Oct 21st 2013

And Just Where Were You November 22, 1963?

by Gerald Nachman

Gerald Nachman has had six books published, two of them humor collections from columns in the New York Daily News, San Francisco Chronicle and various magazines. For 14 years was a critic and columnist at The Chronicle.

Following on the heels of a new book by Jesse Ventura that maintains Lee Harvey Oswald was not John Kennedy’s lone assassin, plus a movie just out about the event, entitled “Parkland,” several books are about to be released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s murder. Here are just a few:

   -- In “Zap!,” author Lionel H. Grist presents a detailed case that the real Kennedy assassin was Abraham Zapruder, who took the famous home movie of the Kennedy motorcade in Dallas on that fateful November day 50 years ago. Zapruder, claims Grist, masked his villainous deed by shooting the film as he took careful aim at the president. “He became an ‘innocent bystander,’ and was never questioned by police or FBI as to why he wanted to film the motorcade and, more critically, how a crucial frame was blocked by a stop sign. Zapruder had an ideal opportunity to shoot the President and used the movie as a decoy to throw authorities off the trail,” writes Grist in his compelling narrative that throws disturbing new light on the tragic event.

   -- In “DOA? – Yeah, Right,” assistant Dallas coroner Hubert H. Phlem is named as the likely Kennedy assassin, according to investigative reporter Clarence Dinglatt of the Peru, Indiana, Citizen Examiner. “Phlem was in the hospital room when the president was brought in and later pronounced dead on arrival – but was he?,” asks Dingblatt, who makes a convincing case that the president’s life could have been spared had Phlemm not smothered him with a hospital gown – accidentally, he claims. Phlem, a rightwing Republican, had a longstanding grudge against Kennedy, dating back to JFK’s vote for a 1960 farm parity bill that Phlem violently opposed – nobody at the time had any idea just how violently.

Especially engrossing is Phlem’s chapter on the Warren Report, in which he displays evidence that Chief Justice Earl Warren may have had a hand in Kennedy’s assassination and shrewdly used the Report to divert attention. Phlem reveals, for the first time, that Warren had once met Clay Shaw in an elevator just two years earlier. “Coincidence?” asks the author. “I think not. Shaw was known to be afraid of elevators.”       

   -- “Secret Disservice,” a new book about JFK’s murder, assassination buff Mildred Wallaby insists that Rufus Youngblood, the Secret Service agent assigned to the presidential limousine, was in fact the man responsible for Kennedy’s death. Wallaby, now 97, has devoted her life to fingering the real assassin, and has decided that the only  person who could have done it was Youngblood. “Rufus was in a perfect position to shoot the president and then cover his tracks by leaping into the limo and shielding Mrs. Kennedy. “It’s obvious Youngblood was the man who could have carried out the crime. He had the opportunity, the weapon and the motive – an intense dislike of motorcades.”

   -- “Mother of All Murders” tells the true story of Lee Harvey Oswald’s supposedly loopy mother, Marguerite, whom author Arnold Trolly maintains was the real assassin, not her son, who was merely an unwitting accomplice: “Lee had no idea his mother planned to kill the president when he gave her an Italian rifle for Christmas.” After Mrs. Oswald hatched the assassination scheme, she got her son a job at the book depository, made sure his fingerprints were on the murder weapon, and then instructed him to duck into a movie theater to mislead the police, where he was later nabbed. Mrs. Oswald was never questioned in connection with the actual shooting and ingeniously hid her crime by pretending to be an eccentric old lady when in fact she was a master criminal who may also have been implicated in the attempt on President Truman’s life in Blair House.  

     -- In “All the President’s Women,” former FBI agent Horace C. Dulwitch lays out a detailed and distinct possibility that the likely leader of the JFK assassination was none other than Mrs. Kennedy, who was fed up with her husband’s philandering and masterminded a complex plot to get rid of him. Dulwitch says Jackie persuaded Kennedy to make the trip to Dallas and purposely had him turn towards her to talk, creating a better target for the gunman when the fateful bullet found him. The rifleman on the grassy knoll, claims the author, was presidential speech writer Ted Sorenson, with whom Mrs. Kennedy was having an affair, as Dulwitch adds in a footnote. He writes that Mrs. Kennedy decided to kill her husband to get even for his fling with Angie Dickinson.

     -- “The Monroe Doctrine,” a new book by presidential historian Gordon W. Crackers, a distinguished conspiracy theorist and author of “Honest Abe, My Foot!,” solves two deaths at once when the author reveals that Marilyn Monroe had a hand in Kennedy’s assassination, aided by Yves Montand, with whom she was also having an affair as well as one-night stands with Ted Kennedy, Sargent Shriver and Pierre Salinger.

    “Clearly there was something fishy going on,” writes Crackers. “It took time to unravel it all but after 48 years I think I know beyond a shadow of a doubt how Kennedy was killed, and it’s not pretty. I’ll spare you the grim details, but suffice to say that Marilyn was not the innocent child-like sex goddesss she’s been painted.” Crackers goes on, “That was just a cover for her true motive, which was to get Kennedy to leave Jackie and marry her in his second term. When he balked, she pleaded with Montand, who found a French hit man to pull the trigger.” Crackers adds, “It may sound crazy, but the facts do not lie.”

In a coming 2014 sequel to “The Monroe Doctrine,” Crackers reveals that Jack Ruby did not shoot Lee Harvey Oswald on TV, seemingly before millions of viewers, but that the murder was staged by the CBS reporter on the scene, Texas-born Dan Rather, as an attention-grabbing stunt. Crackers claims that Ruby, who allegedly died in jail, was played by actor Ed Begley, who managed to escape. Oswald, now 74, faked his death and remains under house arrest in San Antonio for several unpaid moving violations.

Click here for Gerald Nachman's own web site.




Browse articles by author

More Essays

Apr 23rd 2019

 

“Cursed be that mortal inter-indebtedness which will not do away with ledgers. I would be free as air; and I’m down in the whole world’s books. I am so rich… and yet I owe for the flesh in the tongue I brag with” (Moby Dick, chapter cviii). 

Apr 20th 2019
Economists speak in numbers only, clinging to statistical data and quantitative models. We do so in the hope of looking objective. But this is counter-productive – “data” cannot tell us everything. Other social sciences such as sociology and anthropology use a broader range of methods, and consequently have a broader perspective on society. If we take our societal role of adviser on economic matters seriously, we will need to open up and adopt the insights that these other disciplines bring us about how the economy works.Politics and economics are inextricably intertwined, as Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Karl Marx knew all too well. Somehow this has been forgotten. This does not mean economists need to get political or choose sides. But it does mean that we ignore politics at our own peril – by blindsiding ourselves or dismissing it as “external stuff”, we hamper our understanding of the very system we study.
Apr 16th 2019
Although it is not likely that many visitors who pass by the Giacometti sculptures on their way to Las Meninas will ponder it, the contrast between these works underscores the single greatest transformation in the history of western art, from a regime in which artists tailored their works to the aims of individual patrons, to one in which artists choose their techniques and motifs according to their own concerns, and only then present the products to an anonymous competitive market
Apr 4th 2019
On March eleventh, the world lost someone who was very special, who made a mark and touched people with his voice, as a singer, a humorist and writer..........I had the great good fortune to know him and spend time with him, playing music, talking with him – he was a man of immense culture, fluent in Hebrew, German, English, and Romanian. He loved New York City and Vienna and we would often swap apartments so that he could stay in New York while I lived at his place in Vienna.
Apr 1st 2019
The ongoing controversy over admissions to American universities has overlooked the one of the most telling aspects of the scandal—that it took place with the connivance and active participation of administrative bureaucracies able to act with impunity in the pursuit of their interests. Neither the professoriate, often the target of opprobrium from the left and the right, nor the student body, also the target of criticism from both sides of the political spectrum, bore any of the responsibility.  Current debates over “what ails” U.S. colleges and universities consistently ignore the single most important dynamic of all institutions—their structure of power. I suggest that the way in which power is allocated within American universities is strikingly similar to that of Soviet-type regimes. Presidents, chancellors, provosts, deans, and their bureaucratic apparatuses preside over vast real-estate and financial holdings, engage in the economic equivalent of central planning, have inordinate influence over personnel, and are structured hierarchically, thereby forming an enormously powerful “new class” like that described by the renowned Yugoslav dissident, Milovan Djilas, in the mid-1950s. 
Mar 22nd 2019
When you think of religion, you probably think of a god who rewards the good and punishes the wicked. But the idea of morally concerned gods is by no means universal. Social scientists have long known that small-scale traditional societies – the kind missionaries used to dismiss as “pagan” – envisaged a spirit world that cared little about the morality of human behaviour. Their concern was less about whether humans behaved nicely towards one another and more about whether they carried out their obligations to the spirits and displayed suitable deference to them. Nevertheless, the world religions we know today, and their myriad variants, either demand belief in all-seeing punitive deities or at least postulate some kind of broader mechanism – such as karma – for rewarding the virtuous and punishing the wicked. In recent years, researchers have debated how and why these moralising religions came into being.
Mar 19th 2019
European food and ingredients have become staple food choices for the British. The use of ingredients such as garlic, peppers, avocados, Parmesan cheese and all those other European ingredients that are now taken for granted are relatively new and were still rare in the 1990s. When I was growing up in rural Devon in the 1970s, olive oil was only really readily available in chemists as a cure for earache – now it is found in most food cupboards. And wine drinking has permeated through all social classes.
Mar 12th 2019
The Guggenheim’s strange and wonderful exhibition of Hilma af Klint’s groundbreaking, yet largely unknown body of abstract art is an important event – one that challenges us to not only rethink the early history of twentieth century abstract art, but to recognize her vision of art and reality as unique, authentic, and deliciously puzzling. 
Feb 25th 2019
Looking at the world today, it's clear that the consequences of this imperial legacy are still with us. If anything has changed it is that we are now beyond just viewing the former "natives" as far-away oddities. They are now living within our borders, having come to find the opportunities they were denied at home. So when I hear the reactions in the West to the influx of South Asians going to the UK, or North Africans going to France, or Central Americans migrating to the US, I can only say "Guys, these are the fruits of your conquest – your chickens coming home to roost."
Feb 25th 2019
Extracts: "The new novel Sérotonine by Michel Houellebecq, the bad boy of French literature, is a saga of depression and death told with such irony and wit that readers seem to love it despite the unsettling themes. Maybe it’s just me but I found myself laughing out loud.......True to form, the French don’t agree on Houellebecq – or anything else, for that matter. The impact of his new novel has divided the readers into opposite love-hate camps with hardly any middle ground. Houellebecq cannot leave you indifferent, notes a literary friend of mine"........Picture: Michel Houellebecq, by the reviewer Michael Johnson. 
Feb 19th 2019
The term “smiling depression” – appearing happy to others while internally suffering depressive symptoms – has become increasingly popular. Articles on the topic have crept up in the popular literature, and the number of Google searches for the condition has increased dramatically this year. Some may question, however, whether this is actually a real, pathological condition. While smiling depression is not a technical term that psychologists use, it is certainly possible to be depressed and manage to successfully mask the symptoms. The closest technical term for this condition is “atypical depression”. In fact, a significant proportion of people who experience a low mood and a loss of pleasure in activities manage to hide their condition in this way. And these people might be particularly vulnerable to suicide.
Feb 19th 2019
Outstanding, experienced journalist Michael Johnson, whose articles, often accompanied by his striking portraits, has now brought his love of music and of pen, ink, gouache and watercolor to create a study of remarkable insight, strong opinions and beauty in this gorgeous book. Written in both French and English the brief descriptions of musicians he has met, studied, interviewed are accompanied by distinctive portraits that, as his title suggests, some may be caricatures. I argue that the author/artist has created insightful studies of the human face engaged in the pursuit of music. The only caricature is his own self-deprecating, slyly wry self-portrait that opens the book—and it is worth the book’s purchase on its own. 
Feb 15th 2019
Only 9% of the overall population in the UK are privately educated, but they occupy an especially high proportion when it comes to positions of public influence: a third of MPs and top business executives, half of cabinet members and newspaper editors, three-quarters of judges....
Feb 12th 2019
There is a fascinating chapter toward the end of Alexis de Toqueville’s Democracy in America titled “What Kind of Despotism Do Democratic Nations Have to Fear?” in which the author attempted something truly extraordinary – to describe a social condition which humankind had never before encountered. We find him trying to put his finger on something which does not yet exist, but which – in his extraordinary political imagination – he was able to foresee with startling clarity.............. we must recognize that Facebook, Google, and Amazon are the new leviathans. In serving users only those posts with which they will agree,  
Feb 8th 2019
Few modern cities can boast that a herd of Longhorn cattle has been driven along its main streets. But San Antonio can: each February, in a tribute to the past, the city plays host to a cattle drive.
Feb 5th 2019
Extract: "Most drugs are made to target “bulk” cancer cells, but not the root cause: the cancer stem cell. Cancer stem cells, also known as “tumour-initiating cells”, are the only cells in the tumour that can make a new tumour. New therapies that specifically target and eradicate these cancer stem cells are needed to prevent tumours growing and spreading, but for that there needs to be more clarity around the target. Our new research may have discovered such a target. We have identified and isolated cells within different cancerous growths which we call the “cell of origin”. Our experiments on cancer cells derived from a human breast tumour found that stem cells – representing 0.2% of the cancer cell population – have special characteristics."
Jan 31st 2019
For most people, teeth cleaning may just be a normal part of your daily routine. But what if the way you clean your teeth today, might affect your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease in years to come? There is an increasing body of evidence to indicate that gum (periodontal) disease could be a plausible risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Some studies even suggest your risk doubles when gum disease persists for ten or more years. Indeed, a new US study published in Science Advances details how a type of bacteria called Porphyromonas gingivalis – or P. gingivalis – which is associated with gum disease, has been found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Tests on mice also showed how the bug spread from their mouth to brain where it destroyed nerve cells.
Jan 28th 2019
Piano design has become so “radically standardized” since the middle of the 20th century that players and audiences are robbed of any choice today, claims a new book the piano’s past, present and future.  This book fearlessly confronts the big questions: Should we even call today’s top-selling acoustic models the “modern piano”, considering that they are all based on a 140- year-old design? Will the 21st century mark a turning point in piano building?
Jan 10th 2019
Extracts from the article: "Last November, Michael Bloomberg made what may well be the largest private donation to higher education in modern times: $1.8 billion to enable his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, to provide scholarships for eligible students unable to afford the school’s tuition. Bloomberg is grateful to Johns Hopkins, he explains, because the opportunity to study there, on a scholarship, “opened up doors that otherwise would have been closed, and allowed me to live the American dream.” In the year after he graduated, he donated $5 to the school, all he could afford. Thanks to the success of Bloomberg L.P., the international financial-information company he founded in 1981, he has now given a total of $3.3 billion......And yet I cannot applaud Bloomberg’s donation to a university that already had an endowment of $3.8 billion and charges undergraduate students $53,740 per year to attend. My preference is for Hank Rowan, who back in 1992 gave $100 million to Glassboro State College, a public university in New Jersey that at the time had an endowment of $787,000 and annual fees of about $9,000. Rowan himself was a graduate of MIT, one of the world’s finest universities, but gratitude was not his motivation for donating. He wanted to make the biggest difference he could, and believed that one makes a bigger difference by strengthening the weak links in the higher education system than by giving even more to those who already have a lot."
Jan 9th 2019
Marcel Proust was the master of artistic time travel, as he spent the final decades of his life exploring the nature of memory, in a quest to understand the relationship between past and present. In today’s troubled present of economic malaise and political agitation, the art world of Paris is currently engaged in a Proustian exercise of reexamining, and celebrating, a lost golden age of splendor and creativity.