WEIRDLAND: August 2020

Sunday, August 30, 2020

RIP Vincent Salandria

Vincent J. Salandria (1928 – 2020) was one of the first Warren Commission critics, and a persistent researcher of President John F. Kennedy's causes of assassination. Vincent J. Salandria has died at his home in Philadelphia, PA. He was 92 years old. “Vince Salandria is the greatest teacher we have on JFK. His False Mystery is our classic foundation for understanding President Kennedy’s assassination by his national security state for choosing peace. Read it and learn.” —Jim Douglass, author of JFK and the Unspeakable. A fierce and formidable critic of the U. S. government’s version of the events surrounding the president’s murder, Salandria is rightfully considered one of the first and most influential citizen activists who sought to challenge the official version of events. Salandria was born in Philadelphia in 1926. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1951 he became a lawyer. A pacifist, Salandria had a long record of campaigning for civil rights. Member of the American Civil Liberties Union, in 1964 Salandria published an article in the Legal Intelligencer where he argued that the wounds of President John Kennedy suggested he had not been killed by a lone gunman. Salandria argued that Kennedy had been assassinated by "the national security state" because he was trying to bring an end to the Cold War. Salandria also rejected the idea that the assassination was organized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Mafia, the Soviet Union, Fidel Castro or Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1975 Salandria told Gaeton Fonzi: "I'm afraid we were misled. All the critics, myself included, were misled very early. I see that now. We spent too much time and effort microanalyzing the details of the assassination when all the time it was obvious, it was blatantly obvious that it was a conspiracy. Don't you think that the men who killed Kennedy had the means to do it in the most sophisticated and subtle way? They chose not to. Instead, they picked the shooting gallery that was Dealey Plaza and did it in the most barbarous and openly arrogant manner. The cover story was transparent and designed not to hold, to fall apart at the slightest scrutiny. The forces that killed Kennedy wanted the message clear: 'We are in control and no one - not the President, nor Congress, nor any elected official - no one can do anything about it.' It was a message to the people that their Government was powerless." Source: spartacus-educational.com

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

In Retrospect: The Vietnam War, JFK

"The evil that is in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding. You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing everything with logic." -Albert Camus

540,000 American combat troops arrived to Vietnam by 1968. There were no combat troops in Vietnam the day President Kennedy was assassinated. Vietnam was a Rubicon that Kennedy never showed any signs of crossing. As the advisors who were noted, LBJ’s tone and attitude were much more militaristic, compromising and controlling than John Kennedy’s. (Robert McNamara, In Retrospect) LBJ said, “I am not going to lose Vietnam. I am not going to be the President who saw Southeast Asia go the way that China went.” Kennedy had appointed his Defense Secretary to supervise the withdrawal plan until its completion in 1965. Johnson not only ignored NSAM 263, he actually increased the advisors there to over 20,000. There is another manipulative statement Johnson made to McNamara that is probably the most revealing of all. He said, “How the hell does McNamara think he can—when he’s losing a war—he can pull men out of there?” It shows that Johnson was reading the Pentagon’s back channel reports about the true state of the war: namely Saigon was losing. Secondly, it shows that Johnson thought that Vietnam figured among America’s vital interests and it had to be defended at all costs. Because if we lost there, it would embolden the international communist conspiracy. This illustrates the difference between JFK and LBJ. 

Johnson was a classic Cold Warrior who completely bought into the Domino Theory. As National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy told his biographer, that was not the case with John Kennedy. (Gordon Goldstein, Lessons in Disaster, pp. 230-32) By the end of 1965, Johnson had committed over 175,000 American ground troops into theater. Ken O’Donnell later wrote a book with Dave Powers where he specifically stated that Johnson had broken with Kennedy’s policy on Vietnam. After Nixon resigned, Gerald Ford took office. The Warren Commission cover-up veteran brought with him two young conservative firebrands: Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Those two did not care for Kissinger’s foreign policy. They actually considered him too moderate. Thus began the neoconservative movement. Which eventually took over Washington, including the Public Broadcasting System. Source: kennedysandking.com

Jim DiEugenio: Robert Loomis was a former top editor at Random House who was known for sanctioning books that specialized in concealing true facts about the assassinations of the 60's: in 1993 he sponsored Gerald Posner's infamous Case Closed; in 1970 it was Robert Houghton's book on the RFK case, Special Unit Senator; and then again, he helped publish Posner's 1998 book Killing the Dream. Not only did Loomis help get these spurious books published, he got them out at timely moments in history. The Houghton book was published right after the trial of Sirhan Sirhan. The John F. Kennedy book was out at the 30th anniversary of his death. The King book was also published at the 30th anniversary, in the midst of a swirling controversy. Loomis was also the editor of James Phelan's 1982 book The casebook of an investigative reporter, which featured a derogatory chapter on Jim Garrison. Before Phelan ever got to New Orleans for Clay Shaw's preliminary hearing, he had already done work for government agencies." (p. 244,  Destiny Betrayed). Albert Rossi's 2013 review of Destiny Betrayed: "DiEugenio shows the deliberate theft of JFK's terms of US foreign policy and how the unravelling of five decades has "betrayed" the character of John Kennedy."

That journalistic duo, Phelan and Aynesworth, were both on the scene: Phelan as a witness for the defense and Aynesworth to help Shaw's attorneys. Phelan's job was to put the spin on each day's testimony for the residing press, thereby controlling the entire national media reportage on the Shaw trial. He would invite all the reporters over to his rented house. On the day the Zapruder film, depicting Kennedy's body being violently knocked back, Phelan really shook up the press. It appeared Jim Garrison was right, that it had been a conspiracy. But then Phelan pulled a proverbial rabbit out of his hat. He began to outline the dynamics of the socalled 'jet-effect' explanation for the action on the film. That is, if Oswald was firing from behind Kennedy, why does Kennedy's body recoil with tremendous force to the rear of the car? This is how determined Phelan was to keep a lid on what came out of the trial. One can only assume where the reporter got his quick course in physics to dream up such a theory in a matter of hours.

The Kennedys were different, and that's why they were killed. Those who conspired to do so recognized that assassinating their characters would be a crucial part of the ongoing cover-up. I think they were fighting evil forces, and I will always consider them heroes. I'm usually very cynical about politics, and there are very few politicians I have admired during my lifetime. In comparison to their contemporaries, the Kennedys were about as honest as political figures can be. They actually did try to work for the greater good, and they were murdered because of it. If there are such things as "good guys," then John and Robert Kennedy fall into that category. In 1978, according to John Malcolm Blair’s definitive study The Control of Oil, the Rockefeller family had controlling interest in four oil companies of the top eight in the world. They were also in control of Chase Manhattan Bank, one of the biggest in the nation then and the largest today. 

They also owned the single most expensive piece of real estate in the country, Rockefeller Center in New York City. Among the list of private companies they own are IBM and Eastern Airlines. As Mort Sahl relates, before the 1960 election, he liked to say that Kennedy was the scion of a multimillionaire. Kennedy cornered him once on this topic and asked him point blank how much he thought his family was worth. Sahl replied, “Near two hundred million.” Kennedy then asked him how much he thought the Rockefellers were worth. Sahl said he had no idea. Kennedy replied sharply, “Try about four billion. Now that’s money, Mort.” The Rockefellers minions were John J. McCloy, Allen Dulles, with close ties to the Texas oil men who, along with the CIA, probably arranged the JFK assassination. If General Ed Lansdale was involved, then Allen Dulles very likely was (look at Dulles outrageous behavior on the Warren Commission farce), and if Allen Dulles was then Nelson Rockefeller very likely was. And if Nelson Rockefeller was involved in the JFK assassination, then I think it is very likely that Henry Kissinger knew exactly what was happening. Kissinger went to Harvard with McGeorge Bundy, Kennedy's NSC advisor who acted extremely suspiciously in promoting the "lone nutter" fantasy within hours of JFK's murder, not a reasonable thing to do base on the overwhelming real time evidence of multiple shots and shooters (plural). McGeorge Bundy was the secretary of the CFR at the same time future CIA head Allen Dulles was the president of the CFR. The CFR was heavily influenced, almost controlled by the Rockefellers. It's possible the Rockefellers used the CIA/military to kill JFK. Then Allen Dulles, Gerald Ford and John McCloy covered it up on the Warren Commission farce.

About Mimi Alford's story, it is clear that Robert Dallek's conclusion that Alford had an affair with President Kennedy is not borne out by what Barbara Gamarekian actually said in her oral interview archived in the JFK Library.  Yet it is remarkable how many journalists cited Dallek in their articles as if this story was true. It speaks to the lazy state of journalism in today's internet world and it speaks poorly of Dallek that he would write what he did. What Gamarekian said in 1964? Here are a few statements she made in that interview: "It could have been one of the special assistants who was interested in Mimi and flew her down to Nassau. I don't know if JFK wasn‘t implicated in it. I like to think that as far as the President was concerned, he indulged in this all sort of vicariously and it was fun to have pretty girls around." Even someone like Edward Jay Epstein could figure it out. A couple of excerpts from his 1997 article that appeared in the Los Angeles Times: "The conclusions Hersh drew about a sexual relationship between JFK and Marilyn Monroe had no basis except for unsubstantiated celebrity rumors. Hersh's other discoveries all involve recovering snatches of lost memories from distant or defective witnesses, a questionable technique of reporting that he pushes to the limit of credibility. About Robert Kennedy and Marilyn, Hersh must have invented these facts. Such license may serve to expand the universe of creative journalism, but it unfortunately does not produce credible history. When his pretensions fade away on scrutiny, this book turns out to be, alas, more about the deficiencies of investigative journalism than about the deficiencies of John F. Kennedy."  Source: educationforum.ipbhost.com

John Kennedy Jr. signed his will on December 19, 1997, some 15 months after his marriage to Carolyn Bessette, who died with him in the tragic plane crash on July 16, 1999. JFK Jr's will had the heading: "I name my cousin Anthony Radziwill as executor of my will; and if for any reason, he fails to qualify in that capacity, I name my cousin Timothy Shriver as my executor in his place. I give all my tangible personal property, wherever it is located, to my wife Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy." In the event his wife didn't outlive him, his will provided that his belongings would go to their children, if they had any. If not, he directed that all the property go to Caroline Kennedy's children. Christopher Andersen, author of The Day John Died (2007) refuted reports of discord between John Kennedy Jr and his wife Carolyn Bessette. "All this talk about them headed for a divorce was baloney," he says. "John Jr was an astoundingly moral and ethical person and he wanted this marriage to work." Andersen found no evidence to support rumors that Bessette abused cocaine. "I've talked to people who knew that Carolyn was taking antidepressants, but there was no indication of drug abuse. It's awful that she continues to be defamed."

Andersen says another misconception about John Kennedy Jr, founding editor of George magazine, was his intellectual prowess: "John Jr had a tremendous wit and native intelligence, and above all, he was a really nice guy." "I'm a warts-and-all writer," Anderson reckons, "and I couldn't really find any warts in John's life. He was loved by everybody." JFK Jr's godmother, Martha Bartlett, called Carolyn's ex Michael Bergin's book The Other Man "Pure fiction and hogwash. In my day, we would call this Bergin character a cad, especially since John and Carolyn are no longer around to defend themselves." Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's cousin John H. Davis also weighed in: "I'm horrified by this book," Davis said. "It's really horrible these things are being said, and they're not true." Likewise, Painting Horses: A Memoir by Sybil Hill was discontinued (out of print) in 2016 due to its dubious veracity. Source: www.usatoday.com

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The Devil All the Time, The Unmaking of America

Netflix has a new psychological thriller starring Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson that is set to hit the screen on September 16. The Devil All the Time features the Spider-Man: Homecoming actor in the role of Arvin Russell, a young man forced to fight the sinister characters that threaten him and his loved ones in a Midwestern Gothic tale that takes place over the course of two decades. The official premise alludes to the ominous tale that was adapted for the screen from Donald Ray Pollock’s novel of the same name. “In Knockemstiff, Ohio and its neighboring backwoods, sinister characters — an unholy preacher (Robert Pattinson), twisted couple (Jason Clarke and Riley Keough), and crooked sheriff (Sebastian Stan) — converge around young Arvin Russell (Tom Holland) as he fights the evil forces that threaten him and his family. Spanning the time between World War II and the Vietnam war, director Antonio Campos’ The Devil All the Time renders a seductive and horrific landscape that pits the just against the corrupted,” the official Netflix description reads.  

Much like his previous credits would suggest, director Antonio Campos is not crafting something breezy, with the trailer alone filling you with a sense of dread as Arvin Russell's tortured soul battles for some sense of justice. "It was a hard book to adapt also because there was so much that we loved," Campos said of the project earlier this month whilst discussing adapting Pollock's novel with brother and co-writer Paulo Campos. "I'm a big fan of southern gothic and noir and this was a perfect marriage of the two. Sometimes you might be adapting a piece and you think like, Well, there is a seed of a good idea here and I'll just throw everything away and start from scratch. In this case it was like, we love everything!" The Devil All the Time is scheduled to be released onto Netflix on September 16. Source: www.hollywoodreporter.com

How the ‘Useful Idiots’ of Liberal New York Fueled Income Inequality: Kurt Andersen, founder of Spy magazine and the author of “Evil Geniuses,” on how affluent lefties slept through the escalating inequality crisis. In his new best-selling book, “Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History,’’ the author and cultural critic Kurt Andersen performs a deep excavation of the country’s inequality crisis. He finds the roots not only in the balance-tilting schemes of Wall Street and the champions of right-wing political economics but also in the obliviousness of the liberal professional class. Kurt Andersen cops to his own part in the profound social reordering that has taken place since the 1980s. Anderson: Wall Street is the problem here. You’ve got all this money sloshing around — backing restaurants, theater, everything. Among my cohort — Gen Xers in New York — there was a great premium placed on irony and detachment over earnest engagement with pretty much anything. As soon as we turn the clock back on economic inequality and insecurity and immobility and de-rig the system and reduce Wall Street power, as soon we go back and replace market values as the supreme values in America, I’ll stop. Until that happens I'll follow the critique of a system that disadvantages almost everyone. Source: www.nytimes.com

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Limerence, JFK Jr & Carolyn Bessette

Limerence is a state of mind which results from a romantic attraction to another person and typically includes obsessive thoughts and fantasies and a desire to have one's feelings reciprocated. The concept of limerence "provides a particular carving up of the semantic domain of love", and represents an attempt at a scientific study of the nature of love. Limerence is considered as a cognitive and emotional state of being emotionally attached to or even obsessed with another person, and is characterized by a strong desire for reciprocation of one's feelings—a near-obsessive form of romantic love. For Dorothy Tennov, "sexual attraction is an essential component of limerence... the limerent is a potential sex partner". Willmott and Bentley define limerence as an acute, unexpected, obsessive attachment to one person. Limerence is characterised by internal experiences such as ruminative thinking, anxiety, fixation, and the disintegration of the self, and found in their case studies that these themes find relation to unresolved past life experiences and attempts at self-actualization. Limerence is sometimes also interpreted as infatuation, or what is colloquially known as a "crush". Tennov notes how "limerent bonds are characterized by 'entropy' crystallization as described by Stendhal in his treatise On Love, where a new love infatuation perceptually begins to transform and attractive characteristics are exaggerated and unattractive characteristics are given little or no attention". Limerence is characterized by intrusive thinking and pronounced sensitivity to external events. It can be experienced as intense joy or as extreme despair, depending on whether the feelings are reciprocated. Limerence can be difficult to understand for those who have never experienced it, and it is thus often dismissed as a construct of romantic fiction. Source: www.amazon.com

John F. Kennedy Jr.’s last days prior to his final flight were fraught with difficulty. His most pressing dilemma was the financial future of George, the political magazine he had cofounded with Michael Berman in September 1995. After a promising beginning, based primarily on JFK Jr.’s undeniable charisma, the periodical suffered considerable setbacks both in circulation and advertising revenues. Since its inception, it had gone some $30 million in the red and was losing more than $1 million per month in April-June 1999. Hachette Filipacchi, the French media consortium, had begun to lose faith in George’s ability to survive. Starting in early June 1999, Jack Kliger, Hachette’s newly appointed CEO, successor to David Pecker, had been conducting weekly meetings with John to determine George’s future.

John had collaborated with the Robin Hood Foundation since 1991, a fund-raising organization that sponsored projects in low-income New York neighborhoods. Before founding George, John Jr. had worked in the DA office in New York. One night, after winning a case, he went to dinner with Oleg Cassini, Jackie’s White House fashion designer. “I had a great deal of admiration for John,” said Cassini. “Even people who disliked the Kennedys liked John. He talked about his work in the DA’s office. What he enjoyed most about it was the marvelous assembly of characters he encountered—The interplay of conversations he heard reminded him of the theater. ‘Everyone in the office is overwhelmed,’ he complained. ‘A sense of humor is the only way you can survive.’”

Cassini asked John if he had ever wondered about his father’s assassination. “I asked him if he thought there had been a conspiracy. ‘Based on the books I’ve read,’ he responded, ‘I think it’s more than likely that Oswald was not the guilty party. But my family is extremely self-protective. There are certain details they probably don’t want to know. The same applies to my uncle Bobby’s assassination.’” In the early fall of 1990, while shooting in Belem (Brazil) At Play in the Fields of the Lord, Daryl Hannah fell ill with a mysterious virus. She was taken to a nearby medical clinic, where she spent the next week recuperating from a dangerously high fever. When he heard about her misfortune, John—a true romantic—ordered dozens and dozens of long-stemmed red roses to be delivered to her bedside at the clinic. Jack Donahue, a New York City cabdriver, never forgot the time he drove the couple from TriBeCa to Grand Central. “They were both dressed in grungy clothing topped by baseball caps,” he said. “They looked like they were on food stamps. They argued the entire trip. It had something to do with Daryl not wanting to accompany John to a political fund-raiser of some sort. By the time we reached Grand Central, he felt lousy about it and he gave me a big tip.”

“Jackie didn’t like Hollywood actresses,” said George Plimpton. “It may have had something to do with Jack Kennedy’s lifelong attraction to film stars. I remember Jackie calling me one day and saying, ‘Did you see that photograph of Daryl Hannah in The New York Times?’ They’d run an advertisement for some film she’d just made, and Daryl appeared in the ad attired in a rather suggestive outfit.' I tried to explain to Jackie that Daryl was simply playing a role—it had nothing to do with her true persona. ‘Oh, really?’ said Jackie. ‘Well, while she’s seeing John here in New York, she’s still living with that rocker in California.’” Richard Wiese (a friend from Brown University): “I introduced John to a Sports Illustrated model named Ashley Richardson. She looked a bit like Daryl Hannah: tall, pretty, and blonde. They dated for a while. It was clear by then that John and Daryl weren’t going to make it.” As early as the fall of 1989, it must have become clear to him that his relationship with Daryl, as much as he cared for her, would not evolve into a permanent situation. Although he still considered her his “full-time” girlfriend, he was spotted dating actress Molly Ringwald, John Hughes' muse. John Jr. had a crush on her after watching The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink, although they seemed to connect mostly on a friendly level.  

“John and his mother had their differences, particularly in the summer of 1993 when he stepped down from his position with the DA’s office. She was disappointed,” George Plimpton remembers. “She’d just seen a picture of John and Daryl Hannah in one of the tabloids down the street together. He had on a baseball cap turned backward. ‘You look like an overgrown frat boy,’ she told him, ‘and Daryl looks like an unmade bed.’ John walked out on his mother and slammed the door in her face.” Richard Wiese, who happened to be with him at the time, recalled that they’d been talking about Marilyn Monroe. “John had just seen Some Like It Hot, starring Marilyn, and he was extolling her beauty and sexiness. He said something like, ‘She’s some kind of babe,’ although he refused to admit his father had an affair with Marilyn."

 “John was a regular guy,” said Jason Sachs, a TriBeCa picture framer who first encountered John at the Square Diner on Leonard Street. “The first time we met he was eating breakfast and reading the New York Post. We began talking about the New York Yankees. He was an easy conversationalist. We remained friendly. It didn’t matter who you were—he was always cordial. He’d stop you on the street and ask how you were doing. I had a dog, a mixed breed, and he loved to play with it. I once bumped into him in a local hardware store. He’d bought a sponge mop and a broom, and he’d taken out his credit card to pay. The store clerk looked at the card and then looked at JFK Jr. ‘Aren’t you the son of President Kennedy?’ he inquired. John hesitated a moment, then smiled. ‘Guilty as charged,’ he retorted. It was a cute response, particularly as he’d worked in the DA’s office.”

During the late summer of 1993, JFK Jr. first met his future wife, Carolyn Bessette. She was working in the NY public relations department at Calvin Klein after having been recruited by Susan Sokol, a Calvin Klein executive. John phoned Carolyn to ask her for a date. They went out a few times before John invited her to spend a weekend at Sea Song, a Long Island beach house. “John and Carolyn were very much in love,” remarked George Plimpton. “Still, as with most marriages, they had their issues. Their fundamental point of difference involved children. Carolyn didn’t want to raise a family in New York, but she also didn’t want to move permanently to Red Gate Farm. Jackie’s house was too large and impersonal. Consequently, she and John spent nearly every weekend that summer on Cape Cod looking at prospective properties.” Chris Hudson, a friend of Boston University, remembered Carolyn regaling him with drawn-out tales of her “low-end, trailer trash Staten Island relatives. Concomitantly, Carolyn had this almost aristocratic quality to her. It was the combination of these contrasts that made her so special.” Playboy purportedly offered Carolyn (when she became Mrs. John F. Kennedy Jr.) $1 million to pose semi-nude; unlike Daryl Hannah, she turned the proposal. 

Publicist R. Couri Hay: “Carolyn Bessette brought a sense of drama to their relationship,” said Hay. “John loved drama. He was like a Greek mythological hero whose life consisted of euphoric highs and tragic lows. John was headed for the public arena—the Senate and then the presidency. Carolyn had a near breakdown just living in TriBeCa. How could she have handled being a politician’s wife, or residing in the White House? She was attractive and chic, but also strange and erratic.” Chris Overbeck presented a balanced appraisal of John and Carolyn’s relationship. An investment banker, John’s friend from Brown had married and moved to Greenwich, Carolyn’s hometown. According to Overbeck, John “was engaged by intelligence and mystery in a woman, rather than pure good looks. Interesting and complex women intrigued him. Carolyn was both very complex and attractive. She had a fierce side, yet she was feminine. John was very masculine. He liked to take charge, although he was sweet and affectionate.”

“John told me: ‘Carolyn’s my absolute best friend in the world. I’ve never had a better relationship with anybody. That stuff in the press is total bullshit.’ I’ll never forget that he said ‘absolute best friend in the world.’ I asked him again, ‘So it’s all bullshit?’ And John replied, ‘I’d tell you if it weren’t. I trust you.’ He admitted that she was difficult. She was demanding. But that only kept him on his toes.” Richard Wiese frequently played quarterback with John. “After the games, we’d go to this low-key coffee shop on Madison Avenue, and we’d order burgers and milk shakes. We’d sit around and chat, usually about ten of us. It was like being back in college. One thing that struck me about John was that he never spoke ill of anyone, ever. In many respects, he was naive.” JFK Jr.’s acquaintance Richard duPont recalled bumping into John at a TriBeCa bistro called Walker’s. “John began questioning me about how I’d recovered from my alcohol and cocaine addiction,” said duPont. “He wanted to know about certain rehab clinics, such as Sierra Tucson and the Betty Ford Center. How did it work? What did they do? I didn’t attach much importance to the conversation at the time, but afterward it occurred to me he might have been making inquiries because of Carolyn, although he never mentioned her.”

Condé Nast CEO Steve Florio: “I knew Carolyn from when she worked for Calvin Klein, and I always liked her. She was a riot and John adored her. Did they bicker from time to time? Well, I’ve been bickering with my wife for forty years but I’d be finished without her. I know John felt the same way about his.” Once John led Florio into his library and took out a family photo album. “My God,” said Florio. “Every once in a while I have to remind myself that you’re the son of an American president. My grandfather came to this country with five bucks in his pocket and a bag of carpentry tools.” With a big smile, John Jr. said, “That’s why you’re the CEO of a major company now. It’s because your grandfather got on a boat and said, ‘I’m going to find a better place.'”

Sasha Chermayeff (John's friend from Phillips Academy in Andover, MA): "John was seriously committed to the fact that he had fallen madly in love with Carolyn." John Perry Barlow (mentor of Aaron Swartz and JFK Jr): "John loved Carolyn desperately. He really worshipped the ground she walked on." Suzanne Ruddick, a friend of Carolyn’s from Greenwich, visited the couple in New York in early October 1997. “Carolyn and I went shopping in the Prada department at Barneys, and she bought a black gabardine jacket,” remarked Ruddick. “She said John was very generous and supportive. He didn’t mind being written up in the gossip columns, but it irked him when they picked on her. ‘John’s nicer than I am,’ Carolyn said. I discerned absolutely no friction or tension between them. Quite the opposite, whenever I looked, they were either nuzzling or kissing. One evening he gave her a deep blue cashmere sweater as a present with a note that read, ‘To match those matchless eyes.’ —The Day John Died (2007) by Christopher Andersen

Friday, August 21, 2020

The Beauty of Living Twice, Sharon Stone, JFK Jr

Sharon Stone has just received a hefty advance of at least $2 million for her book The Beauty of Living Twice and is due in bookstores next March, a literary agent familiar with the deal disclosed to DailyMail.com. New York publisher Alfred A. Knopf secured the deal, as the agent explained: ‘There was major interest from all the big publishers. This will be the blockbuster Hollywood tale of the decade if not the century. ‘Publishers for years have been pleading with Sharon to sit down and write her story, and now at the age of 62, she’s decided to go full steam ahead. It’ll definitely be a shocker.’ Another publishing source close to the project revealed Stone’s book will be a kiss and tell on steroids. Men and women in her star-studded life should already be ducking and covering!’ While the 62-year-old star is staying tight-lipped about the contents of the book, her alleged romantic affair with JFK Jr was a highly publicized episode of Stone's life in the early 1990s. Stone was engaged to producer William J. MacDonald in 1994 and she dated, amongst a long list of celebrities, Eric Clapton, Jack Nicholson, David Duchovny, Christian Slater and Dwight Yoakam. Source: www.dailymail.co.uk

Reports of Sharon Stone's affair with JFK Jr were so rampant in the media in fact, that it almost led to the breakup of the most eligible bachelor at the time and his then future-bride, Carolyn Bessette. A CNN article about JFK Jr and Bessette's private wedding, read, "The road to the altar was rocky. There were reports that Kennedy proposed after Bessette became enraged over tabloid stories saying he had had an affair with actress Sharon Stone. In February 1996, Kennedy and Bessette were videotaped in a very public lovers' quarrel in the middle of Central Park. At one point, Kennedy grabbed the engagement ring off her finger and sat down on a curb to cry." Nevertheless, JFK Jr did end up marrying Bessette, laying to rest all the gossip. In September 1996, he declared at his rehearsal dinner at Cumberland Island, "I am the happiest man alive." Since their affair was never confirmed, it is difficult to say for sure if their "relationship" was all a baseless rumor or there was some truth to it. An exchange between the two observed by a Washington Post reporter Art Buchwald in 1995 — around the time she was to start shooting for the movie 'Diabolique'. 

Buchwald was accompanying the actress on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, and they were strolling near the lighthouse when JFK Jr made an entrance on his bicycle. His recalled the meeting in an op-ed later on, which read: "He stopped to say hello, but despite what the papers said, he did not kiss Sharon's hand. Sharon gripped my arm tightly and said, 'Is he for real?' 'Of course, he is,' I told her. ' Then Sharon said: 'Why does he turn me on, and you don't?' 'Because,' I told her, 'My beauty is real. His is an invention of George magazine.'" Buchwald remembered having small talk with the duo, mostly talking about how their stay had been on the Island. Then came the journalist's all-important observation on the alleged couple: "I observed no chemistry between John and Sharon." The reporter also implied that apart from the complete lack of the flirting vibes, there was also the possibility that the so-called affair was all in Stone's head. "She whispered, 'If he offers to show me the lighthouse, think of a good excuse why I can't go.' I assured her that John was not that type of guy. Then John announced, 'Well, I've got miles to pedal and promises to keep. Goodbye, everybody, and may the wind always be at your back.' After he left, I asked Sharon, 'Did the earth move for you?' She said, 'It takes more than a man on a bicycle for the earth to move for me,'" Buchwald wrote. Source: www.washingtonpost.com

Chris Cuomo on JFK Jr: "One day, we were at Martha's Vineyard, and he decided that we would swim from the shore to someone's boat. We swam several hundred yards, which completely wrecked me, but he wasn't even winded. On the way out, he asked me who I was dating, and I started complaining how hard it was to find anyone special. It was right before John married Carolyn, and he told me not to worry. He said that he played the field for a long time and worried about never meeting anyone, and then one day he met Carolyn and from the first minute he knew that she'd be the one. He said it all comes down to keeping yourself open: that you meet all these people who don't work out for different reasons, and then one day, someone pops up and really grabs your heart, and suddenly what happens to them is as important as what happens to you."

Billy Noonan: Carolyn quit her job soon as she moved with John and got engaged. He then opened a bank account in her name and got her several credit cards. Her spending was legendary and John always picked up the tabs. When the bills from Tiffany's, Sachs, and Bergdorfs would come with huge amounts; John would laugh it off and say 'at least Carolyn found a hobby.' Carolyn remarked on how "normal" John's friends were compared to the druggie fashion crowd she hung around. I think Jackie came to meet Carolyn once, but she was very ill by then. It seems Carolyn's character left a good impression on Jackie, since she commented favorably towards Carolyn in contrast with Daryl Hannah. John didn't have a mean bone in his body, and conflict was something he did his best to avoid, which is why he sometimes tolerated Carolyn's rages. On the other hand, he was no picnic to live with, because he could be brooding, obsessive, and controlling.

John could get very angry in certain occasions when he felt misunderstood. I know there were two fistfights between John and Michael Berman (the editor of George) because Carolyn wanted to contribute to the magazine, whilst Michael said she needed to stay out of it. And John's last fight with Michael was so bad security had to break it up. John trusted Carolyn's opinions and I think she influenced him for the better. Once John told me: 'Some nights I stand by her bedside and stare at Carolyn as she sleeps. All I keep thinking is how much I want to lie beside her.'  —"After Camelot: A Personal History of the Kennedy Family" (2012) by J. Randy Taraborrelli 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Donald Trump chosen worst President since World War II, JFK and The Vietnam War

Whenever Donald Trump attempted to manage an actual business – an airline, casino or dodgy university – the result was bankruptcy. The lies he compulsively tells are for Mary another “mode of self-aggrandisement”, a cover for his quaking inadequacy. Sadly dim-witted, he even had to hire a surrogate to take the entrance exams for college on his behalf. All his life he has “failed upwards”; he relies on being “rewarded for bad behaviour”, which happened again when the Senate blocked his impeachment. As viewed by Mary, he is an undeveloped human being, who instantly passed from whiny infancy to doddery old age, missing out the intermediate age of reason and responsibility. “Fred [her grandfather] kept propping up Donald’s false sense of accomplishment until the only asset Donald had was the ease with which he could be duped by more powerful men,” she writes. “There was a long line of people willing to take advantage of him. In the 1980s, New York journalists and gossip columnists discovered that Donald couldn’t distinguish between mockery and flattery and used his shamelessness to sell papers."

“That image and the weakness of the man it represented were precisely what appealed to [TV producer] Mark Burnett. Both Donald and the viewers were the butt of the joke that was The Apprentice. By continuing to enable Donald, my grandfather kept making him worse: more needy for media attention and free money, more self-aggrandizing and delusional about his ‘greatness.’ Nobody has failed upward as consistently and spectacularly as the ostensible leader of the shrinking free world.” In a family where the only currency was currency, Donald Trump appears to have been the victim of catastrophic emotional neglect, a role he embraces to this day, the perpetual victim. But along with his grandfather and others, the media has been there to enable him, almost every step of the way. The US began by denying tribalism: its founding assertion was made by “we the people”, whose equality overrode disparities of origin or social standing. But the country has lost touch with its early ideals, and Mary rightly accuses Donald of wanting to remake it as “a macro version of my malignantly dysfunctional family”, with America’s innate optimism warped into a cult of “toxic positivity”. Source: www.post-gazette.com

A Quinnipiac University poll taken June 24–30, 2014, asked registered voters in the United States who they thought were the best and worst presidents since World War II. Donald Trump is the worst of the 12 presidents who have served since the end of World War II, 41 percent of American voters say, followed by 21 percent who list Barack Obama and 10 percent who cite Richard Nixon, in a Quinnipiac University National Poll released.

Worst President since World War II:

Donald Trump (41%)
Barack Obama (21%)
Richard Nixon (10%)
Jimmy Carter (8%)
George W. Bush (6%)
Bill Clinton (4%)
Lyndon B. Johnson (tie) (2%)
Ronald Reagan (tie) (2%)
Gerald R. Ford (1%)
Harry S. Truman (1%)
Dwight Eisenhower (tie), John F. Kennedy (tie) (less than 1%)
Source: poll.qu.edu

As Richard Mahoney depicted in his landmark book JFK: Ordeal in Africa, Kennedy began to make formal speeches attacking the orthodoxies of both political parties. He became a veritable one-man band warning that the United States had to stand for something more than just anti-communism in the Third World. He did this at the risk of alienating the leaders of his own party, e.g., Dean Acheson and Adlai Stevenson. He specifically attacked Acheson’s State Department for not recognizing the needs and aspirations of the people they were supposed to be serving in the areas of Africa and Asia. About one month before Dien Bien Phu fell, Kennedy took the floor of the Senate to make a long speech about America in Indochina. He began by saying the US could not declare war on nationalism: "To pour money, material and men into the jungles of Indochina without at least a remote prospect of victory would be dangerously futile… no amount of American military assistance in Indochina can conquer an enemy which is everywhere and at the same time nowhere, an enemy of the people, which has the sympathy and covert support of the people." It’s important to note that although Burns and Novick use Kennedy’s phrase about the Viet Minh being everywhere and nowhere, they do not attribute it to him.

JFK’s opposition to the Dulles/Eisenhower backing of French colonialism in the Third World culminated in 1957. In a famous Senate speech, Kennedy assailed the administration for its backing of another French colonial war, this time in Algeria. In that speech, Kennedy reminded his colleagues of two things. First, that what had happened in Indochina three years previous was now repeating itself on the north coast of Africa: We were backing a fey French effort to preserve the remnants of an overseas empire. And second, we were not being a true friend to our French ally. A true friend would have counseled Paris to negotiate an Algerian settlement allowing for an orderly departure, thus sparing more bloodshed in Africa and further polarization. It is hard for this writer to believe that Burns and Novick are not aware of that speech, for the simple reason that it created a firestorm in both the press and at the White House. There were 138 editorial comments on the speech, over 2/3 of them negative. Kennedy was not just personally counter-attacked by Foster Dulles and Nixon, but by Stevenson and Acheson—members of his own party. The reaction was so violent that Kennedy told his father that he might have made a costly error. But Joe Kennedy replied to his son that he did not know how lucky he was. Algeria was going to get worse, and he would then look like a prophet.

Which is what happened. Kennedy's speech dealt with one of the same subjects that The Vietnam War deals with: the perils of America allying itself with French imperialism. One would therefore think that Burns and Novick should have noted it, especially because it fills in the background of what Kennedy did in Vietnam once he became president. It is not noted at all. Kennedy’s lonely six-year campaign to alert members of each political party to the importance of this issue, and the folly of what Eisenhower and his administration were doing—all this is reduced to one letter. I began to wonder what Burns and Novick were going to do with the pile of hundreds new documents that had been released on the Kennedy administration and Vietnam since 1994 and the advent of the Assassination Records Review Board. As Kennedy himself noted on the eve of the Democratic convention in 1960, if he lost, and either Lyndon Johnson or Stu Symington won, it would just be more of John Foster Dulles' planning. George Ball, the iconoclast diplomat who worked for Kennedy in the State Department, later commented on the president’s reformist ideas by saying that JFK wanted to change the dynamic in the Third World. He thought that we should not cede the nationalist cause to the Soviets, and we should not automatically befriend the status quo. By doing that we gave the advantage to the Russians. Authors like Mahoney, Philip Muehlenbeck, Robert Rakove, and Greg Poulgrain have written entire books based upon new research into this subject. Burns and Novick present not a word of it. What do they present instead? Kennedy as some kind of conflicted Cold Warrior. In doing so, they eliminate the entire two-week debate in the White House where Kennedy faced off against virtually his entire cabinet and foreign policy advisors.

As authors like James Blight have noted, for those two weeks, virtually every other voice in the room wanted to commit combat troops into Vietnam. The president was the only person holding the line against it. In Blight’s book Virtual JFK: Vietnam If Kennedy Had Lived—co-edited with Janet Lang and David Welch—he spends over forty pages dealing with this landmark episode. And he produces the memorandum by Colonel Howard Burris (Johnson’s military aide) which memorialized Kennedy’s arguments against inserting combat troops. (Blight, pp. 281-83) These arguments included the facts that Vietnam was not a clear cut case of aggression as was Korea; America’s most important allies—like England—would not support such a move; the French effort, with hundreds of millions of dollars by USA, had failed; combat troops would not be effective against guerillas. To say the least, Kennedy’s arguments look prescient today. As Gordon Goldstein pointed out in his valuable book on McGeorge Bundy, this was not the first time Kennedy had turned down a request to send combat troops into Vietnam. Goldstein listed no less than nine previous instances in which Kennedy had rejected such proposals before the November debates.

Lessons in Disaster (2009) by Gordon Goldstein: As both Blight and Goldstein concluded, this was a Rubicon that Kennedy simply would not cross. And, in fact, National Security Advisor Bundy agreed with his biographer Goldstein on this issue: Kennedy was not going to commit American combat troops to fight a guerilla war in the jungle. Of further note, when George Ball heard about this debate and Kennedy’s lonely stance against the interventionists, he thought the president might be weakening and warned him of what happened to France in Vietnam the decade before. Kennedy replied, “You’re crazier than hell George. That just isn’t going to happen again.” And McGeorge Bundy, Robert McNamara, and General Maxwell Taylor—Kennedy’s three chief military advisors—all later wrote that Kennedy was never going to send the military in the form of combat troops into Vietnam. (Blight, p. 365; Goldstein, pp. 231, 238) There is a parallel here with the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. After the first day of that doomed venture, when it was apparent all was lost, Kennedy was asked by both the CIA and the Pentagon to send in the navy to save the day. He refused. The film does not acknowledge that symmetry. Or the message implicit in Kennedy’s limited aid package: the US could help Diem, they could extend weapons and supplies. But they could not fight his war for him.

There is a famous quote about how strongly Kennedy framed this question to Arthur Schlesinger. What the film does with this key quote is revealing. It includes only the first part of it, where JFK told Schlesinger that committing combat troops would be like taking a sip of alcohol: the effect would wear off and you then had to take another. But it eliminates Kennedy’s much stronger punch line: “The war in Vietnam could be won only so long as it was their war. If it were ever converted into a white man’s war, we would lose as the French had lost a decade earlier.” (Goldstein, p. 63) Could anything make the issue more clear? Congressman Kennedy had seen the folly of our effort to aid the French position in their war in Indochina. But he saw that France had overextended itself: that they had no real political base and therefore had to send in a land army to fight Giap’s guerilla war. He was not going to repeat that mistake with American troops. As James Blight has noted, all the indications are that Kennedy was shaken by the fact that he was alone in resisting the siren song of inserting the Army and Marines into Indochina as the main fighting force. McNamara had to be convinced upon Kennedy’s orders to begin a withdrawal plan. It was Kennedy’s plan, not McNamara’s. Kennedy told his two trusted advisors, Ken O’Donnell and Dave Powers, that he had to delay his withdrawal plan and design it around the 1964 election, and complete it in 1965.

Otherwise JFK would be decried by the right wing as a communist appeaser and that would endanger the election. (James Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, p. 126) Obviously, if Kennedy thought the ARVN were going to win, he would not have expressed it that way. Further, researcher Malcolm Blunt recently sent this author a document Kennedy requested in the fall of 1963 and which was returned to the president in November, about two weeks before his death. This was an evacuation plan for American government employees in Saigon. John Newman has argued of late that Kennedy and McNamara feared that Saigon would fall before their original final withdrawal date, which was autumn of 1965. Kennedy likely ordered this plan for that reason. For as Kennedy told NSC assistant Mike Forrestal in 1963, the probability of Saigon winning was about 100-1. In fact, General Earle Wheeler wrote that he understood that any request for any overt action would be denied by the president. These documents were so compelling that even The New York Times bannered a story with the headline: “Kennedy Had a Plan for Early Exit in Vietnam.” One would think that if it were good enough for that paragon of the MSM, it would be good enough for Burns and Novick. Needless to say, none of these documents are shown in The Vietnam War.

Neither is NSAM 263 exhibited. This was the order drawn up in early October of 1963 that delineated the withdrawal plan and mandated that a thousand men be returned from Vietnam by the end of 1963. The story of how the order and the report it was attached to were created is revealing, and would have been informative to the viewer. By the autumn of 1963, JFK now had everything in place to activate his withdrawal plan. But he wanted to send his two highest military advisors to Saigon, that is, McNamara and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Maxwell Taylor. Therefore, while those two were in Vietnam, Pentagon higher ups General Victor Krulak and Colonel Fletcher Prouty were invited to the White House.

Bobby Kennedy met the duo. He instructed them, upon orders of the president, that they would actually edit and compose the Taylor/McNamara report at his direction. (John Newman, JFK and Vietnam, p. 401) Then it was shipped out to Hawaii and given to Taylor and McNamara in bound form. Kennedy was not allowing for any alterations. That report became the basis for NSAM 263. Presidentially designed, the report was used by him to ram 263 through his foreign policy advisors—some of whom were reluctant to sign on to it. But, reluctant or not, they ultimately did. McNamara was then sent out to announce the withdrawal plan to the press. As he was walking to meet the reporters, Kennedy instructed him with the following: “And tell them that means all of the helicopter pilots too.” One would think that if a filmmaker were trying to assemble the latest scholarship on Vietnam for an American audience—if one were really trying to enlighten them with the best and newest information—then at least some of this would be included in the presentation. Or at least they would communicate some of the (at least) nine sources that Kennedy or McNamara confided in about the withdrawal plan. Or perhaps play the October 2, 1963 taped conference where McNamara actually says that they have to find a way to get out of Vietnam. (Blight, p. 100) But as Burns pronounced on Marc Maron’s radio podcast of September 11th : History is malleable. Sort of like bubble gum, right Mr Burns? Although some critics stated that there was no public announcement of NSAM 263, and Kennedy was keeping it quiet, there are two Newsweek articles that published it on October 14, 1963. It was a public policy, and Kennedy had sent Defense Secretary Robert McNamara to brief the press on it after he had adopted it in October, 1963.

When David Halberstam got to Vietnam—actually on his second day there—he lunched with the CIA’s station chief in Saigon. (Prochnau, p. 133) As the weeks went by, many of his CIA contacts from Congo migrated there. As author William Prochnau wrote, “By now his CIA contacts from the Congo had begun to flock to the hot new action in Southeast Asia like bees to honey; Vietnam was a spook’s dream and the Agency forever had a better fix on Vietnamese reality than the American military.” Halberstam admitted this in The Making of a Quagmire, where he wrote, “But many CIA agents in Saigon were my friends, and I considered them among the ablest Americans I had seen overseas or at home.” Both Halberstam and Sheehan were enamored with Colonel Vann, even though they understood he was an “essentially conservative, at times a reactionary man.” Burns and Novick have Sheehan tell us that, upon his own arrival in Saigon in 1962, he believed in American ideals and the alleged US mission in South Vietnam. He also believed in the dangers of the “international communist conspiracy”. Sheehan then adds that he was there to report the truth in order to help win the war for the betterment of the United States and the world. Vann was shipped out of Vietnam in 1963 and served in the Pentagon as a procurement officer. He began to file formal reports that appealed to General Edward Lansdale because they clearly projected the fact that unless American ground troops were committed to Vietnam, Saigon would fall.

And this is the message Kennedy had listened to in November of 1961—and had rejected. Kennedy was aware of what Colonel Vann was doing. Edward Lansdale had been the first to advise Kennedy to insert combat troops into Vietnam. Sure enough, after Kennedy’s death, when Lansdale returned to the White House, he recommended sending Vann back to Vietnam. Vann did return in 1965, when Lyndon Johnson overturned Kennedy’s policy and committed tens of thousands of American combat troops to Saigon. The reason that Sheehan and Halberstam admired Vann was simple: like him, they were Hawks. And like him—and opposed to Kennedy—they wanted more American involvement. This is discernible by reading Halberstam’s 1965 book The Making of a Quagmire. That volume is perhaps the single most complete and coruscating condemnation of America’s Vietnam policy published to that point. It attacks every element of the American mission and also the policies and personages of the Diem regime. (See Chapters 3-5) It then goes on to expose the ineptness of the ARVN (Chapters 5-7), in particular how terrible Colonel Hunyh Van Cao was. Of course, when the wishes of this troika—Sheehan, Vann and Halberstam—were fulfilled, we saw what happened. Direct American involvement ended up being an epic debacle. All in pursuit of a false goal that was not possible to attain. In other words, Kennedy was right and Vann, Sheehan and Halberstam were wrong. And further, that the American army was self-destructing in the jungle, as Kennedy had predicted it would back in 1961. By 1971, even the army understood this. Colonel Robert Heinl wrote a long essay on its collapse at that time, and traced it from at least 1969. (Col. Robert D. Heinl, Jr., “The Collapse of the Armed Forces”) Source: kennedysandking.com

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

11.22.63, Hidden History, JFK Jr and Carolyn

We have come to 1962. Jake Epping (James Franco) is at Love Field when Lee Oswald (played by Daniel Webber) arrives in town from his overseas stay in the USSR. Oswald asks his mother Marguerite why there is no cadre of press awaiting him, hinting at Oswald being an unstable publicity hound, which is pretty much what Warren Commission lawyer Wesley Liebeler decided upon when he could not think of any other reason why Oswald might have shot Kennedy. In its attempts at caricaturing Oswald, the 11.22.63 series goes even beyond the Warren Report. Which is a bit stunning since there has been a quantum leap since 1964 in our knowledge and understanding of Oswald. This takes us to October of 1963. Oswald is applying for his position at the Texas School Book Depository. Which will put him on the Kennedy motorcade route on November 22nd.

Ruth Paine, with whom Marina Oswald was staying in October and November of 1963, arranged that job for Oswald. The script cuts out Ruth Paine’s role in all this. And Ruth Paine is portrayed—ever so briefly—as the kindly Quaker lady from the Warren Report. There was something else just as odd in the script. Even though it is October of 1963, George DeMohrenschildt is still on the scene in Dallas. This is really kind of inexplicable. I know Stephen King wrote a novel, but it is still based upon history. George DeMohrenschildt left Dallas in April of 1963 for Haiti. So the events depicted here with DeMohrenschildt simply could not have happened—they are an impossibility.

Jake and Sadie now end up in Dealey Plaza in the very wee hours of the morning of the 22nd. Then the script adds in a Twilight Zone motif. A man who King calls the "yellow card man” (he has such a card in his hat) now appears in Jake’s car, replacing Sadie. This figure has been seen several times throughout the film. He usually says, “You’re not supposed to be here.” The script now gets even wilder. We see Oswald—with his long package--walking right next to Wesley Frazier as they cross the street and enter the Texas School Book Depository. Oswald then goes right up to the sixth floor!  He is, of course, whistling "Soldier Boy." He then walks to the window, starts setting up the boxes for the so-called “sniper’s nest”. And then, incredibly, he just sits there, waiting for the motorcade to pass. This is as impossible as having George DeMohrenschildt in Dallas in October. I mean do the writers really expect the audience to be so stupid as to think Oswald would sit at a window with a rifle for three and a half hours waiting to kill Kennedy? With witnesses both inside and outside to see him? This is just plain silliness. We now see Jake and Sadie on a high-speed chase to get near Dealey Plaza. When they do get near, guess who they see? Jake sees Frank Dunning, and Sadie sees her ex-husband. Both of whom have been killed by Jake. What this means is anyone’s guess.

Jake now returns to Lisbon, Maine. He goes to Al’s diner, but it's gone. But just standing there, near the portal, now transports him to what King calls a “time tributary,” or in plainer parlance, an alternative universe. A world that looks completely desolate and abandoned. He meets up with Harry Dunning who is being attacked by a pack of thugs. Jake helps run them off. Harry takes him back to his home, which is inside what looks like a deserted factory. There he tells him that he knows that Jake saved his family from his father. Jake asks him about history. Harry tells him that Kennedy was re-elected and then George Wallace won in 1968, since RFK did not run. He then tells Jake that Kennedy set up confinement camps throughout the country. Why and how this happened is not explained.

Stephen King actually called Oswald a dangerous little fame-junkie who happened to be in the right place at the right time. Those comments really make you wonder about the “research” King did. Every objective researcher who has taken a look at the JFK case in an official capacity since the issuance of the Warren Report in 1964 has disagreed with its conclusions. The last one being Jeremy Gunn of the Assassination Records Review Board. Who looked at the declassified documents. In light of that, King’s comments are bizarre. If Oswald was a fame junkie, why did he never take credit for killing Kennedy? In fact, he did the opposite. He called himself a patsy. Well, if you leave out Oswald’s call to former military intelligence officer John Hurt the night before; if one does not tell the viewer that the rifle the Warren Report says killed Kennedy is not the same rifle that Oswald allegedly ordered; if one does not mention 544 Camp Street in New Orleans or Guy Banister, David  Ferrie and Clay Shaw; if one does not mention Oswald with Shaw and Ferrie in the Clinton-Jackson area in the summer of 1963; if one does not show all the problems with Oswald allegedly being in Mexico City, while he is supposed to be at Sylvia Odio’s door in Dallas with two Cubans—well yeah Stephen King, then you can tell us all about randomness and Occam’s Razor logic. Those events I mentioned are not theories, Mr. King. They are facts.

King more or less spilled the beans when he stated what books were most important to him in his research phase. He named Gerald Posner’s Case Closed, Legend by Edward Epstein and Mrs. Paine’s Garage by Thomas Mallon. King reduces Oswald in his story again to the drunken wife-beater, although even Ruth Paine, who sent so much obviously false evidence to the FBI, testified that Oswald neither drank nor beat Marina. Add the gun range thing which was totally gratuitous. Even the FBI admitted they couldn't find any evidence that LHO ever went to a shooting range for practice. A TV mini-series like '11.22.63' doesn't bring us closer to the truth, it acts more like its own depiction of 'the past fighting back'. Maybe Mr. King will use that as his crutch? I wonder how much King changed his draft from his first attempt at it all those many years ago? In other words, just how much work did he do on it once he went back to it and how much did Gary Mack help him?

From what I understand, the actual book deals less with the JFK case than the mini series does. The little bit about the surviving JFK putting people in camps was just an extension of King's antipathy for the Kennedys. Like so many leftists, King has admitted to never liking them. Isn't that strange? A native New Englander, loyal "liberal," and he just never liked the most prominent political family to emerge from his neck of the country. Although I will add that Bridget Carpenter, the main screen writer of the 11.22.63 series said that by the end of the production she felt that Oswald was really a CIA operative. Geez, you mean there was one semi-conscious person working on this pile of rubbish?  Her path is pretty common when you see Oswald had to be connected to the American Intelligence. The next step is dumping all that phony evidence about the rifle, the phony print that LaTona could not find, and most of all, the complete fantasy of CE 399 (single bullet theory). Then what you are left with is a rogue CIA operation using Oswald without his knowledge. Source: www.kennedysandking.com

Bridget Carpenter—the writer/producer who developed the new miniseries version of Stephen King’s acclaimed bestseller—used to accept the Lone Gunman Theory as fact, too. “But after two years of working on Stephen’s story, I don’t believe it anymore,” she says. “There were too many strange things surrounding Oswald for me to believe he did it completely alone.” Carpenter, the executive producer and showrunner for 11.22.63, suspects now that Oswald had to have been connected to the CIA, that maybe he went rogue in Dallas on the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, that a massive cover-up was organized to hide the embarrassing truth. Source: www.star-telegram.com

The mantra that "conspiracy theorists" simply can't accept that a great man could be taken down by a lone nut is almost as prevalent as the "someone would have talked" line; the "that many people couldn't keep a secret" came directly from the infamous 1967 CIA memo "Countering the Critics of the Warren Report." Stephen King's central thesis is that Oswald wanted to "be somebody," in King's updated parlance-a "fame junkie." King avoids the whole Ruby angle, which really would make it look like a conspiracy to frame and then shut up Oswald. In other words, Oswald never claimed credit for killing of Kennedy, and then was murdered two days later by Jack Ruby. Some fame junkie. I tried to ask Dan Moldea this same question years ago; if Sirhan "wanted to be famous," why did he always deny the crime? Moldea never responded, and I suspect King wouldn't respond either. I don't believe for a second that King thinks Oswald acted alone. Neither does Tom Hanks. Despite the fact he is a native New Englander, King admits to never "being a fan" of Kennedy. We see this same curious dislike of the Kennedys on the part of many high profile "liberals." Although Stephen King seems to dismiss the "conspiracy theorists," he seems to believe every one of Judith Campbell Exner's inconsistent allegations against JFK. In addition to having Jack Ruby on screen for maybe a minute or so in 11.22.63, the Oswald story is picked up only upon his return from Russia. Therefore, all the bizarre things that are so suspicious about his time in the military and his defection can be bypassed. Things like the Rosaleen Quinn testimony about Oswald being fluent in Russian while in the Marines, his association with the U2 radar operations, the false defector program, Oswald's staying in two five star hotels in Helsnki, etc. With all that eliminated, and the complete cutting out of New Orleans and Mexico City, then you can excise any and all intel connections to Oswald. Even John F Kennedy Jr told several friends he didn't believe Oswald was the guilty party either. —Hidden History: An Exposé of Modern Crimes, Conspiracies, and Cover-Ups in American Politics (2016) by Donald Jeffries

NY Fix News interviews a few friends who knew John Kennedy Jr and Carolyn (by Sheila Tasco, 2004). -NYFIX: There have been several reports that have been written about the state of John Jr. and Carolyn's marriage towards the ends of their lives, why do you think there are different viewpoints on that aspect?

-Billy Way: I was around them a lot, before and after they got married, and I can tell you it depended on who was around them on what days of the week. Every couple has problems, they were no exception, and sometimes they had bad fights. When they would have a big fight, they would usually do it in the privacy of their home. They usually also made up afterwards. Once I heard an argument about another woman calling John and leaving a message on his phone, and Carolyn was mad. She started accusing him of cheating on her, and yelled at him slurs, and John started yelling right back. They yelled for about twenty minutes before a picture, frame and all, went sailing across the room. I couldn't believe she had broken the picture. When they were done arguing, John was upset sitting on the sofa, and Carolyn came back and dropped to her knees in front of him saying she was sorry for yelling at him like that. They started kissing and making up. 

NYFIX: How did their relationship change after they got married? Did you see anything change in their relationship?

BW: John told us they barely left the hotel room during their honeymoon. But after the honeymoon, they started to have some fights. The last big fight I saw was in May of 1999. It was about some business trip that Carolyn hadn't been aware of, she just didn't want John going off on trips without her. She was literally screaming about him having an affair with some other woman, and how she was glad that she had been seeing Michael Bergin. John said she better shut up, she was just putting a show to make him jealous and he persuaded her to attend pyschological therapy. Meanwhile, John had reconnected with Amber Norman, whom he saw as just a friend. John had dated her briefly in 1993, but she disappeared when Carolyn entered the scene. 

NYFIX: So they were having extramarital affairs or not?

BW: It wasn't like that. The word affair has a very negative meaning. Their relationships weren't like that at all. They loved each other, but they had other people that they saw for different, emotional needs. But John was really a one woman man. He only loved Carolyn, although he met another girlfriends like Amber, Sasha, or Julie Baker during difficult periods during their relationship. John had learned from his mother about keeping things private, and he was doing just that.

NYFIX: What would John have been doing at this point?

BW: John was preparing himself for a new life in politics. He wanted to run for public office as an extension of his community services, and he was getting ready for it. He wanted that people would have been able to see what he could accomplish in politics.

NYFIX: There has been much debate about the truth between John and Carolyn's lives together. Would you ever consider writing a book?

BW: I am not planning any book. I plan to stand up to every author that has made a mess of things, Edward Klein included. His version of the story made Carolyn out to be a harridan, and that's not correct at all. He didn't include the full story. Things weren't as dramatic as he tried to pass off. That was some hack job on their relationship. Carolyn was a very loving person, and I think that should have come out. She was also a very headstrong woman, but in a good way. 

NYFIX: What do you miss most about your friend John Jr?

BW: I miss his friendship a lot, it's like when he died, the streets of New York ceased to have life anymore. Everything stopped suddenly. It's been tough to go on and have a life knowing that his apartment wasn't filled with his presence, he wasn't there anymore, as if the rooms were all dark now. I miss him more than I could ever be able to express.

John Perry Barlow: I first heard of Carolyn when John told me about her one night at Tramps in early 1994. He was still very attached to Daryl Hannah. But there was a woman he'd met who was having a heavy effect on him. He didn't want to pursue it, he declared, because he was still loyal to Daryl. Loyalty was one of his many virtues. But it was hard for him, because he couldn't get his mind off this girl. "Who is she?" I asked. He said, "Ah, she's some employee at Calvin Klein's. She's an ordinary person." Which of course she manifestly was not. She was anything but an ordinary person, but as far as the rest of the world, she was. He wanted to maintain a platonic relationship with Carolyn until he and Daryl had broken up. John was not, as some believed, a dog with the ladies. In fact, there were not so many women in his life that he took seriously. And there were even fewer that he took casually. In this regard John was anything but a Kennedy.

Years after he and Daryl broke up, he was always asking me about how she was doing, hoping that I was being the friend to her that he could no longer be. For some reason only she could possibly fathom, Daryl started talking to the press about Jackson Browne at Jackie's funeral, about how he'd picked her out of the crowd at a Chicago concert and asked her to dance onstage. I was hoping Browne or anybody else could do the same thing at this moment and shut her up. On Memorial Day, John chose to stay at the Presidential house on the Cape instead of the Vineyard, where Jackie had built a house in the early eighties. The Vineyard was much more isolated, but also his mother’s home and he needed a different environment. When I stopped by, John was making a bowl of pasta, his eyes as big as quarters, like a deer caught in the headlights. He was still shaken by the loss of his mother. Daryl was there and you could feel the tension. I think John knew at this point that their relationship was too broken to fix.

I didn't meet Carolyn until the fall of 1994. At once, I found her to be as charismatic as John was. "Charisma," you may know, was once a theological term meaning "grace." She had that quality. She was utterly compelling and attractive. I was also impressed with the fact that she was more than a little eccentric. She was not conventional in any sense. Carolyn seemed a lot like John's mother in her quirkiness and also in her capacity to engage one's total attention. She could be really sexy. Although she definitely was not a vamp. I think she was actually some kind of angel. But like many angels, her empathy was her main enemy. She was too raw to the pain of others. She felt it as deeply herself. And after the wedding, she became the "Howard Hughes of Brides," as she found it so hard going out in public. I think Carolyn not ever giving an interview is what pushed that "ice queen" image. She kept to herself and rejected everyone when they tried to butter her up for an interview.

NYFIX: Speaking of coming clean, while John's buddies like Robert Littell and Richard Blow have found solace in writing about their famous friend, why is it that his former girlfriends have barely talked?

JPB: I think it's a return of loyalty and respect that he showed for them to keep their relationships private. John's relationships with women were always very mature, which I think had something to do with his mother's upbringing. And Carolyn wasn't threatened by longtime friends like Sasha Chermayeff, Jennifer Christian, or Christina Haag whom John once thought was wife material. Indeed, he had called Sasha her 'platonic wife' for a while. John was always a monogamous guy. And I don't think that Carolyn was so jealous because she really had nothing to be jealous about. He was very happy with her, at home. It's kind of goofy to say, but he was like a Norman Rockwell character.

NYFIX: But was she really happy? Not according to her old flame, Michael Bergin, who wrote "The Other Man."

Robert Littell: Carolyn seemed happy when I saw them together in private. I think Bergin should lose some sleep over that book. He wrote it because he was angry at Carolyn for shutting him out of her life. John had to hang up the phone on Bergin, because this guy had become a stalker. Kate Moss said Bergin was a loser, and she was harassed by him too. Carolyn didn't ever love Bergin, but he was so obsessed with her it was scary. Carolyn was a beautiful, empathetic person who was too sensitive for the press maelstrom. But by 1999, she seemed to be getting used to it. John had always been looking for stability. He said when Christina Haag called him in 1984, 'My wife is available now', because she'd broken up with her boyfriend. And so he thought he was going to marry Christina, who was Jackie's favorite. I don't think John ever thought he was going to marry Daryl Hannah, because she could be shallow and immature, but he was always looking for a wife.

John was truly a monogamous guy. And he was a loyal guy. And it wasn't just loyalty amongst guys. It wasn't like he was just a great pal with men and not with women. He'd been brought up by an extraordinary woman, and he respected women probably more than he did guys. He was always looking for his wife, that person whose feelings would be as important for him as his own feelings. And when he was younger he of course had some fun here and there, but nothing remotely similar to his father's track. John was a man who had to handle tremendous grief throughout his life while still maintaining that Kennedy image and legacy. His mother put overwhelming pressure on him to be in politics. John told me he knew deep in his heart Carolyn wouldn't ever betray him, despite her moods and head games.

Carolyn collaborated occasionally with the Robin Hood Foundation. I know John drawed a will where Carolyn would have gotten his money, the loft and all his belongings. With exception of small bequeaths (half million dollars each) to Sasha Chermayeff and RoseMarie Terenzio, and donations to several charities, he left everything to any children they would've had and named Carolyn as his children's guardian. John didn't give Carolyn an allowance, because he didn't want she felt like a kept woman. She had full access to his bank accounts, and she had her own bank account along with credit cards. John was visiting Keith Stein in Toronto in June 1999. During that trip, Keith recalled that John had indicated that he was very upbeat about his marriage and looking forward to fatherhood. Keith Stein said to me, "He talked about having kids as if it were imminent in their future." For all we know Carolyn could've been pregnant when she took that fatal flight. —The Men We Became: My Friendship with John F. Kennedy, Jr. (2004) by Robert T. Littell

Richard Blow, former executive editor of Kennedy's political magazine "George" recounts some stories from his memoir about John Kennedy Jr. in "American Son" (2002). Blow paints a picture of a charming, charismatic man with an occasionally explosive temper who viewed his own celebrity and frequent appearances in the gossip columns with "a sort of bemused fascination as if they were covering a stranger who happened to share his name." Blow thinks Kennedy decided not to run for the New York Senate seat being vacated by Daniel Patrick Moynihan out of deference to his wife. In the spring of 1999, Kennedy considered running for the Senate but then worried Carolyn wouldn't be able to handle more media scrutiny. Blow said the couple occasionally had painful fights followed by periods of intense closeness. "John was ecstatic in her company. He would gaze upon her as if he couldn't completely believe he had found a woman so special." His magazine was at the time owned by publisher Hachette Filipacchi, which was losing money steadily. George magazine was shut down shortly after his death. Blow also makes several references to the frightening possibility of John's Piper Saratoga having been sabotaged prior to the takeoff, since prominent figures in the Kennedy clan had always had powerful enemies. Source: www.amazon.com