Monday, November 22, 2010, marked the 47th anniversary of a traumatizing historical event which forced many of us who are now aging Baby Boomers to unwillingly accelerate our maturity. To commemorate this event, I read JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why it Matters by James W. Douglass, which is a thorough exploration and investigation of President Kennedy’s assassination, and one which should put most questions about that crime to rest. It reads quickly, like a good crime novel, but is eye-opening because Douglass supports everything he says with copious sources, references, footnotes, and transcripts of interviews he had with many of those he names.
JFK and the Unspeakable clearly details who, what, when, where, why, and how about the CIA/FBI/mob/anti-Castro-Cuban conspiracy which murdered JFK. Taken along with the evidence that FDR helped provoke, knew in advance about, and used the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor to get Americans to support U.S. entry into World War II (see Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor by Robert Stinnett, Day of Deceit « Antiwar.com Blog, and Pearl Harbor: A Successful War Lie) and LBJ’s treachery in the June 8, 1967 murderous, broad-daylight Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, Douglass’ book also leads me to finally and firmly conclude that, if the members of our Ruling Class would “sacrifice” U.S. service members for their foreign policy plans and murder a popular President who had begun to turn against the imperial U.S. foreign policy (especially toward the USSR, Cuba, Vietnam, Indonesia, Africa, and South America), they would have no qualms at all about “sacrificing” more than 3,000 Americans on 9/11/01 to restart their post-Cold War Corporatist-Militarist agenda abroad and here at home, or about lying to “sacrifice” tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers and mercenaries, and millions of Iraqis, Afghans, & Pakistanis to expand the Empire into Central and East Asia, as they are currently doing.
Everything that they have done since, including Obama & most Democrats and Republicans, has been in the context of expanding global U.S. hegemony and further reducing us to an undemocratic national security police state (a transformation begun during World War I with the “Red Scare” and the Palmer Raids) with a shrinking middle class and more and more public services being privatized so the rich & corporations (corporate socialism) continue to get wealthier, while the rest of us are reduced to a state of 21st century neofeudalism (predatory capitalism). If most of us are struggling just to get by, we will be less able to stand up for our rights and resist the increasing depredations of the Ruling Class. See Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism by Sheldon S. Wolin and Death of the Liberal Class by Chris Hedges for a fuller understanding of this descent of the United States to its present deplorable condition.
Obviously, every President since JFK has learned the deadly personal consequences of challenging those who really run the United States Empire. That Empire’s unofficial Ministry of Propaganda, the Corpstream (“Corpstream” because it is both corporate and it relies on sexualized bodies and bloody corpses – “If it bleeds, it leads.” – to profit) Media, has successfully kept most Americans in the dark, titillated, distracted, trivialized, and misinformed for decades The right-wing media monopoly, with its absurd but cleverly Orwellian claims of a “liberal media bias”, has, since its eventual rise to dominance following the embarrassment of the 1964 drubbing of conservative Republican Barry Goldwater, become the most formidable propaganda organ for neoconservative, imperialist, militaristic corporatism ever created, aided first by the fascist “Christian” Right, and now by the perhaps sincere but self-deluded (and corporate-financed) people in the Tea Party “Movement”. Without the Corpstream Media, especially, but not exclusively, Fox “News” and its TV and radio pundits, the process of full corporatization/militarization of U.S. culture (movies, video/computer games, militaristic “cop” action shows such as NCIS, etc.) and society (military recruiting in high schools; “Support Our Troops” [i.e. our wars] propaganda) would have taken much longer.
The legacy of JFK’s assassination by the CIA (and its accomplices), that still-rogue shadow U.S. government which Kennedy said he had wanted to shatter “into a thousand pieces” after the Eisenhower/CIA Bay of Pigs fiasco which JFK had to carry out but which he did not support, is now clear:
- following LBJ’s lies about the Tonkin Gulf attack, the escalated war in Vietnam, killing more than 58,000 U.S. soldiers and three million Vietnamese there, and many hundreds of thousands since both there and here by illnesses and suicides directly caused by that illegal, unnecessary war of aggression by the U.S.;
- the continuation of the Cold War till the collapse of the USSR, with the threat of nuclear omnicide, and the millions who were killed in all the covert operations and proxy wars resulting from the Cold War;
- the firm establishment of the Permanent War Economy, a pernicious and murderous form of state capitalism, as the basis of the U.S. economy;
- the unquestioning obedience to the massively destructive, inhumane, undemocratic demands of Empire by every President and Congress since JFK’s murder;
- the crimes committed against humanity, mostly in Third World nations, authorized by every U.S. President from the start “in our national interest” or “for national security”, but taken to new depths of evil and depravity since JFK’s murder (see, for example, U.S. meddling in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Chagos Islands/Diego Garcia, Angola, Congo, Nigeria, Rwanda, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, and Haiti, to name just some);
- the Supreme Court’s 5-4 outrageous, blatant appointment of George W. Bush by the unprecedented stopping of the Florida vote count in December, 2000, with far too little protest by U.S. citizens;
- Al Gore’s willing, cowardly compliance with that unconstitutional Supreme Court decision;
- the stealing of both the 2000 and 2004 elections by neocon Republicans, with little resistance or outcry from Democrats, the other wing of the one Corporatist-Militarist Ruling Class Party (CMRC);
- Cheney’s blatant, arrogant meeting with oil & gas corporate representatives in January, 2001 using maps of Iraq’s oil fields;
- the 9/11 inside-job terrorism with its many, many unanswered questions, still being carefully covered up or ridiculed by the Corpstream Media;
- the many lies, with the Corpstream Media’s more-than-willing complicity, that pushed the U.S. to illegal wars of aggression on Afghanistan and Iraq, lies which Bush is now successfully repeating, with no Corpstream Media “personality” challenging him on them, as he sells more than one million copies of his “memoir”;
- the AUMF (Authorization to Use Military Force) which a supine Congress passed with only ONE dissenting vote (Rep. Barbara Lee), and which further reduced the authority of Congress to declare war and gave even more murderous power to the President, extending the unconstitutional power which President Lyndon Johnson, JFK’s CIA-approved successor, lied to get in the Tonkin Gulf Resolution;
- the monstrous (in both size and intent), anti-democratic Patriot Act, obviously prepared long in advance of 9/11/01, and opposed by very few members of Congress;
- Obama’s refusal, in violation of Constitutional and international laws, to prosecute anyone responsible for torture and all the other war crimes of the Bush administration;
- the increasing militarization and corporatization of nearly every aspect of life in the U.S., from education to health care to entertainment to travel (TSA) to government;
- the increasing legalization and normalization of government surveillance of every U.S. citizen via their phones, email, and the Internet, all in violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of the Fourth Amendment;
- the increasingly intrusive airport “security” measures, which have more to do with acclimating us to increased state control than with airplane security against terrorism;
- the repression of even peaceful dissent (with the oxymoronic “free speech zones”) and the persecution and prosecution of conscientious whistleblowers (accelerated under Obama);
- the ultimate claim of Executive Power by Obama – that of the Presidential “right” to order the murder of anyone, including U.S. citizens. deemed a “terrorist threat”, anywhere on earth, without a trial – a power historically characteristic only of tyrants and dictators;
- the maintenance and expansion of the U.S. Empire of military bases worldwide to protect corporate exploitation of cheap labor and of earth’s finite resources, no matter what the costs in lives and dollars;
- the continued running (and ruining) of our economy and the environment by Wall Street, War Profiteers, Big Oil, Big Coal, Big Pharma, Big Insurance, and other corporate “persons”, to their lavish enrichment and the increased impoverishment and ill health of most of the rest of us;
- the final nail in the coffin of U.S. pretensions to democracy, the Supreme Court’s January, 2010 Citizens United 5-4 decision completely opening the floodgates to corporate funding of elections, making the U.S. a country of the corporation, by the corporation, and for the corporation.
Of course, this process – the corporatization/militarization of the United States into a national security police state – was certainly not started by the CIA’s murder of JFK, but, with that obvious, clear, murderous message delivered to all future aspirants to the U.S. presidency on November 22, 1963, the process was not merely further enabled, but put into overdrive.
The nation in which we now live, one which profoundly and disproportionately affects the lives of everyone else, and the ecosystem of every living thing, on the planet, is the result of this morally corrupt, violent process which began long before JFK’s assassination, but which was sent into its final stages by that shadow-U.S. government-Corporatist/Militarist Ruling Class murder.
True citizens of a once-promising democratic republic need to be aware of these facts, if only to stop being deceived by the evil machinations of this Ruling Class in the future, as dark as those days will be.
Of course, our entire economic-political-media system must be changed from the current one of death and greed to one which enhances life, justice, and compassion, but there seems to be no way to bring that fundamental, radical, necessary change into being with the well-funded servants of the Corporatist-Militarist Ruling Class both writing and enforcing the laws of this country in Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court, and in state and local governments.
So what else can we realistically do?
As Chris Hedges and many others have recently advised us: we owe it to ourselves as well as to future generations to resist in as many ways as we can.
We can refuse to participate as much as each of us can manage in this blighted, suffocating culture of death, greed, trivial spectacle, and inhumanity. We can speak out as often and as loudly and clearly as possible whenever we have the chance. We must care for those who are most vulnerable to the depredations and cruelties of this anti-democratic, anti-humane system. We can establish local, alternative systems of survival for ourselves, our neighbors and families, and our communities. We can try to build a true people’s movement, with justice, equality, and compassion, not profit, competition, and dominance, at its core.
Above all, we must consciously strive, every day, to keep alive the best of our conscientious, caring humanity in the face of assaults by a cold, cruel, sociopathological system based completely on reducing all life only to commodities for profit. We owe this daily task and goal to ourselves as well as to future generations. The world they inherit will be a much more brutal one, and we must do whatever we can now to mitigate that brutality.
As William of Orange told us: “One need not hope in order to undertake, nor succeed in order to persevere.”