Monthly Archives: May 2016
The JFK Assassination Research Community and Me
When Hidden History was published in November 2014, I naturally assumed that the JFK research community would be drawn to it. After all, I’d spent over a decade on the most high-profile internet forums, posting regularly and even as a moderator on London’s Spartacus Education Forum.
However, despite the unexpected success of my book, this natural demographic base has all but ignored it. There have been some notable exceptions, of course. Douglas Caddy was very supportive from the beginning. So was John Barbour. Vince Palamara wrote a nice review, as did Jim DiEugenio. Roger Stone loved the book, and will be writing the Introduction to the paperback version, due for publication this July. But the vast majority of those I’d come to know and interact with, in a cyber sense, over the years, have avoided any mention of Hidden History like the plague.
John F. Kennedy, Jr.’s death is mentioned sporadically on these forums. Whenever it is, I usually try to post something about my investigation into the case, which I humbly suggest produced some groundbreaking information, and was recounted in Hidden History. But even there, posters seem to pretend my work on the subject doesn’t exist, and will instead refer again to internet articles from 1999.
I’ve tried to wrap my mind around all this. Are some posters simply jealous? Certainly, I alienated a number of those I denigrated for being “neo-cons,” or mere pseudo proponents of conspiracy. I also incurred the wrath of many of the most immature “researchers,” who insisted on name-calling, foul language and threats as part of their “debating” tactics.
On Facebook, I have nearly 1,500 friends. The majority of these are people interested in either the JFK assassination, 9/11, or a variety of conspiratorial subjects. Yet when I post about my book, invariably few of them even “like” it, yet alone comment. When I shared former Rep. Cynthia McKinney’s glowing comments about one of my interviews, the response was negligible from the “conspiracy” crowd, most of whom I know deeply admire her.
On another occasion, I shared actress Susan Olsen’s (who played Cindy on The Brady Bunch) promo link to the interview I was going to do on her LA Talk Radio show. The only “like” and only comment came from Olsen herself. Early on, when I posted the news that Hidden History had reached #1 in two different Amazon categories, or when I notified my Facebook friends that it had sold out, resulting in an additional printing, it garnered a bit more attention, but never much from the JFK research crowd. As time went on, and more copies of the book were sold, it actually seemed as if it was getting less attention from “researchers.”
I understand that many, if not most, JFK assassination researchers treat the case as if it occurred in a bubble. I’ve tried to point out numerous times that these events are inevitably intertwined. The corruption didn’t start on November 22, 1963, and didn’t stop with the publication of the Warren Report. On the contrary, it’s an ongoing process, a way of doing business. That should be obvious to astute observers by now, but to many well-respected researchers, such talk is beyond the pale.
I won’t mention any names. But it’s beyond perplexing to recall all the JFK forum regulars who told me how much they were breathlessly awaiting my book, only to encounter absolute silence from them after its publication and surprising success. Older books like JFK and the Unspeakable continue to be promoted on Facebook and the forums, but my book is evidently anathema to these same posters. David Talbot’s Devils’s Chessboard hardly needs the promotion of these researchers on Facebook, but they promote it there relentlessly. Talbot is just one of many high profile figures that were interested in, and received a review copy of Hidden History, yet never even responded to my follow up regarding their impressions of the book.
It remains an inexplicable phenomenon that a book lauded by the likes of Cynthia McKinney, Roger Stone, Cindy Sheehan, John Barbour, Jerome Corsi, Rob Dew of Infowars and many others, has been virtually shunned by the hordes on the internet who are supposedly obsessed with the subject matter Hidden History largely addresses. I’m left to wonder just who is buying and reading it.
Because of the near lack of support I’ve received from what should logically have been my default base, the sales and interviews that exceeded my wildest expectations seem all the more astonishing. If the public support of Cynthia McKinney didn’t impress them, then I suppose nothing will.
Reading some recent threads at one of these forums reminded me again of just how naive some of these posters are. There are JFK assassination researchers who actually support Hillary Clinton and believe she will just continue the “good” things President Bill Clinton did. Perhaps, then, much of their reluctance to mention my book is based upon their misguided allegiance to the phony “left” and “right” paradigm. If you can’t see how corrupt politicians like the Clintons are, then you probably aren’t going to like my book.
If this sounds like sour grapes, perhaps it is. But it’s a bizarre kind of sour grapes, since my book has done much better than I thought possible. The non-support of JFK assassination researchers hasn’t hindered sales, but it does bother me. The silence is worse than criticism. I’d actually prefer that some of them would post about it, and demonstrate its flaws. But they don’t do that. Instead, they avoid any mention of Hidden History. Whenever I’ve referenced it at a pertinent spot in a particular discussion thread, the thread pretty much stops.
I’ve commented before on how dysfunctional the critical community is. It always has been, to some extent; but the fracturing, the petty disputes, the professional envy, is more pronounced now than ever. Many who have never written a single book cling to their own particular theories, and label anyone who dissents as a “disinfo agent” or a “troll.” “Respectable” researchers adamantly maintain there were no shots from the front, or that Oswald was not being impersonated, or that there were no suspicious deaths, or that Steven Witt was the Umbrella Man.
I once tried to get researchers to rally around a very simple conclusion, a media talking point, that would express our collective thoughts on this issue. Here is the thread I started about this on the Education Forum: Can We Agree On A Consensus Statement Regarding Conspiracy? You can read for yourself just how successful I was.
To put it mildly, my experiences over the years with the often bombastic, difficult personalities who gravitate to JFK assassination research, have created a powerful rift between us. I still post there sometimes, when the spirit moves me, but we are separated, and maybe ultimately headed for divorce. They ridicule the likes of Alex Jones and Coast to Coast AM, two of the most conspiracy-friendly press venues that exist. They have a very restricted view of what is and isn’t “respectable.” As I’ve told them many times, the establishment press isn’t going to listen to them, or like them, no matter how “neo-con” and reasonable they try to appear.
I’ve been researching the JFK assassination since 1975 or so. The subject continues to fascinate me, and I will always be drawn to it. But the vast majority of those who call themselves “researchers,” and post regularly on internet forums, hold no such fascination for me. On the contrary, I’m done trying to analyze them or debate them.
I’ve been thinking about writing this blog entry for quite some time. It isn’t easy to express my thoughts on this, without sounding whiny and over-sensitive. But it had to be said, and hopefully readers will understand where I’m coming from.
What Do Conservatives Want to Conserve?
Donald Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” has rekindled memories, in aging Baby Boomers, of a “Leave it to Beaver” land that was idyllic and awesome. While clearly reality has been air-brushed by those who sell it to the public for a very long time, those of us who were alive fifty years ago understand just how far America has fallen.
The word “conservative” implies a desire to protect, to conserve, the present trappings of a civilization. I am sometimes cynical enough to agree with Ambrose Bierce’s adage that a conservative “is enamored with existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wants to replace them with others” While one can make a convincing argument that there was something worthwhile preserving in our society fifty or sixty years ago, it is impossible to find much worth “conserving” now.
Our economy is so unbalanced, with a wealth disparity that may well result in most of the country being penniless paupers soon, that no rational person can want to “conserve” it. Trade deals like NAFTA and the soon-to-be implemented TPP have decimated American industry and destroyed the blue-collar working class. Nothing worth “conserving” there. Our curiously open-door immigration policy, which has led to a flooding of the labor market with hungry workers willing to work for low wages, is driven exclusively by greed and is hardly worth “conserving.”
Our culture literally resembles what Mike Judge spoofed in his film Idiocracy. When Snoop Dog, Honey Boo Boo, the Kardashians and Kanye West are your cultural icons, you have a culture that is not worth “conserving.” Can we really envision audiences watching the fart-fueled “comedies” of an Adam Sandler or a Will Ferrell, or the politically correct violence-porn of a Quentin Tarantino, one hundred years from now? Will anyone still be reading the trashy “literature” that presently litters the New York Times best-seller lists? Most of the greatest writers in history could not be published in today’s world. There are no Shakespeares, Dickens, Mozarts or Nikola Teslas around to “conserve.”
Outside of Ron Paul and a few others, what politicians of the past few decades are worth “conserving?” The only thing worth conserving about our political system is the system itself, as designed by the Founding Fathers. But those who have corrupted it, and continue to run it into the ground, are certainly not worth “conserving.”
Conservatives love to thrust out their chests and proclaim, “This is the best country in the world- why don’t you move if you don’t like it?” It is impossible to quantify which country is “better” in a geological sense, but conservatives imply that the American people are the best, their collective beliefs are the best, their flag is the best.
So what does the record suggest about the collective beliefs of the American people? First and foremost, it indicates that they are startlingly naive, almost like stunted adolescents clinging to tooth fairy-level fantasies. They continue to elect and re- elect the most unattractive political candidates imaginable. They are fooled by the same empty rhetoric about “the children” or “keeping America strong.” They fall for the same insincere compliments about “the American people” being stronger, greater, more patient and more willing to sacrifice than any other people anywhere.
The American people also have very short collective memories. As I demonstrated in Hidden History, there are countless examples of official chicanery and corruption, that the American people have completely forgotten, if they ever paid attention to the scant initial press coverage of them. Like bewildered, battered spouses, they have a powerful case of Stockholm Syndrome, and pathetically suspect that their abuser has abused them for the last time, and is finally ready to reform.
Our infrastructure is crumbling to pieces, giving much of America a real Third-World look and feel. What is worth “conserving” about that? Meanwhile, our resources are primarily directed into the Military-Industrial Complex Eisenhower warned us about nearly sixty years ago. Black holes, black budgets, black operations and top-secret clearances predominate in the national security state. And yet Americans seem desperate to “conserve” all this. Why do we want to “conserve” the foreign bombings and occupations abroad, and a domestic clandestine apparatus that has resulted in the past in citizens being dosed with LSD and their cities bombarded with germs and viruses?
I understand wanting to conserve the Constitution. Certainly we should all understand the importance of maintaining the Bill of Rights. But what is worth “conserving” about more recent unconstitutional monstrosities like the Homeland Security Department and the Patriot Act, which nearly all conservatives support? How do such things tie in with the traditional “Americanism,” the baseball and apple pie variety?
Do conservatives want to “conserve” the odious concepts of “hate crime” and “hate speech?” “Free speech zones?” They clearly want to “conserve” sinful bonuses for corporate executives, and no annual pay raises for their employees. They approve of the same corporations who are outsourcing and moving offshore bestowing hundreds of thousands of dollars in “part time” income on already incredibly wealthy executives who sit on each other’s Boards of Directors, and “earn” this incredible gratuity by attending a handful of yearly meetings.
“Conservatives” became transformed during the Reagan years. Formerly known for their vociferous anti-communism, and fierce defense of at least a facsimile of liberty, they gradually morphed into Ayn Rand disciples, whose entire philosophy boils down to a devout worship of wealth and the infallible marketplace.
Thus, modern conservatives quite naturally want to “conserve” the rigged marketplace, the Ebeneezer Scrooge-way of doing business, that has served so many of them so well. They are terrified of all this changing. These self-proclaimed”wealth creators” cherish impossibly accelerated executive pay and bonuses, combined with massive layoffs and elimination of benefits. And most of them celebrate this new conservatism by going to church regularly. They honestly believe they deserve this.
This is why both Trump and Sanders are so dangerous to the establishment. The disastrous trade deals have led directly to the de-industrialization of America. The non-stop influx of illegal immigrants and foreign Visa workers have led to drastically reduced wages and benefits, and a real unemployment rate of at least 25%. The dramatic consolidation of wealth into fewer and fewer hands has led to a lowered standard of living for the majority of Americans. It’s very simple; if you let one man have thousands of times more money than another, he will still not be able to purchase thousands of times more goods and services. It’s impossible to maintain a viable economy with this kind of income disparity. But conservatives want to “conserve” all this.
“Law and order” conservatives are apparently satisfied with our out-of-control police forces, and the fact the “bad eggs” are never punished by their superiors. They want to “conserve” a legal system where only the rich and celebrated receive any semblance of justice, while the common riff-raff are lucky to get five minutes with their public defender, who won’t even attempt to defend them. They want to “conserve” traffic light cameras, installed specifically to pad the budgets of law enforcement, and further the 1984-Orwellian ambiance across the land.
There are some things still worth conserving. The environment, for example. What’s left of our civil liberties. What’s left of our theaters and museums. But on almost every front, we need massive reform, massive changes of the rational kind. This primary season has exposed the rotten process for what it is, with its undisguised voting fraud, theft of delegates and undermining of the will of the public. Judging by the conservatives who support the likes of Ted Cruz, this anti-democratic system is something else they want to “conserve.”
Conservatives love to brag about our bloated medical system, which has become so expensive it is evolving into yet another privilege only the rich enjoy. Do we want to “conserve” life expectancy rates that are lower than twenty four other nations, including Slovenia? An infant mortality rate that ranks 167th in the world? Other than leading the world in obesity, diabetes, and prescribed pharmaceuticals, exactly what is so great about our medical system? Do we want to “conserve” its astronomical costs?
By advocating for a continuation of the status quo, conservatives are putting their imprimatur on an authoritarian political correctness that threatens to jail citizens for using “offensive” words, a society that punishes whistle blowers and ignores true wrongdoing, and a narcissistic business world that treats most of its workers like pawns on a chessboard, while hoarding all the wealth with the entitled mindsets of medieval monarchs.
Obviously, I find little to like about either the conventional “left” or “right.” But there is something truly ridiculous about a group that advocates “conserving” any aspect of our dying and decaying society. Not to mention, of course, that such “conservatism” confers an endorsement upon the incompetent thugs who are in charge.
Donald Trump is only scratching the surface with his criticism of our policies and those who have implemented them. We are dealing with absolute tyranny and an entrenched aristocracy that is as incompetent as it is corrupt. There is little anywhere about present-day America that is worth “conserving.”