How We Got Here: Somebody Got Away with Something

TrumpHow did we get to the point where the American electorate might turn over the most powerful office in the history of the world to an egomaniacal and erractically successful businessman who is manifestly uninterested in many of the issues a president has to do deal with?

“To stop Hillary Clinton,” my brother tells me. Clinton is one of the most conventional politicians of her era, cautious to fault and anxious to raise money and not to offend.  Why does she need to be “stopped?”

“Benghazi” my brother says. I recognize the talismanic power of this phrase (and all the potent TV imagery associated with it): Americans dying. First Lady lying. America’s enemies swarming.

Obamas Clintons JFK
The Obamas and the Clintons at JFK’s grave, Nov. 18, 2013. (Photo: PBS)

But what exactly did she do wrong? I ask.

“She lied.”

Like most presidential candidates, Trump too has been known to tell deliberate falsehoods.

“People got killed because of her lies.”

I noted that Ambassador Christopher Stevens’ own mother said the Republican exploitation of her son’s death was “opportunistic and cynical.”

My brother didn’t know this fact, didn’t believe it was true, and, in any case, thought it irrelevant because it had been reported by “the media.” Within the American family we lack a common understanding of reality we live in.

The speed and proliferation of digital media–fine-tuned to monetize the modern attention span–has not merely transformed modes of communication. It has also dis-integrated communities of consciousness. My brother and I live side by side in different worlds.

From 1963 to 2016

What does the JFK assassination story of 1963 have to do with the 2016 presidential election?

One common denominator, it seems, is the mistrust of  government. The failure of the Warren Commission to present a convincing account of President Kennedy’s death triggered a measurable loss of confidence in the federal government.

Confidence in the U.S. government, as registered in polls, started trending downward in 1964. It has never returned to such high levels in the half-century since.

Of course, other factors have driven Americans’ loss of faith in government more than the JFK story.  In any real sense, economic inequality, race-based conflict, failed foreign wars, and laissez-faire trade policies are the most fundamental material causes of our discontent.

The ancient mythology of JFK’s assassination story is more a spiritual irritant, an enduring popular culture event that embodies our mistrust in government in an iconic way.

Of course, Donald Trump had a JFK “theory” of sorts. Inevitably, it was bullsh*t.

But the documented facts matter relatively little in communities of consciousness. What matters in America is that the very phrase “JFK” has become  shorthand for: Somebody got away with something.

That message still resonates, perhaps because it is true.




CIA & JFKFrom a 5-Star Amazon review of Jefferson Morley’s new ebook, CIA and JFK: The Secret Assassination Files.

The crown jewel of Mr. Morley’s work details his discovery that a retired CIA officer named George Joannides was called back to Washington to stall a re-investigation of the assassination by the House of Representatives in the late 1970s.

As editor of JFK Facts, Morley is the leader of JFK investigative journalism. He

–broke the story of Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly’s JFK lie, which CNN picked up.

–broke the story of the 1,100 JFK files that the CIA has never made public. Politico followed his lead.

–successfully sued the CIA for long-secret JFK files–and the New York Times paid attention.

Morley’s latest investigationCIA and JFK: The Secret Assassination Files, available on Amazon, provides the fullest account of the role of CIA operations officers in the events leading to the death of JFK.

Morley reveals what’s in the thousands of long-suppressed JFK files scheduled to be declassified in October 2017.






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