PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY
By: T. D. Duff Tonka Bay, Minnesota
As one of the victory babies of the boomer or prophet generation, we must explore the ways that we can bequeath to posterity our final states of good consciousness, much like the four old men of the gilded era, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, and James Russell Lowell.
The psychological earthquake and the open wound on all baby boomers and their parents' hero generation psyches has forever been the horror of the Kennedy assassination, on November 22, 1963. VJ Day, the end of World War II and the Kennedy Assassination bracketed the consciousness of two generations. We all remember where we were when it happened.
I distinctly remember where I was when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I was a citizen of a country, the United States, at a time the future seemed bright and full of possibility, and the people had hope for a fuller and better life. Home was a place where our feet could leave but our hearts could not, where our faith in love was like the wind, we could not see it but we could feel its warmth. Our love endured because we loved the same things together.
I was living in a country where its citizens enjoyed basic human rights, where labor unions raised the living wage standards of all workers, not merely those under its contracts, and there was a coalition of conscience between the forces of labor, the church, the academic community and the civil rights movement. I was living in a country that had a progressive proportional tax system, the sublime legacy of FDR taxes that built the infrastructure of our country, and the constitution was taken seriously, by our elected representatives in Washington.
I was living in a country where Republicans and Democrats actually had respect for each other and worked together, respected each other and passed legislation that was for the benefit of the people. I was living in a time where we believed in Thomas Paine's words: "that reason and only reason can raise man's dignity from the depths of degradation, error and ignorance." This is where I was when JFK was put to death.
Yet, today I don't recognize this country any longer. It has been changed in a very negative way since the despicable men of Dealey Plaza ended the American Dream. It seems that at this tragic moment in our history, doing better and feeling worse has become part of our cultures new declinism, bringing on a façade of self- denigration, in a disappointing youth economy, a life that seems to lead nowhere, slackers and singles dazed and confused amid a culturally splintered world, full of exploitative sexuality and remorseless violence, all with a sense of personal directionless. Knowledge and education have become just another commodity through the monetization of knowledge production to the corporate model. Civics and government are no longer taught, and the teaching of history has become a mere regurgitation of times and dates.
President Kennedy demonstrated his willingness to stand up to big money during the "steel crisis" of April 1962, when he forced a price increase rollback by sending in FBI agents into corporate offices of the steel companies.
Kennedy's most perilous domestic initiative was his administration's actions against the oil depletion allowance, the enormous tax break that criminally amassed billions in unaccounted oil fortunes of Texas petro-owners. It gave the oil barons a huge and automatic tax deduction, regardless of their real costs, as a compensation for declining resources in the ground. Attorney General Robert Kennedy instructed the FBI to issue questionnaires, asking the oil companies for specific production and sales information. The oil industry, particularly the Dallas based independent producers did not appreciate the intrusion.
From its inception in 1913 to 1960 the oil depletion allowance had cost tax -payers $140 billion in lost revenues. Today, unlimited political power has been concentrated into the hands of the richest and most corrupt industry in the world, the fossil fuel industry, the very same industry that JFK was trying to protect us from, and the very same industry that today is endangering every aspect of our modern world, with its corruption and plundering pursuit of ever-increasing profits.
John Kennedy was very supportive of Enrico Mattei of Italy, a non-communist World War II resistance leader, who in the 1950s discovered vast amounts of oil and gas on Italian soil. He enjoyed great success until he attracted the negative attention of the Seven Sisters of oil. Mattei had negotiated a deal with the Shah of Iran for oil from lands outside of the British concession areas. He also negotiated a deal with the Soviets for oil from the Baku fields. A month after the Baku operation went into operation in October of 1962, Enrico Mattei was killed in a suspicious airplane accident in Italy. A week later the Rome CIA Station Chief left Italy for the United States, and Italy lost the driving force behind its economic post World War II recovery, and the fossil fuel industry in the name of the Seven Sisters criminally triumphed once more.
At the time of his death Enrico Mattei was scheduled to meet with President Kennedy, who was urging the U.S. oil companies to support and negotiate with Mattei. A year later, of course, Kennedy was assassinated, with trails of evidence also clearly leading to the doors of the Pentagon and CIA.
Our nation's economic decline began in the late 50's as European and Japanese productivity, with new factories and machinery, began to overtake that of the U.S., whose industrial base dated back to the 40's. The decline was greatly enhanced by the flow of investment funds overseas, the beginning of the Vietnam War, and LBJ's Great Society. President Kennedy attempted to make positive changes. Seeing that American investment banks were sending funds abroad in response to higher profits available there, instead of keeping the funds at home to invest in modernized factories and refurbished infrastructure, Kennedy introduced an Interest Equalization Tax on American funds invested overseas. He was murdered, however, and the version which passed in 1964 had been gutted by the Eastern financial community, the Wall Street banksters, by exempting Canada, through which investment funds would happily flow in the same amounts as before.