Unspeakable Memories: The Day John Kennedy Died

In commemoration of the November 22, 1963 assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy


There is a vast literature on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who died on  November 22,1963.  I have contributed my small share to such writing in an effort to tell the truth, honor him, and emphasize its profound importance in understanding the history of the last fifty-six years, but more importantly, what is happening in the U.S.A. today. In other words, to understand it in its most gut-wrenching reality: that the American national security state will obliterate any president that dares to buck its imperial war-making machine. It is a lesson not lost on all presidents since Kennedy.

Unless one is a government disinformation agent or is unaware of the enormous documentary evidence, one knows that it was the CIA that carried out JFK’s murder. Confirmation of this fact keeps arriving in easily accessible forms for anyone interested in the truth.  A case in point is James DiEugenio’s  posting at his website, KennedysandKing, of James Wilcott’s affidavit and interrogation by the House Select Committee on Assassinations, declassified by the Assassinations Record Review Board in 1998.  In that document, Wilcott, who worked in the finance department for the CIA and was not questioned by the Warren Commission, discusses how he unwittingly paid Lee Harvey Oswald, the government’s alleged assassin, through a cryptonym and how it was widely known and celebrated at his CIA station in Tokyo that the CIA killed Kennedy and Oswald worked for the Agency, although he did not shoot JFK.  I highly recommend reading the document.

I do not here want to go into any further analysis or debate about the case.  I think the evidence is overwhelming that the President was murdered by the national security state. Why he was murdered, and the implications for today, are what concern me. And how and why we remember and forget public events whose consequences become unbearable to contemplate, and the fatal repercussions of that refusal.  In what I consider the best book ever written on the subject, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters (2009), James W. Douglass explains this in detail, including the James Wilcott story.

Realizing what I am about to say might be presumptuous and of no interest to anyone but myself, I will nevertheless try to describe my emotional reactions to learning of John Kennedy’s murder so long ago and how that reverberated down through my life.  I hope  my experiences might help explain why so many people today can’t face the consequences of the tragic history that began that day and have continued to the present, among which are not just the other assassinations of the 1960s but the lies about the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent endless and murderous “war on terror” with its mind-numbing propaganda and the recent anti-Russia phobia and the blatant celebration of the so-called “deep-state’s” open efforts to overthrow another president, albeit a very different one.

On November 22, 1963 I was a college sophomore. I was going down three steps into the college dining hall for lunch. (Many of my most significant memories and decisions have taken place on steps, either going up or going down; memory is odd in that way, wouldn’t you say?) I remember freezing on the second step as a voice announced through a PA system that the president had been shot in Dallas, Texas.  When I finally recovered and went down into the building, another announcement came through saying the president had died.  The air seemed to be sucked out of the building as I and the other students with a few professors sat in stunned silence.  Soon little groups on this Catholic campus joined together to pray for John Kennedy.  I felt as if I were floating in unreality.

Later that day when I left the campus and drove home, I thought back to three years previously and the night of the presidential election.  Everyone at my house (parents, grandparents, and the five sisters still at home) had gone to bed, but I stayed up past 1 A.M., watching the television coverage of the vote count. My parents, despite their Irish-Catholicism, were Nixon supporters, but I was for JFK.  I couldn’t comprehend why anyone would vote for Nixon, who seemed to me to personify evil.  When I finally went up the stairs to bed, I was convinced Kennedy would win and felt very happy.

It wouldn’t be for another tumultuous decade before I would hear Kris Kristofferson sing

Never knowin’ if believin’ is a blessin’ or a curse
Or if the going up is worth to coming down….
From the rockin’ of the cradle to the rollin’ of the hearse
The goin’ up was worth the coming down

and I would ask myself the same question.

In the meantime, the next few years would bring the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile crisis, and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, among other significant events, and for a high school student interested in politics and world events it was a heady and frightening few years.  It was a country of newspapers back then, and I would read perhaps 3-4 each day and sensed a growing animosity toward Kennedy, especially as expressed in the more conservative NYC papers.  I can remember very little talk of politics in my home and felt alone with my thoughts.  As far as I can remember, this was also true at the Jesuit high school that I attended.  And of course nothing prepared me for the president’s murder and the feeling of despair it engendered in me, a feeling so painful that I couldn’t really acknowledge it.  At nineteen, I felt traumatized but couldn’t admit it or tell anyone.  After all, I was a scholar and an athlete.  Tough.

Then on Sunday morning my family had the TV on and we watched as Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, the guy the government said had killed the president.  The unreality was compounded manyfold, and when later it was reported that Oswald had died, I felt I was living in an episode of The Twilight Zone, a popular television show at the time, whose narrator would say we are now entering the weird world between shadow and substance.

The next day a friend and I went to the Fordham University campus to visit a Jesuit priest who was a mentor to us.  He had the television on for JFK’s funeral and we sat and watched it for a while with him.  After a few hours, it became too painful and the two of us went outside to a football field where we threw a football back and forth.  Perhaps subconsciously we were thinking of Kennedy’s love of football; I don’t know.  But I remember a feeling of desolation that surrounded us on that empty cold field with not another soul around.  It seemed sacrilegious to be playing games at such a time, yet deep trauma contributes to strange behavior.

Then I went on with my college life, studying and playing basketball, until the day after Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965. Those New York newspapers that didn’t like Kennedy, hated Malcolm even more and were constantly ripping into him.  I vividly remember talking to my college basketball teammate the next day.  His sense of devastation as a young African American struck me forcefully. As we walked to basketball practice and talked, his sense of isolation and gloom was palpable.  Visceral.  Unforgettable.  It became mine, even though I didn’t at the time grasp its full significance.

In 1968 when Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated, I was driving to visit a girlfriend and remember hearing the news on the car radio and feeling deeply shocked. I felt immediately oppressed by the first warm spring evening in the New York area.  It was as if the beautiful weather, usually so uplifting after winter and so joyously stimulating to a young man’s sexuality, was conspiring with the news of King’s death to bring me down into a deep depression.

Soon the country would awaken on June 5 to the surreal news that Senator Robert Kennedy was shot in Los Angeles the night before.  Like so many Americans, when he died not long after, I felt his death was the last straw. But it was far from it. For all the while Lyndon Johnson had lied his way to election in 1964 and escalated the Vietnam war to savage proportions.  Death and destruction permeated the air we were breathing.  The year 1968 ended with the suspicious death in Thailand of a hero of mine, the anti-war Trappist Monk Thomas Merton.  Subsequent research has shown that that too was an assassination.  And while all of this was going on and my political consciousness was becoming radicalized, I became a conscientious objector from the Marines.  I was 24 years old.

By the late 1970s, having been fired from teaching positions for radical scholarship and anti-war activities, and mentally exhausted by the unspeakable events of the 1960s, I retreated into the country where I found solace in nature and a low-key life of contemplation, writing literary and philosophical essays, a novel, book reviews, and becoming a part-time newspaper columnist. By the 1990s, I gradually returned to teaching and a more active political engagement, primarily through teaching and writing.

Then in 1991 Oliver Stone jolted me back in time with his film JFK. I found powerful emotional memories welling up within me, and growing anger at what had happened to the U.S. in the previous decades. Soon JFK Jr., who was investigating his father’s assassination and was about to enter politics and take up his father’s mantle, was killed in a blatantly rigged “accident.”  A month before I had been standing in line behind his wife in the bakery in my little town while he waited outside in a car. Now the third Kennedy was dead. I called my old friend the Jesuit priest from Fordham, but he was speechless. The bodies kept piling up or disappearing.

When the attacks of September 11, 2001 happened, I realized from day one that something was not right; that the official explanation was full of holes.  My sociological imagination took fire. All that I had thought and felt, even my literary writing, came together.  The larger picture emerged clearly.  My teaching took on added urgency, including courses on September 11th and the various assassinations.

Then in 2009 I read and reviewed James Douglass’s masterpiece, JFK and the Unspeakable, and my traumatic memories of 1963 and after came flooding back in full force. I realized that those youthful experiences had been so difficult for me to assimilate and that I therefore had to intellectualize them, for the emotional toll of re-experiencing them and what they meant was profound.  The book really opened me to this, but so too did the awareness of how sensitive I was to John Kennedy’s death, how emotional I felt when reading about it or hearing him speak or listening to a song such as “The Day John Kennedy Died” by Lou Reed.  It was as though a damn had burst inside me and my heart had become an open house without doors or windows.

I tell you all this to try to convey the ways in which we “forget” the past in order to shield ourselves from powerful and disturbing memories that might force us to disrupt our lives. To change. Certain events, such as the more recent attacks of September 11, have become too disturbing for many to explore, to study, to contemplate, just as I found a way to marginalize my feelings about my own government’s murder of President Kennedy, a man who had given me hope as a youngster, and whose murder had nearly extinguished that hope.

Many people will pretend that they are exposing themselves to such traumatic memories and are investigating the events and sources of their disquietude. It is so often a pretense since they feel most comfortable in the land of make-believe.  What is needed is not a dilettantish and superficial nod in the direction of having examined such matters, but a serious in-depth study of the facts and an examination of why doing so might make one uncomfortable.  A look outward and a look inward.  Just as people distort and repress exclusively personal memories to “save” themselves from harsh truths that would force them to examine their current personal lives, so too do they do the same with political and social ones. When I asked two close relatives of mine, both of whom came close to death on September 11, 2001 at The World Trade Towers, what they have thought about that day, they separately told me that they haven’t really given it much thought. This startled me, especially since it involved mass death and a close encounter with personal death in a controversial public event, two experiences that would seem to elicit deep thought.  And these two individuals are smart and caring souls.

What and why we remember and forget is profoundly important.  Thoreau, in writing about life without principle, said, “It is so hard to forget what is worse than useless to remember.”  This is so true.  We are consumed with trivia, mostly by choice.

Perhaps a reason we remember so much trivia is to make sure we forget profound experiences that might shake us to our cores.  The cold-blooded public execution of President John Kennedy did that to me on that melancholy Friday when I was 19, and by trying to forget it and not to speak of it, I hoped it would somehow go away, or at least fade to insignificance.  But the past has a way of never dying, often to return when we least expect or want it.

So today, on this anniversary Friday, another November 22, I have chosen to try to speak of what it felt like once upon a time on the chance that it might encourage others to do the same with our shared hidden history.  Only by speaking out is hope possible.  Only by making the hidden manifest.

T. S. Eliot wrote in “Journey of the Magi” words that echo ironically in my mind on this anniversary of the day John Kennedy died:

All this was a long time ago, I remember

And I would do it again, but set down

This set down

This: were we led all that way for

Birth or Death? There was a Birth certainly,

We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and


But had thought they were different; this Birth was

Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.

We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,

But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,

With an alien people clutching their gods.

I should be glad of another death.

Remembering in all its emotional detail the day John Kennedy died has been a long and cold journey for me.  It has allowed me to see and feel the terror of that day, the horror, but also the heroism of the man, the in-your-face warrior for peace whose death should birth in us the courage to carry on his legacy.

Killing a man who says “no” to the endless cycle of war is a risky business, says a priest in the novel Bread and Wine by Ignazio Silone.  For “even a corpse can go on whispering ‘No! No! No! with a persistence and obstinacy that only certain corpses are capable of.  And how can you silence a corpse.”

John Kennedy was such a man.

Eliot was right: Sometimes death and birth are hard to tell apart.

President Kennedy’s courage in facing a death he knew was coming from forces within his own government who opposed his efforts for peace, nuclear disarmament, and an end to the Cold War – “I know there is a God-and I see a storm coming.  I believe that I am ready,” he had written on a slip of paper, and his favorite poem contained the refrain, “I have a rendezvous with death” – should encourage all of us to not turn our faces away from his witness for peace.

We must stop being at ease in a dispensation where we worship the gods of war and clutch the nuclear weapons that our crazed leaders say they will use on a “first-strike” basis. If they ever do, Eliot’s question – “were we led all that way for Birth or Death?” – will be answered.

But no one will hear it.

18 thoughts on “Unspeakable Memories: The Day John Kennedy Died”

  1. Thank you for speaking the truth! These days it is not valued as the press is not allowed to do their jobs.

  2. I was 20, and a senior at Cal State Univ, Northridge. Our history prof invited the stunned small class to commune in the faculty dining room — the only time, in four years, that I ever set foot in it.
    I partied with friends that night. Of course, the mood was subdued. I remember saying to them, “Who cares? He’s just another politician.”
    Since then, I’ve learned that I was wrong.

  3. I was working in the school cafeteria for my free lunch. For me, the story started to unravel when Oswarld was shot.
    In the summer of 65 I read Bertrand Russell’s 10 questions for the Warren Commission. I was a conspiracy theorist ever since.
    As far as foreign intelligence involvment , I think you would be hard put to tell where one started and one left off.
    Trashing the channel is an electrical engineering term refering to putting too much information into a wavelength than it can carry. CB radios were a low frequency and for a while everyone was trying to use one. They ended up trashing the channell. Years later, I heard the term used differently. When you wanted to suppress a story, the most effective way was not to stop it from being communicated, but to print so many absurd stories, people would tune them all out. You trashed the channel.

  4. Edward Curtin – I see this is a recurring theme with interesting exchanges from last year –
    Ten years ago my very much youngest 3 year old son died here in a tragic accident, and some time later my oldest son’s child also tragically died only a few hours old. A well meaning old family friend, trying to express solidarity with our grief, moaned “What is wrong with you people?”.
    Yes, you do tend to do some soul searching under such circumstances, don’t you? In your case I see “you people” as the USA, and the question “What is wrong with it?”, should certainly not be seen as a personal criticism. Whilst it may seem like sacrilege to most Americans, seen a bit more objectively from outside, the real flaw may actually be the Union.
    We have seen increasingly clearly that the United States is no longer united. In any talk of abolishing the USA, it must be stated, it is only this disunited union that we are talking about. Nobody could seriously contemplate rubbing the continent or the landmass with all its people, off the global map! As with various countries contemplating getting out of the EU, nobody is talking about shifting Italy or Britain out of Europe. Similarly, as I have pointed out many times, the abolition of the Soviet Union did not involve the abolition or eradication of Russia, Ukraine, or anything other than the Union.
    In studying these “United” populations of people, the obvious question that must strike the critical observer is the reasons for forming them. Without digressing or evading that question, it is dominance, power, and ultimately deeply rooted in an extremely unhealthy concept of “ruling the world”. If we trace that fundamental concept to its origins, we find it actually has no place in the natural course of life on Earth. Once this “diseased” origin is established, we can then easily follow the almost automatic progression to the exclusive power structures like the FBI and CIA, as well as the cancerous “privileges” enjoyed by any form of “chosen ones”.
    Without getting too specific in that direction, we might also inspect the undeniable American culture of “fundamentalist” religion involving a God “on our side” that has favourites or chosen people.

    1. Thanks Tom for bringing this up…, “Without getting too specific in that direction, we might also inspect the undeniable American culture of “fundamentalist” religion involving a God “on our side” that has favourites or chosen people”
      The supreme authority figure, out there somewhere, obedience, compliance, do not question. There’s a god on every block. Only the pitches are different. The police are usually obvious. The supervisor, the politician, the bulldozer driver; we know about them as well. Fear, it’s about fear, not knowing, the uncertainty. It appears we get stuck questioning so many things. The way we live is upside down and inside out and the diversions from ourselves and real needs are too many. Who spoke about the ‘weapon of nostalgia’? Yet another form of manipulation.

  5. Thank you Ed for this brilliant essay. You continually restore my faith in the Invisible Church.

  6. Dear Mr. Curtin:

    I must congradulate you on your most excellent article.

    I have read a lot on JFK, but not the zillions of useless books on his assassination.  They all paint the colorful scenery without addressing the real WHY.

    James Douglass’s masterpiece, JFK and the Unspeakable, comes very close.

    Your article is one of the most eloquent and poignant I have ever read on JFK and, more importantly, on the unspeakable consequences starting with his assassination.  But the real source of these unspeakable crimes against humanity, as I would call them, began in WW2 and WW1.

    The most unspeakable aspect of the entire JFK assassination is the role of the Israelis who, as in 9/11, were the prime movers, along with their CIA counterparts.

    How do we know?

    Oliver Stone’s JFK movie provides the missing clues.

    Mr. Stone is a Jew.  But more importantly, the executive producer of JFK, or the money man behind the movie, is Arnon Milchan.  Do you investigative homework on this person’s “interesting” and “colorful” background and you will understand why JFK addresses EVERY conspiracy on the JFK assassination EXCEPT one . . . the Israeli one!

    Michael Collins Piper’s tome, Final Judgement, a bit too verbose and too repetitive, nails it.

    Again, muchisimas gracias for such a beautiful and sad article.

    Best regards,

    David Chu
    Patagonia, Argentina.

    PS The karma of the United States of Death, Disease and Destruction is yet to descend . . . .

  7. There is a strange fascination in these emotional recollections for me as a non American. Perfectly legitimate of course, but I can’t rid myself of a certain confirmation of an underlying expression of American “exceptionalism”. After all, how good, righteous, or bad, other assassinated world leaders are or were, is also just told to us after the event.
    I might explain that I in fact have no problem at all with any culture considering itself exceptional. What I do resist and abhor, is a self perception of being EXCLUSIVE.
    As far as murderous assassinations by the CIA goes, I can think of some OUTSIDE the USA that are just as consequential as JFKs?

    1. Dr. Victor Frankenstein, also known as Pres. Harry Truman, created this monster we know as Central Intelligence Agency.

      Before the sun had set on 1963, private citizen, civilian Truman all but admitted his baby murdered a fellow Democrat, JFK, and was so out of control with its regime change operations, etc., the world over, called for it to be destroyed, in essence.

      Following Truman’s mea culpa Op Ed, circa Dec. 1963, the monsters penned a very long essay, I’ve read it on the agency website: saying among other things Truman had not actually meant what he wrote, and may not have wrote it, at all.

      And the monster only grew and now, what do we suppose would happen when, perhaps Pres. Donald Trump files legislation to do what Truman advocated in December 19*63? [This would surely downgrade ‘prestige’ of some of CNN’s staff]

      But what would happen should Trump do this?

      The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind….

      Great Britain’s White Man’s Burden, Germany’s Place in the Sun, America’s Manifest Destiny, all the same coin.

      The coin is to justify wealth, that is: stealing it from others, to put it simply.

      Their religion? The ends justify the means. Also known as Capitalism-Religion.

      Hitler lives and thrives and is alive and well — in every Western Capital.

      At least, his ghost.

      Churchill the man and ghost: the mass murdering war criminal’s aim was for the real enemies of fascism, Communist Russia, to be destroyed by German Nazism, and for them to destroy each other.

      And thus British Fascism, and their progeny, American Fascism, their brand, to be able to do all the stealing.

      In this sense, yes, American Fascism is quite exceptional.

      It has destroyed more civilizations and lives, stolen more wealth, dropped more bombs, invaded more lands, tortured more people, raped more women and children, and perfected propaganda far more than the Third Reich.

      The dynamic duo of Great Britain and America cannot decline fast enough.

      In the meantime, anyone who oppose this Mega Fascism, who gain any manner of public influence, murdered in cold blood.

      JFK, only the most notoriously brazen assassination by this criminal spook syndicate of which CIA, a spoke.

      Quite exceptional is the CIA’s success of indoctrination at home and abroad.

      Synonyms are: propaganda, brain washing.

      The structure of propaganda is a narrative that includes facts, and, which purposefully delete/leave out key, essential facts: from which a narrative can then be spun to make up anything under the sun. The vassals in the press, essential spokes, too. Ditto higher education. Ditto our congress, our supreme court, our presidencies.

      According to Air Force Col. Leroy Fletcher Prouty: JFK was murdered precisely because JFK sought a different foreign policy.

      To reorient US police away from South East Asia, and towards Europe – and it is a fact that after JFK’s death, President Johnson vastly expanded US war in Vietnam in particular.

      Fletcher at the time of assassination was Chief of Special Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Kennedy.

      Obviously, be extremely critical of Fletcher [and all essayists, of course]; however, this is something he wrote in a letter in 1990.

      The assassination, the “It was to reverse the sudden JFK re-orientation of the U.S. Government from Asia to Europe, in keeping with plans made in 1943 at Cairo and Teheran by T.V. Soong and his Asian masterminds. Lansdale and Stillwell were long-time ‘Asia hands’ as were Gen. Erskine, Adm. Radford, Cardinal Spellman, Henry Luce and so many others.” [Mmm hmm, that “Henry Robinson Luce . . . American magazine magnate who was called ‘the most influential private citizen in the America of his day’. He launched and closely supervised a stable of magazines that transformed journalism and the reading habits of millions of Americans. Wikipedia”]

      [Fletcher’s theory is that Air Force Major Gen. Edward Geary Lansdale, aforementioned, was the brains behind JFK murder in an essential dimension, if you will. The man who designed elaborate propaganda [[clandestine operations]] to make sure the assassins and their handlers and agents would not be charged with crimes, so that Americans would consent to letting them get away with murder — for decades to come. The mother of all psy-ops, in other words.]

      “In October 1963, JFK had just signaled this reversal, to Europe, when he published National Security Action Memorandum #263 saying…among other things…that he was taking 1,000 troops home from Vietnam by Christmas 1963 and ALL AMERICANS out of Vietnam by the end of 1965. That cost him his life,” Prouty wrote in 1990.

      Prouty claims in Appendix III of his interesting book first published in 1972, “The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World” that Lansdale actually wrote Appendix III.

      It’s worth a good read, including appendices.

      Prouty says something profound in his preface, in that it’s an acknowledgment that men like him, who are trained to lie all the time to the public and to cohorts, have difficulty being accurate source material because they have been conditioned to lie.

      In other words, such folks may do their best to blow the whistle, but also being victims of brainwashing, their most sincere efforts to confirm government crimes may be lacking therefrom.

      “On the one hand, his whole working life has been dedicated to the cause of secrecy and to its protection by means of cover stories — lies,” Prouty wrote in 1972 preface.

      “Even if he would talk and write, his life has been so interwoven into the fabric of the real and unreal, the actual and the cover story, that he would be the least likely to present the absolutely correct data.

      “On the other hand. . . he became involved in. . . real ‘deep’ [operations]. . . with many CIA men so unaware of the entire operation that they had no realization of the roles of other CIA men working on the same project.”

      Prouty, in 1972, concludes his preface saying what more and more and more say more frequently every day [ — including such as, viz. Jeffrey Epstein]

      [From 1972] “Consider the past half century. How many major events — really major events — have there been that simply do not ring true?. . . . The war in Vietnam is undoubtedly the best example of this. Why is it that after more than 30 years of clandestine and overt involvement in Indochina, no one has been able to make a logical case for what we have been doing there and to explain adequately why we had become involved; and what our real and valid objectives in that part of the world were?

      “The mystery behind all of this lies in the area we know as ‘Clandestine activity,’ ‘intelligence operations,’ ‘secrecy’ and ‘cover stories,'” Prouty wrote in 1972.

      Appendix III [Lansdale?] includes: “Here is the opportunity for indoctrination in the dynamics of our society.”

      For work outside US, Lansdale? speak of role of Advisors — saying they must have an anthropologist’s understanding of those areas to be effective.

      Thus: “Through understanding of the local scene and the identification of the major vulnerabilities inherent therein are essential bases for the reorientation and improvement of the national leadership.”

      “As one uniquely successful military advisor has phrased it, we are dealing with ‘one of mankind’s most sophisticated activities’ and consummate wisdom and skill are required.”

      Prouty’s 1990 letter says, viz. JFK plot: “The whole story of the POWER of the Cover-up comes down to a few points. There has never been a Grand Jury and trial in Texas. Without a trial there can be nothing. Without a trial it does no good for researchers to dig up data. It has no place to go and what the researchers reveal just helps make the cover-up tighter, or they eliminate that evidence and the researcher.”


      Gibran’s The Procession poem concludes as follows:

      Had I the days in hands to string,
      Only in forest they’d be strewn,
      But circumstances drive us on
      In narrow paths by Kismet hewn.

      For Fate has ways we cannot tell,*
      While weakness preys upon our Will;
      We bolster with excuse the self
      And help that Fate ourselves to kill.

      [*Published Arabic translation use “change” rather than “tell” at this word; you decide]


      1. I am truly grateful Jim for your obviously deep understanding and wise presentation ! I was a little afraid that I might encounter hostility for my comment, but greatly appreciate that this site of Edward’s encourages and permits controversy and honest exchange.
        Although you deal masterfully with the subject,I would still like to hear something a bit more specific about the transition from “exceptional” to “exclusive”.

        1. My suggestions would be as follows:

          1] recognizing that no civilization/culture, society, organization or group operate as monolith

          2] Don Martindale’s “American Social Structure: Historical Antecedents and Contemporary Analysis” might be an adequate primer, that would at least elucidate this social fact

          3] also, perhaps read preface or first chapter to his “The Nature and Types of Sociological Theory”, —The Road to Sociology

          A society/civilization, organization, group is a process, ongoing.

          Some make claims, true or false, and depending on their relative prestige, those claims may or may not carry the day, in the long run, though they may in the short run.

          Perhaps some American “leaders” or Leaders actually believe US society is exceptional and exclusive.

          I would ask them on what basis is that so.

          There is no consensus in US that this nation is exceptional nor exclusive, among the people. And people are what make a society.

          Just because claims, for example, that Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK on his own — does not make that so — any more than some who may claim and may believe US is an exceptional and/or exclusive phenomena among the family of nations, as it were.

          Manifest Destiny is the Future of an Illusion.

          I would also study Symbolic Interactionism.

          This field can elucidate how, for example, it come to be that social realities are and can be created, irrespective whether the basis for that reality is or is not reality-based in the first place.

          Prouty, the air force man, alludes to the consequences of what happens when “cover stories” or lies, replace facts, and are disseminated far and wide, for instance.

          [[[“Why is it that after more than 30 years of clandestine and overt involvement in Indochina, no one has been able to make a logical case for what we have been doing there and to explain adequately why we had become involved; and what our real and valid objectives in that part of the world were?

          “The mystery behind all of this lies in the area we know as ‘Clandestine activity,’ ‘intelligence operations,’ ‘secrecy’ and ‘cover stories,’” Prouty wrote in 1972.]]]

          The fact that many were led to believe these sorts of fairy tales, or lies, take your pick, created the conditions for many things, including US taxpayers spending billions and billions and billions of dollars on wars, millions killed, sovereign governments overthrown, a confused and alienated public, massive corruption, and so on and so forth.

          This continues and in one sense US, as the super power, for now, reserves the exclusive right, irrespective of popular will, to continue this program of mayhem, destruction, savagery and barbarism.

          1. Thank you Jim. If I might make a recommendation in return, it is to give some deeper thought to the profound difference between “exceptional” and “exclusive”.

          2. Your account is very poignant and real. We should all know as much as possible about this vicious murder and wicked attack on our country . I think Douglass has said he has never read Final Judgement. A glaring, maybe fatal, omission.

  8. I find myself reading this piece over and over again. Memories similar to Ed’s come flooding back, and also the damping down of them which allowed me to continue on into adulthood and now old age. Perhaps this helps explain why I wound up living a life in consistent (albeit idiosyncratic) opposition to what we called in my college days “the system” and “the man.” Although I have come to greater reverence for life as it draws to a close, death does beckon as a release from (triumph over?) constant strife, frustration, and seeming defeat. I say “seeming,” so long as companions like Ed continue to write pieces like this.

  9. Thank you Ed for a beautiful piece of memory and writing that deeply touches my own still vivid memories of these events. How convenient that by the time I was a college freshman in 1970 the message being conveyed throughout MSM was that we young people were now no longer so much interested in social change and protest, but were now instead embracing a mantra of “tune in, turn on, drop out,” accompanied by the requisite drug use. Before long the MSM message became that we have now somehow transformed magically from a generation of social justice warriors into the self absorbed “me generation” interested only in our own “personal growth” through meditation, yoga and macrobiotic diets.

    Why if one was the least bit suspicious of our murderous deep state establishment one might even suspect the hand of that ‘psychopath’s psychopath’ Allen Dulles and the CIA behind the MSM saturation propaganda campaign of that era always telling us all in no uncertain terms of our societal shift from a generation of morally principled protestors to a generation of navel gazers. How convenient indeed. Obedient to that message I spent my twenties using the drugs of the era to numb my pain, grief and disillusionment certain that societal change was impossible though I never really bought “personal enlightenment” as a valid alternative. Luckily I returned from the dead while not all of my friends were so lucky.

    Today it appears that the self-absorption of the so called “me generation” of the 1970’s has now become simply “standard operating procedure” society-wide, in our world of total materialism, combined with total narcissism, 24/7 on every screen and channel everywhere – all appropriately monitored by the ghost of Allen Dulles. Meanwhile decade after decade, wave after wave of different drugs conveniently appear in sequence – crack, meth, ecstasy, heroin and now the pain killers and legal pot wash over and narcotize the pain of the disenfranchised, the poor and un-needed masses, maintaining in ever more blatantly corrupt power the same amoral death machine JFK, Malcolm, Martin and Bobby dared to challenge so many decades ago.

    “For “even a corpse can go on whispering ‘No! No! No! with a persistence and obstinacy that only certain corpses are capable of. And how can you silence a corpse.” – thank you Ed. It is quite cathartic to be able to share thoughts such as these.

  10. I just read this article as written up on the Lew Rockwell website, and I agree, as I have for 40+ years. Of note, the Zapruder film has been shown to have been ‘doctored’, at least..leaving out the limo stops and so on. But another thing has been left out. IF you can find a slo-mo of the killing, please at least watch it several times, but change your point of focus. Many folks like me know the effects of rifle fire and I see stuff thru those glasses. Watch JFK react thus: 1. something happens to make him ‘slump slightly forward’ and GRAB at his neck, then you see a ‘puff’ of something from the front, and his body and especially his head snaps backwards. You will see thses things if you LOOK. Now..re-run the tape again and insted of watching JFK as 99.9% of folks do, watch the limo drivers..you will see the driver turn and his let arm comes up and then back and you can see what looks like a pistol [?a .45?] being fired..left-handed, over his right shoulder at JFK..watch it. I was first mad aware of this while attending a lwecture given bt Dr Stuart Crane back i the early 1980s..he was describing what happened sometime b4 when he(Crane) accepted an invitation to attend a showing of the ‘Zap film’ @ the LAPD.. Dr Crane said..”one of the forensic guys jumped up and yelled..’there..the shooter was the driver, left-handed over his R shoulder w a pistol”.
    Also left out in the discussions I have heard are:
    1. that obvious fact that BOTH SS agents were NOT riding the rear bumper platforms that day and
    2. When the shooting happened, the car was stopped
    3. Jackie knew dam ned well who was shooting and her reaction was telling….she was climbing OUT of the killing ground, off the back of the limo. She knew, IMHO
    4. I read a story years ago, allegedly written by one of the 11/22/63 Parkland ER docs(ret)..he claimed JFK had 2 entrance wounds..one in front neck area, thru wh they tried to do a trach(insert a breathing tube) and the second wound in his LEFT TEMPLE AREA..fwiw I do not still have that article.
    And yes I well remember that day..I too was a college sophomore…standing in the rain, in my ROTC uniform, at formation at Memphis State Univ . I also remember the scene on 9/11 and do not believe the “official line ” about that either. Give me a shout sometime via e-mail.

    1. There is a lot of conjecture about whether the driver actually shot JFK. While it appears, he may have, I don’t believe it. However, it is apparent he was part of the plot because the limo didn’t merely slow down, it actually stopped to allow the final head shot to be made. As Doug Horne’s research has shown, the Zapruder film was slightly altered by the CIA in its secret lab at the Kodak facilities in Rochester. Whatever is the truth about these details, there is little doubt that the CIA planned and orchestrated JFK’s murder.

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