James Leroy Wilson's blog

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Powerless Presidents

Following up on my article Some Change, on the weakness of the Presidency.

Since 1952, the only time one party won three consecutive Presidential elections was 1980-88. George H.W. Bush as Reagan's heir is the ultimate exception that proves the rule, as Bush was the ultimate insider in Washington and the intelligence community. Aside from him, in elections with no incumbent, the less-experienced man always wins. (1968 between Nixon and Humphrey may be close, but the fact is that Nixon had been outside of Washington for eight years by that point and therefore had less current experience.)

In any case, there are other ways in which a President isn't powerful. A couple of superficial examples:
  • Senators and Reps can be elected for any number of terms (and are); Presidents can not. The second terms of Presidents are often hit by scandal and political defeats. Somehow, campaigning for the approval of historians is less effective governance, in the eyes of the people, than campaigning for re-election. Thus, since 1952 we've had 5 Presidents who had full first terms Presidents re-elected, with just two defeated, whereas, except in 1988, the heir apparent to the two-term President always lost.
  • Presidents have no privacy, being constantly recognized and with all that Secret-Service detail, even in retirement. I don't know what oaths of secrecy the Secret Service keeps, but the fact is, they are law enforcement officers. Retired Presidents can't indulge themselves the way the super-rich can, or the average member of Congress can.
On a more substantive level, I was recently made aware of a book from last year via Lew Rockwell: JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by James W. Douglass. I haven't read it, but gleaning from a couple Amazon reviews it seems the thesis of the book is that, after the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy really did convert from being a man of Cold War to man of peace.

I had heard that line before, and used to shrug, not knowing if that's merely what people wanted to believe or if it was really true. But a lot of people are persuaded by this book, and think JFK was done in by people ostensibly working for him.

I had already suggested this in Some Change, but from what I understand of this book (which I haven't read) it seems to strengthen my point of view.

Strengthening my position even further is JFK's interest in UFO's. Micah A.Hanks reports:
I should point out that it is already widely accepted, thanks to a variety of existing memorandums that have surfaced over the years, that Kennedy, as well as Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, were both concerned that “various unknowns” (UFOs) might be mistaken for secret government craft employed by opposing nations, and could thus lead to nuclear war and jeopardize hopes of sharing a future joint space program. “Kennedy’s Memorandum to the Director of the CIA to share UFO files was relayed on to James Jesus Angleton,” Salla writes, who says that Angleton, at the time, controlled access to the nation’s most sensitive UFO files. In turn, Angleton responded to Kennedy’s memo by following a secret directive from CIA Director at the time, Allen W. Dulles, apparently designed with intent on ensuring “that under no circumstances would any U.S. President or his staff gain access to classified UFO files.”
In an earlier post, Hanks recounts the history of other Presidents and UFO's. Most significantly, then-CIA chief George H.W. Bush refused to give President Carter the UFO files, apparently following the Dulles policy. As a Michigan Congressman, Gerald Ford went to bat for constituents who were eyewitnesses of UFO's. As Governor of California, Ronald Reagan had his pilot chase one that he saw out of his airplane window, until it shot up into the heavens. Upon taking office, Bill Clinton asked Webster Hubbell to find out about UFO's and the JFK assassination, and Hubbell hit dead ends.

So that's five Presidents in the modern era with documented interest in UFO's, and even after they became President we know little more about the phenomenon than before, with at least two cases of obstruction by the head of the CIA (one of whom became President himself, along with his son).

Christopher Buckley either knew this, or understood Washington enough to formulate this, in his satirical novel Little Green Men. I won't give away the story of this entertaining read, only to say (as I remember it) that at one point the President discovers that UFO "policy" was out of his control, and he was helpless.

If it is true that there are "national security" secrets such as UFO's that even the President is not allowed to know, then it's possible - probable - that there are other areas in which they are less powerful than we imagine. As I pointed out in Some Change,
[T]he President could be told something like this:"Mr. President, if you don't follow our recommendations, there will be another 9/11, and you will be blamed for incompetence."

Is this an opinion, or a threat? Does the President dare find out?
I also wrote that I believed Presidents are unlikely to be killed off these days. But then I read what could be President Obama's death warrant, his sane, statesmanlike statement on the Iranian election. Ilana Mercer provides good comments and the text. I had very low expectations for Obama, and he's mostly lived down to them, but I still thought he'd be better than McCain, and statements like these is one of the reasons I had some shred of hope in his Presidency. But are zealots within his Adminstration, the intelligence community, and the Military-Industrial Complex happy with this? Are the neocons?

Upon reconsidering, it is clear to me that mainstream America will accept anything and believe anything that mainsteam news sources provide. So it could be that Obama is fair game for assassination - especially if it's blamed on illness. Obama's a smoker, and combined with the stress of office and basketball-playing he could die from a "heart attack" or "stroke."

(An assassination-by-bullet is certainly possible, which would be blamed on a gun-toting bigot and provide an excuse for gun control and hate speech laws. But I suspect this is unlikely, as it would be an admission of more government failure and make all Red State Americans suspicious. This would be a political "bridge too far" in this day and age. What they could do, however, is kill Obama, blame it on his "only tragic flaw" which is smoking, and get all of America to agree to smoking bans, covering up the real reason for his death, which is that he sought dialog with Iran.)

Now that I think about it, I accept that this is not only possible, I predict it. I'm making a public prediction for one reason, so that it won't happen (the same strategy I deployed last week about 70's movie remakes). Obama will die in office, I'm not sure when, but I predict where: Phoenix, Arizona.

It would be perfect in the sense of the Messiah myth, race, major historical events in America, and, well, a synchronistic "parallel" (i.e., somewhere close to the 33rd degree latitutude, between the 32nd and 34th degree latitudes)
  • Phoenix is the birthplace of Barry Goldwater, who by voting against the 1964 Civil Rights Act turned conservative Democrats into Republicans and re-aligned the parties.
  • The state of Arizona was a famous hold-out in making Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a state holiday.
  • "Phoenix "is a resurrection myth, playing into the Messiah myth
  • Jesus Christ came from the same 33rd parallel of Nazareth/Galilee
  • The Civil War was started at Ft. Sumter, along the same latitudinal range
  • Martin Luther King was born in this latitudinal range in Atlanta, and the Civil Rights Movement commenced with his Montogomery Bus Boycott, also in this range
  • The range provides the birthplaces of Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Carter, and Clinton (before 1952, no President had been born south of the 35th latitude; six of the last eleven Presidents have)
  • The last two Presidents to die in office, FDR and JFK, died within this range
  • FDR's successor, Truman, was the 33rd President. During his time Major League Baseball and the armed services were integrated. He recognized the nation of Israel, which is in this latitudinal range. The Roswell UFO mystery occurred in this range, as did the first nuclear bomb test in White Sands, New Mexico, and the Nagasaki bomb. (Hiroshima is just north of the 34th)
  • Baghdad is along the 33rd parallel, and it might be said that overtaking that city led to the collapse of America as we know it.
Again, let me be clear that I DON'T WANT OBAMA TO DIE IN PHOENIX OR ANYWHERE ELSE. I'm just afraid that the more good choices he makes as President, the more likely he will die.

That's because the people who kill him won't care one way or another if Obama's considered a martyr/messiah by history. All they care about is a confrontation with Iran. These folks really are as deranged as the anti-communists in Dr. Strangelove, and to a significant degree are the same people.

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