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Robert Harper

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About Robert Harper

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    http//: www.RobertHarper.net

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    Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Interests
    JFK, the arts, Bach

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  1. James, this is, I think, the second time you have referred to this book as "disinformation." I didn't understand your first usage, nor this one. I have the book, published in Belgium in 1968, and it says on the jacket that the author - James Hepburn - is a PhD in Economic,s who met RFK, and put this book together "with the assistance of various European and American specialists." The book is well written, and in sync with other non-Warren Commission authors like Lane, Meagher, Salandria, Jones, Joetsen etc. He mentions attempts in Chicago and Miami;. He quotes Dwight MacDonald and the need for skepticism about reported facts. He frequently quotes JFK's speeches on moderation and peace. (A footnote on one page enlightened the reader that the the FBI could only arrest a suspect if it was thought a conspiracy had taken place; otherwise, it was Texas law enforcers in charge. Such was changed later when they made killing a President, a Federal crime) He has a diagram of Dealey Plaza suggesting multiple shooters and covers incompetence and/or corruption, all over the place. The author also wrote one of my favorite sentences on the case: "A secretary whose married boss is planning an amorous weekend in Miami takes more precautions than Ken O'Donnell did for John Kennedy in Dallas." This book looks at Oil money, the Secret service, Texas justice and military interests opposed to JFK. I found few errors of fact. So how - and why - is this called "disinformation?"
  2. I was saddened to read this as I have been equally stunned by images from California. I lived for a decade in the Hollywood Hills, so I am familiar with the constancy of the fire issue there and the excellence of those who fight them. I join others in wishing you and family members well. Hope you have backgammon games. In 1996, I worked on the telefilm Ruby Ridge, drawn from transcripts and documents and the reporting of a local journalist. Northern California around Chico served as the Idaho forests needed for the shoot. During our time there, I visited Paradise and didn't feel that they had exaggerated the appeal of the place by naming it such. It was wonderful to see the almond trees growing up there and seeing the area I "almost" attended - UC, Davis - where I was heading for graduate school, before shifting to the professional stage. I enjoyed visiting the campus at Cal State ,Chico and also recall telling friends back East - who stop and pay tolls on a continual basis, that when I drove back home from filming, I drove 495 miles without stopping once. That day I understood the meaning of a "freeway." If the feelings I sense from 7000 miles away are real, the country is looking and praying and offering condolences. This Thanksgiving your kin have special reason to be grateful; they are living to recall the horror around them.
  3. Generally good advice about anything. I too own a number of books published by Trine and am grateful for any publisher that makes an effort to reach people with informed opinions.
  4. Robert  Harper

    Umbrella Man pic?

    Thanks. I feel like an idiot. These Brits I keep getting mixed up.
  5. That was also an impression I had reading the book - especially the mention of Dulles sending DeMohrenschildt on a mission (and never mentioning it in the Warren testimony). The info on Skorzeny was informative; there is a wealth of information in the short book, but for the first 60 pages I couldn't zoom in on a coherent thesis. The second 60 pages or so - the rest of the book - brings in characters and situations more familiar. That Gladio and P-2 and CMC and Permindex were related is an important linkage. That the right wing in Italy managed to get rid of the politicos who were willing to embrace a variety of political viewpoints is also illuminating. That Angleton spent so much time there and that Harvey was placed there is not meaningless in the murder, but not specific enough to grab onto. I get confused about the Freemasonry - mostly because I think of it as a version of Ralph Kramden's Raccoon club. I wish there was more on Mossad and Bloomfield but there is enough to contribute to the overall understanding. I'd like to read more of the Greek's bearing gifts to Nixon, and the Gehlen/Nazi usage by the US is still disturbing to read. Some of the issues of confusion arise from the translation, some of the long Italian names add distance to the reading through their unfamiliarity. But the focus on Italy and the neo-fascist movement and the Gladio project and its relationship to intelligence services of the US and israel is engrossing and important. I can't connect any of it to Bethesda medical Center and the autopsy, but, one never knows what connections will appear.
  6. Robert  Harper

    Church Schism

    Great. Image made my day That such disputes are prolonged for centuries, is not a bad perspective to have for the world today. The head of the Roman Catholic Church is the Pope. The head of the Anglican Church is the Queen of England. In the 5th century Augustine of Hippo wrote: What we know, therefore, we owe to reason, what we believe, to authority. It took a thousand years before Luther successfully challenged the authority of the Pope. During the years Cromwell was overthrowing the monarchy, authority was fragmented and then restored. Certain key individuals displayed a moral sense of "the end justifies the means "- Luther, Calvin. Zwingli etc belong here. The alternative, "the means justify the end" - was proposed by Erasmus and Thomas More. The latter was asked to stress "the end', refused, and lost his head. At the time of Henry VIII's death, there was a painting hanging in Hampton Court of the 4 Evangelists stoning the pope to death. Remember the passage where Jesus asks that the one without sin cast the first stone? 500 years after that, the philosopher Wittgenstein wrote that “…. it remains true that in the proper acceptation of the term we know only what we owe to firm reasoning of the mind….When a true belief is justified by sense perception or trustworthy testimony, the plain man calls it knowledge, the philosopher belief. My very first post here started with a quote from Richard Sennet's book Authority. Published more than 30 years ago, I thought it articulated thoughts relevant to the JFK murder. His thoughts of what authority is - who wants it, needs it, abuses it is as relevant as ever. The Pope recently gave the Chinese government veto power over the Bishops sent there. The Russian patriarch has acknowledged a Ukranian head of church. The ironic thing is that the early Christians - until Constantine - were against association with the State. Good or bad. During the papacy of JP II, Fr Drinan a Jesuit priest who was also a member of Congress from Massachusetts, was asked to step aside from politics. In San Salvador in 1980, Oscar Romero was assassinated while he was saying Mass for speaking out against the military oppression. There is current activity involving the exit of the UK from the EU. There may not be a better chance for Northern Island to join the Republic on the land they share. The schism in religion produced the two Irelands; the same produced the split between Belgium and the Netherlands; to even bring up the current Middle East disputes is simply saying that religion, organized religion, has been, and still is, a powerful force in the world. Was it chance that produced a Polish Pope, the first non-Italian in 500 years, when the Poles and Eastern Europe got swallowed up like the fish in the cartoon? Or was it a politics of the unspeakable at work?
  7. Robert  Harper

    I was thinking of Arthur Miller today

    Absolutely true and after decades of just taking it as a given, I punch out when I can. Interesting that for the first 175 years of this country, WASPs were the executives. Soon as the first change is Catholic, he's killed. His possible successor, his brother, Catholic is killed. A charismatic Southern Baptist, who started speaking out against the Vietnam war, is killed. In a 5 year period, change was snuffed out. It's said that most roaches scatter when there is a light, while others go to to eliminate the source of the light. We had some evil roaches running things. I was surprised to recently learn that Martin Luther King Sr had declared he "would never vote for a Catholic" in 1960 when the issue came up. He changed his mind and became a backer of JFK, but I can't help but think about this good man who raised a saint - say he'd "never" vote Catholic. I thought that was part of the Reformation/ Counter Reformation spirit about the "popery" of Rome. Such thinking had overlapped with political selections as well I also knew--Al Smith 1928 - but like a lot of things in 1963, things were changing. When reading a collection of the "Cold War Letters" of the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, I came across a few between Ethel Kennedy and him. Eunice went to a Catholic college in the Bronx and introduced her brothers Bob and Ted to their spouses who also attended. There is the little known, but memorialized version by Norman Cousins, of letters exchanged between JFK and Pope John XXIII during the Cuban crisis. JFK didn't make a show of his religion, but the morning of his Inauguration attended Mass and saw his mother already there. This mother of nine who used to pray the rosary habitually. One's children are not immune to this influence. In 1962 when the SCOTUS ruled any prayer in school unconstitutional, JFK was asked his opinion on the ruling, he answered that perhaps families will pray more together at home. Can you imagine such a response from anyone else in the past 50 years? You would have heard "Judges making laws, about "the loss of God - the Christian God - in the culture". You definitely would have heard a bashing of Madalyn Murray O'Hair. Instead, you hear a measured, acceptance of the rule of law with a practical, most appropriate response. Prayer starts and should exist in the home. It would also be helpful to talk more of the Sermon on the Mount - actually delivered-- than rules about sexual behavior - most derived. During the Republican primary debates of 2000, one questioner asked GWB "which political philosophers had been influential in his life." I sat up, oh good, I'll hear something about thought from each of these candidates. I wondered - briefly of course - Locke?Jefferson?Franklin? GWB says "Jesus Christ." Done. The wind went out of the question immediately. How do you "top" that one? So no one else was asked their favorite political philosopher and, of course, the questioner never pursued the answer about which particular tenets of Jesus Christ he was referring to.
  8. Thank you for this treasure which took most of a week to read. I spent more time on Carl Curtis than I had thoughts of him my whole life; I learned more about Bobby Baker, but the most impactful read for me was was the one by JoachimJoesten challenging Robert Kennedy to start the search- with relentless energy - about his brother's murderers. Many people thought such thoughts. The date of the article stops all further inquiry--it's a week before RFK is killed and the urgency and context and appropriateness of the whole article evaporates.
  9. Robert  Harper

    Umbrella Man pic?

    It is the first time this whole umbrella thing made any sense; I never believed the guy showing up with the same umbrella at the HSCA 15 years later. It's spooky and evokes anger, but it's far more plausible, imho, than a guy protesting JFK's father's support of Anthony Eden.
  10. Robert  Harper

    I was thinking of Arthur Miller today

    Joe--thank you for sharing your response, which, as usual is succinct, and honest . We share on this site a sense that "something happened" in 1963 that was important and never resolved and that "something" had meaning beyond its immediate effects. I read your comments and responses as similar to one by a member I used to enjoy reading very much - Bart (I think name is right, avatar with hardhat). In particular he and you and I share a status- with others - as affected and interested participants who have relied on the research and reasoning of many of the people on this site; I think we are appreciators, not researchers. I think we write to express ourselves within this structure of "something happened" and reading such from others assists that process. It is said that knowledge is accumulated bit by bit; and understanding from a grasp of the whole. We are are on the journey to understanding (belief) through the encounter with knowledge (facts). Please cut these words from your post? They do not apply; you express yourself quite well.
  11. Robert  Harper

    JFK's three meetings with General MacArthur

    Thank you for the great article as well as the informative comments. I too would love to have access to the pdf. I was aware of the Mahan influence and theory, but not Mackinder ditto. your comments very helpful.
  12. With the justifiable use of the word “witch-hunt” to describe certain incidents of the past few years, one is inevitably drawn to the echoes from the 1692 trials in Salem, Massachusetts and it’s brilliant dramatization by Arthur Miller in 1953. At that time, I was only 2 years old and living in Manhattan, near Fort Washington . My personal recollection of the concepts “Salem” and “Arthur Miller” would emerge about the same time as my concept of “John Kennedy.” All intersected when my Irish-Catholic family moved from “the Heights” viewing the George Washington Bridge, to the town near the Bay where Nathanial Hawthorne was an icon and the Witch House and The House of the Seven Gables were local attractions. I received my First Holy Communion in Salem—dressed all in white, unlike my brothers who had worn blue blazers at theirs in Manhattan. “Salem” was the American version of “JeruSALEM” and religious affiliations were involved from the very beginnings of its formation. People might not know that of the 8 original America colonial colleges, 7 of them provided training for Anglican/Protestant preachers and ministers, and the 8th prepared those of the Dutch Reform branch. The 7 schools eventually became the Ivy League; the other 1, became the public university of New Jersey—Rutgers, my alma mater. Miller, in his late 30’s, traveled to Salem, studied the transcripts and history and captured an intensely dramatic time in the lives of the Massachusetts citizens, in his play The Crucible. It is his most widely done play nationwide in amateur productions, and – astonishingly - was written within a 7 year period which also included his impressive debut, All My Sons, as well as his brilliant Death of a Salesman . Salem was also the place I first heard the name “John Kennedy.” The memory was always clear: my Dad, in white tee-shirt, going down the stairs loudly saying (don’t think he ever ‘screamed’ ) that “John Kennedy was nominated last night.” So, unlike Dr Ford, for example, I can place my memory in time, place, location, with a consistent recollection over time. It was Thursday morning, July 14 1960, upstairs in one of the bunk bed bedrooms, on Loring Avenue in Salem, Massachusetts. It was the first time I recall any political expression by my father, consequently, “nominated” and “Kennedy” were implanted. I had received a postcard from my father, dated February 4 1959, with a rendition of the Salem Custom House(image attached). We lived in Manhattan on a street called “Haven ” a Dutch word for “harbor” - a suitable association for a childhood home. He wrote that he “missed taking me to school each day – even when you rush me.” Apparently, unlike some brothers, I wanted to get to school and get there early! My first day of school, is captured on home film, with the date and event, written with chalk on the sidewalk, as a sort of subtitleJ Jacket and tie, briefcase in hand; there was no day-care or even kindergarten at that time available; I went right to first grade. I’d walk home with friends or even alone. I had a local girl friend and played house with her, and walked with a pal in the building, a kid who went to a Jewish school, and recall talking of the 100th birthday of A&P supermarket chain celebrated that year. I’d go past the Audubon Ballroom where a few years later Malcolm X would be killed as I walked from the same school both my parents graduated from in 1931. But back to Salem, Kennedy and Miller. I learned JFK was the same age as my father; that he too came from a large Irish-Catholic family, that some of them had lived for awhile in New York and were living now about 30 miles away. Years later, I would also find that our great-great grandfather, Patrick Harper, had moved from Wexford County, Ireland – with his 11 children – to Brooklyn, NY in 1868. A similar route taken by the Kennedy clan from Wexford 25 years earlier. Years further down the road, when we traveled to Ireland, my wife and I stopped by the church where they were married in 1845, and visited the grounds of their home and hospitality/pub, while meeting the current owners and finding information on the graves of other ancestors. I found that the spelling of the name was often described as “always with an e” as opposed to the French Harpur who also settled there, and who frequently replaced the “u” “with an e.” The Lodge family was well known in Massachusetts and during the campaign I recall one of the candidates came through town and we wore tee-shirts saying “I like Ike.” I remember thinking I wish it was Kennedy & Lodge rather than him and Johnson. Lodge seemed to be classier. Kennedy’s father – born in the late 19th century - had a huge influence on him and his siblings. My Dad’s father - generation of Joseph P. Kennedy – got an accountancy degree, formed a firm, married and then moved up to Washington Heights , way up “in the country,” and had 2 children, then died from the Flu epidemic of 1918. So I saw similarities in the families, and related to them. Later, I’d understand the great differences between the starting gates available for each of them, but essentially their value system overlapped with ours. Family, the discipline of learning, the understanding of Christianity. The dedication to excellence and character formation were prioritized over the accumulation of wealth. My own father had the large family of the Harper Brooklyn landing - 9 children - and all 9 of his were parochially schooled and college educated. Difficult to pull off when one has money; very difficult to pull off when one doesn’t. But I think about large families the way F. Scott Fitzgerald felt about the very rich: They are different. They have rewards and understandings and confrontations all of their own devising. They have constant mental and physical stimulation unknown to the “normal” American household and they form fragmented loyalties at the dinner table unavailable to those without enough participants. My father was raised by a 30 year old widow, who worked as a sales lady on Fifth Avenue, and sent him to a private Catholic High school. All Hallows was the first school founded by the Christian Brothers in the United States. The order founded the school upon the principles of its Irish leader Edmund Rice - which center on providing moral and scholastic training, especially to the children of the poor. Originally located at 13-15 West 124th in Manhattan, the school moved to the Bronx in 1928.Its motto, the Latin phrase Pro fide et patria means For faith and country. Themes of Family, church and country were similarly combined with the Kennedy’s. They even had a “Robert Francis” – and that was my name too!( I chose Xavier for a Confirmation name, when I was 13. Francis Xavier was a founding member of the Jesuits and was the first Christian missionary to Japan and India and died while en route to China. Like JFK, he did a lot before dying at age 46. When I got to college I was active in the Theater Arts Department and in the Spring of 1973 played the lead role of John Proctor in The Crucible and in the Fall of 1974 made my professional debut as the walk-on waiter in Salesman. Miller visited the cast afterwards and I was in jaw-drop time. Six years after that, in the Spring of 1980, I worked with Miller as we prepared the debut of his play The American Clock, off-Broadway, and at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC later that summer, and on Broadway in the Fall. I adored Miller. Once I got past the anxious stage, I loved working on his material and discussing things with him. I recall talking about our shoes and that broke a barrier so that I could get out of hero worship mode and become a colleague. He had a wonderful sense of humor and although there is only one laugh in The Crucible when you play Proctor, the scene in Clock was a riot and got whoops of laughter and scene ending applause. People who only know the “serious” Miller are bereft if they ignore his comic or tragic-comic impulses in such plays as The Price or The Man Who Had All the Luck. By the time I was 30 years old, I had studied Miller and performed him. But I also followed the history of the McCarthy Hearings and his refusal to name names. I knew of him working with Elia Kazan both before and after Kazan testified against others, so I knew that his esthetic integrity matched his political one. He was a defender of the group PEN which defended the rights of writers and was banned in Russia for this activity. He was what we rarely see anymore—a playwright. He loved the theater and anyone other than Ed Koch as Mayor of NYC would never have allowed the Morosco Theater—the place where Salesman debuted in 1949—to be torn down to “improve” Times Square by building a Marriot Hotel. Letters from him to me – typed as well as hand written—are among my most treasured mementos. Reading his book Salesman in Bejing is a treat should anyone be interested to read about the author directing his masterpiece with Chinese actors in China. There is a another element to this Salem-Kennedy-Miller triangle. I hope to explore it in a forthcoming essay. That element is the witch. .
  13. res ipsa loquiter: "It speaks for itself" is usually the legal usage of this Latin phrase. "The thing itself speaks" is another translation . Teresa Teng released 2006; recorded C. 1995 She recorded songs not only in Mandarin but also in Taiwanese Hokkien, Cantonese, Japanese, Indonesian and English. She also spoke French fluently.Teng died from a severe respiratory attack while on vacation in Thailand in 1995, at the age of 42. ABRAHAM MARTIN AND JOHN - TERESA TENG -
  14. Robert  Harper

    Kennedys and the Bushs.

    Joe, I have been enriched reading many of your personal posts.When I don't respond, it just means I've been reading a lot. Particularly meaningful to me has been your ability to step outside your immediate and influential upbringing to be able to see and understand the essence of JFK. I've been away for a bit, but when I saw this thread, all I could think of was a comment from Sparky Anderson when managing the Reds in the 1976 World Series: "Munson is an outstanding player and he would hit .300 in the National League, but don’t ever embarrass anybody by comparing him to Johnny Bench.” That sort of sums up my take on any comparison with these two New England families. One might have a "dynasty" of 12 years in the White House, but they could have 20 terms in the White House and not have what the other family had in 1000 days and then for a few years afterwards.
  15. Robert  Harper

    Bill Decker and John Tower

    I think this is very important as a study in character. The Clintons, surely, are living proof that money is more valuable than integrity in political life. I don't think IKE cared, although he had friends build the home at Gettysburg, it can't really be said that he saw the government position for its money or power. Nixon, LBJ, Ford, Bush I and II and Obama all owed people and institutions. Carter, we've discussed on a current thread didn't. Neither did JFK. I thought Trump was going to be in that circle of disinterested and impartial figures, but I simply roll my head each day when trying to grasp what Trumpness means.