The cinematic riches of the JFK era seem inexhaustible.
Now comes word that “LBJ” has found its RFK. And, as it did with its casting of former first lady Jacquelyn Kennedy, the Rob Reiner-directed presidential biopic is turning to a relative newcomer to fill the role. According to Variety, Michael Stahl-David of “Cloverfield” and HBO’s “Show Me a Hero” has signed on to play former Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in Reiner’s film, which is scheduled to start shooting in New Orleans this month.”
Today, March 21, 2015, marks the 50th anniversary of the final of the three historic Selma-to-Montgomery marches protesting voting discrimination in the South.
During the first march, held March 7, the nation was shocked as it bore witness to the unchecked brutality Alabama state troopers unleashed upon peaceful marchers. The violence resulted in 2,000 U.S. troops joining 1,900 members of the Alabama National Guard to keep the peace during the final day of protest.
But in the lead up to that day, President Lyndon Johnson had to lobby Alabama Governor George Wallace to call up the National Guard. In this March 18, 1965, phone call, Wallace insists that state authorities could handle the situation, while allowing that he couldn’t promise that “nobody’s gonna get hit by a rock.”
He uses the JFK assassination to make his point (begins at the 11:00 minute mark):
It has never been any secret that many serious people at the top of the U.S. government did not believe that President Kennedy was killed by a proverbial “lone nut.” But the elites of Washington have always preferred to ignore such suspicions.
Until today, when former New York Times reporter Phil Shenon reports in Politico magazine on the conspiratorial suspicions of one David Slawson, a retired law professor who investigated JFK’s assassination for the Warren Commission and now admits he got it wrong.
Slawson’s views are not unprecedented in elite power circles of Washington. Far from it.
Lyndon Johnson was a great American for working with Martin Luther King to secure passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act in 1964-65, as depicted in the movie Selma. So say historian David Kaiser and former Cabinet official Joseph Califano. Yet It is no contradiction to note that Johnson could also be a crude and mean SOB, as Philip Nelson reminds us.
Johnson and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, Nelson writes in OpEdNews:
According to historian David Kaiser, writing in TIME, “the portrayal of Lyndon Johnson and his role in the passage of the Voting Rights Act [in the movie “Selma”] could hardly be more wrong. And this is important not merely for the sake of fidelity to the past, but because of continuing implications for how we see our racial problems and how they could be solved.”
But, according to author Philip Nelson, Selma gets LBJ dead right. Writing in Op-Ed News, Nelson and right-wing political consultant Roger Stone assert:
In response to my call for crowdsourcing Madeleine Brown’s story about Vice President Johnson attending a party the night before the assassination of JFK and saying the Kennedys would never embarrass him again, I received no information to corroborate Brown’s story.
Has anybody noticed that the conservative Fox News network is more open minded about the JFK assassination story than its liberal competitors?
The embedded player above isn’t working. So click on this sympathetic report on James Tague, a Dallas man who suffered a superficial injury from a gunshot that missed President Kennedy’s limousine on November 22, 1963. Fifty years later, Tague has not been invited to the official ceremony commemorating the anniversary of Kennedy’s death in Dallas.