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Caitlin Johnstone, JFK and the Insurrection


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16 hours ago, S.T. Patrick said:

Maybe we are too modernist when we think of "worst ever," which shows America's lack of historical knowledge (NOT this board).

Completely agree with this. Although some of the Constitutionally damaging events under the last 60 years deserve special weight in my opinion. The Patriot Act for instance, pushes W way down for me because it has far reaching implications compared to the Teapot Dome scandal. I am aware that Congress sailed it through, but a real POTUS should have defended the thing he swore an oath to. Or how about LBJ? Considering he's charged (at least on this forum) with not only covering up the JFK coup, but having a prime role in the killing of millions of people in Southeast Asia essentially justified by a lie, how can he be ranked above anyone? Healthcare and civil rights are great, but it seems to me that death counts, especially foreign, are rarely considered in the "Presidents" ranking industry.

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3 hours ago, W. Niederhut said:

Great thread here.   I want to comment on the "worst President in history" issue.

I read Phillip Shriver Klein's biography of James Buchanan a few years ago, and my impression is that Buchanan, like Franklin Pierce, has been somewhat unfairly vilified for refusing to betray the Southern bloc of his party's coalition.  He was the last of the Presidential representatives of the national Jacksonian Democratic coalition established by Martin Van Buren-- which consisted of both Northern and Southern (slave-owning) Jacksonians.

The Jacksonian Democrats (Jackson, Van Buren, Polk, Pierce, Buchanan, et.al.) consistently supported the demands of their Southern bloc for fugitive slave laws and slave-owners' rights, in order to prevent the fracturing of the Union that, ultimately, occurred in 1860.  It was a hopeless cause.  The rift was too great to bridge.  In fact, our society is still fractured along those same cultural fault lines 170 years later, as we have clearly seen during the Obama and Trump years.

In the aftermath of the Civil War, (and even during the war, in Buchanan's case) Buchanan and Franklin Pierce were anathematized, shunned, and angrily blamed for not having embraced Abolitionism in the 1850s.  Of course, even Lincoln had been very cautious about endorsing "radical" Republican Abolitionism in the 1850s, while privately opposing slavery.  (Lincoln's public and private views about slavery are well documented in Eric Foner's book, The Fiery Trial.)

Compared to Trump, James Buchanan was relatively erudite and astute.  He was also a skilled diplomat.  But no President could have preserved the Union in the 1850s without enraging the Abolitionists.  The rift between North and South was irreversibly augmented by the acquisition of the Western territories after the Mexican American War, and Southern demands for slave owners' rights in the Western territories.

As for defining the "worst President," I doubt that anyone here would deny that Trump has been the worst administrator in Presidential history.  His frequently hired and departed appointees rank among the worst in history, and we have witnesses unprecedented turnover in his administration.  Most were grossly unqualified for their offices, and inimical to the mission of their departments-- e.g., Betsy DeVos, Scott Pruitt, Rick Perry, Louis DeJoy, Larry Kudlow, Peter Navarro, et.al.  Trump consistently hired people on the basis of their financial patronage or physical appearance and experience in television, rather than on their qualifications for the job.

Secondly, his policy decisions were never informed by any ethical commitment to the interests of the state or the public.  They were consistently based on financial patronage and a focus on optimizing the interests of Donald Trump and his cronies.

 

    As an addendum, I should mention that both Pierce and Buchanan have been anathematized for defending the Constitution as it existed in the 1850s, prior to the Civil War and the passage of the XIIIth, XIVth, and XVth Amendments.   Yet, both men, IMO, governed in what they believed to be the best interests of nation, in accordance with the Constitution.  (Contrast this with Trump's singular focus on his own interests.)

    In a sense, they have been scapegoated for the sins of the Founding Fathers, who drafted a Constitution protecting slavery.

    Put differently, it is easier for our society to vilify James Buchanan for the inevitable dissolution of the Union in 1860, than to question the wisdom and morality of our slave-owning Founding Fathers who drafted the Constitution.

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15 hours ago, Kirk Gallaway said:

I like your stream of lines, Benjamin and I'm largely in agreement, but that could be deceiving..

Benjamin:Trump's follies just do not match the horrors of LBJ-Nixon, or even Bush Jr. 

So if Trump continues polarizing the nation in public office exile, and it foments a U.S. Civil War, would that be enough to get him out of the "small potatoes" category? Or would you argue that that was going to happen anyway? That same argument could probably be made for LBJ and Nixon as you could argue they were just part of a grand bureaucratic locomotive that was inevitably heading toward a SE Asia War, and they had little choice about it, because JFK wasn't going for it and look what  happened to him? 

So the unnecessary loss of life and destruction is a chief criterion in determining a poor, in this case Presidency? I'd agree it's important. We have such a existential clash going on right now between people who have determined that saving as many lives as possible is desirable in a pandemic, by strongly scaling  down an economy, even given the obvious trade offs of unemployment, stagnant lives and all the accompanying exacerbated problems, and then on the other side, those who say that the major priority is economic well being for a greater number of people at some considerable expense of lives.

 

Benjamin said: What is happening to Americans today is a corporatist-elite agenda, an undeclared economic assault on the nation's middle class, whatever your race or sex.  Smedley Butler's take on foreign policy only needs updating, not revision.

OK, I'd agree.

Benjamin said:

Cliff said:Because he was a sociopathic wanna-be dictator whose narcissism was only matched by his incompetence.

I agree with Cliff here, there is no mystery why the financials elites wanted him out, and it's for the reasons Cliff said. I think a big myth about Trump that sustains to this day was that Trump was an anti elitist. Yes he wouldn't be asked for dinner by the Rothschilds, but that  ultimately means nothing. Though it's never a monolithic consensus, and some had their doubts, many of which were largely to come true,   the U.S. and international markets loved Trump! They loved the lower taxes and his regulatory regime. They loved his anti government stance, and how he fueled it with anti government "deep state" conspiracies, and pulled in the very people they have been plotting successfully the last 40 years to dispossess. Because they really want to shut down the "administrative state' , make the government much smaller and run largely by private interests.

In a time where confidence in government and institutions is at an all time low, Trump made the government even more ineffectual. To his followers , he's dismantling the "Deep State", but in reality he's purged the government of many very able career civil servants.  Trump exposed a certain myth about the government deep state. Most of that is sort of steeped in the JFK era, when the U.S.controlled half the world's resources after World War ll and Government was expanding beyond itself with greater and greater budgets and it attracted very capable people who competed with each other and were able to amass a great deal of power.

Things are much more bureaucratic now. Government jobs aren't near as desirable. There will always be skepticism about the DOD, the intelligence agencies, the DOJ, Homeland Security and government overreach into citizen's lives. But dismantling the SEC, regulatory agencies, the EPA, the Department of the interior,Labor,  Commerce, Health and Human Services, Transportation and Veterans Affairs that Trump has done was really like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. and the overall effects of that could last a long time.

Any thoughts, anyone?

P.S. Oh S.T., you know what they say about U.S.  J.B. presidents always preceding a Civil War, right?

Well, we probably won't settle the "Was Trump the Worst President Ever?" debate on a JFK Assassination forum (or any other). 

Suffice it say, from my perspective, the carnage of Vietnam (SE Asia), and the Middle East, fantastically expensive yet counterproductive, tops anything Trump did by a mile. 

To me, C19 is non-issue. Could have happened to any President, and in Europe they are doing little better against C19 than the US. Great Britain and a few other countries have actually fared worse (on a per capita basis). 

Trump will quickly pass into history, and his memory will not be sainted. Good riddance.

The facts on the ground today: It was the multinationals, Wall Street, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley that brought Biden into power. For a reason, and that reason was not Trump's orange hair, or his awful personality.

A big reason was Trump's trade policies, maybe the only reason. Perhaps immigration too (upper classes always want cheap labor. Think of Southern plantation owners importing slaves--they liked immigration too). 

The Biden campaign was not run a platform of uniting America or the largest chunk of America, the employee-class. It was a loathsome and calculated campaign run on identity politics. Yet Biden represents economic elites. 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Benjamin Cole said:

Well, we probably won't settle the "Was Trump the Worst President Ever?" debate on a JFK Assassination forum (or any other). 
 

Amen.

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Suffice it say, from my perspective, the carnage of Vietnam (SE Asia), and the Middle East, fantastically expensive yet counterproductive, tops anything Trump did by a mile. 
 

Trump is not done yet.  We’ve yet to see the final body counts on withdrawal from the Iran nuke deal, covid, and the Uncivil War.

Between the death in Iran attributable to Trump’s sanctions and US covid deaths it’s north of a half-million and counting.

Quote

To me, C19 is non-issue. Could have happened to any President, and in Europe they are doing little better against C19 than the US. Great Britain and a few other countries have actually fared worse (on a per capita basis). 
 

And in New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan, South Korea and Canada they’re doing what any professional American government would be doing.  
 
Covid would have been right in Hillary Clinton’s wheelhouse.

https://www.statista.com/chart/19790/index-scores-by-level-of-preparation-to-respond-to-an-epidemic/

Going into the advent of covid the US and UK were best prepared to deal with it, but Trump and Johnson (and the clowns in Sweden) wanted to see the pandemic wash over the population.  Trump spoke of this in March.

Eugenicist wet dream.

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Trump will quickly pass into history, and his memory will not be sainted. Good riddance.

You’re under-estimating Donald Trump’s ability to make a news cycle.

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The facts on the ground today: It was the multinationals, Wall Street, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley that brought Biden into power.

Sure about that?

Biden performed dismally in the first three contests of the 2020 Dem primaries.  He was running out of money, as was Buttigieg and Klobuchar, heading into South Carolina.  For those three candidates it was win-or-go home in SC.  
 
A few days before the vote Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina gave Biden an emotional endorsement.  Joe won big thanks to the black vote, especially the efforts of black women.

3 days later Biden smoked Bernie on Super Tuesday and never looked back.

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For a reason, and that reason was not Trump's orange hair, or his awful personality.

A big reason was Trump's trade policies, maybe the only reason. Perhaps immigration too (upper classes always want cheap labor. Think of Southern plantation owners importing slaves--they liked immigration too). 

You don’t think being a hyper narcissistic sociopathic incompetent know-nothing white supremacist had anything to do with The Resistance?

Quote

The Biden campaign was not run a platform of uniting America or the largest chunk of America, the employee-class. It was a loathsome and calculated campaign run on identity politics.

Black women got him elected.  He put Kamala Harris on the ticket — ya dance with who brung ya.

Quote

Yet Biden represents economic elites. 

Sure about that?

https://www.axios.com/joe-biden-centrists-liberal-agenda-ac54c961-7fbb-4c96-9dae-5b572ae5827f.html

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40 minutes ago, Cliff Varnell said:

Amen.

Trump is not done yet.  We’ve yet to see the final body counts on withdrawal from the Iran nuke deal, covid, and the Uncivil War.

Between the death in Iran attributable to Trump’s sanctions and US covid deaths it’s north of a half-million and counting.

And in New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan, South Korea and Canada they’re doing what any professional American government would be doing.  
 
Covid would have been right in Hillary Clinton’s wheelhouse.

https://www.statista.com/chart/19790/index-scores-by-level-of-preparation-to-respond-to-an-epidemic/

Going into the advent of covid the US and UK were best prepared to deal with it, but Trump and Johnson (and the clowns in Sweden) wanted to see the pandemic wash over the population.  Trump spoke of this in March.

Eugenicist wet dream.

You’re under-estimating Donald Trump’s ability to make a news cycle.

Sure about that?

Biden performed dismally in the first three contests of the 2020 Dem primaries.  He was running out of money, as was Buttigieg and Klobuchar, heading into South Carolina.  For those three candidates it was win-or-go home in SC.  
 
A few days before the vote Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina gave Biden an emotional endorsement.  Joe won big thanks to the black vote, especially the efforts of black women.

3 days later Biden smoked Bernie on Super Tuesday and never looked back.

You don’t think being a hyper narcissistic sociopathic incompetent know-nothing white supremacist had anything to do with The Resistance?

Black women got him elected.  He put Kamala Harris on the ticket — ya dance with who brung ya.

Sure about that?

https://www.axios.com/joe-biden-centrists-liberal-agenda-ac54c961-7fbb-4c96-9dae-5b572ae5827f.html

You have your views, and I have mine. I am expecting lots of identity-politics from Biden...and the multinationals determining trade policy with the CCP. Think of the NBA for clues. But we have a trans official in Biden Administration, so it all cool. (If there is anything I care about less than what you look like, it is your private sex life). 

BTW, a book that is neither left- or right-wing, but extremely insightful is, "Trade Wars are Class Wars" by Michael Pettis. I highly recommend, give it a try. 

Good luck out there. Stay away from the kool-aid, whether red or blue. 

 

 

 

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50 minutes ago, Benjamin Cole said:

You have your views, and I have mine. I am expecting lots of identity-politics from Biden...and the multinationals determining trade policy with the CCP. Think of the NBA for clues. But we have a trans official in Biden Administration, so it all cool. (If there is anything I care about less than what you look like, it is your private sex life). 

BTW, a book that is neither left- or right-wing, but extremely insightful is, "Trade Wars are Class Wars" by Michael Pettis. I highly recommend, give it a try. 

Good luck out there. Stay away from the kool-aid, whether red or blue. 

Fair enough.  Good luck to you too, Benjamin.

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4 hours ago, Benjamin Cole said:

Well, we probably won't settle the "Was Trump the Worst President Ever?" debate on a JFK Assassination forum (or any other). 

Suffice it say, from my perspective, the carnage of Vietnam (SE Asia), and the Middle East, fantastically expensive yet counterproductive, tops anything Trump did by a mile. 

To me, C19 is non-issue. Could have happened to any President, and in Europe they are doing little better against C19 than the US. Great Britain and a few other countries have actually fared worse (on a per capita basis). 

Trump will quickly pass into history, and his memory will not be sainted. Good riddance.

The facts on the ground today: It was the multinationals, Wall Street, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley that brought Biden into power. For a reason, and that reason was not Trump's orange hair, or his awful personality.

A big reason was Trump's trade policies, maybe the only reason. Perhaps immigration too (upper classes always want cheap labor. Think of Southern plantation owners importing slaves--they liked immigration too). 

The Biden campaign was not run a platform of uniting America or the largest chunk of America, the employee-class. It was a loathsome and calculated campaign run on identity politics. Yet Biden represents economic elites. 

 

 

 

 

Well Benjamin,that was a total rehash,complete with "won't settle worst President ever",  Wall Street, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley", and "good riddance". And actually we did get the book recommendation, only yesterday.

Are you sure we can't interest you one last time in "identity politics?"

 

 

Edited by Kirk Gallaway
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In my lifetime and what I've read about prior to that, until the last four years Nixon was the worst President ever.  The last one has exceeded even him in despicability.  I know I lack the knowledge of many on past president's.  Jmo.

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1 hour ago, Kirk Gallaway said:

Well Benjamin,that was a total rehash,complete with "won't settle worst President ever",  Wall Street, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley", and "good riddance". And actually we did get the book recommendation, only yesterday.

Are you sure we can't interest you one last time in "identity politics?"

 

 

I will try for more new substance in my comments. Thanks.

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Ron:

Nixon really was a pretty bad president.  I mean usually the three metrics one used in evaluating a president are

1. Did he do all he could to keep us out of war?

2. Did he expand the economy?

3. DId he unite the country?

Well Nixon was pretty bad in all three.  And by the way, not only did Nixon invade and bomb Laos and Cambodia, he had actually scheduled something perhaps even worse called Operation Duck Hook. Jeff Kimball, one of the finest scholars on Nixon and Vietnam, first discovered this. But it was in a sketchy format. . Here is what it entailed:

Duck Hook called for the possible-nuclear bombing of military and economic targets in and around Hanoi, the mining of Haiphong harbor and other ports, saturation bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong, the bombing of dikes to destroy the food supply of much of the population of North Vietnam, air strikes against North Vietnam's northeast line of communications as well as passes and bridges at the Chinese border, and air and ground attacks on other targets throughout Vietnam.

As Steven Ambrose once said abut Nixon, he thought Tricky DIck  was actually kind of demented about Vietnam. probably because he had played a strong role in inventing South Vietnam. And he was the point man for Operation Vulture and when that was vetoed, he suggested  American combat troops in theater in 1954.  If Duck Hook had gone through, just the bombing of the dikes would have killed 500, 000 people. He didn't go through with it because of the massive student demonstrations that year.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=1969+student+demonstrations+against+the+wr&&view=detail&mid=E855CAA9C9F95A266EB5E855CAA9C9F95A266EB5&&FORM=VDRVRV

 

One of the worst parts of the Burns/Novick whitewash of the war was their portrayal of these demonstrations as being negative.  Nope.  They had a good influence of stopping  things like Duck Hook.  And shortening the Laos and Cambodia invasions. Nixon was really a bad president.

 

 

Edited by James DiEugenio
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3 hours ago, Matt Allison said:

Trump killed more Americans than any war has, and then tried to end the Republic.

 

It is laughable to think any other President has been worse than that.

Matt,

     I'm the last guy on the planet who would defend Trump's horrific tenure in the White House, but we also need to consider the non-American casualties caused by our Presidents.

     From what I have read, LBJ and Nixon killed an estimated 4,000,000 indigenous Southeast Asian people in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia after 11/22/63.  Also, 1,000,000 Indonesians were killed by the CIA-backed Suharto regime during LBJ's presidency.  That's 5,000,000 Southeast Asians who probably would have lived if JFK had not been murdered.

     Bush and Cheney's non-American casualties and carnage in Iraq and Afghanistan were also horrific.

     Perhaps we could refine our debate about the "worst" Presidents by using more specific terms than "worst."

     Although he was not the most blood-thirsty, I believe that Trump is the most habitually dishonest, scientifically ignorant, corrupt, and administratively inept POTUS in history-- and the man least guided by a focus on serving the best interests of the state and the public.  On the contrary, Trump has often been quite willing to damage and the destroy the country to promote his own political and financial interests.

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Matt, with all due respect to your work here, which I like, I agree with William.  The color and race of the people an American president is responsible for killing should not matter. LBJ was told in advance that it would take a half million American troops about five years to fight the Vietnam war.  He went through with it anyway. And Nixon knew in 1969 it was hopeless yet he expanded it.  Operation Duck Hook, which I described above, is utterly scary. What kind of a mind would think of doing such a thing? Well, the same guy who wanted to use atomic bombs at Dien Bien Phu. 

IMO, the American republic ended in November of 1963.  And then they made the rubble bounce in 1965, and again April and June of 1968.  The country has not been the same since.  Would anyone here prefer a country led by LBJ, NIxon, Mitchell  and Kissinger over JFK, RFK, King and Malcolm?  But that is what we once had for a brief time.  I know because I grew up in that world. It was really kind of nice, a different culture than we have today.

Then LBJ invaded Vietnam, and that world began splitting apart.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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Jim Di said" IMO, the American republic ended in November of 1963! 

Oh , I  see, Hence your new twitter handle: Jimmy die 1963!!    Very, Very clever Jim!! Very good marketing!

So 50's white  America was great for very young Jim. Just to give you a radically different viewpoint, Jim. I personally don't think America became real at all until after the JFKA. We agree that the real enemy at that time was the MIC. It seemed like when I first got here, I was amazed that was actually still the prevalent idea, perpetuated by Jim's rhetoric of "bureaucratic memory" . But the regime had long since changed for the last 40 years. It's become a world multi national corporate regime.

***.

This is what I mean when I say Jim never provides any balance. So the conversations strays to who is the worst President. All the points made, IMO are good. Matt says:

"Trump killed more Americans than any war has, and then tried to end the Republic. It is laughable to think any other President has been worse than that.'

So W, writes a balanced piece to Matt, acknowledging the horrendous loss of human life under Nixon , LBJ, and GW.  But saying "I believe that Trump is the most habitually dishonest, scientifically ignorant, corrupt, and administratively inept POTUS in history".  which I completely agree with. Jim counters by not once mentioning Trump, and only supporting W's arguments and regurgitating his own arguments as to the great loss of life in SE Asia, and  pays a little paltry token to Matt, who made the prescient point of all that if Trump is allowed to incite a Civil War, WE DON"T HAVE SH-T, and the entire world suffers!

Of course that would matter little to Jim.  Jim's been orphaned by the Republic since 1963!

heh

Edited by Kirk Gallaway
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Jim and W- thank you for your thoughtful replies, you both make excellent points. It's likely we're engaging in a discussion that will go on for decades. It is true that LBJ, Nixon and Bush killed more people, and their behavior was criminal in doing so. Perhaps it is the fresh wound of Trump's crimes that fuels my venom. I don't think I ever thought those other guys hated the country though, and I'm convinced Trump secretly does. Jim's point about the republic ending in '63 is well taken; there is the country that existed before the assassination, and the one we've been living in since.

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