Why do we, the taxpayer, pay for roads? Ever think about it? Whether you want to or not, you kick in thousands of dollars every year to pay for roads. Well, you say, you like the roads. You use the roads a lot. But what if someone told you that you could save a lot of money if we just got rid of most of the roads and spent about half as much money on public transit? Who says this is the only way to move people around?

Have you ever thought about cities? Cities suck, big time. I know, there’s all sorts of glamour and excitement about “downtown”, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about suburbs and neighborhoods and freeways. I’m talking about the homeless and the panhandlers and squeegee kids. I’m talking about traffic tie-ups, pollution, and over-crowding. Cities suck, big time.

Why do we have so many problems in our cities? Whenever people talk about big social problems, like drug abuse, teen pregnancy, and crime, they tend to blame social and cultural developments. Kenneth Starr and his repressed buddies on the Republican Right, like to blame the sixties, with all that evil rock’n’roll and anti-authoritarianism and draft evasion and lifestyle experimentation and, later, feminism. That’s why our society is falling apart. Liberals, on the other hand, tend to blame our oppressive economic system. We don’t share enough of what we have with those in need. We need to pour money into projects that will revitalize our cities. We need a higher minimum wage. We need more development.

No one seems to realize that cities, with all their problems, didn’t happen by accident. Most of us used to live in the country. Then, around the turn of the century, we began to mechanize the farms and build factories. So jobs moved from agriculture to industry, and industry located itself in cities, because they needed the transportation and support industries and other resources that were located in the cities. So people moved to the cities. These people needed places to live. So developers started building houses and apartment buildings. As more people wanted to live close to their jobs, the prices of these houses went up higher and higher. People were forced to move into apartments, or farther and farther away from the downtown.

So how do you get these people to work? How do you get them to sports stadiums and art galleries and malls? You have two possible options. First, you can build a whole bunch of buses, trolleys, and streetcars, so you can move fifty or sixty people at a time fairly efficiently. Doesn’t that make sense? Why have sixty huge automobiles clogging up the streets, filling the air with carbon monoxide, wandering around looking for a place to park, when you can have just two or three streetcars? The streetcars drop you off and then get out of the way. Cars stay there, taking up miles of valuable real estate. Look at all the parking lots and parking garages in the downtown of any major city? They are ugly and useless. The cars just sit there all day. They just sit there, waiting for the owner to finish his work or his shopping or whatever. What a waste!

Public transit isn’t the only alternative we’re talking about here. New York City had developed a very interesting, complex set of pneumatic tubes throughout the downtown area in the early 1920’s. These tubes moved small items through large buildings fairly fast and efficiently. Then General Motors got some of their cronies elected to city council and they voted to replace the pneumatic tubes with stinking, clumsy, big GM trucks. This was not a magical strategy developed by the “free market”. It was sabotage.

You can spend so little on public transit that you make it necessary for anybody who can afford it to buy their own cars. The result, in Chicago and other major U.S. cities, is that only the poor and destitute use public transit. Nobody listens to the complaints of the poor, so public transit is often poorly maintained and unsafe. All the money goes into highways instead, and cops to patrol the highways, and signs, and lights, and parking lots. When all those people in their own cars clog up the streets, you just keep adding new highways to accommodate them. And when those highways get clogged up, you start demolishing neighborhoods and dividing communities with great big ugly freeways. And when they get hopelessly clogged, like the 401 is now, every day, from Mississauga to the Allen Expressway, you suddenly realize that you have a serious problem with no solution. That, in fact, is what they now realize in Toronto, Canada’s fastest growing city. They can’t build any more freeways—it’s too expensive and people are too smart: they won’t let you just plow their neighborhoods under anymore. But the 401 can’t handle all the traffic coming into the city. So what do you do? If you’re Toronto, basically, nothing. People waste hours and hours every day sitting in their cars staring at the trunk of the car ahead of them. It is not unusual for a citizen of the metropolitan Toronto area to spend four hours of his day, every day, sitting uselessly in his car. Chances are also pretty good nowadays that he’s driving a four-wheel-drive sport utility, sold to him on the illusion that it would provide him with a liberating sense of adventure and freedom.

What many people don’t realize is that the government pays a huge subsidy to the automotive industry by providing us with endless highways, traffic lights, streetlights, bridges, freeways, police, and parking spaces. And don’t forget the cost of hospital emergency wards which spend a lot of time treating victims of accidents. The subsidy is way, way more than it would have cost if the government had simply developed public transit more effectively, and required car-makers to make their own roads and bridges. Hardly anyone would own cars today if that had happened. Think about that, the next time you start rhapsodizing about how great the “free market” is. Do you love your car? Well, you can love your car because every taxpayer in the province is chipping in to make highways for you to drive on.

A number of things happened in the 1940’s and 50’s that created many of the social problems we have today.

Firstly, people started to do pretty well for themselves. They made money. And, thanks to the huge government subsidy of the auto industry (especially the Interstate system in the U.S.), many people could afford cars.

Secondly, developers began to build a new type of residential community: the suburb, which was designed around the principle that everyone would have a car. The suburb was located away from the downtown (cheap land), which meant a lot of people had to drive their cars around in order to get to work. Public transit doesn’t work very well in the suburbs because of all the winding streets and the low density of population.

Thirdly, effective birth control allowed families to reduce the number of children they would have. This, in turn, allowed women to re-enter the work-force more quickly. It allowed numerous families to send their children to college who otherwise couldn’t have afforded it. It changed the character of the family.

Fourth, the tax base shifted away from the inner city and out to the suburbs. As a result, city governments lost their ability to pay for the upkeep of downtown areas. These areas decayed, housing prices plummeted, the poor moved in with even more social problems, unemployment among the inner city poor soared, drug and alcohol addiction increased, and so on and so on.

In the 1960’s, this was all no secret. Sociologists and social scientists understood very well the negative effects of urbanization. Lewis Mumford wrote some sensational, amazing books on the development of cities. We studied them in high school as late as the early 1970’s. Too many people living too close together tended to develop strange behavior patterns. Most of us have heard about the girl who was raped and murdered while dozens of her neighbors leaned out of their high-rise windows and listened, and not a single one of them decided to call the police and go to help her.

The suburbs are no better. Instead of communities, where people know each other and interact with each other at local businesses, and operate schools together, and build playgrounds together, and help each other out, people barely know their own neighbors, because they can travel to see their friends, in their cars, and you don’t want to get too friendly with a person who lives just 30 feet away from your lawnmower.

But nobody could do anything about urbanization. It was easier to blame hippies or blacks or other minorities, or a decline in “family values”, or softness on crime. That way, you could elect fascist leaders, give more money to the police, sentence people to thirty years in jail for possessing marijuana, and execute developmentally delayed adults for murder. This, apparently, is more satisfying to some people than reconsidering the huge subsidy to the auto industry.


Americans love to believe that with hard work, determination, and a bit of brains, anyone can be successful and rich. Like Bill Gates. Or Jeff Bezos, the owner of Or Jim Barksdale, the former CEO of Netscape.

This belief in this myth of equal opportunity is one of the reasons that America, of the industrialized nations, is the harshest on the poor. It’s your own fault. If you had only worked harder and studied harder and saved your money, you could have been successful. See—look at Bill Gates! Look at Jeff Bezos! Look at Donald Trump, Paul Allen, Stephen Ballmer, Michael Dell…! They all started with nothing. They worked hard. They became rich. You can too.

Americans need to believe in this myth, or else they would feel badly about kicking people off welfare, or locking them up for twenty years for robbery or drug offenses, or executing them for murder. We don’t care about your disadvantaged youth. We don’t care about the hopelessness of your life. We don’t care about how you have been treated by others. You broke the rules. You had a choice. You have to pay.

Time Magazine chose Jeff Bezos as its man of the year. Why? Because he is rich and successful. Time Magazine can’t imagine that Americans would want to be like someone who is smart or creative or compassionate or fair, unless this guy is really, really rich. We all want to be rich! But we don’t want to think we are greedy. And thus the myth-making begins. And because the poor have no voice in our civilization, there is no one to counteract the incredible nonsense you are going to read about Jeff Bezos in Time Magazine.

This is the Time Magazine version of Jeff Bezos: a young man with amazing talent works hard to develop his skills. He is rewarded with good jobs, through which he hones his already impressive managerial abilities. He notices the internet (well after the really smart people did). He has a brilliant idea (an idea that isn’t really new). He convinces people to invest in his idea (using connections he already had). He pushes his idea forward with passion and intelligence (other people’s passion and intelligence). He demonstrates brilliant leadership (he bullies his employees).

Suddenly, bingo, he is filthy rich.

He is worth about $24 billion dollars right now. I’m not kidding. And to emphasize that he has earned every penny of this obscene amount of money and that he deserves all this fabulous wealth, Time Magazine includes pictures of Bezos rushing here and there, leading meetings, shouting at people, jumping up and down—what a busy, industrious man! He leads a meeting at which people toss out ideas. Brainstorming! Bezos selects the great ones and puts them into practice. Wow! What a genius! He deserves every penny of that fortune!

What Time Magazine doesn’t want you to believe is that Jeff Bezos got rich because he was already rich or because he was lucky or, heaven forbid, because he was possessed of an overwhelming lust for wealth. In other words, the difference between you and me and Jeff Bezos is not that he has money and we don’t. And it’s not that Jeff Bezos knows powerful people who help him out at every turn and we don’t. And it’s not that Jeff Bezos is just plain lucky and we’re not. The difference, according to Time, is that he is more virtuous than we are. That’s why he has $24 billion dollars and we have big balances on our Visa cards. And an economic system that creates men like Bezos, and Gates, and Michael Eisner, and Mike Tyson, and Michael Jordan, and so on and so on, is good, because it rewards virtue.

Uh… scratch Mike Tyson.

Now the truth is a little different from the gospel according to Time Magazine. The truth is that, yes, Jeff Bezos works hard, and yes, he is smart. But there are lots of hard-working, smart people out there, and they aren’t as rich or famous as Jeff Bezos. So why is he different? He didn’t think up the idea of doing commerce on the internet, and he certainly didn’t think up the internet, and he certainly didn’t write the software that handles orders for his company. But he did have friends with lots of money to invest. In other words, he had rich friends, and his family was well-to-do, or he wouldn’t have had any rich friends. And these rich friends are richer today because they were already rich. And the truth is that he was also just plain lucky. He started his business at the right time. He received favorable publicity at the right time. He has investors who are willing to put up with a pile of losses for a long time on the somewhat irrational faith that will eventually make money. And he has a host of people mad with investment fever who really think they’re going to cash in big-time on this property.

And those people may be in for a very rude surprise. I’ll get back to that in a minute.

This is the truth about most “self-made” men and women. The first thing they do, when they hit the jackpot, is attribute their success to the qualities in themselves that are perceived to be “virtuous”, like hard work and dedication. They look back at their lives and suddenly everything they did seems to have been consciously directed towards the spectacular result. It must be very, very hard for a very rich person to not believe that he or she deserves success, just as it is very, very hard for a poor person to believe that he or she deserves to be poor. [I just read an article about Lottery winners that said the same thing; furthermore, it highlighted the fact that people who were suing the winners because they weren’t in the pool the particular week they won, also have that same sense of entitlement. 2011-02]

The funny thing is that is not really successful at all. It lost $350 million last year. It does not look like it is going to make a profit anytime soon. So why is Bezos considered a success? Because the stock market thinks that most people think that is going to be wildly successful, so Amazon’s stock keeps rising, making his initial investors very, very rich.

[2022-04-12: I was wrong about Amazon not being successful, though it is somewhat more complicated than simple profitability.  Amazon churns through an unbelievable volume of purchases while it’s actual net profitability at any given instant is questionable.  It doesn’t matter, and I didn’t foresee that net profitability would not matter in the way that it doesn’t today.]

It is quite possible that Amazon’s stock will completely collapse next year. It is quite possible that Amazon will never make a penny. But Jeff Bezos will be very, very rich no matter what happens. When a company collapses, the workers lose their jobs and frequently their pensions and insurance and often even their back pay. The top executives drive off in their limos to “new opportunities” with big fat golden parachutes in their pockets.

If you look at the wildly rich entrepreneurs of the past twenty years, you will find that not a single one of them actually had the genius to invent the device or process that made them rich. The people who did have that kind of genius—real genius—are still working for a living, teaching, or inventing, or researching. And when you read about them, you quickly realize that they were driven by a desire to know, to learn, to improve things. Who is Tim Berners-Lee? Who is Gary Kildall? You don’t know? They made Jim Barksdale and Bill Gates rich. Ah… .now you see. They were the real geniuses. They had ideas. They made them work. Then someone else with more money and the determination to make more money came along and cashed in. I don’t mind if you think Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates is smart because they made a lot of money. However, I think it is really disgusting when they start trying to credit for things they have no right to claim the credit for, and when we begin to explain their success as the product of inventiveness or virtue rather than acquisitiveness.

They were driven by a desire to make a pile of money. They put all their energies and intelligence into the idea of making money. They knew how to negotiate deals that were more beneficial to themselves than to their partners. They knew how to drive employees to work hard for modest pay. They knew how to drive competition out business.

Bill Gates is the classic case here. As the Department of Justice investigation has shown, Microsoft cheated and lied and bullied and extorted it’s way to the top. None of Microsoft’s products were really very good at all. DOS 1? DOS 2? DOS 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, or 3.3? Heaven help us—DOS 4! (DOS 5.0 was okay, if five years behind the Mac). Windows 3.0? Give me a break! Windows 3.1? Garbage. Even Windows 95 and Windows 98 are still full of bugs. Internet Explorer and Outlook are minefields. They can’t get it right.

But Gates was smart enough to negotiate brutal agreements with companies like Compaq, which required them to pay for a copy of Windows for every computer they sold regardless of whether the purchaser wanted Windows or not. Brilliant! And illegal. Would you please deduct $24 million from your $500 in profits? Thank you– now don’t do it again.

And he was smart enough to change the API’s on Windows 3.1 so Word Perfect for Windows would crash and Lotus 1-2-3 would choke. He was smart enough to realize that by “giving” away Internet Explorer for the moment, he could drive the only competition for the most important market of the next 25 years out of business: Netscape. That is called “dumping”. It is usually illegal.

And Jeff Bezos was smart enough to realize that he could make his prices very attractive and then whack people with “shipping and handling” charges. Smart move.

And Time Magazine, which can conceive of no higher purpose for the Internet than to shop on-line, chooses him as “man of the year”.

Will Amazon be a big success five years from now? Consider these factors.

Bezos says he plans to expand Amazon’s offerings to all kinds of products other than books. All of these products will require extensive delivery services. I’ve never liked delivery services. I think there is a ceiling here. Someone has to be home to receive the deliveries, if it’s something that doesn’t fit into your mailbox. And if all the items ordered are not ready on time, you have to make two, or three deliveries, or delay the order. Orders also tend to get mixed up– we don’t pay delivery boys very much and can’t expect much better from them. I still think we are society of people who drive their cars around and pick up things. I don’t think we want to have everything delivered. The next genius will think of way to reduce the cost of driving around.

[Again, I was wrong.  I didn’t foresee that it would be cheaper for Amazon to abandon products on your doorstep and suck up the losses from theft and misadventure than it would be to make sure someone actually received the package and signed for it.  My bad.]

IBM and other companies are working on a electronic paper, that can receive books electronically via the internet. Music is already changing to a format that doesn’t require a delivery: MP3. Maybe that’s why Amazon is diversifying as quickly as they can.

Amazon’s service charges are outrageous. They are brutal. Time didn’t mention anything about that!  [Amazon has since modified their service charges so that many products can be delivered “free”.]

But, hey, if you think other people believe that Amazon is going to make a pile of money, you might be wise to invest in it.

The Capital Gains Deduction

The “capital gains deduction”.

Do you have any idea of how absolutely outrageous this idea is? I’ll bet you don’t. That’s why wealthy corporations and citizens have seized upon it. They think they can pull one over on us. And they might be right. Because you don’t know how outrageous this idea is.

A lot of businessmen in Canada in the U.S. have been asking the federal governments of those two countries to increase (or create) a thing called a “capital gains deduction”. A capital gains deduction is a tax write-off that individuals can use to reduce their tax liability for profits they have made on investments. The Americans presently have a limited Capital Gains Deduction; Canada does not. That is, it has no capital gains deduction at all. The real question is, why should there even be one? Canada has it right.

If you work for three years at minimum wage, you might make about $25,000. The government taxes your income. You have to pay your fair share of the costs of roads, policing, defense, health care, education, and so on. You have to work hard to earn that money. You don’t like giving a chunk of it to the government, but that’s life.

Of course, you don’t pay as much tax on $25,000 as you do on $250,000. Why not? Well, for one thing, someone who makes $250,000 uses a lot more of the resources that the government provides to make those earnings possible. Without hospitals, schools, roads, and so on, no one is going to make a lot of money. Someone who makes a lot of money does so because he has lots of buildings, vehicles, telephones, employees, and so on. He also benefits more from the protection offered by the police and the military than that poor schmuck making $25,000 does. So it seems fair enough that they pay a larger share of the costs of providing those things. Besides, he is able to pay more. It’s healthy for our society to contribute what is needed to strengthen the entire community, not just ourselves.

Suppose that instead of actually working for that money that you earned it on investments instead. Let’s say you put $5,000 into and a few years later that $5,000 was worth $30,000. Then you sell your shares. You have made $25,000 without having to lift a finger, except to call your broker. You took a reasonable risk, and you were amply rewarded for it.

A lot of wealthy investors would like you to believe that the $25,000 they earned on investments is special… like Ralph in the Simpsons. It should not be taxed. Why? Well, the real reason is because they are greedy and they don’t want to pay their share of the tax burden. But they will tell you that it is a good thing that people invest in the stock market and the government should encourage such investments by eliminating the tax on the profits of such investments.

Isn’t work a good thing? Isn’t it a good thing that you go to a job everyday and actually contribute something to the economy? Why shouldn’t the government encourage that, by not taxing your income?

Well, the real reason is because you don’t get to shake hands with your congressman very much, and you don’t get to sit at the head table with him at big banquets to raise money for his PAC (Political Action Committee) and you don’t get to schmooze with him on some yacht out in the Gulf of Mexico so you can explain to him, in person, just how important it is that you not have to pay taxes on your income.

You have to understand two simple things about the Capital Gains Deduction. First of all, every deduction the government gives to an individual or corporation that can be applied to taxes that are owed the government is exactly the same as a hand-out. It is the government handing cash over to these individuals or corporations. It is like welfare, except that it is for the rich.

The rich would have you believe that a deduction is different from a hand-out. They’re right: only the rich get deductions because the poor don’t have money to invest. It’s a way for the government to give even more to those who already have a lot.

The second thing you have to understand is that the profit realized from capital gains is just like any other income. There is nothing holy about it. There is nothing charitable or humanitarian about it. It is the profit earned by rich people on investments. They keep this profit. It doesn’t benefit anyone but themselves. It certainly doesn’t provide any benefits that are not also provided by a working wage.  [All right– obviously, investment is good for the economy.  My point is, it’s just as good as wages, not better.]

And these people have the unmitigated gall to tell you that this deduction will be available to all Americans, regardless of race, colour, or creed. This is possibly just about the most cynical statement ever made about the tax burden. All those welfare mothers in New York? Right. They have the same opportunity to reduce their taxes as Donald Trump. All they have to do is invest $25,000 or so in the stock market. Gosh. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling just thinking about it.

What these people are saying is this: we want to let everybody else pay for the government. We would like to keep our money.

The problem with their arguments, of course, is that people in Canada and the U.S. have already gone absolutely hog-wild with investments. Mutual funds, pension funds, unions, teachers, doctors, everyone is getting a piece of the action. The idea that the government needs to provide an additional incentive for people to invest in the stock market is absolutely bizarre.

You may think, well, everybody hates taxes. Isn’t it a good thing when you get to pay less? It sure is. So let’s all pay less. Let’s go to Ottawa and make an appointment with Paul Martin and tell him that we want a “working wage tax deduction”. We want the government to remove our tax liability (give us a hand-out) and make our wages tax-free. That would be great, wouldn’t it? The trouble is, Paul Martin would immediately say, “but where would I get the money from to run the country, if we don’t tax wages?” And we would shrug.

Ah… you may have noticed the absurd element in the above scenario. You go to Ottawa and make and appointment with Paul Martin? Ha ha!

But Paul Martin would never to meet with you, would he? Well, he might.

All you have to do is tell him that you are very, very rich.

Lee Harvey Oswald

Did Oswald Shoot Kennedy

No, of course not.

In 1978, Edward Jay Epstein published a book called “Legend: the Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald.” He tries to show that Oswald had very suspicious ties to Soviet Russia and Cuba. He doesn’t quite go so far as to say that Russia or Cuba planned Kennedy’s assassination, but he clearly lays out the groundwork for such a conclusion.

The book was published by Reader’s Digest. If that doesn’t tell you enough about it (condensed books for condensed brains), then consider that Epstein has no problem with the “magic” bullet which supposedly went through Kennedy’s neck, John Connally’s ribs, wrist, and thigh, and emerged without a mark only to appear on the wrong stretcher in Parkland Hospital, so that it could be definitively “traced” to Oswald’s rifle. Nor does he tell you that the palm print taken from the rifle, which matched it “conclusively” to Oswald, was only “found” by the FBI after the Dallas police had already concluded that the rifle bore no finger prints at all. Nor does he mention that the bullets used to kill police officer Tippit were not, in fact, traced back to Oswald’s personal handgun and that, in fact, they could not have been fired from Oswald’s gun.

But, gee, those are just facts. There’s better material in “Legend”. The best part is Epstein’s nodding and winking as he describes Oswald’s suspicious behavior in New Orleans. What did Oswald do that was so suspicious? Well, he marched around handing out “Fair Play for Cuba” leaflets and appearing on radio stations.

Now, suppose for one minute that Oswald was, in fact, a Soviet or Cuban agent, sent to assassinate Kennedy in retaliation for the Bay of Pigs. Come on, you can do it. After all, he lived in Russia for several years and had a Russian wife. After all, he spoke fluent Russia.

So let’s say that some crazy day in 1960 or so, the KGB decided to shoot Kennedy. If you were a KGB officer, who would you choose to do the deed? Remember—if it is shown that you were behind the assassination, you would be in BIG trouble. For one thing, your own leaders would be fair game. For another thing, Cuba certainly would be invaded and re-colonized by the Americans. And of course, there was always the possibility of all-out war.

So who do you choose for this important task? Your cleverest, most experienced, most self-disciplined agent? Wrong. You choose an ex-marine defector with a Russian wife. You send him to America for a few years. You have him march around in New Orleans demonstrating and agitating on behalf of Castro’s Cuba. Then you send him down to Mexico to the Russian and Cuban embassies and have him loudly argue about getting a VISA to Cuba quickly because he can help the communists out by committing all kinds of violent crimes in the United States. You make sure the CIA gets all of this on their “hidden” cameras with the telephoto lenses.

Epstein is an idiot. His book is remarkable not because it defends the Warren Commission but because it simply pretends that none of the weird things about the Kennedy assassination even exist. In the thirty years since Kennedy’s death, most of the basic, confusing facts remain confusing. Part of the problem is that there are a lot of nut cases on both sides. But considered simply and directly, these facts certainly raise suspicions.

Oswald was a pretty smart guy who spoke fluent Russian, married a Russian woman, defected to Russia, defected back to the U.S., agitated for Cuba, tried to re-defect to Russia in October, 1963, worked at a map printing company that did secret work for the U.S. military, and sent a very, very strange note to a man named Hunt shortly before the assassination. He would have been a monumentally stupid choice for the Russians or Cubans to assassinate Kennedy.

Oswald is repeatedly described as having “fled” the scene. If he had been trying to escape Dallas, he could have gotten into a taxi at any time and driven off. Instead, he went home, and then to a movie theatre. He retrieved a pistol on the way. Think about these actions. If you had just shot the President of the United States from the building you worked in, would you go back to your home?

Witnesses to the Tippit shooting persistently denied that the man they saw was Oswald. Yet the FBI and the Dallas police continue to insist that the man they saw was, indeed, Oswald. Witnesses reported being harassed by investigators when they did not report the “correct” version of Tippit’s shooting.

Epstein believes that the problem with the magic bullet is easily solved. He simply decides that Oswald started firing sooner, while Kennedy was still out of view. Even the Warren Commission couldn’t be so bold, because the Zapruder film shows rather definitively that Oswald did not fire before the limousine drew behind the freeway sign.

The pristine bullet cannot have been the same bullet that shattered Connally’s wrists and ribs. It simply can’t. It was planted on the stretcher in the Dallas hospital (the wrong one, apparently) to implicate Oswald.

Oswald was spotted drinking a coke and having his lunch about 40 seconds after the last shots were fired. It is barely possible for a man running full speed to make the distance from the sixth floor window to the 2nd floor lunch room in that time. But according to several witnesses, including a police officer, Oswald looked cool, calm, and quiet, as if he’d been standing there for some time.

No fingerprints were found on the rifle at all. The FBI, much later, claimed to have found a palm print on the stock, underneath the barrel. This was after the Dallas police had already stated publicly that there was no fingerprints on the weapon. So Oswald wiped the gun clean of prints and made it down to the cafeteria in 40 seconds?

Shortly after the shooting, the police asked the manager of the warehouse for a list of all missing employees. We are told that it was found that only one employee was missing: Lee Harvey Oswald. In fact, several employees were missing, but the police announced that they were searching only for Oswald.
The police obtained Oswald’s address from the Depository and broadcast it to all the police officers in the vicinity. The trouble is, this address, Elsbeth St., had been Oswald’s address six months earlier, before he began to work at the Book Depository. The address he had given to the Book Depository, and which was recorded in his employee file, was different. Where then, did the police really obtain this address from?

Jack Ruby was able to walk through a large group of police officers right into the basement of the police station, precisely at the moment that Oswald was emerging from the cell area, and shoot him precisely where underworld assassins shoot someone they really want to kill efficiently: in the stomach, the vital organs. By doing so, he ensured that no trial would take place, during which the evidence, and Oswald’s links to the intelligence services, would have been probed.

Just imagine a good defense attorney analyzing the Warren Commission’s single bullet theory, in court. Just imagine hearing all the witnesses testify that they heard shots and saw smoke coming from the grassy knoll. Just imagine a thorough dissection of the planning of the parade route, the actions of Roy Kellerman or William Grier – the slow-footed driver of the limo—and the rest of the secret service agents who had been up late the previous night partying. Imagine a thorough discussion of how and why Oswald obtained a job printing spy photographs considered top secret by the U.S. military just months before the assassination. If Oswald was a “lone nut”, he was the most well-connected lone nut in history. Imagine parading the Parkland doctors up to the stand to testify, as they did to the media immediately after the shooting, that the fatal bullet entered Kennedy’s forehead, not the back of the head, and that the throat wound was one of entry, not exit. Imagine a Grand Jury digesting the fact that the Parkland doctors were all deeply experienced with gunshot wounds, while J. Humes, the autopsy surgeon, had almost no experience in that area. Imagine how quickly a defense lawyer would have noticed that the frames of the Zapruder film, reproduced in Life Magazine, and in the Warren Commission Report, had been placed out of order, so that, coincidentally, they appeared to show Kennedy’s head snapping forward with the fatal shot, rather than backwards as it really did. Image a cross-examination on the question of why no finger-prints were found on the rifle, though Oswald could not have had enough time to wipe them off and run down to the second floor cafeteria on time to be spotted and questioned by a police man 40 seconds after the last shots were fired.

The lead attorneys for the Warren Commission, relying primarily on evidence supplied to them by the FBI, consistently ignored, degraded, or ridiculed any evidence that did not fit the preconceived “lone nut” and “single-bullet” theories of the assassination. The Commission report is riddled with omissions and inconsistencies, but the most glaring problem is the way eyewitness testimony is presented as reliable and demonstrative when it supports the Commission’s conclusions, and then ridiculed as unreliable and conjectural whenever it does not. Witnesses who saw a single gunman in the sixth floor window are triumphantly presented as damning proof of Oswald’s guilt. But other witnesses saw shooting from behind the grassy knoll, and saw bullets hit the curb (which would have meant more than three shots were fired) and saw a second man in the same window. In other words, the Commission’s only standard of truth was that which corresponded to its preferred theory of how and why the assassination took place. It was not an investigation at all. It was a rubber stamp. As a result, even people who believe the Commission’s conclusions do not bother defending the Commission report itself.

Top cabinet officials were on a plane bound for Japan at the moment of the assassination. White House communications were cut shortly afterwards. Neither of these two elements by themselves are suspicious, but, taken together with the other facts, they are positively eerie.

After years of reading just about everything there is to read about the Kennedy assassination, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are a lot of nuts out there who derive perverse satisfaction in proving to themselves that everyone, from the CIA to the KGB to the Mafia were all involved in Kennedy’s assassination. Possibly the worst expression of that view would be Oliver Stone’s movie hodgepodge, “JFK”, which combined every theory from the lunatic fringe into one incoherent, rambling, and chaotic film.

David Lifton, in “Best Evidence”, tackled the autopsy itself, at Bethesda Naval Hospital, and suggests that a brilliant team of conspirators managed to alter the body between Dallas and Washington, so that it appeared as if Kennedy was struck from behind. He goes too far. His mistake is that he believes that the conspirators were capable of such meticulous and foolproof planning. I don’t think the conspirators would have had any way of guaranteeing themselves access to the body for a sufficient length of time to accomplish the deed. It’s too preposterous. But he also believes that the body was “altered” to show that shots had come from behind. There’s no need to grasp at straws here—the existing autopsy report is riddled with inconsistencies.

The truth is that Lee Harvey Oswald, displaying not the slightest inclination for leftist politics, joined the marines. While he was with the marines, he was probably recruited by one of the U.S. intelligence services. He was trained in the Russian language. He began to publicly criticize capitalism and the American government in a way that seems utterly bizarre and ostentatious, unless, again, you assume there is some covert reason for him to make himself known as a communist. Then he “defected” to Russia. He tried to convince the Russians that he had information about spy planes to sell them. The Russians smartly realized that he was a plant and ignored him, even after he married a Russian woman named Marina. Having failed in this subterfuge, the American intelligence agency pulled him out by having him “renounce” his “defection”.

Back in the U.S., Oswald, who probably only married Marina as part of his cover, lived alone, and did a lot of strange things. He demonstrated on behalf of Cuba, but also tried to join a Cuban anticommunist organization. His office was in the same building and adjacent to an office used by men with direct links to U.S. intelligence agencies, including Guy Bannister. He had regular contacts with the FBI and other U.S. federal government agencies. (After he was arrested for distributing leaflets, and FBI agent came to see him and spent more than an hour talking to him in jail.) He briefly worked for a coffee company in New Orleans that would later sent a raft full of employees to NASA!

It should be noted that Marina did not tell the Warren Commission what it wanted to hear, until months after the assassination, after intensive questioning by the FBI, the Dallas Police, and other government agents. Members of the Warren Commission thought she was lying, because her story varied so much from the initial interviews. Their mistake was that they assumed she had lied in the beginning, and not after months of police harassment. Oswald’s mother, Marguerite, insisted that her son had been working for the government. She too was coached by the investigators until she, sort of, got the story right.

Then, in Dallas, Oswald worked for a printing company that received contracts from U.S. military intelligence, printing photos taken by spy planes. He offered to kill Castro for the U.S., and then offered to commit terrorist acts for Cuba. And so on, and so on. None of these activities make any sense unless you believe that Oswald was working for U.S. intelligence and the general plan was to have him infiltrate communist organizations or governments, and that when these plans failed, they periodically came up with other tasks for him, the purpose of which he himself probably barely understood. Shortly before the assassination, he sent a plaintiff note to a Mr. “Hunt”, begging for an opportunity to discuss his “situation”.

Then the purpose becomes clear. Think about it. If a real “lone nut” had shot Kennedy, and escaped, the entire nation would have turned every stone searching for him. There would have been a huge investigation. There would have been powerful suspicions. There would have been grave questions about the changes in policy Johnson introduced—especially towards Viet Nam. Perhaps the Secret Service would actually have been require to fire their incompetent agents, including William Grier who, upon hearing shots fired, put on the brakes!

There might have been an inquest, a trial, deeper investigations by a Grand Jury. If the slightest substantiated suspicion had fallen upon Naval Intelligence or the FBI or the Secret Service, the political dynamic of the entire decade would have changed. People would have demanded that someone “clean up” the government agencies suspected of involvement.

The best way to dissipate such suspicions is, of course, to throw suspicion elsewhere, and to convince the public that a single “lone nut” committed the crime. Now remember, you have to think about how it was planned, now how it actually turned out. In my view, the assassination was actually botched, and came out far messier than the conspirators had planned. The Zapruder film, for example, caused grave complications, for it provided a precise time-line of the sequence of shots.

In any case, the plan was for Oswald to be positioned where he could be made the patsy. Perhaps he had been ordered to guard the sixth floor of the Depository on the day of Kennedy’s trip. Oswald had already begun to realize he was being set up, but had no idea of what for.

If Oswald was indeed employed by the U.S. intelligence community, it would not have been difficult for the conspirators to position him in the building, direct suspicion towards him, supply the police with incriminating evidence, and arrange for him to be shot while “resisting arrest”.

The real shooter is on the sixth floor, but there is also quite likely someone behind the picket fence on the grassy knoll. They fire roughly at the same time, when Kennedy is in the best position for the shot from the grassy knoll, the best possible location for a fatal shot. The shooter in the Depository escapes in a Nash Rambler, as several witnesses suggested, while protected by numerous other agents. The shooter behind the picket fence disposes of his weapon and then joins a group of “hoboes” in a nearby railway car. Other conspirators, identifying themselves as FBI agents or Secret Service agents, prevent witnesses and police from following him quickly enough to identify the suspect, but witnesses from the the overpass see the puffs of smoke and locate the source of the shots, and find cigarette butts and footprints behind the fence.

Oswald’s background as a communist defector is ideal. The police and FBI—who despise Kennedy– immediately understand that the U.S. government will not want to go to war with the Soviet Union, so they downplay Oswald’s communism and play up the “lone nut” theory. So the conspirators correctly surmised that they could have their cake and eat it too. Top government officials could suspect that the Soviet Union was actually involve, while conveniently ignoring the implications and tacitly approving the Warren Commission’s conclusions.

The Warren Commission wishes only to placate an anxious electorate. It is clear from the notes and minutes of their meetings that nobody on the commission had a serious interest in uncovering any new facts. Nobody seriously wanted to suggest, at any time, that a conspiracy exists. Failing to kill Oswald at the movie theatre—too many police officers and witnesses around, probably—the conspirators arrange for Jack Ruby to burst into the Dallas police station at the exact moment Oswald is being moved. Ruby himself dies of cancer four years later after alluding to dark plots and explosive revelations.

My suspicion is that the FBI was not directly involved but it was well-known that Hoover hated Kennedy and liked Johnson—he was frequent dinner guest at Senator Johnson’s home in the 1950’s—so the FBI could be counted on to cooperate. In January, 1964, Johnson appointed Hoover head of the FBI for life, in spite of the fact that he was beyond the age of compulsory retirement. This was Hoover’s fondest wish. Reporters who knew Johnson well were astonished. They had understood that Johnson knew that Hoover was a dangerous, excessively powerful bureaucrat. Why would he extend his term?

The effects of Kennedy’s assassination are, of course, illuminating.

  • The Viet Nam war continued, as Johnson rescinded Kennedy’s decision to withdraw.
  • The military-industrial complex grew much, much bigger and richer.
  • A conservative Democrat replaced a liberal Democrat.
  • The CIA, which Bobby Kennedy had been trying to control, was given a free-hand to continue it’s sponsorship of various coups and insurgencies around the world.
  • The cold war grew more intense.
  • The oil companies (including several owned by the powerful Hunt family) grew rich.

Does it seem all that unlikely that the assassinations of King and Robert Kennedy were also part of a continuing strategy to maintain real control of the U.S. government?

Richard Nixon, who was in Dallas on the day of the assassination, may have benefited the most from Kennedy’s death. He eventually became President himself, of course. But I doubt he was a conscious part of the conspiracy. In fact, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that Nixon later on tried to take on the same elements of the intelligence community that conspired to assassinate Kennedy, and lost, big time. Except that this time, instead of having his brains blown out, he was impeached, and Gerald Ford, who sat on the Warren Commission (yes, he did!), became President. Since then, it’s been Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. Carter and Clinton, like Johnson, are conservative Democrats. Reagan and Bush are Republican. There has not been a “liberal” president since Kennedy, and Kennedy was a moderate liberal at best. Johnson was a liberal on domestic social policy, but an unregenerate hawk on the war in Viet Nam, and military policy.

I believe the conspirators grew wiser, and, noting the continued obsession with John Kennedy’s assassination, realized that their goals could be achieved with less risk, by simply destroying, politically, those it believed were a genuine threat to their control, and buying off the rest. The result is a striking trend in the U.S. economy that shows wages for the average work as completely stagnant for the past twenty years, while over-all wealth has increased by an incomprehensible margin.

The long-term result of Kennedy’s death is what we live with today. This bizarre infatuation with huge, expensive weapons, by governments that declare that they are obsessed with reducing taxes. The inability of either party to nominate a genuine outsider for the office of President. The vastly overblown Lewinsky scandal. Colin Powell. Large, expensive military bases that remain open though they have no military purpose. Congress voting budget increases to the Pentagon that the Pentagon did not request. All very strange.