Category Archives: Politics
By Stephanie Burke
I am by no means a “political expert”. Usually when election time comes around I pay attention look at the data then weigh my options. Being a registered independent I tend to vote for what I consider “the lesser of the evils.” We have all made, and heard, the jokes about politicians not being truthful. People say things like “they never keep their promises” and “they do what they want anyway once they get in office so why bother.” It is so sad to me that there are countries around the world in which people are still fighting for the right to vote for who represents them. Even in this great country many people fought and died for our right to have our voices heard. Maybe its naive but I have to believe that ALL our votes make a difference, no matter how small the impact.
As the presidential election heats up and the debates are in full swing I can no longer just sit quietly and give no opinion. The more I hear about Romney/Ryan the more my skin crawls. I just don’t understand how any woman, or person for that matter, can go and cast a vote for Romney/Ryan. This should be a slam dunk for Obama. Granted Obama has not been perfect. In the eyes of many he has not delivered on his promises. However, Obama has never messed with our basic human rights or tried to dictate how/when/ or if we reproduce.
Romney/Ryan think it is OK to overturn Roe vs. Wade. They think they have the right to make abortion illegal and tell woman they don’t have the right to control their own bodies. They also want to make certain types of contraception illegal along with in vitro fertilization. Ok so they want to take away our right to choose along with our way of prevention and block those who want to have children from being able to create one! Does anyone else see the problem with this?
Call me a bad American or anything else you want but I don’t give a hoot about taxes when someone is messing with basic human rights! Romney/Ryan believe that life starts at conception. Well that’s ok for them to believe personally but does that give them the right to push that on a country! I guess I just don’t understand why people are not talking about this issue more. I mean if they will push this on people what is next?
I was watching MSNBC and an analyst brought up a good point. By their “life starts at conception” logic what is to stop illegal aliens from coming here and getting pregnant then saying “well I am pregnant with a US citizen”. I mean after all their life started at conception right?
I just feel like this is a symptom of a greater problem that we will have to deal with. I call it the “god complex.” By them thinking they have the right to control our bodies what else will they think they can control next?
No matter what god you pray to or what religious beliefs you may have it boils down to that why question. What gives them the right to think they have control over our families? An again I say what will they try to control next? That is what scares me. With each election we should try to move forward with a new leader. All Romney/Ryan will do is set us back!
The movie “JFK” by Oliver Stone, which has been ridiculed as being complete fiction, examines the most infamous event in American history. Through the years, many people have offered an explanation for Kennedy’s assassination. Some claim conspiracy, some believe the Warren commission, while others who believe conspiracy, differ on who did it and why Kennedy was killed. Today, most Americans believe some sort of conspiracy took place. But even they are divided on who might have done it and for what purpose. Oliver Stone’s epic film provides the audience a historic dance through time, based on accurate information from sources who were directly involved with these events. In this essay, the primary focus will center on Stone’s interpretation of a definitive conspiracy and examine the people or organizations Stone seems to implicate as the perpetrators and their motivation behind the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
“JFK” begins with an excellent recite of history narrated by Martin Sheen, to provide a foundation for not only conspiracy, but also a truthful look at the actual events preceding the President’s trip to Dallas. The very first thing we see as the movie begins over a sustained ‘drumbeat’ is a quote by Ella Wheeler Wilcox that’s states; “To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards out of men.” This quote seems designed to provide a personal message from Stone himself. Essentially, he has made this film to highlight or give his reason why Kennedy was killed, rather than be silent. When Sheen finally speaks, he is talking over the famous farewell address by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In this speech, Eisenhower tells Americans to “beware of the military Industrial complex.” This ‘complex’ that Eisenhower is warning Americans about, is based on the simple fact of greed. Candidly, America currently and at that time, was spending an enormous amount of money on the military and the people who were making that money will do anything to protect their resources. This is the essential point that Stone is making at the beginning of the movie. This point is critical; because it provides a clear historical warning about the threat the “military industrial complex” will cause America if left unchecked and provides a motive for assassination.
Stone makes the motive for assassination very clear early on in this film. After the Eisenhower speech is shown, Sheen begins speaking over video clips of President Kennedy openly talking about the war effort in Vietnam as a war “ that is ultimately a war that should be decided by them.” (Them, meaning the Vietnamese) Moreover, Sheen says that Kennedy inherits a conflict with Cuba, because American business interests dislike Cuban revolutionary, Fidel Castro. The Bay of Pigs incident is also discussed, where Sheen ‘reminds’ the audience that Kennedy refused to invade Cuba, like the CIA really wanted. This insinuation that the CIA and Kennedy were at odds is a true reflection of history. It is also true that Kennedy at the very least, had discussed pulling out of Vietnam, costing certain business interests, millions upon millions of dollars. Oliver Stone is being very clear whom he ‘thinks’ killed Kennedy and why they did it. Stone is stating very loudly, “Kennedy was killed because he was about to challenge the “military industrial complex” that Eisenhower had warned about.
After we witness President Kennedy being killed in Dallas in his infamous motorcade, we are immediately taken to New Orleans, where the focus of not only this scene, but also the movie centers on New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison. At this point, witnesses are shown giving interviews to local TV stations where they say shots were fired at a hill near the street (the Grassy knoll) and the book depository. Based on bonus features in the DVD set, Stone explains that those interviews were interviews that were based on people taking from police reports on that historical day. After these interviews are shown, pictures of Oswald walking and speaking are shown; with a quick mention in news feed to a connection Oswald has to New Orleans. It is at this point, where D.A. Garrison watching the footage, decides to investigate.
Throughout the film, Stone uses the character of Garrison to not only investigate possible motives and conspirators, but also, has Garrison speak about what has been lost since the death of Kennedy. This element is important, because Stone must continue to demonstrate a reason for Kennedy’s death if his theory is correct. For example, Garrison is riding on a plane with Senator Long where a cultural discussing is taking place. Long is complaining about hippies and how out of control the country is when Garrison says, “I sometimes think things have gone downhill since Kennedy died.” This instigates a discussion between Long and Garrison about the difficulties of physically pulling off the assassination. Stone not only needs to provide a motive, but he needs to demonstrate, with actual evidence; Oswald could not have acted alone. This is important because if evidence suggest Oswald acted alone, then the motive for Kennedy’s assassination is irrelevant. Furthermore, Stone must exonerate Oswald, at least partially that Oswald was a “patsy”, as Oswald actually stated.
As the movie progresses, Stone does an excellent job of highlighting the many inconsistencies of the Warren Commission. For example, in one of the last scenes of the movie, Garrison is making his closing argument in the prosecution of Clay Shaw, who Stone implicates as the mastermind of the conspiracy. (This was based off of real life Jim Garrison’s book) In this scene, Garrison explains that after the head shot, Kennedy’s head went “back and to the left, back and to the left”, repeating it several times. This emphasis that Garrison (and by extension Stone) is making is that even if Oswald was involved, the last shot could not have come from him, because his angle would not produce head movement like that. Furthermore, Garrison attacks the Warren Commission’s premises that two bullets could have caused all of the damaged it did. (The Warren Commission contends Oswald fired three shots, and only two landed, hitting not only President Kennedy, but also Governor Connolly.)
Although, the movie is mostly based in New Orleans, the main star of this film is the CIA. Many of the possible conspirator’s in this movie have links to the CIA. These links are imperative to proving Stone’s theory that Kennedy was killed because of the war interest of the CIA and other corporate businesses. In many different scenes, we see Oswald, played brilliantly by Gary Oldman, in New Orleans working with sympathetic Cuban groups, but in actuality, a cog in the machine for the CIA. I believe Stone is not necessarily making the case that the people depicted in the movie are definitively the conspirator’s, but he is simply using them, again, based off Garrison’s book, to explain the inconsistencies of the Warren report. Furthermore, none of the character’s Garrisons highlights are said to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by Stone. Even the character of Clay Shaw is never explicitly stating he had Kennedy killed. Shaw’s character’s seems to be representing a broader group of business people who most likely, had international ties to the CIA.
In closing, Oliver Stone’s “JFK” is not something one should take word for word. I do not believe it was Stone’s intention to have the audience view this film as the bible on the assassination. Stone simply made his case for a conspiracy and believed he knew why Kennedy was killed. By opening the film with the Eisenhower remarks on the “military industrial complex”, Stone is stating he believes that “complex” killed Kennedy. Furthermore, Stones focuses on the reason, more than the whom, in regards to Kennedy’s death. The individuals who killed Kenned are not as important as is the reason. Kennedy’s death helped continue, unabated the Vietnam War where a select few made multi-millions and even more innocent civilians perished. Stone is making the case that Kennedy’s death was a blow to democracy in favor of greedy war profiteers. I would tend to agree with Stone and give my take on what happened in Dallas that day.
I believe Lee Harvey Oswald was a patsy as he stated and used as ‘mule’ by the CIA. His role was to be the accused assassin, while the true reason for Kennedy’s assassination would be silenced by another shadowy figure by the name of Jack Ruby. Kennedy was killed because he represented a threat to many of the established elite. His death was the result of his intention to withdraw out of Vietnam. But perhaps Mikhail Gorbachev, former Premier of the Soviet Union, summed up the real reason for Kennedy’s assassination up best:
“He looked far ahead and he wanted to change a great deal. Perhaps it is this that is the key to the mystery of the death of President John F. Kennedy.”
I would like to state that I emphatically support the Occupy Wall Street movement and our own local contingent, Occupy Boston. Furthermore, I suspect, many people in the country and in Boston agree with the overall premise that the financial institution, in combination with our government, is not working and the middle class is suffering because of it. So, the mere fact that these movement’s are sweeping across the country is a good thing. I support them wholeheartedly and have even spent sometime down at the actual Occupy Boston site on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. In fact, I plan on donating to it. But, in order for this movement to be effective it must win the hearts and (skeptical) minds of the very people you are trying to help, or as you say, the 99%. Picking a fight with the Boston Police is dumb and unnecessary. Granted, I was not there and I am sure, some of our police’s officers may have acted in the wrong manner, but this, in accordance with the movement, is a trivial issue.
The people who wear the uniform are the 99% too and instead of fighting them, there should be a consistent effort to reach out to them and yes, even take one for the team, for the greater overall good in the long run. Yes, I know, moving back to the original site might have seemed like a defeat or a ‘cave’ to the system or the man, but it would have been worth it in the end. For this movement to be effective, you need the people under the uniform to want you to be successful, because not only are they actually people with their own opinions and feelings, they have relatives and non-affiliated friends, who may garner a negative opinion about this movement based on what these people in uniform say.
Also, try and reach out to the people who work in the financial sector. Send a ‘diplomat’ if you will, to some of these places during lunch hour and ask them, in a non threatening or ‘weird chanting way’, if you would like more information on why you are protesting in the first place. Many people who work on Wall Street or in the financial sector are the 99% and are just as unhappy and fearful about the economy as the Occupiers are. Just like all of the college students on the Rose Kennedy greenway, they too, are stuck in enormous college debt and are trying to figure out how to improve things. The cops, financial workers, the skeptical-non hippie, but struggling middle class suburban father, is your ally. None of these aforementioned people are your enemy. They should be vigorously included in this movement and the only way to do this is to appeal to them.
This movement can be greater and bigger than it is now. I believe it will continue to grow, but only if the tent is expanded. I personally hope it is a historical movement that truly affects change. I believe it can, but the movement must resist the natural temptation to find enemies and at some point, elect a leader. the movement will need a face. Not an aspiring politician, but a genuine individual that America can love. I know, I know, it’s leaderless and at first, this has been good. But a point and a leader must emerge to affect real change. If I can, I would like to nominate Iraqi veteran Ryan Cahill as the first leader of the whole movement. This is not only an individual people would rally around, but someone such as him, is one of the main reasons this movement must continue.
So, don’t be afraid of a leader and an agenda and win the hearts and minds of everyone. Don’t make it easy for your detractors to paint you in a negative light. Because if they do, then we all loose.