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JFK, World Peace, and Plant Based Diets

We have a food system that is based on tremendous inequity, suffering and violence, and a broken government that has normalized greed and war, to the extent that it has spent trillions of dollars and killed millions of innocent people in the last 20 years alone. And nobody has been held accountable. An equitable, and just food system is one of the great social justice issues of our lifetime, and I am only now learning how to better express the idea that there is a direct link between plant-based diets and world peace.

The United States is the wealthiest country in the world, and yet 1 in 4 families were food insecure in 2020, with Black and Hispanic children being twice as likely as white children to face hunger. And it is even worse for Native Americans as a recent UC Berkeley study shows that 92% of Native American households (in their study region) suffer from food insecurity. Moreover, The United Nations reports that globally, over 811 million people are hungry, and nearly 2.4 billion people lack access to adequate nutrition. World hunger and food insecurity are at all time highs, and one of the biggest driving forces for our current predicament is war.  

According to Dr. Will Tuttle, “The military-industrial-meat-medical-media complex has and offers no incentive to reduce animal food consumption. Poisoning the earth with massive doses of toxic chemicals and petroleum-based fertilizers is highly profitable for the petroleum and chemical industries. These toxins cause cancer, which is highly profitable to the chemical-pharmaceutical-medical complex. While the world’s rich omnivores waste precious supplies of grain, petroleum, water, and land feeding fattened animals, the world’s poor have little grain to eat or clean water to drink, and their chronic hunger, thirst, and misery create conditions for war, terrorism, and drug addiction, which are extremely profitable industries as well. The richest fifth of the world’s population gets obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, also highly profitable for industry.” 

Have you been to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum? After a recent visit, my overall take is that it is mostly what you would expect, politically correct, non-controversial, and safe with regards to promoting the “camelot” legacy. There was hardly any mention of Cuba, Vietnam, family dysfunction, the Civil Rights movement, the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Joe Kennedy, Sr.’s shortcomings. John F. Kennedy was flawed in many ways (like the rest of us), but he did have a magnetic presence, and a boatload of charisma. I have also heard Oliver Stone recently say that JFK was the last US president who would openly, and regularly speak of “World Peace” and “Negotiations”. What a breath of fresh air that would be! 

Here are a few excerpts from John F. Kennedy’s “Peace Speech” which served as the commencement address at American University in June, 1963 (a few months before he was killed):

“I have, therefore, chosen this time and this place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived, yet it is the most important topic on earth: world peace. What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children–not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women–not merely peace in our time but peace for all time…”

Click here for a link to John F. Kennedy’s entire “Peace Speech” at American University.

It was informative to learn more about President Kennedy’s famous “News Conferences” as well where his charm was on full display. Click here for a 3+ minute clip. 

Interestingly, many world leaders seemed to authentically mourn the death of John F. Kennedy too.

“I am shocked and griefstricken at the tragic assassination of President Kennedy. He was a great and dedicated President. His death is a great loss to America and the world. The finest tribute that the American people can pay to the late President Kennedy is to implement the progressive policies that he sought to initiate in foreign and domestic relations.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The Soviet government and the Soviet people share the deep grief of the American people over this great loss and express the hope that the search for settling the disputable issues, a search to which President J.F. Kennedy made a tangible contribution, would be continued in the interests of peace, for the benefit of mankind…All people who knew him greatly respected him. I shall always keep the memory of my meetings with him.” – Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev

On the other hand, there is this quote from Noam Chomsky as well (I consider Mr. Chomsky to be one of the most credible sources on the planet): “If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.“

As per Noam Chomsky: “Kennedy is easy. The invasion of Cuba was outright aggression. Eisenhower planned it, incidentally, so he was involved in a conspiracy to invade another country, which we can add to his score. After the invasion of Cuba, Kennedy launched a huge terrorist campaign against Cuba, which was very serious. No joke; bombardment of industrial installations with killing of plenty of people, bombing hotels, sinking fishing boats, sabotage. Later, under Nixon, it even went as far as poisoning livestock and so on. Big affair; and then came Vietnam; he invaded Vietnam. He invaded South Vietnam in 1962. He sent the US Air Force to start bombing…Kennedy is not even worth discussing. The invasion in South Vietnam – Kennedy attacked South Vietnam, outright. In 1961-1962 he sent Air Force to start bombing villages, authorized napalm. Also laid the basis for the huge wave of repression that spread over Latin America with the installation of Neo-Nazi gangsters that were always supported directly by the United States. That went on and in fact picked up under Johnson.”

In 2013, Activist/Writer Daniel Falcone (DF) had the following exchange with Noam Chomsky (NC): 

DF: Do you find it odd that the country is focusing on a 50th anniversary remembrance of the Kennedy assassination?

NC: Worship of leaders is a technique of indoctrination that goes back to the crazed George Washington cult of the 18th century and on to the truly lunatic Reagan cult of today, both of which would impress Kim Il-sung. The JFK cult is similar.

DF: What does it mean that popular media treat such a date with such unusual honor?

NC: Simply that we live in a deeply indoctrinated society.

DF: Do other countries find it odd that we commemorate such a day?

NC: Others are not all that different, though American patriotic displays do amuse (or surprise, or frighten) the world. In part, it’s just confusion. He’s very popular among African-Americans; some are unaware of his actual role in the civil rights struggles – which was not pretty. But in part, it’s among intellectuals – and JFK understood very well that if you pat them on the head and pretend you love them, you’ll get a good image. It worked like a charm.

Due to its reluctance to present history in a transparent and objective way, perhaps the best part of the JFK Library and Museum is its location, and that it is housed in a spectacular structure. The building itself is a work of art, and has a true wow factor. The employees were kind and friendly too, and it is always nice to be near the water. I am anything but a JFK scholar, but I did hope for more, and I found the visit to be slightly disappointing (albeit, unsurprising). Conversely, if you have never heard of John F. Kennedy, you will likely enjoy the visit even more.

“Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere”. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

And what does a trip to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum have to do with plant-based diets? Whether he meant it or not, John F. Kennedy did openly talk about World Peace (which remains remarkable by today’s standards). President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) talked about World Peace too in his 1941 Four Freedoms State of the Union Speech, but nobody questioned his sincerity, they just wondered if he could do it (it is no coincidence that FDR is considered by many to be the last great US president).

Here is an excerpt:

“In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression–everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way–everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want–which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear–which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor–anywhere in the world.”

Click here for the entire Four Freedoms Speech. 

Plant based diets would fit perfectly with President Roosevelt’s vision. A plant based diet promotes world peace through better health, non-violence, and justice for all beings (by greatly reducing suffering, planetary damage, and the risks of hunger and war). World peace is attainable, and a global conversion to plant-based diets, along with other modifications, gives us the best chance for sustainable success.

But don’t just take my word for it: 

“As long as there are slaughterhouses there will always be battlefields.” – Leo Tolstoy

“A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth.” – Joseph Poore, Oxford University

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian (vegan) diet.” – Albert Einstein

“In addition to climate mitigation gains, a transition towards more plant-based consumption and reduced consumption of animal-based foods, particularly from ruminant animals, could reduce pressure on forests and land used for feed, support the preservation of biodiversity and planetary health, and contribute to preventing forms of malnutrition (i.e. undernutrition, micronutrient deficiency, and obesity) in developing countries. Other co-benefits include lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and reducing mortality from diet-related non-communicable diseases.”
– United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Plant-based diets alone can’t bring about world peace. Never ending wars, means never ending profits for the wealthy few. Unfortunately, the US government (aka The United States of War, or the big bully on the block), continues to be run by greedy corporations, billionaires, and war profiteers. Democracy? What is that? We have been waiting for what seems like forever for a US president to talk openly about “peace for all time”, like JFK, and then truly make it a priority, like FDR. If our species survives, it will need one of the next US presidents to do just that, and then back it up with meaningful action. If we get lucky, and he or she does, plant-based diets will no doubt be at the center of the conversation. 🙂

The bottom line on the JFK Presidential Library and Museum? All things considered, I would still give it a thumbs up. 🙂

If you are considering a trip to Boston to visit the JFK Library and Museum, here are two highly recommended vegan friendly stops to consider:
Click here for the Veggie Grill restaurant review.
Click here for the Citizen Crust restaurant review.

Notes: I also give a thumb’s up to Oliver Stone’s most recent film, “JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass.” (Click here for the trailer). It was a challenge to find a thoughtful review of the film in the mainstream media. Since Roger Ebert’s passing, it has been difficult to find quality film reviewers, as Rolling Stone has become unreliable, as have the reviews on, and other sites as well. Click here for an informative and well written review from Jefferson Morley of

Click here for a link to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum.
Click here for a transcript of JFK’s Peace Speech (commencement address) at American University.
Click here for an interview with Abby Martin and Oliver Stone (Down the JFK rabbit hole).
Click here for a link to CODEPINK’s estimate of Iraqi deaths since the illegal US invasion in 2003.
Click here for a link to the “Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change” report from the IPCC.
Click here for a link to Dr. Will Tuttle’s The World Peace Diet. 
Click here to learn more about the Vietnam War from Ariel Garfinkel’s excellent book, “Scofflaw: International War and America’s Deadly Weapons in Vietnam”.
Click here to learn more about Native American food insecurity.
Click here to learn more about food insecurity in The United States.
Click here to learn more about how capitalism commodifies life. 
Click here to learn more from Noam Chomsky on JFK, and the Camelot myth.
Click here for more articles from Daniel Falcone.
Click here to learn more about FDR, and The Four Freedoms Speech. 
Click here to learn more about FDR and his legacy. 

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