November 22, 1963

It seems I am not done with you yet.

I was quite happy yesterday. Rachel Maddow validated my current obsession (actually kind of a deadline throw-away dedicated to Richard in the same way as my Formula One coverage), however as it turns out it is so much less than it should have been.

Rachel attributes this to mere incompetence-

I, on the other hand, agree more with Charlie Pierce (though it’s an unfortunate title, we can’t handle the truth).

Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom.

You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know; that Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives.

You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something.

You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said “thank you” and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to!

Yeah Jessup? I use words too, as the backbone of a life spent defending something. Am I a clown? Do I amuse you?

We Deserve the Truth. We Need the Truth.
By Charles P. Pierce, Esquire
Oct 26, 2017

This is what we knew. On November 22, 1963, a little after noon Central time, John F. Kennedy, the President of the United States, was brutally murdered in broad daylight on Elm Street in Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Two days later, Sunday, November 24, a little before noon, Lee Harvey Oswald, his alleged assassin, was brutally murdered on live television in the basement of the Dallas Police Department by a man named Jack Ruby. On Tuesday, November 26, the day after the president’s funeral, that was all we knew about the events of that weekend. Everything else we now know about them came later, and often grudgingly, from our own government, which always knew a helluva lot more about the events of that weekend than did we, its ostensible owners, on the day after they buried John F. Kennedy.

Everything we now know that we didn’t know then has come to us wedged out, piece by piece, little by little, often by people dismissed as cranks and paranoids. It has been dug out, nugget by nugget, by citizen researchers, and lawyers, and one committee of the House of Representatives, and, yes, even by an irascible movie director who, by the power of his art, even expressed through a very flawed—and occasionally outright loony—film, finally forced the issue of transparency on this most awful of crimes on a government that never was willing to be straight with its citizens on how one of their presidents came to be killed, and a government that then wondered why 60 percent of those citizens almost from the beginning thought the official story was 100 pounds of bullshit in a 90-pound bag.

Events forced the issue, too. Subsequently, we discovered through various investigations that the CIA was indeed “running a damn Murder Incorporated down in the Caribbean,” as Lyndon Johnson once put it. The Church committee revealed how wildly out of control the nation’s intelligence community had been. Arbenz. Mossadegh. Allende. The murder by bombing of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt only blocks from the Capitol itself. We learned that presidents could run criminal conspiracies out of the Oval Office and then arrange payoffs from the same location. We learned that a White House publicly committed to fighting terrorism could sell missiles to the mullahs of Iran in an off-the-books fiasco that seemed to have been designed by the Marx Brothers. And why, the government and its apologists keep asking, don’t the people trust us to tell the truth about this most garish of public crimes?

They will ask it again, over the next several weeks, as inside the government and out—including way, way out—experts examine the massive amount of material on the Kennedy assassination that has been forced out of the government files by a law passed in the wake of the success of that crazy guy’s movie. Some of the 3,100 files certainly will concern that which we already have learned—that the intelligence committee held back a huge amount of material concerning Oswald from the Warren Commission, making that body’s investigation look even more rushed and hopelessly compromised than it already has been revealed to be. (Allen Dulles’s presence on the commission was, in and of itself, reason to be dubious about it.) Even if you believe that, rushed and compromised and designed for the specific purpose of reaching the finding that it did, the Warren Commission still managed to stumble its way to the truth, then the astonishing level of deceit, half-truth and sophisticated ass-covering engaged in by the intelligence community in the aftermath of the assassination is probably central to why 60 percent of the people in this country believe the Warren Commission’s findings to be fiction.

Did the CIA and/or the FBI know it was coming? It seems they certainly should have, and the documents may well provide support for that contention. One of the interesting things about the coverage of the decision to release these documents has been the none-too-subtle nudging by some reporters— most notably Philip Shenon and Larry Sabato—toward the notion that the key to Oswald’s motivation may lie in the bizarre trip he took to Mexico City in September of 1963. This edges the narrative toward the notion that Oswald killed Kennedy out of some half-baked leftist ideological animus and that, had the country known that at the time, a nuclear war might have broken out, so, for the good of world peace, the intelligence community buried what it knew.

Besides the fact that it’s 54 years later now, and the Soviet Union hasn’t even existed for over 20 of those years, so why the hell wait so long to tell us, if you don’t have anything that might embarrass you, this contention also runs up against the problem people always have had in describing Oswald’s motive. If he was trying to become famous, why did he deny his involvement every time he got in front of the cameras? (In circumstances that are unimaginable today, Oswald gave several statements to the press before being iced himself in Dallas.) If he were a political fanatic, where was his declaration of purpose and principles? After killing William McKinley, Leon Csolgosz proudly declared himself to be an anarchist. By comparison, “I’m just a patsy” isn’t exactly a rallying cry. If we’re lucky, the answer’s in these files. Or someone’s answer to the question may be.

For years, we have been infantilized by a government that feels there are some things about the history of our time that we are not mature enough as a self-governing democratic people to know. That has crippled us, time and time again, and crippled our government as well. As it happens, there’s another example of this deadly democratic sleeping sickness sitting right there in plain sight.

Down in Mississippi, there’s a reporter named Jerry Mitchell who is one of the heroes of 20th Century journalism. It was he who pried open the files of the Mississippi Citizens Council, the respectable face of American apartheid in that state. Among other things, this led to the conviction, finally, of Byron De La Beckwith for the ambush murder of Medgar Evers three decades after Beckwith had committed the crime. For years now, Mitchell has been fighting to get the federal government, and especially the FBI, to release all the files relating to crimes committed against civil rights workers during the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. This has resulted in the establishment of the Civil Rights Cold Case Project of which Mitchell is an important part.

Now, with the JFK files at the top of the news, there is a renewed push to have these files released to the public as well.

There is no good reason to keep these records sealed and every good reason to release them to the public. Most of the people likely to be involved in the events are dead, or soon will be, and the possibility that law enforcement might be embarrassed or undermined by the information can’t be a consideration any more than the possible embarrassment of the CIA by the JFK files was a good enough reason to keep them buried as long as they were.

This is a country based on the premise that citizens can govern themselves. To do that, they need as much truthful information as they can get their hands on, and they have a unique purchase and right to their true history, as painful as that might be to them and to others. We are not, as Edward R. Murrow once warned us, descended from fearful people. The truth may not set us free, but it’s all we really have left.

By the way, the truth is STILL to much for us lowly ignorant plebes. Try again in April 2018 fools.

But ek, that was 54 years ago.

FEMA Had a Plan for Responding to a Hurricane in Puerto Rico — But It Doesn’t Want You to See It
by Justin Elliott and Decca Muldowney, Pro Publica
Oct. 26, 2017

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, citing unspecified “potentially sensitive information,” is declining to release a document it drafted several years ago that details how it would respond to a major hurricane in Puerto Rico.

The plan, known as a hurricane annex, runs more than 100 pages and explains exactly what FEMA and other agencies would do in the event that a large storm struck the island. The document could help experts assess both how well the federal government had prepared for a storm the size of Hurricane Maria and whether FEMA’s response matches what was planned. The agency began drafting such advance plans after it was excoriated for poor performance and lack of preparation in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

ProPublica requested a copy of the Puerto Rico hurricane annex as part of its reporting on the federal response to Maria, the scale and speed of which has been the subject of scrutiny and criticism. More than a month after the storm made landfall, 73 percent of the island still lacks electricity.

Early last week, a FEMA spokesman said he would provide a copy of the plan that afternoon. It never came. After a week of follow-ups, FEMA sent a statement reversing its position. “Due to the potentially sensitive information contained within the Hurricane Annex of the Region II All Hazards Plan, there are legal questions surrounding what, if any, portions of the annex can be released,” the statement said. “As such, the documents that you seek must be reviewed and analyzed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by FEMA.” The statement did not explain what legal questions apply.