Sunday, May 30, 2021

Happy 104th Anniversary, JFK!

Happy 104th Anniversary, John F Kennedy!

Steven Kossor: New ideas evolve by linking together the known with the possible within a vessel made of memory. There are two kinds of memory: cognitive and emotional. Cognitive memories are what we know. Emotional memories are how we feel about knowing. Healthy emotional memories give us hope and courage about using what we know. Negative emotional memories give us pessimism and fear about using what we know. Emotional memories always trump cognitive memories. Minds poisoned by negative emotional memories will believe things that are not true, correct, adaptive or healthy. When too many people become afflicted with negative emotional memories, hope turns to despair and courage is overcome by fear. In both the foreign "target" country and in the domestic population as well, these outsiders go about implanting negative emotional memories to coerce the population to embrace changes that are not adaptive or healthy, but which meet the needs of the outsiders. Large portions of both the foreign and domestic populations come to embrace the take-over because its necessity is confirmed by the negative emotional memories that have been implanted and nurtured in them. The last straw in the overthrow of foreign governments is the replacement of the former leaders by outsiders. That is how the government of Hawaii was overthrown in the 1800's, and how the overthrow of other foreign governments in the 20th century has been accomplished through the covert actions of US corporate-intelligence operatives, as Stephen Kinzer has documented in Overthrow (Henry Holt & Co., 2006). John Perkins gave us an insider's view of the process in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (Plume, 2004). Twentieth century corporate-intelligence leaders have learned from and expanded upon the tactics of their forebears. They utilize modern technology (in all their forms and popular outlets) to implant negative emotional memories that further their ends and conceal their machinations.

In 1963, the inevitable happened. Our own government lost control over its plotters of change in foreign governments. They turned their tactics against our own leaders and against our own people. It's worked for the past fifty years, and the manipulators of unhealthy emotional memories (nobody can ever really know the truth, nobody can really be trusted because everybody is out for themselves, a bad end awaits anyone who causes trouble, the future could be much worse, you have nothing to fear from monitoring if you have nothing to hide, etc) mean to keep it that way. In the last fifty years, as the threads of the Kennedy assassination cover-up started to unravel, renewed efforts were made to create reinforcing negative emotional memories to sustain the old ones. New books and motion pictures emerged, filled with unhealthy emotional memories. They pandered to the same dismal, pathetic, pessimistic views of ourselves and our future – saying things like: “It could be so much worse….” How we responded to this has determined the path of our country, just as it determined the future of every other overthrown government for the past 100 years. That path has been downhill. There is new hope today, because we have some things that didn't exist before -- the internet and digital technology -- but knowledge isn't enough. It takes strong healthy emotional memories to pursue and achieve the healthy changes that we need. We can take the action necessary to fix our situation without compromising our Constitution. We can honor it by restoring power to those we elected and stop allowing secret abuses of it. We will strive to honor and practice, truth and justice. If we have gone astray in the past we will correct our course and move forward confidently, not secretively. Hypocrisy, deceit and greed will not be encouraged by rewarding it.

The Zapruder film has been unequivocally unmasked as an edited record of the events in Dealey Plaza where Kennedy was killed in 1963. You can find some of the scientific proof of these edits at Abraham Zapruder was a member of the Dallas Council on World Affairs and he was also a member of the Dallas Petroleum Club, which had many prominent members, including George H. W. Bush and George de Mohrenschildt. And Zapruder had employed de Mohrenschildt's wife, Jeanne LeGon, a fact not mentioned in Zapruder's granddaughter's book. Zapruder's son, Henry, worked for the Justice Department at the time of the assassination. Kennedy's assassination and the doctoring of the evidence was so much more than "a mafia hit." We desperately need leaders who have the courage to take government funding away from the occult corporate-intelligence war making machine. It cannot be allowed to run toward goals that violate our Constitution. The roots of the CIA were created to help the President get untainted information during a World War, and those roots should have been cut down drastically at the end of the war, as President Truman ashamedly admitted after Kennedy was assassinated. John Taylor Gatto’s books, especially An Underground History of Education in America (Oxford Village Press, 2006) document the devastation wrought by the corporate-intelligence interests that have insinuated themselves into the school business and effectively hijacked the future of the American people. We rushed to judgment in 1964 under the pretense of avoiding a global nuclear holocaust, preventing World War III, and other such imagined catastrophes and concluded that a "lone nut" killed the President of the United States. Still, many have talked. Their stories were unpublished and unreported, or vigorously discredited, by the mainstream media “assets” of the corporate-intelligence cult. But healthy emotional memories persist and continue to fuel the urge that almost all of have: to tell the truth. Congress reacted to manufactured fear in 1964 in founding the Warren Commission to suppress independent investigations of the Kennedy assassination. It happened again in 1990 to justify going to war in Iraq. In 2008 when fabulously wealthy and comparably amoral thieves had failed to run their businesses responsibly for decades, taxpayers were hit with a bum's rush and gave away $700 Billion dollars to save the US economy. Michael Crichton, in State of Fear (Harper Collins, 2004) argued for removing politics from science and used global warming and real-life historical examples in the appendices to make this argument. In a 2003 speech at the California Institute of Technology he expressed his concern about what he considered the "emerging crisis in the whole enterprise of science—namely the increasingly uneasy relationship between hard science and public policy." 

President Eisenhower in his 1961 farewell address warned: "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." Later in that same speech, Eisenhower said: "Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow." Finally, former President Truman warned us on December 22, 1963 in the Washington Post about the monster that the CIA had become through its covert operations capability that he had absolutely never intended it to have. He wrote: "I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA. At least, I would like to submit here the original reason why I thought it necessary to organize this Agency during my Administration, what I expected it to do and how it was to operate as an arm of the President. But there are now some searching questions that need to be answered. I, therefore, would like to see the CIA be restored to its original assignment as the intelligence arm of the President, and that whatever else it can properly perform in that special field—and that its operational duties be terminated or properly used elsewhere." Source:

Sunday, May 23, 2021

(Noir) Dream State: California in the Movies

Despite a confluence of influences—hard-boiled detective fiction of the 1930s, German expressionist films of the 1920s, and the censorship that arrived in the mid-1930s—film noir is very much a California thing. It is a product of the aspirations and the lusts it inspires and the confusion and disappointment it generates. The eroticism in noir relations rather consists of the drama of initial seduction, which is sometimes synonymous with the drama of breaking a man’s spirit, or at least his willpower, or at the very least his normal instinct for self-preservation. The men invariably end up damaged or broken, though it must be said that the women of noir usually don’t fare well, either. The Killers, Tension, The Maltese Falcon, and D.O.A. end with the femme fatale heading to jail. In Detour, Criss Cross, Out of the Past, The Lady from Shanghai, Scarlet Street, Double Indemnity, Gun Crazy, Too Late for Tears, Decoy, The Postman Always Rings Twice, and Murder, My Sweet, and really too many other noirs to count. 

Yet the destructive women of noir weren’t identical. They had in common the possession of a certain intense allure that could result in death, and yet within that broad definition, there was lots of room for variation. On the benign end of the spectrum we find Yvonne De Carlo in Criss Cross (1949), who just wants to get free of Dan Duryea, her menacing mobster lover. She sees Burt Lancaster as her ticket to freedom, and they both end up dead. But she’s not a willful agent of destruction, nor is Joan Bennett in Scarlet Street (1945), who is merely sloppy and self-indulgent and willing to go along with her boyfriend’s criminal schemes. In their respective films, De Carlo and Bennett were, in a sense, simply relaxed and natural, and the movies were paranoid fantasies of what might happen to a man who became ensnared by temptation. Most noir women were more actively amoral. They represent fantasies of a female sexuality completely divorced from the constraints of morality. They are male projections, and as such they can be thought of as misogynistic creations, but they were also fantasies of female power. And the attraction they hold for men in these films is the opportunity they offer of sex with a free woman—a completely free woman who is, at the very least, the man’s equal. Yet from early in the film noir cycle, the women in these movies became something more than examples of greed supercharged by amorality. There was something additional to their natures, something skewed. 

Audrey Totter in Tension (1949) leaves her husband (Richard Basehart), a perfectly nice pharmacist who is devoted to her, and then ends up killing the lover she left him for. In Too Late for Tears (1949), Lizabeth Scott is not just greedy but demented by greed. When she and her husband find $50,000 in a gangland drop-off, she persuades the husband not to turn the money over to the police. Soon, the gangster who missed the money shows up at her doorstep, but her avarice and ruthlessness are such that she ends up scaring him. But in a way that’s just a corollary of the California idea—freedom is worth the risk. Speaking of female perspective, Born to Kill (1947), set mostly in San Francisco, did something perhaps unique: It reversed the sexes and thus created one of the more fascinating examples of the form. 

Claire Trevor in Born to Kill is like a combination of the men and women that usually populate noir. Like noir’s evil women, she has a streak of perversity. While on a trip to Reno to get divorced, she stumbles onto a gruesome murder scene, but, not wanting to get involved, she doesn’t call the police but instead remains curiously detached, even though she knew one of the victims. Soon after, she figures out who the murderer is—a big, hard, brutish man with no discernible charm at all, played by Lawrence Tierney. But again, she fails to call the police because, of all things, she finds herself physically attracted to him. In this, she is like the noir men—she knows better but can’t help herself. As photographic entities, both cities (San Francisco and L.A.) are beautiful, and being beautiful, they convey the California idea that here is a place so lovely that people must make their own problems. And people do. Even divorced from the ugliness, bad weather, miserable atmosphere, and strategic difficulty of navigating life that we find in other cities, people in film noir find the means to screw up their lives in catastrophic ways. Yet there’s a difference in the beauty of San Francisco and Los Angeles and what that beauty means on screen. In film, San Francisco represents a pristine ideal: You may be having a rotten time, but the city is perfectly fine. 

In Out of the Past, Robert Mitchum takes time off from watching his life circle the drain to ask Rhonda Fleming if she has ever been to New York. When she says no, he tells her, “You take a trip there one time. You’ll find out why I’m in San Francisco.” San Francisco is like a pure essence, sometimes a moral rebuke, sometimes an impervious ideal, against which the impurity, perfidy, or unhappiness of the characters can stand out in sharper relief. This brings us to a key difference between San Francisco and Los Angeles in the movies. San Francisco doesn’t care if you live or die. But Los Angeles? Los Angeles wants to kill you. L.A.’s beauty is the beauty of illusion. Its beauty is the face that the devil shows you for the sake of luring you in. And then the head slowly spins around and there are worms coming out of its eyes. It’s not something phony that’s hiding something dark and true. Rather, it’s something irresistible and empty that’s hiding the true depths, implications, and consequences of its emptiness. San Francisco is Olympian, disinterested. L.A. tempts you—that is, you the movie protagonist—with everything you know you shouldn’t want but do—pool parties, sex with strangers, indolence, unearned status. In the history of cinema, there has never been a Hollywood party presented on screen in which any protagonist ever had fun. 

Orson Welles’s The Lady from Shanghai (1947) introduces a group of wealthy sharks, all with a blood lust to devour each other. But then they do—and somehow manage to devour no one else. Everett Sloane and Rita Hayworth turn an amusement park hall of mirrors into a shooting gallery. Both end up dead, but the one almost-innocent bystander—the Irishman played by Welles himself—walks away with barely a flesh wound. In a Los Angeles noir, he could have easily been killed, too, or better yet, he would have been executed for their murder. One of the most seductive and mad of femme fatales is the relatively unknown Jean Gillie in the film Decoy (1946). She played a woman obsessed with a buried treasure. Her bank-robbing boyfriend is in prison, and she is desperate to get a map to where he buried the money. Along the way, she kills several people and thoroughly enjoys it. She kicks the jack out from under a car, causing it to collapse on a man underneath it, and laughs. In San Francisco noir, the world can make sense. In Los Angeles noir, the whole point is that the world does not make sense. In fact, it’s almost as if everything is made subordinate to that assertion, so that the story becomes secondary. Every movie becomes a quiet scream: Something is terribly wrong. It has become a commonplace in noir studies to say that the rise of film noir is related to the detonation of the two atomic bombs that ended World War II, and to the nuclear arms race that followed. In this way, the nihilism of noir becomes an expression of the existential terror inherent in people’s belief that civilization was on borrowed time and that humanity would soon destroy itself. Noir would have no power, no resonance, and could make no connection if we didn’t fear the cold implications of the modernity that noir and Los Angeles express. In noir, we wake up to the nightmare that follows our seduction. It’s a world in which God doesn’t matter—or worse, has decided that we don’t. 

Consider Petulia, set in San Francisco and released in that disturbed year of 1968. At one point, someone introduces “Bobby Kennedy” as a conversational topic. Meanwhile, Kennedy died four days before the film was released. Such was the ever-changing horror show of America that the film was made in and released into. The title character, played by Julie Christie, is a married British woman who tries to pick up a doctor (George C. Scott) at a charity ball at the Fairmont Hotel. In Petulia, director Richard Lester presents San Francisco as a trendsetting archetype, interesting in its way and glamorous, if observed from a distance. Lester knew something about glamour and about universal loci of cool, having filmed the Beatles movie A Hard Day’s Night in the London of 1964. But while that earlier film presented a burst of joy, Petulia shows a world in which love has been corrupted, perhaps cheapened by casual encounters, so that it no longer has meaning; or perhaps it’s that the casualness of sex has detached it from mystery, so that the meaninglessness of it all has been revealed for all to recognize.

Matthew Bright’s Freeway, an independent film from 1996, offers an interesting inflection on the usual California serial killer genre. It presents a teenage girl (Reese Witherspoon) when she runs off on her own, to avoid being placed in foster care, she gets picked up by a seemingly nice, respectable school counselor (Kiefer Sutherland), who turns out to be a serial killer. What makes the film a comedy (believe it or not) is that the movie invests its teenage protagonist with a completely unaccountable sense of self-worth and a skewed but definite moral center. “Why are you killing all them girls, Bob?” she asks accusingly, a line that invariably gets a laugh from the audience because of its bluntness and purity. Why, indeed. The fact that there isn’t and cannot be an answer to that question places Freeway very much in the California tradition. But the fact that it features a heroine who has not only a sense of right and wrong but also an ability to stand outside the madness and react with more anger than despair or cynicism makes it a California story with a difference. —"Dream State: California in the Movies" (2021) by Mick LaSalle

Monday, May 10, 2021

JFK's love letters, JFK Jr & Carolyn Bessette

Love letters that John F. Kennedy wrote to a Swedish paramour a few years after he married Jacqueline Bouvier are going up for auction. “You are wonderful and I miss you,” Kennedy scribbled at the end of a February 1956 letter to aristocrat Gunilla von Post, whom he’d met on the French Riviera a few weeks before he wed Bouvier in 1953. Kennedy was a Democratic U.S. senator from Massachusetts at the time, and the handwritten letters were written on Senate letterhead. He signed one simply: “Jack.” Von Post, who died in 2011 in Palm Beach, Florida, wrote a 1997 memoir, “Love, Jack,” about her relationship with Kennedy. A 1955 letter began: “Dear Gunilla, I must say you looked well and happy in the photograph you sent me at the Regatta.” Kennedy then sketched out his plans to head to Europe after Congress recessed early in August of that year, writing: “I shall be in Sweden on the 12th. Where do I go. Send me your address at Bastad where you shall be.” In the 1956 letter, Kennedy expressed regret that von Post wouldn't be traveling to the U.S. as he'd hoped. "I must say I was sad to learn that, after all, you are not coming to the U.S.," he wrote. "If you don't marry come over as I should like to see you. I had a wonderful time last summer with you. It is a bright memory of my life," Kennedy wrote. "I am anxious to see you. Is it not strange after all these months? Perhaps at first it shall be a little difficult as we shall be strangers - but not strangers - and I am sure it will all work and I shall think that though it is a long way to Gunilla - it is worth it." "This is the only Kennedy letter that we have offered that displays open affection to another woman while he was married," the auction house said. 

In her memoir, von Post recounted Kennedy's efforts to end his marriage to Bouvier and bring her to the U.S. In the end, the future president's hopes of doing that were thwarted by his authoritarian father, Joseph P. Kennedy; JFK's own political ambitions; and the future first lady's 1955 miscarriage and 1956 pregnancy. Von Post and Kennedy saw each other only one other time: a chance encounter at a gala at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City in 1958, when the Swede was pregnant with her first child. Source:

JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette had been married for less than three years when they were killed in a plane crash on July 16, 1999, but their romance remains the stuff of legend. Richard Bradley, who served as executive editor at George magazine, says in Taraborrelli's The Kennedy Heirs: "When you were with them," Bradley continued, "you felt John had really put forth a new power couple in the family, and there had been a lot of them, like Jack and Jackie, Bobby and Ethel, Sarge and Eunice [Shriver]. John had always had a thing about the Kennedy power couples of the past, and this was how he wanted to view himself and Carolyn. So, I guess one could say that Carolyn was becoming the woman behind the man, and John was happy and proud about it. I think his mom would have been as well." And importantly for Carolyn, who did her best to ignore the women of all ages who shamelessly threw themselves at her fiancĂ©, John wasn't too old-fashioned. Unlike so many of the men in his family, including his late father, President John F. Kennedy, he aspired to take their relationship, and their eventual marital vows, seriously. "I see what goes on in this family, and it scares me," Carolyn had admitted to her friend Stewart Price, according to The Kennedy Heirs. Price reminded her that John was different, to which she replied, "It's a good thing, too. I know myself and I'm definitely not that pathetic Kennedy wife who'll stay home with the kids while her husband is out screwing around. No. I'm that pissed-off Kennedy wife who'll be in prison because she took matters into her own hands." Friends of the couple encouraged Carolyn not to engage with the press—don't worry if they call you names, you can't win either way, they advised her—and equally encouraged John to be more sensitive to Carolyn's concerns. After all, she didn't grow up with that life. But the story didn't change: not their clashing temperaments, not their communication issues and certainly not the press's consistently rabid interest in their lives, the paparazzi obviously hoping for a follow-up to their February 1996 performance in the park. "She told me she felt manipulated and compromised, as if she had no authority over her own life," Carolyn's friend told Taraborrelli. 

"She said she was putting John on probation. 'I'm going to give it three more months and see how I feel,' she said." Carolyn admitted she might be over-dramatizing the situation, but she said she needed "a cooling-off period and that in a few months she'd have more clarity. They'd been having a lot of marital problems lately, she said, and she was worn down by then." The couple had started marriage counseling that March. "It's all falling apart," John lamented to another friend from his perch at the Stanhope Hotel on Fifth Avenue. And he didn't just mean his marriage. George was in serious financial trouble, the publishing business being notoriously difficult even then, before the death knell of print had sounded, and John went to meet potential investors in Toronto in early July. He flew himself up there, with a copilot. But even if he lost his magazine, he was determined to not lose Carolyn, and he was looking forward to putting that plan into action somehow during Rory's wedding weekend. Source:

An editor familiar with the 2003 Ed Klein-sponsored Carolyn smear book opined: "Clearly he writes from a biased perspective. The smear campaign against Carolyn's reputation continued on with the publishing of some extracts from The Kennedy Curse to Vanity Fair, a magazine ambivalent towards the Kennedy family. Indeed it appears that this smear campaign may have started earlier than the crash - when, according to sources close to the couple, JFK Jr's behavior flew out of control. Apparently, Carolyn had caught JFK Jr cheating on her and he even boasted about the 'desire' he felt for other women. A friend told The Mail on Sunday: 'John was an egomaniac, a sybarite and a womanizer. He wanted to have children to perpetuate his genes. All Kennedys marry for that reason. This poor girl was there to bear his son and perform as First Lady. If she didn't care for life in the fishbowl, tough. John thrived on public attention. Even before the wedding, the Kennedys began to work on Carolyn, telling her how she should dress, how she should behave. Her self-confidence was never great.' 

'She came from a broken home in the suburbs. She was beautiful but she felt she was never beautiful enough. When John began to neglect her, she went into a downward spiral. If Carolyn took drugs it was as a sort of escape. But they made her more depressed until she didn't even want to leave the house. Early in their marriage, she became convinced John was cheating on her. She found it impossible to trust him, even when his motives were innocent.' Another friend of Carolyn thought John could exhibit chauvinist-like behaviour at times, so the couple started to have bad arguments. However, journalists began to receive calls from sources in the Kennedy inner circle who wanted to give them 'the real scoop'. 'I was told Carolyn was a drama queen, always complaining and frigid. She didn't want to get pregnant, and didn't want to do anything except hang out with her "fag friends",' one columnist reveals. 'There also was a tip that she was doing so much coke she had white circles under her nose.' The sensational 'white circles' slur featured prominently in Klein's book and grabbed headlines around the world. But many were unconvinced by these false claims. 'It seemed unlikely she could be as crazy as they claimed,' one journalist told me. 'It would be hard for anyone to be more screwed up than a male Kennedy. I also knew, of course, about how dangerous this family can be when they perceive anyone to be a threat to their image. Carolyn clearly was that threat. John was hoping to run for Senate and the last thing he needed was to be tarred as the latest Kennedy adulterer. The air of breeding which captivated John when he first met Carolyn was deceptive. He told friends he saw her as the embodiment of his elegant mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.'

'But Carolyn's heritage was more modest. She was the youngest child of William J. Bessette, who was the Chief Civil Engineer for Whiting Turner Contracting Company. William J. Bessette helped to build international airports all over the globe and was brought in to fix the Statue of Liberty renovation projects - which were behind schedule. Carolyn's mother was Ann Messina, an administrator in the New York City public school system. Carolyn had two older sisters, twins Lauren and Lisa. The Bessette family shared ancestral lineage with AndrĂ© Bessette, more commonly known as Brother Andre of Montreal. Carolyn's parents were divorced and Ann later married the chief of orthopaedic surgery at a large hospital and settled in Connecticut. The family were comfortably off, but Carolyn attended a redbrick university and considered a teaching career. But one day, while temping at a Calvin Klein shop, she was  discovered by one of Calvin's associates.' A friend says: 'She got this whole new sophisticated look and became quite a party girl. I think she was very confused. There was a lot of ill-will between her parents and the New York scene was an escape, but not a very well thought-out one. She really didn't like living in the city but John refused to leave. He believed it was the perfect base for his career.' 'Carolyn used to do drugs recreationally before she met John,' recalls a friend. 'Everyone did in New York, John included. But when John started straying, she just couldn't take it. There were times he would come home after fooling around and find her hollow-eyed, she was so stoned. He'd scream that she was a cokehead. But it was his behavior that did it. She was so sad. He was going on at her about having a baby. He'd even chosen a name, Flynn - he was certain it was going to be a son. Carolyn couldn't cope. She was deeply depressed. She'd lost interest in sex. She'd seen a psychiatrist who gave her antidepressants but they couldn't solve the real problem: John.' 

Furious at being banned from his wife's bed, John told colleagues he was going to get a divorce. 'No Kennedy will stand for that kind of treatment,' one of them says. But relatives tried to convince him to save the marriage. 'Divorce is never the best thing for a politician,' he was allegedly told by the Kennedy clan. Friends say the Bessette family were inconsolable about the traducing of their daughter's memory and false allegations, but they insist on maintaining a dignified silence. “John’s life was huge—with dozens of friendships and involvements—but Carolyn couldn’t handle that,” one of her closest friends told. “She didn’t want to go out. She would ditch John’s friends, not show up for dinner, refuse to go to people’s houses or events. She burned a lot of bridges.” Sources: and other anonymous sources