Sunday, September 21, 2008

Thanks, but no thanks, on that leadership to nowhere.
Bridge to Nowhere by Birgitta

by John Kusumi

When did everything begin to go wrong in, or with, America? --We will all have different answers for that. There are older Americans who are adamant that the assassination of JFK (President Kennedy, who served 1961-1963) was the turning point when everything went south. As someone who is younger than that, I may be adamant that things went wrong with the presidency of Ronald Reagan (1981-1989). If you are one generation younger than me, you may believe that everything went wrong on September 11, 2001 (when the World Trade Center fell to that day's deadly attacks).

Mainstream news rarely says anything negative against the legacy of former presidents. As if they are all heroes. I may feel that George Washington was a good president, but that his successor -- John Adams, the second president -- was lousy. The second U.S. President put into place the PATRIOT Act of its day. (The Alien and Sedition Acts made political prisoners out of those who wrote and published in opposition. Similar to the PATRIOT Act, the Alien and Sedition Acts were overreaching measures, contrary to the spirit of America and the letter of the Constitution. Adams became a one-term president, and the next president repealed the Alien and Sedition Acts.)

But sooner or later, history brings out the truth. The attacks on Pearl Harbor? Roosevelt knew. He knew in advance that the Japanese were coming for that action, and he let it happen. Even though many Americans were killed by leaving Pearl Harbor undefended, it was convenient for Roosevelt to paint the picture of a naked, unprovoked, sneak attack. This made the American people outraged and ready to enter World War II. Looking back, it begins to seem like our entry into war was occasioned by a lie.

Some Americans would insist that everything was wrong when the U.S. established the Federal Reserve, or the IRS, or departed from the gold standard, or had Prohibition, or started the war on drugs. Can you imagine that America actually had a time before those things? For example, America in the late 1800s was free of slavery, free of income tax, and had no complaint if you wanted to drink alcohol, grow hemp, or smoke pot. Compared to today, that seems like a lot of freedom!

There are some younger people who will take the attitude, "Who cares what happened before I was born? That's ancient history!" I think that some amount of that attitude at a young age is natural. For example, I was too young for the Vietnam War; even though I was playing with tinker toys, or learning to ride a bicycle, I did not feel connected to the Vietnam issue. It was the issue of others, not me (nor of the kids around me), and I didn't feel like I had a dog in that fight. My political awareness developed in the post-Vietnam (and post-Watergate) era.

So initially, I didn't feel connected to the assassination of JFK. The magnitude of the matter and its impact on America was something I learned through contact and conversation with adults -- those older than my age group. (My age group peers would have started similarly, as blank slates on the topic of JFK.)

So, when did everything begin to go wrong in, or with, America? --Some would argue that the American Republic had a flawed birth, because it began with slavery. But, times before the Civil War (the end of that century's slavery) are not within living memory. Anyone who takes up that issue is fighting the mooted issue of a different generation. The fight against slavery was won, and there was a civil rights movement in the 1960s which resulted in more victories for the progeny of former slaves. That suggests that America has gotten better. My question was, when did America get worse -- to a condition beyond SNAFU -- to that actually worse condition of FUBAR?

(Note. SNAFU abbreviates, "Situation Normal: All Fucked Up" and FUBAR abbreviates, "Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition.")

Well, in my own memory the transition from President Carter to Reagan (in 1981) was the matter of moving from SNAFU to FUBAR. But, I suspect that the adults were right, and that JFK's assassination in 1963 was connected to today's problems. To express what happened to JFK seems like conjecture, but I suspect that LBJ (Lyndon B. Johnson, the Vice President) had JFK bumped off, and was assisted by a young CIA guy named George H.W. Bush. Later in the 1970s, a Congressional panel was investigating the JFK assassination and--lo and behold--suddenly George H.W. Bush became the CIA Director, just in time to stonewall the investigation by the committee. So, the committee (the Warren Commission) never got to the bottom of the assassination and they put out a report that was as flawed and fanciful as the 9/11 Commission report.

I believe that America was handed fairy tales in the Warren Commission report, and I believe that America was handed fairy tales in the 9/11 Commission report. Today, it is perfectly acceptable to have a bumper sticker that says, "Pearl Harbor: Roosevelt Knew." Future historians, I expect, will be able to pin the Bush administration with foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks, so that someday, we will all believe the bumper stickers that say, "9/11: Bush Knew."

In fact, we can have a special offer to collect all three of the following bumper stickers: "JFK: Bush Knew," "Tiananmen Square: Bush Knew," and "9/11: Bush Knew."

America, we have a crime family in charge of this place. And, it has been part of a two-family duopoly dynasty with the Clinton crime family.

What is the crime family up to lately? --"Bailing out Wall Street." And, that literally means looting the public treasury in full open view. As looters of our nation, they are no longer bashful about looting. There is absolutely no way that the bailout makes sense. America includes the big boys, who are now flashing cash; and, America includes the little guy, who works on Main Street and will pick up the tab for this bailout through paying taxes. To the little guy, the bailout is twice wrong: First, because a "Main Street" balance sheet does not include any derivatives, credit default swaps (CDS') or CDO's. As for people who hold those assets -- whose problem is that? Derivatives are flatly not a concern to the normal, standard, routine operations of the little guy on Main Street. Your auto repair shop deposits dollars, not derivatives. The second way in which this bailout is wrong is that it comes at the expense of the little guy on Main Street. It's a direct grab for his wallet. Why should the little guy pick up corporate welfare for the Wall Street types who like to wield more money than God?

I firmly believe that big boys are supposed to be able to pull up their own socks, and tie their own shoes. If a private sector operation in the free market cannot meet its obligations, then principles of the free market say that it should be allowed to fail. In fact, the government shows a guilty demeanor to be bailing out business leaders whom in fact it should be prosecuting. The absence of prosecutions is very telling. It is somewhat like the days immediately after 9/11. (Were I the president, heads would have rolled! In my first move, I may have fired the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Advisor, because -- what kind of defense was that? What kind of national security is this? When things are going wrong, perpetrators should be identified, caught, and brought to justice.) This administration fired nobody in the wake of 9/11, and the general in charge of air defenses -- far from going on trial -- was promoted!

Similarly, prosecutions of Wall Street CEOs are well indicated by present circumstances. In conclusion, I denounce and condemn this Wall Street bailout, and I am also taking this occasion to make a provisional and contingent endorsement of Cindy Sheehan for Congress. If Nancy Pelosi is "in on" promulgating this bailout, then Sheehan has my endorsement in her candidacy and campaign to unseat Nancy Pelosi in California's 8th district (San Francisco).

John Kusumi ran independently for U.S. President in 1984, as the teenager going up against Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale. He was the first Generation X politician in U.S. federal elections, and Ronald Reagan's youngest political opponent ever. In 1989 Kusumi launched the China Support Network, a grassroots organization of Americans supporting the Chinese democracy movement - amid outpouring of response to the massacre of college students and other civilians in and around Tiananmen Square. In 1994 Kusumi launched Xcalibur Development Co., incorporated in 1995 as XDC, Inc. The firm creates software and technical services, generally in the B2B (business-to-business) space of contracting and specialized consulting, with a Fortune 500 clientele.


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