The Flag Remains the Same - Part One -
At the peak of World War Two the U.S. was cranking out a Liberty ship in 8 hours, a B-24 bomber every 63 minutes, and a Sherman tank every half hour. The Military-Industrial Complex, within a few short years of its coming into existence, had become the largest war machine the world had ever seen. By the end of the war The U.S. was the global superpower, and by signing The National Security Act of 1947 into law, President Truman created the CIA and the National Security State.
War became the foundation of the economy and the Military-Industrial-Security Complex had no interest in dismantling itself. There must always be A War. There must always be An Enemy. The Soviet Union, the most valuable ally of the United States during World War II, became The Enemy, and communism became the all pervasive threat.
From Adam Curtis’s documentary Century of the Self Part Two - The Engineering of Consent:
“In 1953 the Soviet Union exploded it's first hydrogen bomb and the fear of nuclear war and communism gripped the United States.
… At this point Edward Bernays [Sigmund Freud’s nephew] was living in New York. In the 1920s he had invented the profession of Public Relations and was now one of the most powerful PR men in America. He worked for most of the major corporations and advised politicians, including President Eisenhower. … Bernays argued that instead of trying to reduce people's fears of communism, one should actually encourage and manipulate the fear.”
Fear fueled the consent given to the Military-Industrial-Security Complex, and it made certain Americans were propagandized with high-test boogeyman.
In 1953 Senator Joseph McCarthy gave a speech in West Virginia where he said, "The State Department is infested with communists. I have here in my hand a list of 205 - a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department."
McCarthy never made his list public nor produced any solid evidence there was even one communist in the State Department. But the Americans, listening to McCarthy’s “revelations,” were shocked to their core. The enemy was not lying in wait on some foreign shore. The enemy was in our midst. Within our own government.
Anti-communist propaganda was everywhere. From lurid Mike Hammer paperbacks to Hollywood films, communists were scheming to extinguish the beacon of freedom that was The United States of America.
The film Red Nightmare was produced by Warner Brothers and narrated by Jack Webb - Sergeant Joe Friday from the radio and television series Dragnet. Though made for the Department of Defense, it was shown on television and distributed to schools as an educational film.
Red Nightmare begins with shots of a typical small American town, but as the camera pulls back we see it is surrounded by barbed wire and patrolled by Soviet Army guards.
Webb tells us this looks like any American town but … “This is not an American town. However it can be assumed that such a town does exist, shrouded in secrecy, and protected by utmost security deep behind the Iron Curtain. You might call this a college town … Communist style. As part of a long-range plan to destroy our free way of life these young communists are studying the economic, political, and religious institutions that are the very heartbeat of America. The courses here in this strangest of all schools … espionage as a science, propaganda as an art, sabotage as a business. This nameless American city, deep in the vastness of the Soviet Union, stands as a symbol of Russian treachery, of long-range communist conspiracy.”
Imagine the shock to the American psyche to see the Soviets had actually constructed an Anytown U.S.A. to groom spies where they could perfect their “Americanisms” so they could walk among real Americans undetected. Did people watching Red Nightmare doubt Webb when he said, “…it can be assumed that such a town does exist.”? Because of their fear-induced mania, when they saw the Hollywood sets, watched the cast of Warner contract players enacting the crude simplistic plot, audiences believed it was all true.
As William Blum wrote in his book Rogue State, “During the Cold War, US foreign policy was carried out under the waving banner of fighting a moral crusade against what cold warriors persuaded the American people, most of the world, and perhaps themselves, was the existence of a malevolent International Communist Conspiracy. But it was always a fraud; there was never any such animal as the International Communist Conspiracy.”
The cold warriors spun their ubiquitous false propaganda of a Communist Conspiracy and drove it home so deeply and thoroughly, it drove the country insane. Some moments of reason managed to slip through the madness, but were for the most part, ignored.
In Eisenhower’s speech, The Chance for Peace, he described a future without peace with the Soviets.
The best would be this: a life of perpetual fear and tension; a burden of arms draining the wealth and the labor of all peoples; a wasting of strength that defies the American system or the Soviet system or any system to achieve true abundance and happiness for the peoples of this earth.
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
… The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.
It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 ….
It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.
… We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.
… This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.
And in his farewell speech to the nation Eisenhower spoke clearly about the real threat from within the country:
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. … But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence economic, political, even spiritual is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government.
… In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.
Eisenhower was not to be succeeded by his vice president, the eager and ambitious cold warrior Richard M. Nixon. John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, won the 1960 presidential election. Or to be more precise … the election was stolen for him in Illinois and Texas, giving Kennedy the electoral votes … and the presidency.
The Flag Remains The Same Part Two -
John Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon in the closest presidential election of the 20th century. Kennedy led Nixon by only two-tenths of one percent (49.7% to 49.5%) in the popular vote. In the Electoral College he won 303 votes to Nixon's 219. Election theft in Illinois and Texas guaranteed Kennedy 51 Electoral College Votes and the election. If you spend a few hours researching the voting peculiarities in Illinois and Texas on that day you’ll soon discover that way too many ghosts in those two states voted for Kennedy.
I can’t pretend to know the motives of the people who engineered the theft of the presidential election of 1960. All I know is they pulled it off. The goal could have simply been to put a Kennedy in the White House, or it could have been to change the direction the country had been headed since the end of World War Two … the direction set by the Military-Industrial Complex of the National Security State.
Jack Kennedy was president for 2 years and 9 months. If we simply look at what he did, and wanted to do, over those thousand days, we can see why he was definitely a threat to the status quo.
Kennedy did not bail out the CIA’s failed Bay of Pigs Invasion against Castro’s Cuba in 1961 with U.S. air support.
JFK quashed the Defense Department’s plan, Operation Northwoods, to stage terrorist attacks on US soil to be blamed on Cuba.
Kennedy told the chairman of the Joint Chiefs that the Joint Chiefs would be wholly responsible for all covert paramilitary action in peacetime. This would effectively end the reign of the CIA. Kennedy fired the Director of the CIA, Allen Dulles, and promised to splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.
The military-industrial complex had already laid out plans for Kennedy to preemptively start a nuclear war with the Soviet Union and regularly pressured him to do so. Though the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962 could have been the flashpoint to start such a war, Kennedy and the leader of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, backed away from a nuclear exchange, and afterwards Kennedy secretly brokered a nuclear disarmament treaty with Khrushchev.
Kennedy was going to close 52 military installations in 25 states and 21 overseas bases.
He was working to end the US occupation of Vietnam. Though much has been written to the contrary, Kennedy's Vietnam withdrawal plan is a fact, not speculation.
Kennedy thwarted military contractor United States Steel’s plans to raise steel prices and sought to eliminate the oil depletion allowance.
And on May 20, 1962, Kennedy passionately argued for universal health care in a speech given at Madison Square Garden.
With a dismantled CIA, peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union, an end to the nuclear arms race, the closure of military bases domestically and around the globe, and an end to the Vietnam war, there would be drastic reduction in the size and influence of the Military-Industrial Complex of the National Security State. Kennedy was in the crosshairs of the government-corporate sectors for a myriad of reasons, but it all boiled down to this: No war - Hot or Cold - no money.
The Vietnam war was a bloody cash cow that eventually generated 738 billion (in today’s dollars) for the Military-Industrial Complex. With that kind of money at stake, as well as the unknown billions being poured into the arms race, is it any wonder a coup d'état against the president who stole his office was in the works?
Under Kennedy’s leadership - stolen election or not - the United States would have changed course back towards something akin to the FDR/Henry Wallace vision of America. A more rational approach to American - Soviet relations without the anti-communist hysteria would lead to coexistence … instead of annihilation. Redirecting the billions spent for war and defense would have made possible the implementation of FDR’s proposed Second Bill of Rights. Imagine for a moment that we could look back upon celebrating fifty years of universal health care instead of remembering the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s murder.
JFK was not assassinated by a lone gunman as was determined by the Warren Commission. The commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald fired 3 shots from 6.5 mm Carcano Model 91/38 carbine killing Kennedy and wounding Texas governor John Connally. But because of an 8mm film of the assassination recorded by Abraham Zapruder, we know the government’s official story of Kennedy’s assassination is nothing but lies, distortion, and a shoddy cover-up.
Zapruder’s camera advanced the film at 18.3 frames per second. We know exactly from start to finish how long it took for the assassination to take place from the first to last shot fired. We know how long it takes to aim, load, and fire the Carcano rifle three times. We know it is not possible to fire 4 shots with that rifle in the allotted time. And we know not one marksman has duplicated Oswald’s alleged marksmanship using Oswald’s rifle in the condition as it was found in the so-called “assassin’s nest” at the Texas Schoolbook Depository building.
Figuring out how many shots were fired based on how much damage was done to Kennedy, Connally, to the car, and to a by-stander, the minimum number of shots required seems to be no less than four, and probably more like six. The House Select Committee on Assassinations formed in 1976 concluded there were at least four shots.
There were more than 3 shots … therefore there was more than one gunman … therefore there was a conspiracy. That’s all we need to know. As to the actual identities of the gunmen … that’s almost irrelevant. The gunmen were the puppets of the conspirators. What’s more important is to look at those who benefited from the assassination. From that pool we can see the breadth and depth of the conspiracy, the creation of the killing zone, and the subsequent cover-up.
Of all the peripheral entities swirling inside the assassination conspiracy maelstrom … who could plan and benefit from the murder? There’s only one consistent candidate: the Military-Industrial Complex of the National Security State. Could the Russians, Cubans, or Mafia, or any other of the Usual Suspects, change the motorcade route that led the presidential limousine to the killing zone? Of course not. The destruction of evidence began within hours of the president's death. Senior officials of the U.S. government, especially those at the CIA and FBI, destroyed evidence and lied about the assassination and the events that led up to it.
As Donald Sutherland’s character in JFK explains, “That's the real question, isn't it? Why? The how and the who is just scenery for the public. Oswald, Ruby, Cuba, the Mafia... ...keeps them guessing, like a game. Prevents them from asking the most important question: why? Why was Kennedy killed? Who benefited? Who has the power to cover it up? Who?”
The only answer that covers all the bases is … the Military Industrial Complex of the Nation Security State.
Who but the government had the wherewithal to engineer such a cover-up and steadfastly maintain it through the coming decades? And isn’t it monumentally fortuitous, how incredibly opportune, that a neurotic misguided misfit, a “lone gunman” named Lee Harvey Oswald, just happened to assassinate the one man who could deny the ambitions of the Military-Industrial Complex of the National Security State?
After Kennedy’s assassination the United States was back on course to war and reaping profits from war. And it would stay on that course for the next 37 years. Until the next coup.
The Flag Remains The Same - Part Three -
Remember that queasy period from November seventh to December twelfth back in 2000? For 36 days we didn’t know who was going to be the next president of the United States.
At first the solution seemed so obvious … recount the votes in Florida … by hand. A recount had to be done by hand because of the hanging or dimpled “chad” issues with the computer punch card ballots.
A hanging chad occurs when the perforated square on the ballot next to the candidate’s name isn’t completely punched through and remains connected to the ballot. The counting machine’s rollers push the chad back into place, so to the counting machine it appears there wasn’t a selection made for that candidate. A dimpled chad occurs when the voter doesn’t push hard enough to punch through the card, or the holding tray beneath the ballot becomes so clogged with chads the voter can’t punch through the ballot, and again the voter’s selection is missed by the vote counting machine. Anyone who has ever used a paper hole puncher has seen when the tray holding the punches becomes full and prevents the plunger from punching through the paper. So instead of a hole … Voilà … a dimple is created on the paper.
Since a machine can’t count hanging or dimpled chad ballots, the easiest way to see the voter’s intent is to actually look at the ballot.
The Republicans didn’t have any problem with the mandatory machine recount of Florida’s votes because the resulting tally wouldn’t vary that much from the first machine count. But all hell broke loose when, as provided under Florida state law, Gore requested hand recounts in four Florida counties.
The Republican Noise Machine ignored the rationale for a hand recount as well as Gore’s legal standing to request it. The Republican mantra became, “We’ve counted and recounted the votes … Bush won.” We heard it over and over again on the nightly news from James Baker, George H. W. Bush's former Secretary of State, who was hired to oversee the Bush campaign’s legal team. And I heard it from all the Republicans I knew. Word For Word.
You would think, because of an election of this magnitude, everyone would want and demand a full and accurate count of the votes in Florida. You would think the leadership of both parties would want to insure the eventual winner wouldn’t be viewed as an illegitimate victor thus undermining the new president’s administration. You would think that … if you were a political naïf … or a visiting Martian.
The Republicans didn’t give a good goddamn about appearances and started throwing up legal challenges right and left to block a hand recount. And they didn’t limit themselves only to legal recourses. Republican operatives organized the “Brooks Brothers Riot,” bussing in hundreds of paid GOP staffers to shut down the recount in Miami-Dade county. From Wikipedia:
“Several of these protesters were identified as Republican staffers and a number later went on to jobs in the Bush administration. … The demonstration turned violent, and according to the NY Times, several people were trampled, punched or kicked when protesters tried to rush the doors outside the office of the Miami-Dade supervisor of elections. … Within two hours after the riot died down, the canvassing board unanimously voted to shut down the count.”
Main Stream Media did their part to de-legitimize the recount process.
The easiest way to determine voter intent is to look at the punch card ballot. If you want to see if there are hanging or dimpled chads … you simply hold the punch card up to the light.
A photograph of a member from a Florida canvassing committee holding a ballot up to the light was all over the nightly news and on the front pages of both Seattle dailies. Instead of clearly explaining the recount process it was inferred this was a dubious procedure at best, and the man holding the punch card like Johnny Carson’s Karnak was possibly determining voter intent by divine revelation or worse … partisan bias. James Baker and his noisome ilk kept saying the Democrats would continue counting the votes until they won.
People started responding to the Noise Machine’s message and began waffling around saying Gore should “give up for the good of the country.” It’s unsettling to live in a country where the electoral process has broken down. A general feeling of unease descended upon the populace. People wanted clarity and direct action. They got nervous when outcomes weren’t clear.
Main Stream Media didn’t attempt to address the real story of the election. Al Gore won the popular vote by well over half a million votes. There were enough questions about the vote in Florida to require an accurate hand recount. Opposition to the recount only delayed the determination of who would legitimately be the next president. In that light the Republicans could be seen as trying to distort the electoral process to their favor. Did you ever see that presented by Main Stream Media? I didn’t.
The recount proceeded in fits and starts until finally the Florida Supreme Court ordered a statewide recount of votes on December 8, 2000. Four days later the Supreme Court of the United States decided in Bush v. Gore, to stop the recount, thus awarding Florida's votes to Bush, and giving him the presidency of the United States.
Compare this to the almost 13 million Canadians who voted in their November 2000 general election. The votes were counted by hand. Late on election night, or by the next morning, the results were known, and within seven days the results were validated.
On the other hand almost 6 million Floridians voted in the November 2000 general election. If Elections Canada can hand count 13 million votes in a day or so, it stands to reason that a statewide hand recount of 6 million votes in Florida could be undertaken within a similar time frame. But for 36 tortuous days we saw Republicans and a compliant media stonewall the will of the American people.
On November 12, 2001, a consortium of major United States news organizations conducted the Florida Ballot Project, and released a comprehensive review of all Florida ballots statewide, and determined that Al Gore won the election.
At first it was just election theft. The Republican Machine attempted to steal the election with rigged voting machines, the infamous “butterfly” ballots, and purged over 54,000 citizens from the Florida voting rolls. But that still couldn’t put Bush over the top. A statewide hand recount would show Gore won the state so the Supreme Court of the United States intervened, overturned the people’s decision, and handed the election to Bush.
This was when a failed attempt to steal an election became a coup d'état. Main Stream Media went into overdrive to convince Americans this was a normal transfer of power. When was the last time you saw something that had never happened before described as … normal? Since when does a coup d'état go unrecognized?
Only in the United States of America.
The Flag Remains The Same - Part Four -
A coup d'état … is the sudden deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment - typically the military - to depose the extant government and replace it with another body, civil or military.
If Kennedy’s murder was a simple assassination by a “lone nut” then the only real change would have been his replacement as prescribed by the Presidential Succession Act. But the reversal of Kennedy’s policies started the day after his funeral. This was a coup. The country was on a new course. And I believe all subsequent presidents after Kennedy were made well aware of the fact that their primary job was to support the agenda of the Military Industrial Complex of the National Security State. The 8 millimeter Zapruder film was an effective visual aid demonstrating what could happen if they didn’t. I’ve always thought there was a slight possibility every new President-elect might have been shown a similar film from that day in Dallas … but from a better vantage point and shot in 35 millimeter. Y’know … the government’s good copy.
The New York Times, the national "newspaper of record", and the most trusted man in America, Walter Cronkite, endorsed the findings of the Warren Commission along with the rest of Main Stream Media. To disagree - or even find fault - with the government’s “official” story branded one with the pejorative… conspiracy “buff.”
As Gore Vidal said, "The New York Times is for us what Pravda was for the Soviets. … America is a country full of conspiracy, and yet when you mention the word on television the interviewer giggles, so that people will think only nuts who believe in abduction by aliens believe in conspiracies. But don't they know they are being had? They are being lied to every day. … Apparently, "conspiracy stuff" is now shorthand for unspeakable truth."
The vast majority of Americans went about their daily routines unaware that they now lived under a fledgling government that had only just seized power on November 22nd, 1963. They celebrated the Fourth of July as the “birthday” of their country not knowing they’d missed the mark by 187 years. But how could they know? The most trusted man in America, or any other Main Stream journalist for that matter, never told them. And if anyone said anything different … why they were just a bunch of crackpots and loonies … y’know … conspiracy buffs.
And so it went. Every four years a presidential election was held. A Democrat or a Republican won, the new or re-elected President was sworn in, vowed to uphold the Constitution of the United States, and then promptly dropped the act when he strolled into the Oval Office on his first day on the job.
But then the historical path changed for the government in power. With the fall of the Soviet Union came a tremendous “peace dividend.” The billions spent every year on the Cold War became overkill. What would justify keeping military bases open for business without a Soviet threat? The Military-Industrial Complex of the National Security State couldn’t coherently argue for increases in the defense budget. The USSR, the Enemy that had been used to terrify a couple of generations of Americans, had imploded and vanished like last night’s bad dream. The commies in China weren’t good enough candidates to play the new boogeyman because they were starting to make all our stuff.
The hundreds of billions of the Clinton surpluses were projected to grow into the trillions by 2011. With the Federal Government awash with cash … Americans might reasonably start demanding some justifiable payback in social reinvestment. The Military-Industrial Complex of the National Security State wasn’t going to allow Al Gore and the Democrats anywhere near that cash register. Something had to be done … and quickly.
The coup d'état of 1963 established a new government that lasted until the election theft and coup of 2000.
Meet the new boss … He’s not the same as the old boss.
The National Security State needed a pliable doofus as their front man and someone they could trust, one of their own, to stand in the wings and feed the doofus his lines. Enter George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. The problem arose when the Bush/Cheney campaign machine couldn’t pull off the election theft in Florida so the Big Boys had to step in and save the plan. And one more time the Main Stream Media played their part and told the public, “Same As It Ever Was.”
And once again wasn’t it monumentally fortuitous, and so incredibly opportune, that just 234 days into the new government’s regime a rag-tag group of terrorists, masterminded by a CIA asset operating from a cave in Afghanistan, somehow eluded the defenses of the most powerful nation on the Earth and attacked the financial and military centers of The United States, thus giving The Military-Industrial Complex of the National Security State carte blanche to do any goddamn thing it wanted into the foreseeable future. Their response to the attacks of 9/11 was to invade Afghanistan and lie the American people into an illegal, preemptive war in Iraq.
After any coup the conspirators consolidate their power and quickly deal with any perceived threat to that power. Elections can only be allowed if the outcome is guaranteed to be in their favor. If there’s any doubt, then steps will be taken to insure the proper outcome. That’s why we saw another stolen election in Ohio in 2004.
In 2008 Barack Obama said everything we wanted to hear, and after being swept into office dutifully did everything he was told. I can only assume his life-long ambition was to be a footnote president - the guy with an asterisk next to his name. And at the bottom of the page it’ll say, “The First African-American President.” In a few more years Hillary Clinton should be able to join the pantheon of footnote presidents.
The major differences between the current and previous governments should be alarming … but they don’t seem to concern the public very much if at all.
Presently, Americans have a Now-You-See-It-Now-You-Don’t-Constitution. Remember when Keith Olbermann on MSNBC crossed off the Bill of Rights one by one after the Patriot and Military Commissions Acts were passed? It was more than just a civics lesson. He was telling us that what we took for granted didn’t exist anymore. Americans now live in a country where extra-ordinary rendition and extra-judicial decisions can leave them extra-crispy.
Americans recognize coups when they happen in other countries but remain oblivious to the ones that have occurred in their own. Why? The answer cannot be as simple as they weren’t told about it in the papers or on television. That is a part of it, I’m sure but it’s a topic scrupulously avoided everywhere, even among ourselves. Even though massive changes have occurred right before our eyes we treat this current iteration of the government as if it has always been The Government we read about in history books. This present government, among other things, spies on 5 billion cell phones every day. The President of The United States has boasted, “I’m really good at killing people.” How does that jibe with the notion that America is the land of the free and home of the brave? Is it just too goddamned scary to admit to ourselves that the government, supposedly of, by, and for the people, is completely out of our control? Is it that fear that makes us cling to the myth that we can somehow magically transform the present government into something more humane, something more FDR-like, by doing nothing more than hope?
After the CIA assassinated Salvador Allende and installed Augusto Pinochet, the citizens of Chile had no such illusions. But they worked for four decades to reclaim their democracy. We Americans docilely follow the progressively darker path the government lays before us, regardless of the fact that the only constant of the governments we have lived under is:
The Flag Remains The Same.