Tag Archives: JFK

NATO stands as one

It is impossible to overstate the diplomatic victory that President Biden has scored as he seeks to get Russia to stand down in its military invasion of Ukraine.

The victory involves the unanimous support for Ukraine by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which leads me to hope — if not yet believe — that Russian goon Vladimir Putin will resist launching an attack on any of the NATO nations that border Ukraine.

NATO has this document called Article V, which declares that an attack on a single NATO nation is an attack on all of them. It reminds me of the warning President Kennedy issued in October 1962 when the USSR was erecting missile launch sites in Cuba; JFK told the Soviet leadership that an attack against any nation in the Western Hemisphere would bring a “full retaliatory response” from the United States.

President Biden has made essentially the same declaration, as has NATO, which is that the organization formed to protect Western Europe against the Soviet threat would respond collectively if the  Russians attacked any NATO state.

Think of where U.S.-NATO relations have gone since the Donald Trump administration. Trump castigated NATO over whether European members were paying their fair share of the cost. Yes, many of the nations have stepped up their financial load, but they did not trust the U.S. president to be there if a crisis exploded.

President Biden has helped restore that trust and in the process well might have acquired some leverage to keep the Russians from committing an act of utter foolishness.


A flash from recent past worth repeating

The picture you see here takes me back. It was taken in 1961. It shows two presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy and the man he succeeded, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Kennedy won the 1960 election by a razor-thin margin over Richard Nixon, who served as vice president in the Eisenhower administration.

What precisely are these men discussing as they stroll through the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md.? Beats me.

But the picture came with some text that someone posted on Facebook. It reads in part:

This is not a political post. I am posting as a service to Facebook users too young to recall such times. This is a picture of President Kennedy, a Democrat, and former President Eisenhower, a Republican … It hasn’t always been, “I won and you lost.” We used to understand that we are all better together than we are when grouped in opposing camps. Competition is fine, as long as you understand who you are competing against. It’s not productive to burn something down, just so you can stand on the smoldering ashes.

This photo seems rather quaint, but it’s also instructive to those who have no memory of how we used to function at the highest level of our government. Men succeeded each other at the pinnacle of power and the individual who ceded that power to his successor made himself available to provide counsel and advice.

We haven’t seen this occur in recent times. The most recent presidential election, tragically, has resulted in perpetuating hatred among Americans of differing points of view.

The cause of that ill will is clear to me: It comes from the defeated candidate for president in 2020 refusing to concede that he lost. His refusal has fed the anger that still burns among those who follow him down some path to oblivion.

I am no Pollyanna. I know there is a way to restore the collegiality that formerly existed between those of differing political parties. It can start simply with the defeated former president doing what is right. He could stand before a crowd of journalists and call put an end to The Big Lie, the one he repeats by telling us about phony allegations of “widespread voter fraud.”

It won’t happen. I just thought it helpful to show you how it used to be … and how it could be once again.


Biden needs an RFK

Who functions in the Joe Biden administration as the tough guy in international negotiations? Who can President Biden rely on to get the message delivered in clear and unambiguous terms that the United States means business when it threatens the other side with severe punishment if talks break down?

I refer to someone such as Robert F. Kennedy, who filled that role for his brother, President John F. Kennedy, during the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

The situation today isn’t precisely identical, but to my eyes and ears it reminds me a bit of what transpired in 1962. Russian troops are massing on the Russian border with Ukraine. Russian thug Vladimir Putin is threatening to invade Ukraine if certain conditions are not met. President Biden is trying to talk Putin off the proverbial ledge.

In October 1962, the Soviet Union began assembling missile sites in Cuba. JFK got wind of it and set out to talk Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev out of deploying the missiles that could hit U.S. cities. He ordered a blockade of Cuba, using U.S. Navy ships to turn back any vessels heading for Cuban ports. He then dispatched his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to negotiate with the USSR envoys at the United Nations.

RFK laid down the law: either dismantle the missile sites or face the mighty wrath of American military might. The Soviets backed down. We gave them some concessions, to be sure, such as taking down our own missile sites in Turkey. The point is that JFK had RFK to do his dirty work.

Is there someone in the Biden administration to fill that task now? Man, I hope so.


End conspiracy talk … OK?

I watched a four-part documentary tonight titled “Bobby Kennedy for President.”

It was touching, deeply moving and it brought back memories for me about the 1968 presidential campaign during which Sen. Robert Kennedy’s life was cut short by Sirhan B. Sirhan in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

The fourth part of the film talks about the “conspiracy” theories being kicked around to this very day about whether Sirhan acted alone in killing RFK.

I’ll clear the air right now. I hate conspiracy theories. I do not believe in them … generally.

Investigators have looked time and again at the events leading up to moment that RFK was gunned down. They have determined there is no evidence of a second gunman. No evidence! None! Zero!

Sirhan Sirhan acted alone. He killed RFK.

Why do I disbelieve these theories? Because secrets such as what has been alleged are impossible to keep. It’s been 53 years since Sirhan shot Sen. Kennedy. How in the world does anyone keep any information about that terrible event from the rest of the world for that period of time?

The Netflix series probes into the questions that just won’t wither away. I wish they would, but I also know they won’t. They will persist for as long as human beings draw breath, just as those conspiracy theories about President Kennedy’s murder five years earlier will live forever.

Count me out!


Who killed JFK?

Many mainstream media observers have talked over the past couple of days while commemorating the 58th year since President Kennedy’s murder in Dallas about the right-wing conspiracy theories that permeate our politics to this day.

They have noted the John Birch Society’s brochures printed at the time of JFK’s visit to Dallas that accused the president of surrendering U.S. sovereignty to the United Nations, of appointing “anti-Christians” to government posts. It’s pretty standard right-wing wacko stuff.

Indeed, in the time leading up to the visit to Texas in 1963, there was considerable concern expressed by those close to the president about the perceived threats to him from the far-right wing of political thought.

However, let’s hold on and take a brief look at what happened on that day.

Who killed the president on that glorious Dallas day as he rode in the motorcade through downtown en route to the Dallas Trade Mart where he was to deliver a speech that afternoon?

The cops arrested a card-carrying Marxist named Lee Harvey Oswald. He was seen in the book depository building and captured later at the Texas Theater after he killed a Dallas police officer, J.D. Tippitt.

It seems, to me at least, that the authorities were looking the other way when this loser Oswald managed to change the course of world history with three rifle shots from the sixth floor of the Dallas office structure.

Why don’t the media talk about that tragic twist of fate?


JFK Jr.: Where is he?

I cannot wipe the derisive sneer off my face as I read this item in the Dallas Morning News.

Some QAnon supporters — you know who those clowns are, right? — gathered in downtown Dallas earlier this week expecting to see the return of John F. Kennedy Jr., the son of the 35th president who was assassinated in Dealey Plaza on Nov. 22, 1963.

JFK Jr. died in a plane crash in 1999, but the QAnon goons think he’s been hiding all this time. They suggest his return will signal the re-emergence also of Donald J. Trump and that the 45th POTUS is going to run again for the White House in 2024.

Truly astounding … don’t you think? If not, well, you should think so!

I believe it is the stuff of loony bins, of psych wards, of rubber rooms, man!

Here, though, is the truly amazing aspect of QAnon nut jobs: some of them actually get elected to important public offices, such as in Congress. Yep. It has happened. It might happen again in 2022 and beyond.

QAnon supporters gather in downtown Dallas expecting JFK Jr. to reappear (dallasnews.com)

Spoiler alert: John F. Kennedy Jr. is as dead as his father. He ain’t coming back. Not ever.

I cannot speak to whether the former Liar in Chief is going to make a comeback. I am inclined to doubt that he will make the attempt, that all this blustering is for show and for “ratings.”

As for QAnon, I will keep sneering derisively at its idiocy.


Biden gets unfair criticism on this point

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The criticism from right-wing media that President Biden isn’t talking as freely to reporters as his presidential predecessor is unfair to the point of being outrageous.

Donald Trump became (in)famous for spouting off to the media whenever someone showed up with a notebook, a microphone and a TV camera. He would ramble on and on, saying virtually nothing of substance and often would spout a lie or three while yapping to the media.

It was all a show, given that he labeled the media “the enemy of the people” and the purveyor of “fake news.”

Joe Biden prefers to let the White House press secretary, Jan Psaki, do the talking. I am all right with that as long as Psaki tells us the truth. I get that she has been needled for muttering too many “I’ll have to circle back” responses to questions she cannot answer directly.

President Biden is going to stage his first full-blown presidential news conference later this week. It’ll be something of a show, replete with a bit of presidential pomp and panache. Now that I think about it, we might see a bit of a return to the way President Kennedy would demonstrate his legendary quick wit, turning his press briefings into media events.

It’s all OK with me. Just make sure, Mr. POTUS, that your press flack tells us the truth when the media push her for answers.

JFK’s final words ring so true

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Kennedy was scheduled to deliver these words 57 years ago this evening.

A gunman changed the course of history in front of the Texas School Book Depository building in downtown Dallas earlier that day.

The words that President Kennedy wanted to speak at the Trade Mart in Dallas that evening have an astonishing ring to them today, given the post-election turmoil the nation is enduring.

I encourage you to read them. Study them. Ponder their significance. Then ask yourself: Is this the best we can do so many decades later?

Go hard after him, Mr. Biden

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I wasn’t quite 11 years of age in 1960 when Vice President Richard Nixon faced off against Sen. John F. Kennedy in that history-making first-ever televised presidential debate.

Those who watched the debate deemed Kennedy the winner; those who heard it on the radio declared Nixon the winner. The TV version proved decisive and Kennedy went on to win the presidency.

We’re going to have another possibly history-making joint appearance Tuesday. It will feature former Vice President Joseph Biden against Donald Trump, the current president of the United States.

Were the Biden team ask my advice I would tell them simply this: Go hard after Trump but do not get caught up by the insults and innuendo that Trump is sure to fire at you regarding the business dealings of your son, Hunter.

Donald Trump has provided a treasure trove of hideous declarations, assertions and lies that Biden to fire back at him. I would encourage the former VP to go on the attack. Do not let up. Do not give Trump an opening to launch into one of those riffs that his “base” just eats up.

I don’t expect this debate to have quite the gravitas as that first Nixon-Kennedy encounter. Those men had two more debates in 1960; they became increasingly contentious. Biden and Trump will meet three times as well. I expect fully that their encounters will become angry to the point of bordering on outright rage.

My fondest hope is that Biden keeps his cool, stays focused on Trump’s hideous record compiled during his term in office and remains … and exposes Trump to be the phony so many of us know him to be.

Not so strange after all

Media pundits continue to make something of a ruckus over the recent political history involving Joseph R. Biden and Kamala Harris, that Harris roughed up Biden in a couple of debates before she dropped out of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary contest.

They’re now on the same Democratic ticket. So I am left to wonder: Why the fascination? It’s hardly the first time political rivals have hooked up, buried the hatchet and locked arms in the fight against a common opponent.

In 1960, Sens. Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy fought for the Democratic nomination. They spoke harshly of each other. LBJ pulled out at the end of that primary fight. JFK was looking for someone to help strengthen him in the South. So he turned to Sen. Johnson. They won that race. Fate, though, tragically intervened when JFK died from an assassin’s bullet in November 1963.

In 1980, former Gov. Ronald Reagan and former CIA director/U.N. ambassador/former congressman/former special envoy to China George H.W. Bush butted heads for the Republican nomination. Bush chided Reagan’s fiscal policy as “voodoo economics.” Reagan survived and then selected Bush to be his VP. The two of them served together through two successful terms.

In 2008, for heaven’s sake, Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden fought for their party’s nomination. Biden didn’t last long. He took his shots at Obama, who fired back at his foe. Obama got nominated and had Biden at his side for two terms.

So now it’s Sen. Harris who’s being examined. Is she loyal enough? Does the presumptive nominee trust her to be a team player?

Biden has been through the VP vetting process. He knows what to ask, where to look.

Harris’s selection is historic. Many have made much of that fact, given her racial and ethnic background. Biden’s decision to select her, though, doesn’t look like much of a gamble. LBJ, George H.W. Bush and Biden himself already have blazed recent trails that led them all to the vice presidency.

Let’s worry less about the recent past between these two politicians and concern ourselves more with the policy positions they share and will take to the fight against Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

It’s game on, man!