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At The Nation, Rick Perlstein drills some holes into some conventional analysis in JFK’s Uncertain Path in Vietnam:

The argument that John F. Kennedy was a closet peacenik, ready to give up on what the Vietnamese call the American War upon re-election, received its most farcical treatment in Oliver Stone’s JFK. It was made with only slightly more sophistication by Kenneth O’Donnell in the 1972 book Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye, in which the old Kennedy hand depicted the president telling him, “In 1965, I’ll become one of the most unpopular presidents in history. I’ll be damned everywhere as a Communist appeaser. But I don’t care. If I tried to pull out completely now from Vietnam, we would have another McCarthy red scare on our hands, but I can do it after I’m elected.”

O’Donnell also claimed that in an October 2, 1963, National Security Council meeting, after debriefing Robert McNamara and General Maxwell Taylor on their recent trip to Saigon, “President Kennedy asked McNamara to announce to the press after the meeting the immediate withdrawal of one thousand soldiers and to say that we would probably withdraw all American forces from Vietnam by the end of 1965.

Rick Perlstein
Rick Perlstein
When McNamara was leaving the meeting to talk to the White House reporters, the President called to him, ‘And tell them that means all the helicopter pilots, too.’ ” Promptly, wrote O’Donnell, McNamara double-crossed the president, giving the reporters merely a prediction of the end of America’s war, not Kennedy’s prescription of the end of America’s war: McNamara merely said they thought “the major part of the the U.S. task” would be completed by the end of 1965, nothing about the president’s intention to complete the task by the end of 1965.

O’Donnell was seeing the world through Camelot-colored glasses. As the historian Edwin Moise demonstrates in A Companion to the Vietnam War (2002), NSC minutes are a matter of record, and the notes show the President himself approving a statement that was only a prediction that things would be over by the end of 1965, framed merely as the observation of Taylor and McNamara. (“They reported that by the end of this year, the U.S. program for training Vietnamese should have progressed to the point where 1,000 military personnel assigned to South Vietnam can be withdrawn.”)

Now, on the broader claim that Kennedy truly intended to end the war by the end of 1965, things get more interesting, and that’s where the recent case by James K. Galbraith, son of the famous Kennedy hand and economist John Kenneth Galbraith, comes in. As he put it categorically in a recent letter to The New York Times, “President Kennedy issued a formal decision to withdraw American forces from Vietnam.” Is that true? Only literally, which in the end adds up to mostly nothing.

Kennedy, of course, was the first president to send soldiers to Southeast Asia, 16,732 of them, supposedly as mere “advisers,” but many of them actually combatants. As Kennedy had told famously told The New York Times’s James Reston late in 1961 after the failure at the Bay of Pigs and the erection of the Berlin Wall, “Now we have a problem in making our power credible, and Vietnam is the place.” And a damned good place, his military men kept telling him: early in his third year as president his Vietnam commanders reported, “barring greatly increased resupply and reinforcement of the Viet Cong by the infiltration, the military phase of the war can be virtually won in 1963”—an opinion he continued hearing repeatedly. That’s important context, for whether JFK’s plans on what to do in Vietnam were contingent on military success in Vietnam—as opposed to cutting and running even if that meant leaving the country to the Communist insurgency—is key to this debate.

As Edwin Moise notes, though, “President Kennedy also read much more pessimistic evaluations. These were written mostly by civilians—some by officials in the State Department, others by journalists like Malcolm Browne and David Halberstam. Kennedy did not openly commit himself to either the optimists or the pessimists.” What he did do was insist publicly that he would never cut and run. July 13, 1963: “We are not going to withdraw from that effort…we are going to stay there.” September 2: “I don’t agree with those who say we should withdraw. That would be a great mistake.” September 26: “We have to stay with it. We must not be fatigued.” […]


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2009GOP health care derangement syndrome: Stop me if you've heard this one.:

Government takeover! Destroying America! The end of the world as we know it!

Yes, we've heard it all before. But did you know how many times, and for how long?
The fact is that the Republican Party told teabaggers' grandmas (of "death panel" fame) that Social Security was going to be the end of America. And today you can't swing a euthanized cat without hitting a Republican at a microphone insisting he's Social Security's greatest champion.

Republicans likewise told teabaggers' dads that Medicare would be the end of America. And today you can't swing a... oh yeah, you've heard that one.

Today, of course, Republicans will spend the entire day telling teabaggers themselves that the health insurance reform bill will be the end of America.
Gosh, poor America! That's a lotta ends!

Not sure you remember just how sure Republicans were about all those ends? Remind yourself with this trip down Fevered Nightmare Lane.


Tweet of the Day:

Republicans on the filibuster reform: This tyranny! And also we can't wait to be tyrants!  http://t.co/...
@AdamSerwer



On today's Kagro in the Morning show, it's nuclear option day! Greg Dworkin also had some other stuff, too, about that whole health care thing, including cost-contol market forces, how they work, and how we sometimes maybe kind of wish they wouldn't. "The huge health-care subsidy everyone is ignoring," and yes, there actually are some Rs looking to eliminate that subsidy ... but only if your plan that covers abortion. Which 87% of private plans do. And, "English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet." Lastly a wrap-up on the nuclear option outlook, and one last attempt to clarify just what'll likely happen, what it means, and what it doesn't.


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Comment Preferences

  •  "It was time to push the button." (16+ / 0-)

    an examination of a Washington Post column by Eugene Robinson on the Senate invoking the nuclear option

    in this post

    which I invite you to read

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 08:31:28 PM PST

  •  To Senate Republicans, from Harry Reid: (12+ / 0-)

    Catch!
    .

    "I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not." - Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 08:35:03 PM PST

  •  Harry Reid, ex-boxer, with a series of furious (12+ / 0-)

    jabs and a final, punishing uppercut to Mitch McConnell's solar plexus.

    He's out.

    Hey, let me modify the Teddy R. quote: Reid speaks softly, but carries a big body-blow.

    "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

    by Wildthumb on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 08:36:01 PM PST

    •  Except that this was a Democrats-only (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW

      action.

      There was nothing that McConnell could do to stop it.

      What's against it is the threat that Republicans will do the same thing in the future. But Democrats never, ever made a practice of abusing the filibuster system for fantasy-game leverage.

    •  Waitaminnit... Correct me if i'm wrong, but... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wildthumb, JeffW

      ...is an "uppercut" to the "solar plexus" even a physical possibility?
      I suppose it is if the recipient is bent over 45 degrees or more at the waist...  And standing on a box.  Or maybe if the deliverer is a head or more shorter...
      Otherwise, I'm having a hard time seeing it.
      Now, a punishing uppercut to McConnel's jaw might be a possibility...  if McConnel had any noticeable jawline.

  •  I guess I've got some reading to do. (16+ / 0-)

    I've been out of the loop for days now, and it appears some things have happened.

    Lead your life - don't let your life lead you.

    by lineatus on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 08:38:47 PM PST

  •  would jfk have committed 549,500 (14+ / 0-)

    troops in Vietnam?

     is another interesting question.

    drones are a cost effective way of generating enough new terrorists that calls to cut military spending will fail.

    by just want to comment on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 08:40:08 PM PST

  •  JFK... (12+ / 0-)

    All he had to do was not escalate the way Johnson did and it might have been a different story. Fabricating the Tonkin "incident" and escalating to half a million+ troops is different than what JFK had or pulling out altogether.

    I hold the very unpopular view that at least the initial involvement in Vietnam was a preferable alternative to the Eisenhower-era massive retaliation doctrine and that fighting small proxy wars like Vietnam was highly preferable to what the Cuban missile crisis seemed to suggest was the alternative. It might have even been the exhaust valve that prevented some kind of superpower clash. But we'll never know.

    It was clearly a mistake to continue after, well, about November 1963.

    Having said all of that, this whole mythology around the Kennedys—that either JFK or RFK would have saved us from the reactionary backlash that came at the end of the decade and was later reinforced by the self-same baby boomers voting for Reagan—is not something I have ever believed.

    Kennedy got almost nothing done in his administration. He tried hard to duck civil rights. He almost blundered away Berlin.

    Even if he had been as legislatively successful as LBJ on domestic issues, his health condition might have kept him from doing anything or even having a second term.

    It's always fun to think "what if," but for my generation, it's 12/12/2000 where history turned.

    GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

    by Attorney at Arms on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 08:40:28 PM PST

    •  JFK 1st Term Was a Tie Win, He Couldn't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueyedace2

      try

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 08:51:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  For the record, the majority of the first... (20+ / 0-)

      ...wave of baby boomers (born 1946-1954) did not vote for Reagan and the second wave (born 1955-64) did. That split preference, according to the Pew Research Center, remains true today, with average older boomers voting more heavily for Democrats and younger boomers voting for Republicans.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:02:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Younger Boomers and Gen X nt (5+ / 0-)

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:13:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I wonder if... (6+ / 0-)

          GenX in some way could be considered a somewhat lost generation? A ton of stuff happened, but we really didn't do much about it.

          No one knows what it's like, To be the bad man, To be the sad man, behind blue eyes....

          by blueyedace2 on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:21:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That would make "lost" (0+ / 0-)

            a very broad category--in particularly, I don't see where "GenX" suffered particularly poor job prospects...and they were never subject to a draft and thus none forced to fight overseas (those who were poor may have been a different story, but that would be a matter of class rather than generation).

            "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

            by Alice in Florida on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 05:44:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Yep... (0+ / 0-)

          My cohort and those younger than me, the ones for whom Vietnam wasn't much of a memory, which is why I stress those younger than me.  

          I remember that war being on television all the time.

          Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

          by a gilas girl on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 04:08:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  That observation bears out (10+ / 0-)

        in my personal life. mr.u and I are early boomers, I was born in 1950 and he a couple of months later in '51. We and all of our long time friends, people we have known for over 40 years are liberal Democrats.

        People I know that were born after '55 are for the most part, either Reagan led Republicans or repentant Rs (thankfully). They came up with a very different outlook on everything. Of course there are exceptions on both sides but it does seem to work that way.

        And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

        by high uintas on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:17:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  As a "fringe" boomer ('57) (6+ / 0-)

          I wonder if some of that split ("came up with a very different outlook") might be explainable by the fact that the draft ended in '73 -- when those born in '55 were 18.  I have never voted for a R in my life, but I grew up in a small town and most of the people I spent time with, identified with, learned from, were older.

          Be sure you put your feet in the right place; then stand firm. ~ Abraham Lincoln

          by noweasels on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:42:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think you're right (5+ / 0-)

            That Sword of Damocles defined the early boomers. It brought out our involvement in politics and the social contract as well as our more hedonistic fatalistic sides. IMO many of the late boomers only got the hedonism without the rest.

            And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

            by high uintas on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:49:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I'm a "Fringe Boomer ('59); Boomer's SUX (0+ / 0-)

            80 % of Success is Just Showing Up!

            by Churchill on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:55:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  That's an interesting but perverse thought (0+ / 0-)

            As it was Democrats who got us into and kept us in Vietnam.
            It was Democrats who drafted so many of us.
            It was also Democrats who furthered the draft exceptions that helped to keep the children of the well-to-do out of the draft.

            And, of course, it was a Democrat who rained hell down on those people in Grant Park who took issue with the Democrats who drafted us when Democrats gathered in Chicago in 1968.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 03:13:57 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ah, but Vietnam was a bi-partisan crime against (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Alice in Florida, dinotrac

              humanity.

              After all, it was a Republican in 1968 who campaigned on having a 'secret plan' for 'peace with honor,' then managed to expand the war to Cambodia and Laos, killing another 25,000+ Americans (and probably 1-2 million more southeast Asians of various nationalities) in the process.

              And ultimately settling for roughly the same terms that were offered in the summer of '68 when that Repubican's campaign sought treasonously to undermine the Paris peace negotiations then underway.

              Let me know if you need me to fill in the sordid details. (I'm guessing not, based on your post.)

              •  Definitely a bi partisan fuckup (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                CharlesInCharge, dinotrac

                Both sides had their chance at it, more than one chance at it, and both sides fucked it up.

                Happy just to be alive

                by exlrrp on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 05:57:37 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  And youre forgetting Eisenhower (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                CharlesInCharge, JeffW

                Whose administration approved Diem's coup and takeover and then approved the canceling of the 1956 elections mandated in the Geneva Accords, thereby kicking off the "Amrican War" as the Vietnamese called it.
                If the USA had demanded and insured a fair election in 1956--instead of canceling it-- and then stood by the results there would have been no Vietnam War for the USA.

                Happy just to be alive

                by exlrrp on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 06:01:23 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well, in fairnes to Ike, one must also note that (0+ / 0-)

                  Dems Harry S. Truman and, before Truman, Woodrow Wilson, each had a chance to do the right thing and put the interests of realpolitik above the interests and aspirations of the peope of southeast Asia.

                  •  There is also a reasonable question of whether (0+ / 0-)

                    a fair election could have happened, and, more to the point, whether it was reasonable to be skeptical of the possibility.

                    In the 50s, the consequences of full scale war led to war by a thousand cuts.  Everything was Soviets/Chinese vs. US, or could reasonably be seen as that.

                    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                    by dinotrac on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 06:34:12 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Why would you doubt it? (0+ / 0-)

                      It was all worked out in the Geneva Accords: to be supervised by Poland, India and Canada?
                      Who the heck were we to horn in? We'd refused to sign the GAs, though Dulles had promised to abide by them if the 17th parallel was made the dividing line.

                      Diem was our man because he spoke English and looked good in a suit. When we approved his coups and allowed him to cancel the unifying elections that 1os of thousands of people had lost their lives to obtain we forever made his reign illegitimate, and the scores of revolving door coupls hat followd

                      Everything was Soviets/Chinese vs. US, or could reasonably be seen as that.
                      Yeah that  was the whole problem---no one gave a fuck about the Vietnamese or tried to see things their way.
                      Breaking NEws: The USA was not the victim in the Vietnam War

                      Happy just to be alive

                      by exlrrp on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 06:58:24 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  "The scores of revolving door coups that followed" (0+ / 0-)

                        sorry.
                        There's a lot to be said but one of the most important things was that we violated our own principles as set out in the Atlantic Charter---specifically self determination for all---when  we allowed Dim to cancel the unifying elections.
                        By then we were already sliding down the slippery slope.

                        If we had allowed the unifying elections of 1956 to proceed, as we'd said we would, and abided by the results, there would have been n Vietnam War for the USA, no Long Black Wall in Washington DC and 2 million  more Vietnamese would be walking around today. We unerringly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and started by violating our own well mouthed principles

                        Happy just to be alive

                        by exlrrp on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 07:16:54 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Hardly news. (0+ / 0-)

                        Are you old enough to remember those times?

                        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                        by dinotrac on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 07:31:34 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

              •  It certainly was. (0+ / 0-)

                But Nixon did manage a few things that were different from LBJ --

                Even while expanding the war geographically, he was drawing down the number of American troops.

                He also ended student deferments in the draft, democratizing a system that placed a much bigger burden on the working class and poor then it did on the more well-to-do.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 06:32:12 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Um, Nixon expanded the war geographically (0+ / 0-)

                  ILLEGALLY (without Congressional approval). Nixon drew down the number of American troops through 'Vietnamization' even as the Southeast Asian body count continued to mount. I'm not sure how much credit we should give to Nixon and Kissinger for that when the scales of history are weighed.

                  My memories get fuzzy around the issue of when college draft deferments ended vs. when the draft itself ended and, more to the point, whether Tricky Dick deserves any credit for the former, the latter, neither or both. I want to say that the draft itself was on the way out along with the American troops' presence in Vietnam. But my memories have started to fade and I'm in a rush right now, so can't check dates and chronologies and what-not.

                  •  Yes. Did I claim otherwise? (0+ / 0-)

                    Presidents have done all kinds of things "Illegally" under the guise of a President's war powers.

                    As to the draft:

                    My memory is not remotely fuzzy about the end of deferments vs the draft itself.  I never had to worry about it because I was a sole surviving son -- and a high lottery number (343) besides, but a lot of my friends did.

                    The draft ended within a couple of years of ending student deferments, as US participation in VietNam wound down.

                    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                    by dinotrac on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 08:46:29 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Thanks for the details. The thing that really (0+ / 0-)

                      pisses me off is that had Nixon and Kissinger not meddled in the peace process in the summer of 1968, so many lives would have been saved and so much blood not shed, perhaps the blood of some of your friends even. I simply cannot bear to see Tricky Dick and Kissinger given a pass because of that treasonous treachery that should have had both of them hauled before a Federal magistrate.

                      The cruelest irony? LBJ knew what Tricky Dick and his henchfolk were up to, b/c LBJ was bugging their phones illegally.

                      •  Nobody's giving him a pass, but it's appropriate (0+ / 0-)

                        to give him his due as well.

                        Do you refuse to acknowledge Medicare and other Great Society programs because LBJ lied our way into a huge Vietnam presence?

                        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                        by dinotrac on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 09:11:14 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Good points. My hatred for Tricky Dick is (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          dinotrac

                          in my genes going back to my mother (since passed) who hated him from his first red-baiting run against Helen Gahagan Douglas for Senate in 1950. So I'll leave it to others to give Tricky Dick his due.

                          And I'm not going to give LBJ a pass either, the Great Society notwithstanding. LBJ knew in early 1965 that Vietnam was going to be an unwinnable clusterfuck (based on released transcripts of taped conversations between him and Georgia Senator Richard Russell), but he still took the plunge into the Big Muddy anyway.

        •  I Guess I'm an Outlier... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW, blueoasis

          Born slightly after '55.. raised to be a total pro union, Big D democrat.

          "The 1% don't want SOLUTIONS; they've worked very hard the last four decades to get conditions the way they are now".

          by Superpole on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 02:59:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Every time I hear pundits talk about (6+ / 0-)

        'Reagan Democrats' (cough, Chris Matthews, cough), I always laugh.

        Thanks to the batshit crazy Republican party, 'Reagan Democrats' don't exist anymore.

        Nowadays those people are pretty solid Democrats.

        "I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not." - Kurt Cobain

        by Jeff Y on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:19:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm proud that I didn't vote for Reagan (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Red Bean, War on Error, Superpole, JeffW

        I'm considered part of the second wave of baby boomer.

    •  If you Remember Boomers Voting Reagan (5+ / 0-)

      to whatever extent, then you remember your generation joining them voting Romney last year.

      Everyone over 39 voted majority Romney.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:14:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Boomers also voted Nixon (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, Alice in Florida

        over McGovern. The majority were never liberals or hippies, as the TV movie version of the 60's would have us believe.

        •  But whhat demographic group (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          atana, waterstreet2013

          did McGovern actually win? For the record, this boomer voted for him and so did every last one of my boomer friends and relatives.

          Hyper-sensitive liberal.

          by Red Bean on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 11:01:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Me and mine too! McGovern was my first vote (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Red Bean

            I got to shake his hand at a rally. I still consider myself to be a McGovern Democrat

            Happy just to be alive

            by exlrrp on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 06:21:11 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  None? (0+ / 0-)

            McGovern lost so crushingly, there may be no large demographic group that he carried. People tend to way overestimate the size of the anti-Vietnam war movement. Maybe African-Americans voted for him, but I don't know how many of them turned out.

            "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

            by Alice in Florida on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 09:01:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  The idea of "Boomers" as some kind of (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Yo Bubba, hooper, JeffW

          a voting block is idiotic. Boomers did this, Boomers did that... it's pure hogwash, invented by politicos obsessed with statistics.

          Frank Zappa was a "Boomer" for god's sake, and so was David Duke. And so was I. The three of us have almost nothing in common.

          •  Didn't David Duke back Zappa up on the zither? (0+ / 0-)

            Or something like that.

            Maybe in Zappa's first group, The Crazy Uncles of Convention and Bed Linens.

            Got thrown out, I think, for refusing to grow a soul patch.
            And refusing to play in any venue that had ever allowed a black person to come within a hundred yards of it.
            Or jew.
            Or gay.
            Or, really, just about anybody who didn't click their heels and raise their right arm high.
            Hmmm. Or Zappa.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 03:26:53 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Hey, Boomers were at Kent State: (0+ / 0-)

            both as students and as members of the National Guard...

            Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

            by a gilas girl on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 04:11:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Frank Zappa (b 1940) was not a boomer (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JeffW

            Happy just to be alive

            by exlrrp on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 06:23:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  McGovern = DuKakis = Mondale (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          waterstreet2013

          Some folks are fine people and good politicians but never meant to be President.

          And, let's not forget, Nixon, for all of his, ummm, quirks, did not govern as a conservative.  Go back and discover where the modern notion of affirmative action came from, or the EPA.  And did I mention China?

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 03:22:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Doesn't it bug the shit out of you though, (0+ / 0-)

            knowing how much better off the country would be, had any of those three (or Carter in 1980) won election?

            It really makes me ashamed to be American and forces me to contemplate how out of touch I am with vast swaths of the American electorate.

          •  Nixon was still a passable Quaker. (0+ / 0-)

            Except that he got off killing people. Including looking at battlefield photos.

            •  He was an interesting individual to say the least. (0+ / 0-)

              The real kicker, in light of the current administration, is that he believed in universal health care.  Makes you wonder what might have happened if it weren't for Watergate.

              And -- doesn't that tell you something about his nature?  Every indication is that he would have won big in 1972.  No need for Watergate. No need for enemy lists.  But Nixon was Nixon.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 06:27:54 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Mcgovern was entirely a different person (0+ / 0-)

            than either Mondale or Dukakis. he had a whole different background, , including a DFC.
            he would have made a great president; Mondale or Dukakis, not so much

            Happy just to be alive

            by exlrrp on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 06:29:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Nixon did govern as a conservative (0+ / 0-)

            but conservative had a different meaning then--i.e., it didn't mean crazy-ass reactionary.

            "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

            by Alice in Florida on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 09:04:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It also didn't mean establish the Environmental (0+ / 0-)

              Protection Agency or take Affirmative Action from a mealy mouthed "best-efforts" approach to specific hiring goals or open more cordial relations with China.

              Nixon wasn't a liberal but he wasn't exactly a conservative,either, --- well, there was the commie hunter aspect -- he was, more than anything, Nixon.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 11:43:30 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  What? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        waterstreet2013, JeffW
        Everyone over 39 voted majority Romney.
        Really? the stats back that up? not disputing it.. just surprised.

        "The 1% don't want SOLUTIONS; they've worked very hard the last four decades to get conditions the way they are now".

        by Superpole on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 03:01:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Reagan is the Perfect Man. (0+ / 0-)

        Never had a domestic failure. Never screwed the pooch overseas.

        Tougher than any bullet. Man of Steel.

        A god, if you will.

        Major rewrites have changed popular history. Reagan didn't go into Lebanon and didn't help Saddam Hussein:

        -- Didn't lose 241 at Marine barracks bombing,
        -- Didn't use Navy guns to kill 1,500 Lebanese,
        -- Didn't help Saddam Hussein kill many, many Iranians, including poison gas, and
        -- Didn't produce the Iran-Lebanese alliance that resulted in Hizb Allah's founding in 1985.

        Perfect Man. Perfect hoax.

    •  Can you even imagine Obama or Holder sending (12+ / 0-)

      FBI agents to roust the CEOs of the Fortune 500 the way JFK and RFK did during the steel crisis when the CEOs of the steel companies stabbed JFK in the back and raised their prices after promising not to do so?

      How was JFK to get anything done, given that Congress was under the control of southern segregationist Democrats? Even so, JFK managed to kick ass and take names, at least when it came to the plutocracy.

    •  You Lost Me at 12/12/2000 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dinotrac, Alice in Florida

      One more time: according to armchair experts hanging out in Salon's Forum in 1999-2000, Gore was going to win the election in a landslide; they were laughing and guffawing about that "nobody dumb governor from Texas"...

      Not only did Gore not win in a landslide, in terms of the popular vote, this was one of the closest races in history, if not the closest race.

      What happened with the SCOTUS, hanging chads BS would not have had the opportunity to happen had Gore not made stupid mistakes- like not letting Clinton campaign for him in crucial key states Ohio and Florida, like not throwing a bone to the left and at least acknowledged Nader's points, like losing his own home state Tennessee, and on and on.

      Exactly how do you win the POTUS election without winning Ohio? answer: you don't.

      thus to blame Gore's loss on the SCOTUS, or Nader, is about as disingenuous as it gets.

      "The 1% don't want SOLUTIONS; they've worked very hard the last four decades to get conditions the way they are now".

      by Superpole on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 02:55:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The mythology of Gore prevails, but he was a (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Superpole

        terrible candidate in 2000.  Not a bad man.  Might even have made a very good President, but was a terrible candidate.  Even his popular victory was the result of landslide results in California and New York, not some nationwide preference.  Had the networks not called Florida for Gore while polls were still open in the panhandle, we might never have had 12/12/2000.

        The most damning summary I can make is this: He fought to a draw with George W Bush.  George W Bush!

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 03:34:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Right, Not Trying to Get Off Topic (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dinotrac

          but the notion Gore's loss is everyone else's fault but his and his obviously stupid advisors is nonsense.

          You can't make these kinds of mistakes and win.

          "The 1% don't want SOLUTIONS; they've worked very hard the last four decades to get conditions the way they are now".

          by Superpole on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 03:39:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The Gulf of Tonkin hoax was a Pentagon (0+ / 0-)

      creation.

      They wanted a war. Lying to the President ??? No problem.

      Everybody lied to the civilians. And McNamara's sergeant, who committed truth, was removed immediately. The civilians wanted to be lied to.

  •  The exercise (9+ / 0-)

    of speculating on a future that never came to pass is one of the most frustrating feelings I deal with as I grow older.

    I was an still an infant when this future was robbed of us.

    •  I was just weeks from turning 13 (10+ / 0-)

      Our town was a government town with an Army Depot where my parents and most of the people in the town worked. They locked the place down, no one in or out for hours and no phone calls.

      I remember coming home from school and being alone trying to understand what had happened. There was more going on, that was an eventful weekend in my life.

      And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

      by high uintas on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:01:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I find it difficult to believe JFK would've (11+ / 0-)

    withdrawn troops at an early point in the misadventure. It was a different time fraught with all of the ra-ra delusional baggage of the cold war. He may have had some loftier notions, but he was also a 'hardball' war hero. Who knows what he would've done in the long haul, though? I wish he'd lived long enough for us to find out.

    •  I doubt very much that Kennedy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PeteZerria

      would have obstinately dug in his heels the way Johnson did. There's no way to know for sure, but we can look at the character of the two men, and extrapolate from that. It's worth noting that they did not like one another at all. Nixon is on record saying that Johnson didn't like John much, but that he positively hated Bobby.

      The Kennedys all laughed at Johnson behind his back.

      •  On the other hand, (0+ / 0-)

        there's a question of how much Kennedy could have accomplished in terms of civil rights and social programs...it's amazing how much Johnson accomplished, civil rights, voting rights, Medicare, etc.

        Indeed, it may have been the memory of JFK had greater influence in pushing civil rights legislation than his living self ever could have.

        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

        by Alice in Florida on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 09:24:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  He Said/ He Said. (3+ / 0-)

    Forget about Kenny. He was only there and one of JFK's most intimate friends.
    Rick, OTOH , is happening.
    Puhleze.

    We can discuss this and wonder what to do about that, but in the end, the ONLY thing that matters is voter turnout. Ya CAIN'T go to the dance if you AIN'T bought your ticket! Go team go.

    by franklyn on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 08:48:34 PM PST

    •  Interesting how JFK's closest (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      franklyn, Churchill, PeteZerria

      advisors and friends all seem to agree that he was prepared to cut and run, yet we're supposed to listen to the Serious Historians who say Both Sides are to blame.

      "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

      by Subterranean on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:16:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rewrite can be a two way street, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Churchill

        much as it saddens me to say it.

        We can discuss this and wonder what to do about that, but in the end, the ONLY thing that matters is voter turnout. Ya CAIN'T go to the dance if you AIN'T bought your ticket! Go team go.

        by franklyn on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:27:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  On behalf of 'Serious Historians,' I would merely (7+ / 0-)

        note that JFK's closest advisors and friends are offering their memories with the benefit of hindsight and after it had become utterly clear what a clusterfuck Vietnam was.

        Does that make friends and advisors' testimony purely self serving? Far from it, but mature reflection demands that one at least consider the possibility.

        Put another way, if JFK was so bound and determined to 'cut and run' after 1964, where the fuck were al those friends and advisors during the debate over the Gulf of Tonkin resolution?

        •  Where? Nowhere near Johnson's White House. (6+ / 0-)

          LBJ hated JFK by every account, and often undermined him on foreign policy while VP. Johnson was listening to his friends in military/intelligence, not JFK's friends.


          Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

          by Jim P on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 10:02:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's true, but it's also noteworthy the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dinotrac

            conspicuous silence of many of JFK's closest friends and advisors on JFK's intentions about Vietnam until AFTER LBJ had already screwed the pooch.

            Put another way, Wayne Morse and Ernest Gruening they most assuredly weren't.

            •  Friday, JFK is dead; Monday buried; Tuesday LBJ (6+ / 0-)

              reverses the withdrawal order. Nobody in America was interviewing friends, or even thinking about, JFK's policies. And nobody was thinking what was happening in Vietnam was about to turn hugely bad on everyone.

              Did JFK's people even know about Johnson's E.O.? I doubt it.


              Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

              by Jim P on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 11:07:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  At the time of Kennedy's assassination (6+ / 0-)

                Cuba was the big deal, not Vietnam. We had barely avoided WWIII over Soviet nukes to Castro, and the CIA was neck-deep in plots to overthrow the Cuban government. Vietnam was a parallel but subsidiary concern.

                •  Cuba (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  native, franklyn, Jim P, Subterranean

                  Berlin and even the Congo were considered more important than Vietnam at that time.  Vietnam didn't get big for another year or so.

                  Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.

                  by Sky Net on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:39:15 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes, and in my opinion Vietnam never (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Jim P, Subterranean

                    would have gotten big, had Kennedy not been murdered. But we'll never know for sure, and that is only my opinion.

                    •  I think it would have (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      CharlesInCharge

                      The situation in Vietnam was worsening and would have reached a point where Kennedy would have had to make a decision on whether to escalate or withdraw.  Which he would have chosen we'll never know.

                      Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.

                      by Sky Net on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:48:06 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Reccing for your "We'll never know." JFK gave (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Sky Net

                        highly contradictory signals regarding his future intentions, no doubt reflecting the psychomachia in his own head between resolute Cold WArrior determined to face down what his legacy told him was a monolithic Communist plot for world domination and more nuanced views of national struggles for liberation as manifested by advisers like John Kenneth Galbraith and Roger Hilsman.

                        Shaking off one's entire ideological pedigree - in this case, Cold Warrior hawk extraordinaire - is a Herculean task but, if anyone were up to it, JFK was. At least in my mind he was and is.

              •  Without rehashing ad nauseam the details (3+ / 0-)

                of the so-called 'withdrawal order,' I would merely observe that plenty of time had passed between JFK's death and the time of Tonkin for JFK's closest friends and advisers to let JFK's wishes as to a withdrawa be known.

                Had they so chosen, that is. They chose not to, for reasons left to them,  history and their God. But coming along long after Vietnam turned into a clusterfuck and saying, "Oh JFK planned to withdraw after 1964" seems might convenient, methinks.

                •  Kennedy was dead. LBJ didn't give a shit what (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Subterranean

                  JFK's friends said. The press neither. For all we know all of them could have sent a hundred telegrams to LBJ. It wouldn't have mattered. There's plenty of info on LBJ's term as vice president and he clearly was allied with the hawks at the Pentagon.

                  Hell, LBJ helped to fabricate the Gulf of Tonkin incident. He wanted the war. His advisers wanted the war. The Pentagon wanted the war.

                  Nothing JFK's friends did or could possibly say was going to change a war craved so desperately that the people in charge invented a reason to have it. Literally invented the reason.


                  Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

                  by Jim P on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:23:23 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  What should they have done? (0+ / 0-)

                  publicly contradict LBJ?  Corner him in the hallway and chew him out?  The most respectful course was to let LBJ do his best without standing behind his shoulder whispering "JFK was gonna do that different!"

                  All they are saying is that Kennedy planned to withdraw from Vietnam.  None are claiming a crystal ball insight on the part of JFK, foreseeing a future quagmire.  At the time it was a fairly small conflict, so even if LBJ had asked for their opinions, they probably wouldn't have been very vehement in warning him away from Vietnam.

                  "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

                  by Subterranean on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 10:46:00 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Look, it's akin to Hillary and Kerry saying (0+ / 0-)

                    ca. 2004-05 that "we never intended to authorize Bush to go to war in Iraq, we merely wanted to give him that authority, in order to strengthen his bargaining position with Saddam." Except that in 2003 there were millions of us marching against a war we knew was a near certainty, desperate for the leadership of a Hillary or Kerry, a leadership that sadly for us and the Iraqi peoples never materialized until it was way too late.

                    Same thing here with JFK's putative plan to withdraw from Vietnam. Waiting to make the claim until after Vietnam had become a clusterfuck of epic proportions doesn't pass my smell test and comes across as convenient self-serving after-the-fact rationalization.

                    •  Uhh, JFK didn't support the Vietnam escalation (0+ / 0-)

                      initiated by LBJ.  He couldn't since his head was blown off.

                      HRC and Kerry both supported the Iraq war in all its glory.  

                      "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

                      by Subterranean on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 11:08:04 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I don't think I'm explaining myself very well, for (0+ / 0-)

                        which I apoogize.

                        What I meant to say is that Hillary and Kerry waited until Shock and Awe had become Shocking and Awful to voice their dissent with it. By then it was too late. In the same way, Kennedy's close friends and advisors didn't let anyone know about JFK's putative intentions to withdraw or de-escalate until after Vietnam had become a clusterfuck.

                        From what I've read, JFK had not made a final decision about what to do in Vietnam and was trying to keep his options open. That's not a bad thing necessarily.

      •  So, someone's closest friends (0+ / 0-)

        are the most unbiased? Aside from going against common sense, that goes against everything that we've learned about human cognition in the past few decades. One of the ways human beings keep themselves going is by remembering the good and forgetting the bad, especially when someone is cut down in their prime. Over time, that good becomes saintliness and the bad dissappears.

        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

        by Alice in Florida on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 09:31:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Frank Talk about Risk - "I can't Own a Gun" (8+ / 0-)

    Guns and Suicide Series


    AndyT joins us this evening to discuss his personal diary from November 2010, I can't own a gun.
    Has nothing to do with the law, I've got a clean record. I can afford a gun, so that is not it. I've been to shooting ranges on several occasions and apparently I'm a decent shot. I have friends who love their guns and would probably really enjoy if I joined them going shooting. [...] But people who advocate for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (RKBA) never have good answers or suggestions for people in my situation. I don't think they much like discussing it at all.

    ...Continue reading Firearms Law and Policy Frank Talk About Risk - "I can't own a gun"



    The Daily Kos Firearms Law and Policy group studies actions for reducing firearm deaths and injuries in a manner that is consistent with the current Supreme Court interpretation of the Second Amendment. We also cover the many positive aspects of gun ownership, including hunting, shooting sports, and self-defense.

    To see our list of original and republished diaries, go to the Firearms Law and Policy diary list. Click on the ♥ or the word "Follow" next to our group name to add our posts to your stream, and use the link next to the heart to send a message to the group if you have a question or would like to join.



    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

    by LilithGardener on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 08:50:47 PM PST

  •  Clearly yes. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas

    "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

    by JNEREBEL on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 08:56:01 PM PST

  •  Blast from the Past (6+ / 0-)

    Just want to say thanks for doing this in the late night threads - I get so frustrated when people forget the very recent past.  Like how every pundit was saying Obama couldn't keep his promise about keeping health plans because it was out of his control as he was making those promises. I mean everyone who was following the election (probably a depressingly low percentage) was aware of this and voted for him anyways right?

    Everything Right is Wrong Again - TMBG (lyrics)

    by GreenPA on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:02:02 PM PST

    •  The brick wall that Republicans always run into (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, Eric Nelson, viral, GreenPA

      during election season is the fact that they don't have anything to offer the American people to compete with Obamacare.

      The entire Republican strategy is to yell, "Obamacare Sucks!" as often as possible, but the part they leave out is the fact that they have nothing. Their idea of healthcare reform is that people who can't afford insurance should fuck off and die.

      Now, if we actually had something other than then right wing Corporate Media stooges that we have in this country, more people would be aware of that fact because every time a Republican clown popped up on TV to scream about how Obamacare is killing kittens, a real media outlet would ask them what their healthcare plan is.

      "I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not." - Kurt Cobain

      by Jeff Y on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:35:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Did you see Cruz trying to duck this? (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, Heart of the Rockies, Jeff Y, viral, DRo

        http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/...

        Cuomo: You don't think that you have a responsibility as a U.S. Senator to do better than that in terms of offering a solution for what to do next?

        Cruz. Well, I - I appreciate your trying to lecture me in the morning, thank you for that.

        Cuomo: Not at all, Senator. I'm worried, the same as you. Anybody who looks at the situation has worries. Families need health insurance.

        Cruz: Sir, if you're worried, did you speak out for the five million people who've lost their health insurance? Did you speak out…?

        Cuomo: We've been covering it doggedly and I'm sure you watch the show. The problem is I don't have the power to fix it. You do. That's what a U.S. Senator does. You sponsor law. You know this. It's not a lecture, it's a concern. I'm asking what are you going to do about it?

        Cruz: well, and I share that concern and have every day been working to highlight the millions of people who have lost their job because of Obamacare, the millions of people who have been forced into part-time work. There are single moms, there are young people, Hispanics, African Americans, people struggling who are now on part-time work. You can't feed your kids with 29 hours a week. There's over five million people who have lost their health insurance and the way to fix that is to stop this broken law.

        I have no idea, by the way, how anyone has lost their job or their health insurance... the stink on those claims gives me a good guess as to where he pulled them out of.

        Everything Right is Wrong Again - TMBG (lyrics)

        by GreenPA on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:52:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hell, they don't even admit to a problem. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW

        I now have a short list of people in my life who have died of cancer that was overlooked by doctors in spite of regular visits and complaints.

        I also have a least one person in my life who avoided surgery only because the right radiologist happened to be in the right place at the right time as she was being prepped for surgery.

        I'm damned sure that I'm not alone.
        ACA is bad enough to leave nearly unabated room for alternatives, but Republicans would rather look the other way than serve the American people.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 03:43:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  What would Kennedy have done? (11+ / 0-)

    Wondering about it seems so futile, especially on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.  What we do know is that our hearts were ripped right out of us on that day.  

    My policy over the years has been to never watch anything about the assassination and I plan to spend tomorrow catching up on old Masterpiece tapes.  For me, it was quite enough to have lived through this terrible event and I don't wish to spend another moment reliving it.

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:06:13 PM PST

    •  It's like asking if JFK could have won in Vietnam. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, ddn, dhshoops, jan4insight, viral

      It's just a pointless exercise in masochism. The US was knee deep in that mess before Kennedy took office, and Kennedy did in fact escalate US involvement in Saigon's domestic troubles. Nixon would have done the same. Maybe Kennedy would have done a better job of handling the situation than LBJ... or maybe not. We'll never know.

      What we do know is that things got so completely out of hand that LBJ simply abandoned the Presidency and faded from public life, and then Nixon of all people finally pulled US forces from SE Asia, once it was politically convenient for him to do so... after tens of thousands of Americans died there for nothing.

      It was always going to be a clusterfuck. It was always going to end badly. But that doesn't in any way diminish the importance of Kennedy's time in the Oval Office.

      You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

      by Eric Stratton on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:18:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My heart was hurt too, when John Kennedy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Radiowalla

      was killed. But my heart didn't get ripped out until they killed Bobby too. After that, I lost my faith in the US government as a legitimate representative of its people. I have not yet regained it.

      •  Our whole world shifted (0+ / 0-)

        and our very foundation cracked.  Jack, Bobby, Martin, all three of them were holding up the corners of our universe and when they were killed, our feeling of safety and stability just disappeared.  

        It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

        by Radiowalla on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 06:44:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ho Chi Minh killed JFK (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, here4tehbeer, Churchill

    Raoul Castro told me.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:10:53 PM PST

  •  1963 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Subterranean, Jim P, PeteZerria

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    NSM 263 Kennedy
    withdraw military advisors from Vietnam

    GOP game - resentment: In 60 years the GOP have played immigrants against native-born citizens, straights against gays, low paid whites against blacks, and people without pension benefits or health care against union workers. ~ Senator Bernie Sanders

    by anyname on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:10:59 PM PST

    •  This (5+ / 0-)
      Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (1993), p. 24. "While there were undoubtedly fictions in Oliver Stone's movie JFK, many critics at the time of its release in 1991 concentrated on denying two of Stone's incontrovertible facts. The first was that in late 1963 Kennedy had authorized an initial withdrawal of 1,000 U.S. troops from Vietnam, as the first step of a pull-out to be substantially completed by the end of 1965. The second was that, in a high-level meeting right after Kennedy's murder, Johnson redirected U.S. Vietnam policy from this graduated disengagement to graduated escalation. These divergent decisions were encoded in two divergent National Security Action Memoranda, NSAMs 263 and 273. NSM 263 of October 11, 1963, was Kennedy's last NSAM policy directive on Vietnam. NSAM 273 of November 26, 1963, dated four days after the assassination, was Johnson's first."
      Who benefitted from JFK's death?  Hardcore cold warriors.

      "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

      by Subterranean on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:24:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There was a journalist that spoke (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DRo, Subterranean

        in my high school around 1972 or 1973 (before I graduated in 1974). In his speech, he said Kennedy had talked to him (off the record) about planning to de-escalate and withdraw troops from Vietnam if and when he got re-elected in 1964.

        Of course, JFK was assassinated, which gave us LBJ (who pushed through all the Civil Rights legislation), but escalated the war.

        We're left with "what-if" scenarios.

        "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

        by Dbug on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:48:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  that is only "literally" true (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jim P, churchylafemme, Subterranean

        whatever that means ;-)

        drones are a cost effective way of generating enough new terrorists that calls to cut military spending will fail.

        by just want to comment on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:53:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  As mentioned in the diary (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LibertySon, Subterranean

        Kennedy was planning to pull out troops because the military thought the war was going well and advisors would no longer be necessary by end of 1965.  After Diem was killed around the same time as Kennedy, it became abundantly clear that wasn't the case.  If Kennedy had been alive he would have had the same decision to make that LBJ did. Cut and run or escalate.  There was no middle ground.

        Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.

        by Sky Net on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 10:03:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You sure got that right. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LibertySon, Subterranean
  •  Why do the majority of Americans (5+ / 0-)

    want to know?
    I just watched people passing by JFK's casket. The tear that affected me most was from the sailor that was standing guard over him.
    Why do we want to know? Watch any film clip of the man. Please. He was magnetic. Even now.
    Can you really blame us?

    We can discuss this and wonder what to do about that, but in the end, the ONLY thing that matters is voter turnout. Ya CAIN'T go to the dance if you AIN'T bought your ticket! Go team go.

    by franklyn on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:22:29 PM PST

  •  So tell me if this NBC article isn't a hack job (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    viral, DRo

    http://tinyurl.com/...

    The website refers to the author as a "reporter," but it wreaks of opinion piece.

  •  A republican who supported PPACA Medicaid.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ActivistGuy, viral

    .. Expansion wins Louisiana fifth District.

    Vance McAllister trounced the establishment and teabagger endorsed candidate who along with permanent cart passenger Governor Bobby “not enough people pulling the cart” Jindal vehemently refused to set up both state run health care exchanges and expand Medicaid.

    Vance McAllister’s’ opponent with the help of Governor Bobby Jindal, campaigned against McAllister using ‘Obamacare’ and Medicaid, the typical “socialsm” fearmongering,  as a cudgel.

    It didn’t work, McAllister won: 60% to 40%  despite being outspent by $200,000 dollars
    (short ad – sorry)  
    Link to All In with Chris Hayes:  http://video.msnbc.msn.com/...

    Vance McAllister also supported immigration reform., another step away from the far right and about as as un-Amurkin as one can get in teabaggerland

    Vance McAllister did have the advantage of an endorsement by the popular ‘Duck Dynasty” show, and that probably had a big impact, yet in deep red Louisiana, to buck the republicans platform and endorse Obamacare?.. or anything that isn’t slamming the President. That had to have been a serious risk to step forward like that.

     Okay, so reality TV shows are all the rage for some, but still.. Dems (eg.39 who voted in favor of Upton) who are getting wobbly after a few days of “scary” MSM concern trolling ought to take another look at get it together themselves  - imo – stop trying to isolate themselves from a manufactured media crisis and show some fortitude.

    Hopefully we're now witnessing that change of heart/fortitude. I sure hope so. We need it.

     

  •  Are you kidding? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, viral, Willinois, ActivistGuy, native

    I was 13 when he was killed, but I remember perfectly well that Kennedy was a jut-jawed cold warrior with a thing about proving his manhood.  He ordered the testing of so many nuclear weapons that among all good left-wing children such as myself were given powdered milk to drink for months and months, supposedly to avoid contamination with Strontium 90, which got into cows' milk and thence into growing bones and would give you cancer later. Powdered milk is awful, and it left an indelible impression on me concerning JFK's supposed peaceful intentions.  He had hopes, probably, but above all, like his father, he wanted to win. He invaded Cuba, or tried to. I never had any doubt that he would have been LBJs equal in Vietnam, or worse.

    And I have never resonated to the hymns.  It is easy to forget that Robert Kennedy was an important red-baiter of the early 1950s, and that he took on Hoffa as much out of his hatred of labor unions as anything else--which was all like his father, and a lot like Jack.  Though they were, I will admit, charming as hell.

    I felt differently after the assassination. There was something so horrifically evil about it that it made JFK seem like the standard-bearer for everyone who does his damndest in life and is cut down for no good reason except that's the way it is. And God only knows, his wife really was great--I think there might have been riots and chaos without her.  And who knows?  Maybe if the bullets had missed, he'd have re-thought things--maybe. What I remember, though, is the powdered milk.

    •  Your memories are idosyncratic. (4+ / 0-)

      Representative of a small section of America. Everyone else at the time remembered his speeches more and more going to 'let's disarm this cold war and put resources to good use for humanity.' It was like hearing the Pope deny religion in those days.

      Anyway, the historical record (links are somewhere in these comment, too lazy to look just now) is clear.

      There was an Executive Order by Kennedy to pull out the troops; he died; the next Executive Order was to increase the War. Followed by the faked Gulf of Tonkin incident, and escalation.

      There's no question here of what would NOT have happened.


      Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

      by Jim P on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 10:11:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Missile gap" Jack (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        native

        never called for "disarming the Cold War" but for thge deployment of over 1000 Minuteman missiles and the introduction of MIRVed warheads.  Unlike these vague speeches, the facts on nuclear proliferation under JFK are readily accessible,

        “Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ” ― Paulo Freire

        by ActivistGuy on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 11:50:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Re: JFK and Vietnam (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    franklyn, JeffW, viral, Churchill, native

    One certainly has to take into account that there's a difference between what a President says to one audience vs. another. Kennedy was clearly predisposed against sending ground troops to 'Nam, but the question is, what would he have been able to do had he lived to be reelected in '64.

    Kenny O'Donnell recalled Jack telling him once that if he openly opposed Vietnam in his first term, he'd be tarred as being soft on communism, but he'd have more leverage in his second term.  

  •  In his "A Grand Delusion: America's Descent (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    viral, Churchill, native

    Into Vietnam," Robert Mann observes that the most we can say about JFK's intentions vis-a-vis Vietnam post-1964 is that JFK wished to keep his options open.

    JFK faced three policy options in the waning months of 1963:

    a) maintain the flow of materiel and advisors to Vietnam but neither escalate nor de-escalate

    b) escalate to inserting combat forces into Vietnam

    c) de-escalate to withdraw advisors and even materiel from Vietnam.

    With Diem gone and the corrupt generals now in charge, JFK probably would have recognized quite quickly the utter absurdity and futility of trying to maintain a puppet regime there, no matter the obscene whisperings in his ear of Maxwell Taylor and Robert McNamara and the war pig generals in ExCom.

    Had he his druthers, Mann suggests, JFK would have opted for maintaining the status quo in Vietnam, i.e., neither escalating nor withdrawing.

    •  Not much of a status quo (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      native

      By 1964 the South was clearly losing and our position was increasingly untenable.  Without US troops it would have all been over by 1965.  JFK would have had to make a decision, and with 15000 advisors in country it wouldn't have been easy just to cut his losses.  Given the times, I think he would have gone the other direction.

      Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.

      by Sky Net on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 10:06:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Escaation was defintely a possibility for JFK (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sky Net, native

        after Nov. 1964, no matter what his cheerleaders may choose to say now. Withdrawal was also a possibility, though, despite what JFK's nay-sayers aver.

        Either Mann or David Kaiser (in American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson and the Origins of the Vietnam War) make the point that JFK's "style" was to try to keep his options open and procrastinate until ciccumstances forced his hand.

  •  Monday morning quarterbacking... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    viral, Churchill

    ...on a Thursday night, if you ask me. You could just as easily say that we would have been further along in the manned space program if JFK had not been killed.

  •  Ike had > 1,000 "Military Advisors" in Viet Nam (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RainyDay, 714day, LibertySon

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up!

    by Churchill on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:49:13 PM PST

  •  The idolization of JFK (3+ / 0-)

    is understandable. I can only imagine how traumatic that must have been.
    Being too young to remember him, I can't say I'm impressed with his Presidency. I think it's interesting how many boomers give Kennedy credit for laws that Johnson passed once the Harvards got out of the way and let him work Congress. It's also interesting how many complain about people idolizing Obama but do just that about Kennedy.

    •  You had to have been there. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OLinda, 714day, native, viral, DRo

      Pew Research talks about the polls of 1963.
       http://www.pewresearch.org/...

      Indeed, JFK was enormously popular in early 1963. In February, he enjoyed a 70% approval.  His ratings for handling foreign policy and handling domestic problems were equally high (64%) and most (56%) were satisfied with the way he was handling the situation in Cuba, where he had stumbled badly in 1961. And unlike modern presidents, Kennedy was a cultural phenomenon. In 1963, Gallup estimated that 85 million Americans had seen or heard a Kennedy imitator.
      Where he started to slip in the polls that year:
      And race took a toll on President Kennedy’s popularity rating. His approval score slipped from 70% in February to 59% in October. Most of the decline occurred after JFK’s June call [for civil rights legislation] and most of it occurred in the South. Between March and September that year, his ratings fell from 60% to 44%. There was less slippage outside of the South over this period- 76% to 69%.
      It's hard to imagine how much confidence he gave most Americans. In fact, he was a Cold Warrior (and the USSR aimed to destroy us); he was a reluctant activist on Civil Rights; he did do things which pleased Big Money.

      Nonetheless, he also stood up to, and beat down, Powerful Corporations, as in the Steel price-rise.

      And as to effectiveness:

      As noted by Larry O’Brien, "A myth had arisen that he [Kennedy] was uninterested in Congress, or that he “failed” with Congress. The facts, I believe, are otherwise. Kennedy’s legislative record in 1961–63 was the best of any President since Roosevelt’s first term".


      Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

      by Jim P on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 10:29:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  LBJ's taped statement resolves the Vietnam/JFK (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Churchill, atana, native

    question. "I gave them their goddamned war" brought up in connection with deals, yet trouble, getting votes for his Civil Rights and War on Poverty legislation.

    Weren't nothing to give them if it was already under way.


    Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

    by Jim P on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:56:03 PM PST

    •  while i think that is what happened (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim P, native, viral

      I cant find that quote. that is what he said in the movie.

      I point everybody to the audio in fog of war, " everytime you and kennedy talked about withdrawing I thought you were wrong, but I didn't say anything.." now he does say it.

      McNamara should have quit.

      McNamara also worked for lemay selecting civilian targets to carpet bomb in japan and he talks about that. the same lemay who wanted to bomb cuba.

       

      drones are a cost effective way of generating enough new terrorists that calls to cut military spending will fail.

      by just want to comment on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 10:19:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  RE: Kennedy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native

    It's probably sacrilegious of me, but I find it difficult to keep out of my mind the imagined picture of Kennedy standing under a "Mission Accomplished" banner in 1965 or '66, had he survived; and our troops remaining in Vietnam for nearly a decade after.  

    He was something of a posturing warmonger, the son of a criminal who paved the way for a publicly clean life for his sons.  The outer image of the son was cleaner than that of his father, but the bootlegging crime boss didn't drop his barrels far from the still.

    Still, I admired JFK back then, and do today.  Despite the fact that he and his shoe-banging Soviet counterpart brought us to the brink of a nuclear abyss; despite indiscretions that probably make Bill Clinton lust with envy; despite a lot of things, I think Kennedy's loss was our loss, that without his death a lot of the social upheaval of the '60s would have gone smoother, that civil rights would have progressed faster.

    Complex family, and a complex president, and we could use more like him.  Even his affairs were classy.

     

    Stay off my lawn, and keep your damned green plastic bags out of my trees.

    by Not A Bot on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 10:01:20 PM PST

  •  Vietnam (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    atana

    A copy of JFK's order to remove the 1000 troops from Vietnam is available.  They were about to return home when he was murdered.  Many in the military thought putting troops on the ground in Vietnam was a bad idea.  The terrain was jungle,  China was nearby.  Civilians like DOD McNamara believed new weapons like Agent Orange and big bombers would terrorize the Viet Cong.  it worked like Iraq and Afghanistan: a waste of 55,000 young men drafted against their will.  JFK was a wounded war veteran.  The minute he stepped into the White House he was handed orders for the invasion of Cuba.  He was the last President to go against the military who were recklessly stumbling into a nuclear exchange with Russia.  They disliked his attitude and so did the Hunts and other oil/military contractors who made big bucks off Vietnam and every other military adventure.  It was the beginning of Bushco and the US empire.  The rest of the world was still rebuilding after they destroyed themselves in WWII.  Republicans want to bomb Iran now.  Only public opinion and Putin  saved us from bombing Syria.  Time to rebuild the US and cut the military budget.

  •  JFK would not have escalated the war (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    churchylafemme, atana, native, LillithMc

    the way Johnson did.  You would not have had 500,000 troops or even 100,000.  This was McNamara view.  If need be, he would have gone the "white paper" route Truman did with China and taken the political hit.  Unlike LBJ, JFK was secure in standing up to the joint chiefs.

    This film makes the convicing case.

    http://virtualjfk.com/

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 10:06:58 PM PST

  •  The filibuster is finished in the senate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    franklyn

    All of it.

    Senate Republicans will blow up what's left of it the minute that they get 51 votes (of course being the asshole authoritarians that they are, they would have done that anyway).

    "I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not." - Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 10:34:55 PM PST

  •  Would JFK be as popular on TV as Chris Christie? (0+ / 0-)

    [http://christiegonewild.blogspot.com/2013/09/]

    by Ken Bank on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 11:17:10 PM PST

  •  This line from Rick Perlstein is simply (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    viral, DeadHead
    Kennedy, of course, was the first president to send soldiers to Southeast Asia,
    not true.

    "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

    by JesseCW on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 11:24:27 PM PST

  •  Kennedy in Vietnam (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sky Net

    would have been at least as hawkish as LBJ, if not moreso.  He was immersed in the same institutions and institutional culture that drove escalation under LBJ, and unlike LBJ, JFK had no domestic agenda to distract attention and resources from war-making.

    “Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ” ― Paulo Freire

    by ActivistGuy on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 11:35:36 PM PST

  •  I think JFK's overall intention was (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LillithMc

    toward ending the Cold War. He wanted to explore that direction. It's part of the reason he was assassinated.

  •  OND/MIA (0+ / 0-)

    it tebble, it hobble; honey lu been shot. - harvey kurtzman

    by renzo capetti on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:14:09 AM PST

  •  Hello from Bohol in the Central Philippines (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hulibow, dclawyer06, JeffW

    Tomorrow my job will be distributing Shelter Boxes to local families who had their homes destroyed by last month's 7.2 magnitude earthquake. A photo diary will follow when I can find a faster connection.

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 03:31:47 AM PST

  •  From peace and love to war and greed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dclawyer06

    That will be the boomer legacy.

    If we lie to the government, it's a felony...but if they lie to us it's politics.

    by rmb on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 04:20:38 AM PST

  •  The sentence below: (0+ / 0-)

    They reported that by the end of this year, the U.S. program for training Vietnamese should have progressed to the point where 1,000 military personnel assigned to South Vietnam can be withdrawn.”
    Starting with Ike we purportedly sent "advisors" and "trainers" and it wasn't until Tonkin that we dropped the pretense and openly and admittededly waged war. The question I find interesting is was that statement merely propaganda cover, merely another smoke screen, or was that, at the time it was said, truly the administration's goal and mission. Training, in theory, could be accomplished without waging all out war. One could, theoretically, declare the task complete without holding out for military victory.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 10:09:51 AM PST

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