The 60′s, revisited: a cold case and a big chill

There are political echoes ringing in the Universe these days — louder than usual, seems to me, especially under an eclipsed Moon — and as those still ringing from the 60s reflect my own personal déjà vu, as well as spark an earlier version of the revolutionary energy we’re feeling these days, you’ll find a couple of interesting reads on that topic here.

The first is self-explanatory, 50 years later let’s agree on the fact that JFK was taken down, not by one disenchanted little guy with a rifle but by a conspiracy of murderers. The topic should no longer be hallowed ground. Like grown ups talking about sex, can’t we finally have a candid conversation? Do we still have to whisper? Besides, we’ve all seen the Zapruder footage and now — after over a decade of televised forensics — most of us can see how Jack’s head was repositioned by the impacts. We’re not disbelieving innocents any more.

The next is an interview with Robert Reich about why he won’t give up on populism, why he’s made his new movie and why events long behind him drive him forward. Do watch the YouTube to get a sense of the big chill that turned him toward activism, a reminder that nothing happens in a vacuum and we never know how our life … or death … will impact others.

The farther we get from the past, the more it intrudes and maybe that’s a good thing, the Cosmos giving us another chance to get the point of what happened long ago, in order to inform a more productive present and future.


Surgeon in ER insists 2 gunmen shot JFK
Doctor first to see Kennedy’s wound

by Michael A. Fuoco, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
October 18, 2013

A surgeon who half a century ago was among the doctors who tried to save President John F. Kennedy’s life said Thursday that the Warren Commission got it wrong in determining a lone gunman assassinated JFK in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

Speaking via teleconference to a Duquesne University symposium marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination, Robert N. McClelland said he was the first doctor in Parkland Hospital’s Trauma Room One to notice the massive wound in the back of Kennedy’s skull and that a trauma of that size had to be an exit wound.

“The whole right side of his skull was gone. I could look inside his skull cavity. Obviously, it was a mortal wound,” he told a spellbound audience of legal, medical, forensic and investigative experts and the public who packed the university’s Power Ballroom.

Dr. McClelland, now 83 and professor emeritus at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, said that because it was an exit wound, it logically followed that it had been fired from in front of the president’s limousine. And, in turn, that meant a second gunman was involved in the assassination, contradicting the Warren Commission’s finding that there was but one assassin.

The Warren Commission determined that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when he fired three times with a high-powered rifle on the president’s motorcade in Dealey Plaza from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. The commission said that one bullet missed, another went through the president’s neck and also wounded Texas Gov. John Connolly — the so-called “single bullet theory” — and the third caused the fatal head wound.
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Bradley Edward Manning, improbable hero

The prosecution has rested in the sentencing case against Brad Manning, who will probably sit out the rest of his life in prison. Gratefully, the worst of the charges — aiding the enemy — was tossed by the judge but he still faces 90 years or more for leaking classified information.

And despite all the testimony about how the leaks put the rest of the worlds nose out of joint with the good old US of A, there is no evidence that anyone perished due to the material. The US got a black eye — it deserved one.

History shows us what happens to those who offer up information being kept from us, information that we are reluctant to accept. It ain’t always pretty. It’s an ethical failing on the part of humans, this business of “killing the messenger,” but there it is. We don’t want to look in the mirror and see warts — and those who “handle” us, manipulating to serve their own purposes, do everything they can to keep those warts covered and that reflection “doctored.”

It wasn’t Brad Manning’s brain that told him it would be a great idea to let fly with so much truth — he followed his heart and, I believe, his soul path. He’s a hero, and one that will undoubtedly pay a scapegoats price.

Uncomfortable truths, lest we forget them, below, and a link to Jimmy Carter’s comments on Eric Snowden, soundly ignored by MSM.


Top 10 Ways Bradley Manning Changed the World
Juan Cole, Informed Comment
02 August 13

Bradley Manning will be sentenced today, having been found guilty of 20 counts on Tuesday, including espionage (despite the lack of evidence for intent to spy and the lack of evidence that his leaking ever did any real harm). Whatever one thinks of Manning’s actions, that we deserved to know some of what he revealed and that his revelations changed the world are undeniable.

Manning revealed the Collateral Murder video of a helicopter attack in Iraq on mostly unarmed non-combatants (though some of those struck may have been armed), including two Reuters journalists, whose cameras were taken for weapons, and children. The army maintains that the video does not show wrongdoing, but the killing of unarmed journalists is a war crime, and the callousness of video gives an idea of what was going on in Iraq during the years of the US occupation. When the Bush administration asked the Iraqi parliament for permission to keep a base in the country, the parliamentarians said, absolutely not. The US military was forced to withdraw from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011.

Manning revealed the full extent of the corruption of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidin Ben Ali, adding fuel to the youth protest movement of late 2010, which translated the relevant US cables into Arabic. Manning contributed to the outbreak of powerful youth movements demanding more democratic governance in the Arab world.

Manning revealed to the US and Yemeni publics the secret drone war that Washington was waging in that country. That the cables show then dictator Ali Abdallah Saleh acquiescing in the US strikes on his country probably played into the movement to remove him as president, which succeeded in early 2012.
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Institutional capitalism is done, put a fork in it

No “pure” -ism ever worked indefinitely: communism, socialism, and certainly not capitalism which is based on the impossibility of continual growth of both resource and markets. Only those nations that have created a blend of -ism’s succeed for long. As the system fails, with or without dramatic pause, we need a new vision for economic sustainability.

Quoting from Capitalism in Crisis: Our Opportunity for a New System:

    As Buckminster Fuller says, “To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” There is a simple truth: that every system does what it is designed to do. If a different outcome is desired, then the system must be changed. This is true with the current economic system, which is rooted in capitalism and which has been expanded globally through neoliberal economic policies.

So, from the ‘extraction economy’ to the ‘restoration economy’ — here are weekend reads to lift you, intrigue you, inform you, encourage you.

The first piece grabs the imagination and activates the heart, pure pleasure to read. Read it twice.

The next gives us some homework for activism in favor of (my two favorite) ethical economic candidates for the Fed. Then a link to look at money differently, and after that, you’ll find links to excellent articles, YouTube’s and resources for changing our experience of the world.

It’s time. Happy reading.


Bhutan’s model of Gross National Happiness
a glorious goal for modern society
Sister Joan Chittister, From Where I Stand – NCR

The first road sign I saw in Bhutan read: Start early/Drive slowly/Arrive safely. I knew instantly this place and this trip was going to be different.

Bhutan is a country so small — fewer than 1 million people live there — that, tucked between China to the north and India to the south, it is very easy to miss. But this little country is having more and more impact on the rest of the world every day.

There’s something about being confronted by the obvious in the midst of the unquestionable, however, that makes a person rethink all of life in the process. I know that’s true because it just happened to me. In Bhutan I saw what obviously could be start to eclipse what is now unquestionable in society as we know it.

What has become obvious and unquestionable in a world of superpowers and global systems is that small nations have little weight to add to the scales of more modern and powerful nations. And yet what is astounding is the fact that one of the smallest countries on the planet — the tiny monarchical democracy of Bhutan — may very well be developing a great deal of international influence.

In June, the Global Peace Initiative of Women convened a body of religious leaders and professional scholars to study a recent declaration of the king and government of Bhutan. In Bhutan, the Parliament has declared, the GNP — the Gross National Product by which the wealth of a nation is measured — has been abandoned. In its place, the government has defined the achievement of Gross National Happiness as their new standard of success. They have, in other words, chosen a spiritual rather an economic metric of achievement.
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I ♥ Elizabeth

In our complex and difficult world — indeed, in our foot-dragging, brain-damaged echo-chamber of a political system — there is ONE little whisper of possibility, just short of a daydream, that visits my mind from time to time to slap a grin on my face:


    Me, I’d turn the names around if I thought there was enough recognition out there to put Elizabeth first. Why, you ask?

    Here’s why.

    Just imagine the fun!


    Elizabeth Warren’s Long Game Against Wall Street
    Kevin Roose, New York Magazine
    July 13, 2013

    Yesterday, Senator Elizabeth Warren undertook a big act of financial rabble-rousing, by introducing a bill that would reinstate key provisions of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act that were repealed in 1999. The new bill would essentially force big bank holding companies like Citigroup and Bank of America to split in half – commercial banking on one side, investment banking on the other – and hypothetically make the entire banking system safer and less crisis-prone by (a) shrinking banks, and (b) reducing the amount of risky stuff that goes on at the commercial banks where normal people keep their savings accounts. She’s calling this bill the “21st Century Glass-Steagall Act” and promoting it using the slogan “Banking should be boring.”

    The bill, which Warren has already said won’t get support from the Senate Banking committee, is the second piece of legislation Warren has sponsored since taking office that has virtually no chance of passing. In May, she introduced the Student Loan Fairness Act, which for one year would bring student loan interest rates down to the rates the Federal Reserve charges banks. That bill was called “embarrassingly bad” by the Brookings Institution, and the new one isn’t faring much better among policy wonks.

    So, with two largely symbolic bills in seven months in office, the question must be asked: What is Elizabeth Warren really doing here?

    One theory, held by most of the Wall Streeters I’ve spoken with about Senator Warren, is that she’s simply playing for attention. They see her grandiose bills and made-for-YouTube tirades against financial excess and lax regulation as shallow populism, designed to garner reelection, solicit donations, and boost her reputation as a badass. Even one ex-financier I spoke to recently said he thought Warren was doing “showy stuff,” not meant to make it into actual law.

    The second theory, also held by some conservatives and financial-industry lobbyists I’ve spoken to, is a variation on the first and posits that Senator Warren is basically the Steve Stockman of the left – a principled true-believer whose refusal to abide by the horse-trading, pragmatic legislative process leaves her with a bunch of unsupportable, silly-sounding bills. In this theory, getting attention isn’t the goal, but it often looks that way.

    But there’s a third theory. It’s the one that acknowledges that Senator Warren is, pound-for-pound, one of the smartest and savviest legislators in Congress, and imputes to her a far more complicated motive than simple attention-seeking or “gesture politics.”

    It’s the long-game theory.

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    The Option: Round Two

    Apparently we’ve finally put an end to the stonewall on Obama’s nominees — they’re stacked up like cordwood, years behind in Judiciary and other important agencies, etc.

    ‘Course, we’ve tried this before …

    Last November, Harry Reid had a chance to pull the trigger on the option but was persuaded that the Pubs would behave as good sports and honor agreements; they didn’t. So now, he’s gathered the votes to dial back the political contrivance of 60+ votes to end a filibuster … NOT enshrined in the Constitution as a requirement … which has been so badly overused by the House, particularly. This would entail “pulling the trigger” on the Nuclear Option, turning the vote back to 50 plus 1, as a lot of people were anxious for him to do in November, let alone July — BUT this has now fallen by the wayside since Pubs have blinked and promised to let several appointee’s through.

    Case in point: Elizabeth Warren’s proposed replacement as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray, was confirmed by Senate vote this morning, breaking a TWO YEAR FILIBUSTER! 17 Pubs supported for a 71 to 29 vote, and Warren made the announcement.

    In order to get this agreement, some concessions were required, specifically a couple of candidates for the National Labor Relations Board which has been unable to function without leadership. These two nominees, too competent for the Pubs taste, have apparently been “thrown under the bus” in an effort to move forward.

    Thom Hartmann explains:

      Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had a closed-door meeting with the entire Senate last night. Lawmakers met for nearly four hours to resolve the stalemate over presidential nominees, but expressed a mix of opinions after that meeting. This morning, Senator Reid announced that lawmakers had reached a tentative deal to avoid a filibuster showdown. The plan requires GOP Senators allow votes on most of President Obama’s nominees, in exchange for Democrats replacing two of the nominees for the National Labor Relations Board. Essentially, Republicans demanded that the President give up his constitutional right to make appointments, in order to get the GOP to agree to do their jobs. After agreeing to this so-called compromise this morning, lawmakers finally began the process of considering stalled confirmations. They started off by advancing the consideration of Richard Cordray, the nominee for director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Later today, the full Senate will finally vote on Cordray’s appointment, which Republicans have filibustered since 2011. Majority Leader Reid is expected to call for votes on several other controversial nominees, but it is uncertain if those votes will be blocked by the GOP. Senator Reid had previously pledged to employ the nuclear option, which would bar Republicans from blocking presidential appointments, if they continue to delay confirmations. However, it is unclear if he will keep that promise after giving in to Republican demands on two NLRB appointments earlier today. Many Americans around our nation are fed up with the GOP’s refusal to confirm the President’s nominees. They’re watching this fight closely, and hoping that Majority Leader Harry Reid won’t concede to more Republican demands just get these appointments confirmed…

    We’ll have to see how long this arrangement lasts. The 60 + vote rule is a fairly recent one, and we’ve seen what it’s capable of doing. I’d just as soon see it go, frankly, and I’d also like to see those who want to filibuster a bill have to get up and actually do it! Jon Stewarts stand-in, John Oliver, did a nice bit on adult diapers over at Comedy Central.

    Mr. Smith didn’t have them when he went to Washington but I’ll bet Bernie Sanders did!

    Here’s a few reads explaining this process, how it can both help and backfire. But … gotta admit … forward progress is refreshing, especially in consumer protections!


    Senate averts ‘nuclear option,’ confirms Richard Cordray for consumer agency
    William Douglas and Lindsay Wise, McClatchy Washington Bureau
    Tuesday, July 16, 2013

    WASHINGTON — The Senate averted a showdown Tuesday over the fate of the filibuster as it confirmed President Barack Obama’s choice to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and moved to consider other key Obama administration nominees.

    Under an eleventh-hour deal brokered by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., senators agreed to vote on Richard Cordray’s nomination to head the consumer bureau, a move desired by Senate Democrats and the White House. Senators confirmed Cordray on a 66-34 vote, with 12 Republicans and two independents voting with Democrats.

    In exchange for acting on Cordray, Democrats and the White House agreed to withdraw two National Labor Relations Board nominees who were recess appointments by Obama and replace them with new choices. Republicans strongly opposed confirming Richard Griffin and Sharon Block for the board because a federal court had ruled their recess appointments invalid.
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