as sharp commentary.

The coolest stuff in "Bulworth" happens in the second half when the candidate, having decided that he doesn't want to die after all, romances a young black woman (Halle Berry) and hides out at her family's ghetto residence. Beatty deserves huge credit for pulling off an enterprise as audacious and risky as "Bulworth," for giving such a frisky and intelligent performance, and for drawing the best from his supporting actors: Jack Warden as Bulworth's senior aide, Christine Baranski as his brittle wife, Paul Sorvino as a vicious lobbyist, Don Cheadle as a South Central Los Angeles gang leader and especially Oliver Platt as Bulworth's flustered, bellicose chief operative.

You could call him insane, but if you look at it more romantically, perhaps he is "posessed" by the "spirit" of social justice, a mere vessel for the truths that need to be told. He is a character unaware of the significance in what he is saying. To him, if he's not completely insane, he's simply a man who broke down and decided to tell it like it is (ala Peter Finch in Network). There's even a performance by poet-playwright Amiri Baraka as a homeless muse who resurfaces throughout the film to counsel Bulworth, "You got to be a spirit. You got to sing -- don't be no ghost." That piece of poetry may be the closest Beatty comes to a pure statement here: 'Take control of your life,' he seems to say; 'don't let the system play you for a fool.' Nominee for Best Writing in 1999, Screenplay written directly for the screen by Warren Beatty and Jeremy Pikser, Bulworth is a quintessential example of a 'contemporary classic' for our generation. Source:

Is JFK a good movie? Actually, it’s a great movie that looks better with each passing year. JFK has a mad genius, making the ultimate point of that Kennedy may have been murdered as part of an institutional coup d’√©tat by powerful shadowy forces, usurping democracy by preventing citizens from investigating further. Stone keeps bringing the movie back to two men. There’s Jim Garrison, whom JFK paints as a fair, reasonable, good-humored man—trying to run a major investigation on a piddly budget, while seeing his faith in institutions tested many times. And then there’s John Kennedy, whom JFK recognizes as a divisive figure, sparking heated arguments among American citizens. “It’s up to you,” Garrison says directly into the camera at the end of the closing argument of the only major criminal trial related to the Kennedy assassination. But as Stone shows the revolting headshot in the Zapruder film, he also reminds the audience that this is a film about a gifted President whose administration ended horrifically—and undemocratically. If Stone hasn’t exactly solved the Kennedy assassination, he has captured—with a dark cinematic flair that leaves you reeling—why it still looms like a sickening nightmare.  Source:

Monday, August 03, 2020

American baby boomer's cognitive decline, Psychology of Men & Masculinities

In a reversal of trends, American baby boomers scored lower on a test of cognitive functioning than did members of previous generations, according to a new nationwide study. Findings showed that average cognition scores of adults aged 50 and older increased from generation to generation, beginning with the greatest generation (born 1890-1923) and peaking among war babies (born 1942-1947). Scores began to decline in the early baby boomers (born 1948-1953) and decreased further in the mid baby boomers (born 1954-1959). According to study author Hui Zheng, professor of sociology at The Ohio State University: “It is shocking to see this decline in cognitive functioning among baby boomers after generations of increases in test scores,” Zheng said. “But what was most surprising to me is that this decline is seen in all groups: men and women, across all races and ethnicities and across all education, income and wealth levels.”

Results showed lower cognitive functioning in baby boomers was linked to less wealth, along with higher levels of loneliness, depression, inactivity and obesity, and less likelihood of being married. The study was published online recently in the Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences. Zheng analyzed data on 30,191 Americans who participated in the Health and Retirement Survey, conducted by the University of Michigan. People over 51 years old were surveyed every two years. As part of the study, participants completed a cognitive test in which they had to recall words they had heard earlier, name objects they were shown and perform other tasks. Other research has shown that overall rates of mortality and illness have increased in baby boomers, but generally found that the highly educated and wealthiest were mostly spared. “That’s why it was so surprising to me to see cognitive declines in all groups in this study,” Zheng said. “Baby boomers already start having lower cognition scores than earlier generations at age 50 to 54,” he said. Zheng looked for clues across the lifetimes of those in the study. Increasing cognition scores in previous generations could be tied to beneficial childhood conditions – conditions that were similar for baby boomers, Zheng said.

Baby boomers’ childhood health was as good as or better than previous generations and they came from families that had higher socioeconomic status. They also had higher levels of education and better occupations. “The decline in cognitive functioning that we’re seeing does not come from poorer childhood conditions,” Zheng said. The biggest factors linked to lower cognition scores among baby boomers in the study were lower wealth, higher levels of self-reported loneliness and depression, lack of physical activity and obesity. Living without a spouse, being married more than once in their lives, having psychiatric problems and cardiovascular risk factors including strokes, hypertension, heart disease and diabetes were also associated with lower cognitive functioning among people in this generation. “If it weren’t for their better childhood health, more favorable family background, more years of education and higher likelihood of having a white-collar occupation, baby boomers would have even worse cognitive functioning,” Zheng said.

There were not enough late baby boomers (born in 1960 or later) to include in this study, but Zheng said he believes they will fare no better. The same might be true for following generations unless we find a solution for the problems found here, he said. While many of the problems linked to lower cognitive functioning are symptoms of modern life, like less connection with friends and family and growing economic inequality, other problems found in this study are unique to the United States, Zheng said. One example would be the lack of universal access and high cost of health care. “Part of the story here are the problems of modern life in the U.S.,” he said. One of the biggest concerns is that cognitive functioning when people are in their 50s and 60s is related to their likelihood of having dementia when they are older. “With the aging population in the United States, we were already likely to see an increase in the number of people with dementia,” Zheng said. “But this study suggests it may be worse than we expected for decades to come.” Source:

New research suggests that sexual promiscuity negatively impacts social responses toward both gay and straight men. The study, published in the journal Psychology of Men & Masculinities, found that women are more likely to seek to avoid gay men described as promiscuous compared to gay men who are not described as promiscuous. “Perceptions of masculinity, and stereotypes toward gay men, are multifaceted,” said study author Corey Cook, an assistant professor of psychology at Pacific Lutheran University. “I was interested in knowing what happens when some of these perceptions overlap; for example, does perceived sexual promiscuity (which is associated with traditional ideas of masculinity) affect perceptions of gay and straight men similarly? These kinds of comparisons can help us understand where these prejudices come from, and hopefully help us find ways to reduce them.” In the study, heterosexual undergraduate students were randomly assigned to report their social attitudes towards either gay men, straight men, gay men who are sexually promiscuous, straight men who are sexually promiscuous, gay men with feminine qualities, straight men with feminine qualities, gay men with masculine qualities, or straight men with very masculine qualities.

To assess their attitudes, the participants were asked how strongly they agreed with statements such as “I would like for a member of this group to work in the same place as I do” and “Members of this group are the kind of people that I tend to avoid.” The researchers found that both female and male participants reported greater social distancing toward gay men than toward straight men. Women also reported greater social distancing toward sexually promiscuous gay men than gay men in general. Men, however, showed no difference in attitude between sexually promiscuous gay men and gay men in general. In addition, Cook and his colleagues found that women reported greater social distancing toward sexually promiscuous straight men compared to all other groups. “One important implication of this research is that attitudes based on sexual behavior can be more nuanced than we often think. Research consistently finds that heterosexual women are generally more accepting of gay men than heterosexual men are. My findings suggest that this is not the case when gay men are explicitly labeled as sexually promiscuous,” Cook told PsyPost.

“Additionally, heterosexual women and men respond negatively toward straight men labeled as sexually promiscuous. This is interesting because heterosexual men have traditionally used ‘sexual prowess’ as a way to boost their status; my research suggests that this tactic might not work as well as men think.” In a second experiment, the researchers found evidence that women’s negativity toward sexually promiscuous gay men was related to concern for disease threats. But perceived disease threat only explained some of the relationship. “One major caveat to these findings is that our data do not fully explain why women responded so negatively toward targets labeled as sexually promiscuous. What is it about sexual promiscuity that elicited such negative reactions from women in our studies?” Cook said. “Also, what perpetuates this “masculine” norm among men if both men and women respond negatively to sexual promiscuity? I hope my findings are interesting enough to motivate other researchers to explore these questions in ways I haven’t yet thought of. I think the timing of this research is fortuitous. We are at a point culturally when people are beginning to ask very important questions about traditional ideas of gender, sex, and sexuality. Maybe findings such as these can help us think of ways to redefine masculinity and help us find healthier ways of perceiving sexuality,” Cook added. Source:

Raeanne Bartlett: When I think of Jim and Pam's love story, it comes to mind William Shakespeare's words from Shakespeare in Love: “You will never age for me, nor fade, nor die.” Jim Morrison didn't have issues with gay people. He just didn't like them coming onto him, but he wasn't a homophobe. There is a reference of gay Vaya Warren (who can be seen making a brief cameo in the 1978 film Thank God It's Friday) in the interview with Eva Gardonyi from Frank Lisciandro's book "Friends gathered together". Gardonyi recalls that Jim said about Vaya (an acquaintance of Pamela who frequented her boutique Themis): "I tolerate him, but would he ever touch me, I'll kill him". 

Sasha Chermayeff: John had begun his efforts with George magazine. His next goal was to be a New York senator, or possibly governor. And then he would have run for President. One morning on the Vineyard we joked about the election of 2012—he wanted to run in 2012. John thought philosopher Russell Blackford got it right: ‘We need to focus on evidence and arguments, and on ordinary fairness and compassion to others, even when we disagree.’ I don’t think Carolyn controlled John but she probably tried to change his views if she thought it would be in his benefit. I think John could also be controlling. That’s how I see it. He didn’t like her mother or most of her friends, and when they weren’t together one of his friends was reporting him what was she doing. I never heard John saying anything negative about Ann Freeman (Carolyn's mother) directly, he just complained he didn't like how she was whispering to her daughter's ear about how she should live her life. And yes, John didn't get along with Carolyn's friends at all, because I know he didn't click with that type (Fashion & mostly gay crowd), he called those types 'clusterfucks'. Brad Johns (Carolyn's hairdresser from her early fashion days) said John was controlling and he was the reason Carolyn stopped getting her hair done there. John sent a cease and desist letter to Brad Johns because he 'was talking to the press' when all he did was promote his salon using his clientele. Once John threatened Michael Bergin when this guy phoned Carolyn home. I think John also didn't like Gordon Henderson (Carolyn's designer friend) or other people who he felt could have a bad influence on Carolyn. ―"American Son: A Portrait of John F. Kennedy Jr." (2002) by Richard Blow & Richard Bradley