Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Lee Harvey Oswald wanted butter on the table


     I'm not sure I ever get to the real point in this column, which came to me only today. What I was trying to say is that there is more interesting stuff in the Kennedy assassination story than the standard "Who done it?" question that can never be answered. Stuff that most people don't know and won't learn from this new data dump. That comes across, at best, as a subtext in the column itself, so I thought I should say it directly first thing.

     Many hieroglyphics have never been read. At least not since whatever tomb or ruin where they were discovered was unearthed. The papyrus or pot shard is collected, put into a drawer at an academic institution to await someone to come along and read it. Fifty or 100 years might go by.
     Just as well. When scholarly eyes finally fall upon ancient writings, they find not a beautiful poem or key piece of history but a sales receipt, another inventory of wheat or a recipe for beer. Most of life is ordinary, even under the pharaohs.
     That truth echoes to the current day. Ordinariness abounds though we refuse to accept it.
     The last batch of classified Kennedy assassination material — thousands of pages — is expected to be released Thursday.
     Oh goody, just what we need. More words about the Kennedy assassination. Because there just aren't enough now. We're curious about the new batch even though we have only the vaguest notion of what we already have.
     In one of those coincidences that would look trite in fiction, I can, as I sit here writing, shift my right knee six inches and touch 21 volumes of "HEARINGS BEFORE THE PRESIDENT'S COMMISSION ON THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT KENNEDY." Sturdy blue volumes, each with the Great Seal of the United States on the cover.
     The 2-foot-high stack is under my desk because the Sun-Times is moving its office to the West Loop. Part of the process of squeezing our physical presence to fit a smaller space has been shedding books. The Kennedy report was fished out of a dumpster by a colleague, then abandoned at my office like 21 blue-swaddled babes since I'm the crypt keeper, apparently, for this kind of thing.


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17 comments:

  1. Conspiracy theories are what we create in an attempt to rationalize the irrational, or to realize an unimaginable reality. We boldly speak the unspeakable, while congratulating our clouded cleverness.

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  2. the warren commission report which I assume is what Neill is in possession of did withhold information at the time of its release which led to much speculation that there was more to the story that the public wasn't being told. subsequent government reports including the house select committee on assassinations, a hearing I listened to at work in the late 70s ,concluded that there was no evidence of a conspiracy . many refused to believe this. maybe the release of withheld documents will finally put these notions to rest. I doubt it and expect a new round of speculation will result.

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  3. Were Russians behind the Kennedy assassination? Did the Russians infiltrate Secretary Clinton's State Department? Did the Russians create a mind control machine? Did they set the stultification dial to 11 when they aimed it at Rick Perry? What were the settings when the mind control ray hit Donald Trump? So many questions, the American people need answers. It is all clear now, there is no other choice, to get to the bottom of this the U.S. Attorney General must appoint a Russian Tsar or Tsarina.
    But seriously, Jack Ruby was indoctrinated by his father who was a veteran of the Russian Army. Their graves can be found at Westlawn Cemetery in Norridge.

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  4. I have never heard a Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory that made sense to me. And I'm not talking about magic bullets and grassy knolls. I mean the basic motive--who would want Kennedy dead, and why?

    The one I hear most often is that it was the CIA, because they were for some reason desperate to keep the fighting in Vietnam going and Kennedy was about to pull out of there. This ignores that 1) grand military strategy is beyond the CIA's purview, 2) Kennedy escalated American military operations in Vietnam throughout his presidency and there is no evidence he ever intended to reverse this, and 3) from what I've seen of the CIA, conceiving and keeping secret a conspiracy like this one would have been far beyond its competence.

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    1. The basic motive one that made sense to me in my younger days was that folks looked at the Cuban Missile Crisis and concluded Kennedy actually _would_ use nukes to solve problems, so he was assassinated to keep things safer for the world, whether by the CIA, the KGB, or who knows? But I incline to the official story -- shot by Oswald for banal reasons.

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  5. "since I'm the crypt keeper, apparently, for this kind of thing." Seems legit. After all, you're the Jewish atheist guy with the 17-volume New Catholic Encyclopedia, aren't you? ; )

    Having read the Warren report and "Case Closed," by Gerald Posner, I also really liked this NOVA program called "Cold Case JFK" that was on a while back. It presents an investigation into certain questions ("but his head jerked *backwards*, how could one bullet have done what they said it did?," etc.) that conspiracy-minded folks love to focus on, using modern forensic science. Uh, spoiler alert -- the questions are effectively answered. It's about 45 minutes long and is on YouTube, if anybody wants to watch it, but I suppose that's not really sanctioned, so I'll link to the official site:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/cold-case-jfk.html

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  6. Thom Hartman and Lamar Waldron wrote this book. https://www.amazon.com/Legacy-Secrecy-Long-Shadow-Assassination/dp/1582435359 For those of you who might not know Hartman is a liberal talk show host. I forget the reason, but they believe the mob was involved. Not sure how they found Oswald or there was another gunman. I think there was a documentary based on the book. I would have to look on line. I don't think Hartman is a conspiracy theorist. Needless to say it was too bad Ruby killed Oswald.

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    1. speculation on the mobs involvement revolved around the work the presidents brother bobby was doing as attorney general to thwart their enterprise

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    2. also ruby was mobbed up in his capacity as a night club owner

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  7. I'm shocked by the, seemingly, intelligent folks that continue with the hype of conspiracy whenever the situation calls for it....controlled explosives in the WTC on 9/11 and the newest with multiple gunman in LasVegas. I'm sure they somehow convince hundreds (if not thousands) of investigators to fudge the data and lie about their findings.

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    1. So, investigators conspire to "fudge the data" in response to conspiracy theories? That's quite a theory.

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    2. I think Anonymous meant it is impossible to convince 100s/1000s of folks to fudge data, hence arguing against the conspiracies he's mentioning (and in general).

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    3. How do you identify satire in today's world when it's source is anonymous, or unknown, or private? If you're anonymous, you're just adding to the din.

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  8. I remember seeing the live footage of Ruby shooting Oswald, which seemed too obvious to me, hence my wondering if it was all a set up.

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    1. What I find interesting about that footage is the look on the faces of the policemen as they watch their law enforcement careers evaporating before their very eyes.

      john

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  9. Kennedy wanted to inspect Israel's nuclear program. Some have alleged the Mossad hired Mafia shooters to do the job. A lot of people hated Kennedy. Kids in Dallas stood up and cheered when they heard the news.

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  10. Reading an article in the august N. Y. Times about the release of the files. The second most "reader recommended" comment and a "NYT Pick" comment, at that, is as follows:

    "I, in no way believe in the average conspiracy theory - but there is no way Lee Harvey acted alone or perhaps even at all that day.

    Magic Bullet!? The back of Kennedy's head getting blown out and his head shoved backward?! Lee Harvey just happens to work in a building that after the route is changed has a credible shooters perch (from one direction). Jack Ruby!? A mobster who owed everyone and new the cops super well!?
    And all the other stuff. Baloney. We are not stupid.

    No way. You'll never sell me that Oswald acted alone. And perhaps even knew what was going to happen.

    No way."

    Those sound like core, long-since debunked, elements of "average conspiracy theories" to me. "Perhaps even at all?" Sheesh, these people. Sounds like an average Trump voter, though...

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