Friday, May 13, 2011

JFK: His Murder and Apotheosis

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Though his 'presidency' was cut short, JFK had already grown disillusioned by the CIA and the US Military-Industrial Complex. JFKs "awakening" was among several motives for his murder, according to a new book: JFK'S Conversion from War by James Douglass.

JFK won a narrow victory over Nixon who was running as a "Cold Warrior" when everyone, it seems, was a 'cold warrior' by merely being alive at the time. Under-reported is the young President's growing disillusionment following the "Bay of Pigs" which figures prominently as motive in various "theories" about his murder.

JFK had been shaken by the Cuban Missile Crisis and so, too, was Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev who was at least as shaken as had been the young, new American President. JFK could not have known at the time that the Cuban Missile Crisis would help improve U.S.-Soviet relations.

The object of ridicule and parody in Stanley Kubrick's ascerbic comedy hit of the era, Dr. Strangelove, the axis of CIA-Pentagon-MIC was not happy. JFK represented a threat to various plans for global domination. The President was convinced that such plans would lead inexorably to nuclear armageddon. He was correct as Dwight Eisenhower had been earlier when he issued his own warnings about the rising power of the Military/Industrial Complex.

The "Brass" would never forgive JFK's peace overtures toward Fidel Castro. Later, LBJ would assuage the brass, putting further talks with CUBA on hold. One wonders what LBJ knew and when he knew it. Certainly --no President since the cold-blooded murder of JFK have dared piss off the brass. That being the case, it is fair to call the U.S. government a "military-dictatorship".

JFK was blamed for Viet Nam when, in fact, it was Pentagon incompetence that was and remains responsible for a financially ruinous debacle. The Pentagon's compromised position is understandable: $millions$, $billions$ were riding on an Orwellian 'perpetual war' in Southeast Asia from whom only military contractors benefited.

Little has changed. Because the Pentagon, the MIC and K-street call the shots, America is still stuck in war muck from which only big military contractors benefit. If Obama sucks up to the CIA-MIC, he will be fine. If not, he may very well wind up dead, accused of getting blow jobs or worse. Since JFK was gunned down mercilessly in the street in Dallas, TX, Presidents have served at the pleasure of higher and more ruthless powers, a latter day Praetorian Guard.

The murder of JFK has been called a coup d' Etat. Who but the MIC with CIA help could have pulled it off? A man who would later become President of the United States was, at the time, a little known oil man, the founder of an alleged 'oil company' called Zapata! This man, who was most certainly connected to the CIA, was photographed hanging around just outside the Texas School Book Depository in the short, tragic moments leading up to the murder of our last great hope.

Modern U.S. history has a familiar ring to it. Roman writer and military strategist Flavius Vegetius Renatus --supported in modern times by Arthur Ferrill --believed that Rome's decline can be traced to the use of German mercenaries in the legions. Certainly, any fan of the BBC's historic "I, Claudius" based upon the books by Robert Graves will remember the "Germans" who wore the tunic, fought the battles and took the orders.

A state of Orwellian "perpetual war" and foreign occupations define "empire" and "fascism". A series of foreign wars and internal struggles preceded Caesar's "crossing the Rubicon". The rest is grist for Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, a work which illustrates the internal dynamics driving the will to power. Later, the Praetorian Guard, Rome's proto-type Military-Industrial Comlex, auctioned off the empire to a nobleman --Didius Julianus. Significantly, the sale was concluded in Greek Drachmas, not worthless Roman sesterces, yet another parallel another instance in which the U.S. seems destined to repeat Rome's numerous follies.

The result in America, as in Rome earlier, is the literal "auctioning off" of the office of President of the United States, an act embodied in Mussolini's term: corporatism. A society is morally lost when mass murder becomes its number one export. A nation is lost whenever there are mercenary exceptions to the "rule of law". In such a society, everyone is guilty if proven innocent and only corporations, elites and suck-ups are enriched. Corporations have become "people" and real people are made poorer by design.

Following are JFKs remarks in Fort Worth on the very day that he would die:
In the past 3 years we have increased the defense budget of the United States by over 20 percent; increased the program of acquisition for Polaris submarines from 24 to 41; increased our Minuteman missile purchase program by more than 75 percent; doubled the number of strategic bombers and missiles on alert; doubled the number of nuclear weapons available in the strategic alert forces; increased the tactical nuclear forces deployed in Western Europe by over 60 percent; added five combat ready divisions to the Army of the United States, and five tactical fighter wings to the Air Force of the United States; increased our strategic airlift capability by 75 percent; and increased our special counterinsurgency forces which are engaged now in South Viet-Nam by 600 percent. I hope those who want a stronger America and place it on some signs will also place those figures next to it.
This is not an easy effort. This requires sacrifice by the people of the United States. But this is a very dangerous and uncertain world. As I said earlier, on three occasions in the last 3 years the United States has had a direct confrontation. No one can say when it will come again. No one expects that our life will be easy, certainly not in this decade, and perhaps not in this century. But we should realize what a burden and responsibility the people of the United States have borne for so many years. Here, a country which lived in isolation, divided and protected by the Atlantic and the Pacific, uninterested in the struggles of the world around it, here in the short space of 18 years after the Second World War, we put ourselves, by our own will and by necessity, into defense of alliances with countries all around the globe. Without the United States, South Viet-Nam would collapse overnight. Without the United States, the SEATO alliance would collapse overnight.
Without the United States the CENTO alliance would collapse overnight. Without the United States there would be no NATO. And gradually Europe would drift into neutralism and indifference. Without the efforts of the United States in the Alliance for Progress, the Communist advance onto the mainland of South America would long ago have taken place.
So this country, which desires only to be free, which desires to be secure, which desired to live at peace for 18 years under three different administrations, has borne more than its share of the burden, has stood watch for more than its number of years. I don't think we are fatigued or tired. We would like to live as we once lived. But history will not permit it. The Communist balance of power is still strong. The balance of power is still on the side of freedom. We are still the keystone in the arch of freedom, and I think we will continue to do as we have done in our past, our duty, and the people of Texas will be in the lead."

--JOHN F. KENNEDY, Fort Worth, Nov 22, 1963
Following is an account of the last day of a man who was arguably the last legitimate President of the United States.
On November 21, the President and First Lady departed on Air Force One for the two-day, five-city tour of Texas. JFK was aware that a feud among party leaders in Texas could jeopardize his chances of carrying the state in 1964, and one of his aims for the trip was to bring Democrats together. He also knew that a relatively small but vocal group of extremists was contributing to the political tensions in Texas and would likely make its presence felt—particularly in Dallas, where UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson had been physically attacked a month earlier after making a speech there. Nonetheless, JFK seemed to relish the prospect of leaving Washington, getting out among the people and into the political fray.

The first stop was San Antonio. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, Governor John B. Connally and Senator Ralph W. Yarborough led the welcoming party and accompanied the President to Brooks Air Force Base for the dedication of the Aerospace Medical Health Center. Continuing on to Houston, he addressed a Latin American citizens’ organization and spoke at a testimonial dinner for Congressman Albert Thomas before ending the day in Fort Worth.
A light rain was falling on Friday morning, November 22, but a crowd of several thousand stood in the parking lot outside the Texas Hotel where the Kennedys had spent the night. A platform had been set up and the President, wearing no protection against the weather, came out to make some brief remarks. “There are no faint hearts in Fort Worth,” he began, “and I appreciate your being here this morning. Mrs. Kennedy is organizing herself. It takes longer, but, of course, she looks better than we do when she does it.” He went on to talk about the nation’s need for being “second to none” in defense and in space, for continued growth in the economy and “the willingness of citizens of the United States to assume the burdens of leadership.” The warmth of the audience response was palpable as the President reached out to shake hands amidst a sea of smiling faces.

Back inside the hotel the President spoke at a breakfast of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, focusing on military preparedness. “We are still the keystone in the arch of freedom,” he said. “We will continue to do…our duty, and the people of Texas will be in the lead.”

The presidential party left the hotel and went by motorcade to Carswell Air Force Base for the thirteen-minute flight to Dallas. Arriving at Love Field, President and Mrs. Kennedy disembarked and immediately walked toward a fence where a crowd of well-wishers had gathered, and they spent several minutes shaking hands. The First Lady was presented with a bouquet of red roses, which she brought with her to the waiting limousine. Governor John Connally and his wife, Nellie, were already seated in the open convertible as the Kennedys entered and sat behind them. Since it was no longer raining, the plastic bubble top had been left off. Vice President and Mrs. Johnson occupied another car in the motorcade.

The procession left the airport and traveled along a ten-mile route that wound through downtown Dallas on the way to the Trade Mart where the President was scheduled to speak at a luncheon. Crowds of excited people lined the streets waving to the Kennedys as they waved back. The car turned off Main Street at Dealey Plaza around 12:30 p.m. As it was passing the Texas School Book Depository, gunfire suddenly reverberated in the plaza. Bullets struck the President’s neck and head and he slumped over toward Mrs. Kennedy. The Governor was also hit in the chest.

The car sped off to Parkland Memorial Hospital just a few minutes away. But there was little that could be done for the President. A Catholic priest was summoned to administer the last rites and at 1:00 p.m. John F. Kennedy was pronounced dead.
--JFK in History: November 22, 1963: Death of the President, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Read: "JFK'S CONVERSION FROM WAR" The author is James Douglass, a founder of the 'Ground Zero Center.
n., pl., -ses (-s?z').
1 Exaltation to divine rank or stature; deification.
2 Elevation to a preeminent or transcendent position; glorification: "Many observers have triedto attribute Warhol's current apotheosis to the subversive power of artistic vision" (Michiko Kakutani).
3 An exalted or glorified example: Their leader was the apotheosis of courage.
[Late Latin apothe?sis, from Greek, from apotheoun, to deify : apo-, change; see apo- + theos, god.]

Media Conglomerates, Mergers, Concentration of Ownership, Global Issues, Updated: January 02, 2009

Sunday, May 08, 2011

How Progressives Can Take Back America

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Many 'progressives' who voted for Obama expected a 'savior'. There are none! The best strategy left to disappointed progressives is to take back the party many believe abandoned them. I was among those who believed Clinton should have taken a stronger stand in defense of liberal and/or progressive values. I despised 'triangulation'.

My biggest disappointment was Janet Reno's attack on the Branch-Davidians in Waco, an unlawful attack violating federal and state laws --most egregiously --the presumption of innocence and every due process clause known to exist anywhere at any time to include the 14th Amendment
No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.
--U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights.
The best strategy available to progressives now is not to create another party but to take back an existing party apparatus --the Democratic party. It will take years to mount an effective third party whose best hope would consist of 'brokering' a deal with more conservative wings of the only organized opposition to the GOP i.e. the Democratic party.

Progressives' best chance for changing the fascist direction taken by American politics may be found in a book that was, in fact, appropriated if not usurped by the GOP. I have in mind one Saul Alinsky whose 'Rules for Radical', written for a liberal, left leaning movement owing much to FDR and war opponents like Eugene Debs.

Interestingly, it is the GOP which has made more effective use of the strategies and tactics than have liberals or Democrats for whom 'Rules for Radicals' was written. It is cited in GOP campaign manuals, practiced in almost every campaign. I have personal knowledge of that, having acquired a few GOP 'campaign manuals' at a time when Tom DeLay was building a conservative machine while gerrymandering the state of Texas.

Alinsky advises 'activists' to work inside the existing system, to utilize the existing networks and/or infrastructure. Starting from scratch is inefficient, time consuming, wasteful of time and resources. Democrats have an infrastructure in place already. Use it! As ALINSKY himself said:
"There's another reason for working inside the system. Dostoevski said that taking a new step is what people fear most. Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future."

--Saul Alinsky

If 'liberals/progressives will not heed and benefit from a 'legendary' liberal organizer/activist like Alinsky, I have a slim chance of waking them up! If the 'left' insists upon walking off a cliff there is little anyone can do for them.

There is now, however, an opportunity to be seized. Whatever your feelings about the Bush occupation of Iraq, the political fact of the matter is that millions of Americans seemed to have bought into the many lies that the right wing told in order to justify the massive theft of oil resources in the Middle East. The invasion of Iraq, we were told, was part of the bigger 'war on terror' (more properly, 'terrorism'). Bin Laden was the boogeyman upon which were directed the fears and prejudices of much of the population and especially the right wing which wanted to believe. For Bushco, they were an easy sale!

Recent events have turned the Bush strategy on its head! This is a paradigm shift rarely seen in American politics in which a right wing and a left wing had dug their trenches and had begun a long seige. In just a few short days, the news that Bin Laden had been killed --NOT on Bush's watch but by a Democratic U.S. regime --has shaken the GOP to its rotting foundations. There is really very little the GOP can do but praise the efforts of a Democratic President. It must hurt! My heart bleeds!

There are, therefore, opportunities to change the very complexion of U.S. politics but only if progressives work with the existing Democratic infrastructure.
Through a process combining hope and resentment, the organizer tries to create a “mass army” that brings in as many recruits as possible from local organizations, churches, services groups, labor unions, corner gangs, and individuals. Alinsky provides a collection of rules to guide the process. But he emphasizes these rules must be translated into real-life tactics that are fluid and responsive to the situation at hand.

Rule 1: Power is not only what you have, but what an opponent thinks you have. If your organization is small, hide your numbers in the dark and raise a din that will make everyone think you have many more people than you do.

Rule 2: Never go outside the experience of your people. The result is confusion, fear, and retreat.

Rule 3: Whenever possible, go outside the experience of an opponent. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.

Rule 4: Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. “You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”

Rule 5: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.

Rule 6: A good tactic is one your people enjoy. “If your people aren’t having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.”

Rule 7: A tactic that drags on for too long becomes a drag. Commitment may become ritualistic as people turn to other issues.

Rule 8: Keep the pressure on. Use different tactics and actions and use all events of the period for your purpose. “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this that will cause the opposition to react to your advantage.”

Rule 9: The threat is more terrifying than the thing itself. When Alinsky leaked word that large numbers of poor people were going to tie up the washrooms of O’Hare Airport, Chicago city authorities quickly agreed to act on a longstanding commitment to a ghetto organization. They imagined the mayhem as thousands of passengers poured off airplanes to discover every washroom occupied. Then they imagined the international embarrassment and the damage to the city’s reputation.

Rule 10: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. Avoid being trapped by an opponent or an interviewer who says, “Okay, what would you do?”

Rule 11: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. Don’t try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame.

--Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals
The GOP is now robbed of its cause celebre --the capture and/or death of Osama Bin Laden and, at the same time, robbed of its erstwhile raison d'etre --the war on terrorism!