What defenders of LBJ gloss over

Lyndon Johnson was a great American for working with Martin Luther King to secure passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act in 1964-65, as depicted in the movie Selma. So say historian David Kaiser and former Cabinet official Joseph Califano. Yet It is no contradiction to note that Johnson could also be a crude and mean SOB, as Philip Nelson reminds us.

Johnson and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, Nelson writes in OpEdNews:

” liked to play the recordings of King’s sexual trysts for their own amusement or at cocktail parties for others as well. LBJ played them for long time crony, a long-time Texas pal of Johnson’s, then Lieutenant Governor Ben Barnes, who described it in his memoir. There are numerous reports about how these recordings were delivered to President Johnson, who took great delight in listening to them, especially King’s sexual exploits. One such account was a 2011 article in the Atlantic Monthly magazine, which stated: “He listened to the tapes that even had the noises of the bedsprings,” Time correspondent Hugh Sidey reported in 1975. Johnson would say to anyone having nice things to say about MLK, “Goddammit, if you could only hear what that hypocritical preacher does sexually.”[v] Lyndon Johnson’s description of King was the same in 1967 as it had been three years earlier, despite how they had ‘collaborated’ on the passage of the legislation in between.”

via OpEdNews.

100 comments

  1. Bill Clarke says:

    I think everyone that knows much about Lyndon Johnson knows that he could be a crude and mean SOB. He could be. Robert Caro does a good job of describing the complexities of LBJ. He wasn’t always crude and mean.

    I suppose most would wish JFK had not been as promiscuous as an alley cat. I do.

    But you have to take your man, be it JFK or LBJ or someone else, with warts and all. As far as I know, we have never had a perfect president. In fact, they seem to be getting worse.

    • leslie sharp says:

      Isn’t that the hubris of modern America, to presume we have in our midst the perfect all knowing leader if only we could get them elected. LBJ embodied the quintessential Texas personae, but underneath that projection was a flawed human with a great deal of emotional baggage. Why wouldn’t we anticipate he would bring that to the presidency? Similarly JFK was the embodiment of East Coast Irish elite yet underneath was a damaged boy-man for reasons too complicated to get into in sound bites. To his credit, I argue that he matured with every day in office. I think they both carried burdens for our country, and that Congress and the military industrial complex get by with a pass on this site.

      • Bill Clarke says:

        leslie sharp January 18, 2015 at 2:51 pm

        I agree about both presidents being poorly served, especially by their generals.

        • leslie sharp says:

          I’m reviewing Caro’s “Means of Ascent” that describes Johnson’s 1948 run for Senate. He writes that [first Secretary of the Air Force] “Symington’s fervent conviction of the need for an Air Force much larger than Truman was advocating dovetailed with Johnson’s need to procure new federal contracts for the vast aircraft plants that had sprung up during the war on Texas plains.”

          The success of those efforts can be seen on page 3 of this report, an excellent representation of the trajectory of the Congressional / Military Industrial Complex over the ensuing six decades: http://governor.state.tx.us/files/ecodev/Aerospace_Report.pdf.

          Caro shares a side note to Secretary of Air Force Stuart Symington’s practical influence over Johnson’s Senate campaign: “By coincidence, the next day, he [Johnson] got a new helicopter. The S-51 [Johnson had been using for his campaign travel across the state] having reached the limit of mileage it could fly without a major checkup and overhaul, left on its return trip to Connecticut, and it was replaced by a 47-D model furnished, at Stuart Symington’s request, by the Bell Helicopter Corporation. Dramatic as Johnson’s campaign had been before, now the drama was heightened.”

          Clearly Symington was intent on Johnson being elected to the Senate, and willing to exert direct influence with Bell Helicopter on Johnson’s behalf.

          Symington also had connections in the Texas Panhandle – home of Pantex, the only nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly operation in the nation – and an area vital to Johnson’s campaign for Senate against Coke Stephenson.. LBJ was a virtual unknown in the historically Democratic stronghold while Stephenson was wildly popular in the region. According to Caro, a four day campaign swing thru the Panhandle was planned, but tied to the tour was an event Johnson believed would dramatize what he could do for Texas – a breakaway trip right in the middle to meet Air Force Secretary Symington in Dallas and fly immediately to Wichita Falls to announce that Sheppard Air Force base would in fact not be closing.

          These vignettes exemplify the symbiosis between the military, the defense contractors, the Congress and the politician with insatiable ambition. I think when we speak of presidents, we should speak to the power that places them in office and to whom are they indebted?

          • David Regan says:

            America’s Nastiest Blood Feud by Garry Wills http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/may/24/americas-nastiest-blood-feud/ via @nybooks

          • leslie sharp says:

            David, The use of the term “blood feud” is calculated to sell books and newsprint. The popular understanding of the term hardly applies since Johnson and the Kennedy’s were not related and had nothing in common historically.

            Giving Caro the benefit of the doubt and allowing that he was using a play on words, I argue that a feud played out on the national stage is all the more reason to doubt Lyndon Johnson’s direct involvement in the planning or execution of a conspiracy to assassinate his boss. Johnson was a politician in his bones and would not have the temerity to demand Kennedy be killed in broad daylight in his home state of Texas – a poison cup of coffee perhaps, but not a spectacular shooting in Dallas. He would however have recognized instantly that he was essential to the cover up. He knew how the game was played and may well have realized early on that he had been positioned.

            The Symington stories are a reflection of how early in his political career LBJ had become indebted to the MIC – at a time when the Kennedys were hardly on the political radar. Why are so few here willing to delve into who controls our presidents?

          • David Regan says:

            Leslie, I also am open to the ‘invisible government’ concept. The Boston Globe ran a story on this recently.

            Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change. http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/10/18/vote-all-you-want-the-secret-government-won-change/jVSkXrENQlu8vNcBfMn9sL/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

          • leslie sharp says:

            David, can’t you envision an election in say 2030 when the candidates for president are: Koch Industries, Google, and British Petroleum? (by then we might have a 3 party system.) The Supreme Court paved the way.

  2. David Regan says:

    LBJ apologists jump at any opportunity to express anti-Kennedy sentiments, while failing to acknowledge the lack of vision Johnson showed in foreign affairs.

    He failed to pursue rapproachment efforts with Cuba and the Soviets, while allowing the Alliance for Progress to wither away.
    https://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/short-history/lbj

    History has shown how tragic it was that LBJ did not heed the words of Gen. MacArthur, as Kennedy had. “Anyone wanting to commit American ground forces to the mainland of Asia should have his head examined”. If LBJ had been President in 1961, we likely would have seen combat troops in Vietnam well before 1964/65.

    • Bill Clarke says:

      David Regan January 18, 2015 at 9:16 am

      And the Camelot crowd can’t say enough bad about Johnson. It seems they remain a bit miffed that a frog replaced their prince.

      I don’t know why anyone would consider MacArthur to be such a wise man about Asia. His conduct in Korea got a lot of our men killed needlessly because MacArthur decided he should be the one to make policy(war)with China. Truman should have shot him instead of firing him.

      Johnson didn’t send combat units until Saigon was on the verge of falling. That wasn’t close to occurring in 1961,1962, 1963 and 1964. So I doubt he would have sent in the Marines during that time. Now Nixon? I’m not so sure and remembering how close Nixon came to beating JFK in the election perhaps Nixon would have sent the Marines in 1961.

      • Arthur Farra says:

        Mr Clarke I’ve seen you tear into President Kennedy multiple times on this site and it’s obvious you have a strong bias against him. But surely your not comparing JFK bedding a few woman to the corruption LBJ brought to the White House. He was the most corrupt man to set in the Oval Office and I’m counting Nixon. Forget his probable role in the assasination, what about bobby baker, billy sol estes. Let’s forget mean and crude the man was homicidal and to compare him with President Kennedy is ludicrous. it appears you’ll take any position as long as it’s the opposite of giving President Kennedy the credit he deserves. Here’s the facts, that civil rights legislation was President Kennedys. Johnson was able to get it passed because of all the political Capitol he had after the assasination. JFK was the one who went before the nation and made a moral stand for civil rights at the risk of costing him millions of votes. I have no doubt he would have gotten it passed through congress in his second term anybody that doubts that need only look at how he performed getting the test ban treaty passed.

        • Bill Clarke says:

          Arthur Farra January 19, 2015 at 2:51 am

          Wrong Mr. Farra. You have seen me “tear into” comments that have no basis as to facts; the Camelot Shiners. There is a group, a rather large group, that do not mind lying about history to either gain credit for JFK for things he didn’t do or to escape responsibility for things that he did in fact do. Then there are those that aren’t lying but simply not knowledgeable of the subject but make statement regardless. Examples are that Jack ordered a complete withdrawal from Vietnam and cite NSAM 263 as proof. That is not correct. If I told you Jack escalated the Vietnam War you’d probably have a fit. But he did.

          As for the man himself, I’ve stated here that I had rather have JFK as president than any that have come after him. I think the man had personal courage and was cool under fire. I admire that in a person. I do get tired of this virulent attack on Lyndon Johnson, much of it without evidence.

          As you request, I’ll forget about LBJ’s role in the assassination since I think it is some of the silliest BS floating around. I’ll forget about Bobby Baker since I don’t believe there is any evidence tying his illegal activities to Johnson. I’ll certainly forget about Billie Sol Estes since he was a convicted con man, a liar by profession. I will also forget he was “homicidal” since I’ve seen no evidence that he had all these people killed, including his sister. You left out Madeline Brown.

          Ah yes, that second term. Everything was going to happen that second term. Why didn’t he get the Civil Rights Bill passed his first term? Here is what the left leaning liberal David Halberstam has to say about the Kennedy boys and civil rights; Referring to a meeting between King and Bobby Kennedy, “Each had a separate agenda; King, to assault the remaining bastions of segregation and Kennedy, to maintain order, but above all to protect his older brother’s political interest. That meant, given the presidents awesome burdens in other areas, such as foreign affairs, as little confrontation as possible between civil rights activists and Democratic state officials in the South”. “The Children”, David Halberstam, page 287.

          • leslie sharp says:

            “THE WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUND Estes Charge Backlashes at Republicans by DREW PEARSON WASHINGTON. [Oct. 6, 1964]—It may come as a shock to Republican campaign orators, but the House government operations committee, after digging through literally thousands of files, has come up with evidence linking Billie Sol Estes not with President Johnson but with Sen. (ioldwater’s camp. Buried in a 436-page report, soon to lie released, is information that the colorful Texas embezzler was deeply involved with some of Goldwater’s top campaign aides. The company that financed Kslu-s’ most notorious deals was the Commercial Solvents Corporation, v’.iose controlling stockholder happens to be Goldwater’s assistant campaign treasurer. He is Jeremiah Milbank, jr., who owns a reported 800,000 shares of Commercial Solvents stock and is chairman of its executive committee. Milbank’s company raised money for Estes to plunge into the grain storage business, also provided him with $3.500,000 credit for his fertilizer deals. Now Milbank is raising money for Goldwaler, Washington Attorney Edward McCabe, who represented Commercial Solvents in connection with the Billie Sol Estes investigation is now Goldwater’s research director . . .”

          • lysias says:

            Just read JFK le dernier témoin : Assassinat de Kennedy, enfin la vérité ! [JFK, the Final Witness: Assassination of Kennedy, the Truth at Last!] by French journalist William Reymond, based on interviews with Billy Sol Estes (also listed as author). Estes speaks at great length about his dealings with LBJ. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve read the book, but I don’t recall a single mention of Goldwater.

            Disappointingly but unsurprisingly, the book has never appeared in English.

          • Bill Clarke says:

            lysias January 21, 2015 at 4:34 pm

            I believe Estes would be my last candidate for a credible and truthful witness. The man was a professional con man; a liar by profession and he was good at it.

            The FBI didn’t buy his BS, the Grand Jury at Franklin Texas didn’t buy it and neither do I.

          • leslie sharp says:

            lysias, Perhaps the author, Reymond, was not aware of the facts surrounding Commercial Solvents and the Billie Sol Estes case. I can’t see the failure to address the involvement of Goldwater supporters with the company that was bankrolling Estes as proof it didn’t happen let alone that it was insignificant in light of the scandal. I can see that author(s) – one being Billie Sol Estes – desiring to promote a headline would opt for one including Lyndon Johnson over one including a boring, innocuous company name, and I presume Goldwater would have been far less interesting to the international market.

            The people involved at Commercial Solvents may have been entirely comfortable embarrassing the Kennedy Administration via the vice president which would serve Barry Goldwater in ’64. Study their history, the clients who bought their products, the role they played in the MIC for greater understanding of the deep politics involved in the Estes case. As someone pointed out on this site, Estes was a con man known to lie and embellish, and perhaps he remained genuinely frightened of those behind his scheme in Texas.

            Perhaps you aren’t familiar with Drew Pearson’s record at the Washington Post? He pursued Johnson’s relationship with the Brown brothers in Houston so he was not afraid to name names; but relating to Estes and Commercial Solvents, he was proving that the deeper story behind the fertilizer scheme had little to do with LBJ.

            On the death of Pearson, one of his peers observed: “”Drew Pearson was a muckraker with a Quaker conscience. In print he sounded fierce; in life he was gentle, even courtly. For thirty-eight years he did more than any man to keep the national capital honest.” As testament to his judgment when discussing Joseph McCarthy, Pearson replied, “He may be a good source, Jack, but he’s a bad man.”

      • David Regan says:

        But Bill, surely you must acknowledge the proposals JFK was receiving to send combat troops as early as 1961? That fact is well documented.

        • Bill Clarke says:

          David Regan January 19, 2015 at 8:46 am

          Of course, as you say, it is well documented. No doubt JFK resisted request (demands?) to send in combat units. He was able to do this, mainly I think, because it wasn’t necessary at the time. Why send them if it wasn’t necessary? It became necessary in the Spring of 1965.

          Hopefully I’ll remember his name but one writer claims that JFK never completely shut down this request for combat units. JFK denied the request but always tabled the question “for farther study”. The writer seemed to think JFK should have said no, not only no but hell no, never. And this would have stopped people from wasting time on the subject. I could go either way here.

          Once again, let me try to clear up this subject of combat troops and combat units. JFK had American troops engaged in combat in the air, on the sea and on the ground in SVN. They called them advisers but many of them were in fact engaged in combat. Sometimes with their ARVN counterparts and sometimes without. So I think it incorrect to say JFK never had combat troops in Vietnam. Calling them advisers does not change what they did.

          A combat unit (101 Airborne, First Cav, First Infantry), on the other hand is born to fight. It’s mission is to close with and destroy the enemy. Not the same as 4 or 5 American advisers out fighting with their ARVN counterparts but that doesn’t mean the Advisers were not engaged in combat.

          • “No doubt JFK resisted request (demands?) to send in combat units. He was able to do this, mainly I think, because it wasn’t necessary at the time. Why send them if it wasn’t necessary? It became necessary in the Spring of 1965.”~Bill Clarke

            And just what were the sequence of events that made sending combat units necessary in 1965?
            The proximate cause of this necessity was the false flag operation of the Gulf of Tonkin incident on August 2, 1964.

            Design masquerading as Analysis; a function of the Hegelian Dialectic.
            \\][//

          • Bill Clarke says:

            Willy Whitten January 24, 2015 at 1:47 pm

            WW. And just what were the sequence of events that made sending combat units necessary in 1965?

            1. Diem overthrown and murdered.
            2. SVN goes through 8 governments in 18 months. The generals fight among themselves instead of fighting communist.
            3. The VC make good use of this instability and make great strides.
            4. Intact NVA units come south in fall of 1964. This is a biggie.
            5. Saigon in danger of falling, LBJ sends in U.S.combat units to prevent this from happening.

            WW. The proximate cause of this necessity was the false flag operation of the Gulf of Tonkin incident on August 2, 1964.

            Negative Willy and I’m surprised a bright fellow such as you was fooled by this. The cause of LBJ sending in combat units was the fact that Saigon was nearing defeat. The cause of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution was to give LBJ the authority to do this if he so desired. You are aware the first attack was real, don’t you. And if not the Tonkin Gulf then it would have been some other incident.

            Tell me Willy; if the Tonkin Gulf was on August 2, 1964 and our Marines didn’t get to Da Nang until March 8, 1965 that is 7 months. If LBJ wanted to use the Tonkin Gulf to send in combat units why did he sit on his duff for 7 months? Can you explain that for me?

            Always glad to help, Willy.

          • Bill, as you should know a “proximate cause” is one that is the first in a series of events, which you do innumerate in you reply to me.

            The proximate cause of the death of Dennis Shea, my best childhood friend was being virtually cut in half by a mortar round in Vietnam in 1966. All of his midsection was blasted away, leaving only his spinal column. Due to the amazing capabilities he was picked up and given emergency treatment on a helicopter trip that took him directly to Japan for resuscitation and a year and a half recovery process. He didn’t die until eleven years later due to continued health complications directly resulting from those original wounds.
            Not 7 months Bill, eleven years.

            You claim that there was a “real event” Yes, and that event was a provocation by the US.

            See: With fresh evidence now available, claims that the Tonkin Gulf incident was deliberately provoked gain new plausibility.
            By Captain Ronnie E. Ford, U.S. Army
            http://vi.uh.edu/pages/buzzmat/08972_text.htm
            \\][//

          • Bill Clarke says:

            Willy Whitten January 26, 2015 at 12:47 pm

            I didn’t see anything “new” here, Willy. The books by Dr. Moise and Davidson have been out for many years. Douglas Pike has been dead for years.

            I used to trade email with Dr. Moise, a fine fellow. I have a good friend that worked for Douglas Pike. Both fine fellows. I believe what they say. But nothing new here.

      • Fearfaxer says:

        In 1963, the Diem regime was on the point of collapse. In the countryside, the army was failing miserably in its war against the Viet Cong, and Buddhist/Catholic antagonisms had led to outbreaks of violence in the cities. Diem and his brother Nhu were becoming more and more repressive as they tried to stay in power, which of course only made the forces arrayed against them more determined to overthrow them. I don’t think it’s at all far-fetched to think that Johnson, who only 2 years earlier had called Diem “the Winston Churchill of Southeast Asia,” would have sent in US combat troops to prop up the regime, and fight its enemies, who at that point included far more than the NLF and the Hanoi regime. A look at what he did in the Dominican Republic in 1965 gives more than a hint of what he probably would have done.

        • Fearfaxer says:

          I should add to all of this that I consider the notion that LBJ was behind Kennedy’s murder to be absurd. Had he arranged this murder, or even known about it, there is no way he would have been in the motorcade. If necessary, he’d have faked a heart attack to avoid being anywhere near Dealey Plaza. I also don’t believe the story Madelyn Brown has peddled about that late-night 11-21 party. OTOH, saying LBJ knew nothing of what Bobby Baker was doing is naive in the extreme.

          • Bill Clarke says:

            Fearfaxer January 20, 2015 at 8:22 am

            I didn’t say LBJ didn’t know about what Bobby Baker was doing. I’m sure he did. But what I said was that I know of no connection that LBJ played a part in Bakers dealings. By that I meant I know of no evidence that would have convicted LBJ in a court of law in reference to Bobby Baker. Do you?

            It is easy to claim LBJ was going down with Baker. Another thing to show any credible evidence for it.

            Congratulations on having the good sense to believe LBJ didn’t kill JFK and not believe Madeline Browns pathetic BS. Salute!

          • James says:

            Read stone’s book on LBJ being behind jfk’s killing. Even if you’re not open to the notion the book is fantastic in evidencing the evil of the man and the 6 murders linked to him. The links made are clear cut and should raise doubts in any biased LBJ follower.
            You and Bill seem very sure LBJ had no involvement which I think is foolish…the rabbit hole goes very deep. Answer me this one question. A man’s description passed of the possible shooter which matched that of the same man whose partial fingerprint was recovered from the window frame in the snipers nest. This fingerprint partial identified over 30 points whereby the requirement for a positive only requires 15. This same man some few years before this was also the first man in Texas not to be given the death sentence for murder or a life sentence but infact received a suspended sentence of 5 years after shooting a man dead and being found guilty of first degree murder! During the trial who was held up in a hotel around the corner sending messengers and waiting on the court result? I am of course talking about Malcolm Wallace. Wallace worked for LBJ, he admitted to this and can be proven easily. The link between Wallace and LBJ is undeniable. Why would he put himself in the car during the shooting? He was safe enough and it was worth the risk as some foolish blind folk would this exactly as you have/are! LBJ was slouched like a slob and nowhere to be seen in his limo just before the shooting began and his secret service protection has since said LBJ told them to say they jumped on him and pulled him down to explain his unusual behaviour- this was all before any shots were fired. Please read the book by roger stone the case against LBJ. Like I say it’ll open your eyes to his blatant involvement. BLATANT.

          • lysias says:

            If he had faked a heart attack, that motorcade would almost certainly have been canceled.

            As LBJ once said to Clare Booth Luce, “I’m a gamblin’ man, darlin’, and this is the only chance I got.”

          • David Regan says:

            Bill, testimony and evidence was being taken about LBJ’s connections to Baker in a Senate investigation. Don Reynold’s was in deposition while the assassination occured and Time magazine was preparing to run an expose the following week, which was pulled once LBJ was sworn in. Investigators in Texas had been looking into Johnson’s finances for months. IMO, if the assassination had not occured, LBJ’s future was in jeopardy.

            The New Yorker and others ran articles about this:

            The Transition http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/04/02/the-transition via @newyorker

            http://jfklancer.com/pdf/LBJ-Reynolds.pdf

          • Bill Clarke says:

            David Regan January 20, 2015 at 5:36 pm

            I had forgotten about Don Reynolds. Thanks again. No doubt LBJ had his fingers in a lot of pies. They might have nailed him. But LBJ was no fool.

            One more question that it would be nice to know the answer to.

        • Bill Clarke says:

          Fearfaxer January 20, 2015 at 8:16 am

          I think it is far-fetched. Johnson would not have had to send combat units (we already had combat troops) to save Ngo Dinh Diem. All he would have to do was, unlike JFK, not approve the coup. For good measure LBJ could have threatened to cut off or reduce our support to SVN. That would have saved the day for Diem. Now since LBJ did not want a wider war I suggest he would have taken this path instead of sending combat units. He didn’t do that until the communist forced him to.

          I might add, looking back at what happened after Diem’s murder, some consider it the biggest mistake we made. Uncle Ho, on receiving the news, said he couldn’t believe the Americans had been so “stupid”.

          • Fearfaxer says:

            We did not have combat troops in Vietnam in 1963. There were small numbers of American troops going out in the field with South Vietnamese units and engaging in combat against NLF forces, but calling these “combat troops” is hyperbolic. The use of that term would only be appropriate if siginificant numbers of American soldiers and Marines, operating independently and under command of their own officers, were fighting the Communist forces. Whether or not JFK approved the coup or not was irrelevant, the forces opposing Diem had made it inevitable that his regime would fall. The only question was when. Like Fulgencio Batista, he had managed to make enemies of everyone.

            As to evidence that LBJ didn’t work hand-in-glove with Bobby Baker, when evidence isn’t looked for, it’s no surprise it’s never found. Once LBJ became president, the search for evidence stopped. BTW, do you really think Johnson never used dirt obtained by Baker through the Quorum Club to, shall we say, influence events? Baker was to LBJ as Bobby Kennedy was to his older brother.

          • Bill Clarke says:

            Fearfaxer January 21, 2015 at 11:09 am

            FF. We did not have combat troops in Vietnam in 1963.

            BC. Yes we did. We had them there in 1962 also.

            FF. There were small numbers of American troops going out in the field with South Vietnamese units and engaging in combat against NLF forces, but calling these “combat troops” is hyperbolic.

            BC. You admit they were engaged in combat. These were men trained in the combat arms, with a combat MOS. Where is the hyperbole? This “adviser” crap is much like calling the barricade of Cuba a “quarantine”. It might sound much nicer but you’d have to be naïve in the extreme to buy it. What about the American pilots flying the bombing missions, flying the jet fighters in close air support and flying armed helicopters? Were they not combat personnel engaged in combat? Of this “small number” you speak of, 118 died in Vietnam in 1963. Smells like combat to me.

            FF. The use of that term would only be appropriate if significant numbers of American soldiers and Marines, operating independently and under command of their own officers, were fighting the Communist forces.

            BC. What you describe here is a combat “UNIT”. A UNIT. I have tried to make this distinction several times here to little success it appears. JFK had combat troops in SVN but didn’t send combat units. LBJ did in 1965 when Saigon appeared close to falling.

            FF. Whether or not JFK approved the coup or not was irrelevant, the forces opposing Diem had made it inevitable that his regime would fall. The only question was when.

            BC. Oh it was very relevant all right. Are you familiar with the first planned coup? The SVN generals dropped it like a hot potato when they feared the U.S. would stop or reduce their support. They became worried they could not trust the U.S. about a coup. They wouldn’t have picked it up again without encouragement from the U.S., particularly the efforts of Lodge and Conien.

            BC. So I ask, if the military wouldn’t overthrow Ngo Dinh Diem then who would? I see no one in the wings. Certainly not the Buddhist.

      • “I don’t know why anyone would consider MacArthur to be such a wise man about Asia. His conduct in Korea got a lot of our men killed needlessly because MacArthur decided he should be the one to make policy(war)with China. Truman should have shot him instead of firing him.”~Bill Clarke

        The clear unequivocal fact is that everyone of “our men” were killed needlessly in Korea because of acts ultra vires by the executive branch of the US government in league with an illegitimate international center of power.

        Truman breached the constitutional restraints on Presidential War Powers, that set the precedent for the tragic future we all share here today. It is a dialectical error to single MacArthur out as the proximate cause for the US participation in the conflicts taking place in Asia.
        \\][//

        • Bill Clarke says:

          Willy Whitten January 22, 2015 at 5:36 am

          Well Willy, I believe MacArthur bopped up too close to the Chinese border all on his own. If not against orders at least on warnings not to by his commander.

          Let us put the blame where it belongs.

          • “Let us put the blame where it belongs.”~Bill Clarke

            I just did Bill. Korea was an unconstitutional war, it was fought under the auspices of a United Nations mandate, not by a declaration of war as is necessary to the Constitution.
            There hasn’t been a proper declaration of war since WWII.
            Truman was also responsible for signing the National Security Act of 1947; also unconstitutional as it draws a literal iron curtain of secrecy, blinding the public from essential knowledge of the workings of their “government”.

            Furthermore, “Communism” is a created enemy for the Hegelian Dialectic. Carroll Quigley explains this in explicit detail in Tragedy & Hope. As is detailed in Antony Sutton’s work, “Communism” is the creation of Wall Street, no less than it’s dialectical opposite, Nazism.
            These wars of the modern era are simply deadly theater for the enrichment of the power elite, the global oligarchy that rules the planet behind the scenes.
            \\][//

  3. LBJ was, no doubt, the strangest President of his times. Nuttiest, too.

  4. Arnaldo M. Fernandez says:

    That´s a mix of apples and orange. What counts is the political commitment. Listening to the tapes and reading the reports sent by Hoover is worthless in politics, since LBJ did not use the materials against King in the public arena.

  5. Neil says:

    Johnson and FDR are said to be the only Presidents J Edgar personally liked.

    I don’t think LBJ shared Hoover’s hate of Dr. King but it’s probably fair to say that the men didn’t trust each other or have a warm relationship.

    • Paul Turner says:

      Odd if true, as John E. Hoover was a Republican. From 1924-72(Hoover’s death), we had a lot of GOP Presidents.

  6. lysias says:

    I don’t think it was just chance that the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy happened on LBJ’s watch.

    • Thomas says:

      In medical circles if a larger number of people than expected by chance in a certain region develops cancer it is called a “cancer cluster” and the assumption is there must be an underlying cause, such as drinking water, electric lines, etc.

      Statistics lead us toward truth by telling us that certain events go against probability.

      Three major political leaders were murdered in a 5-year period from 1963-1968 in America. How many before and after that at all, to say nothing of a five year period?

      They weren’t three random leaders of various political views. All three were either against the war in Vietnam or moving that way. All three were very popular with large segments of the public, including blacks.

      What are the odds of that? Astronomical.

      You don’t need to be Nate Silver to see this as an “assassination cluster.”

      Many of us visiting this site understand that there must be common causes for these statistically improbable events. The common causes are conspiracies and this isn’t a shot in the dark. There is evidence to support conspiracies in all three cases.

      • anonymous says:

        “Many of us visiting this site understand that there must be common causes for these statistically improbable events. There is evidence to support conspiracies in all three cases.”

        Why is there such a lack of interest in the other assassinations? This site has had so very little to say about them. The RFK investigation was no better than the WC or the 911 investigation for that matter.

        • Perhaps it is because of the title of this site. And that is not to say I believe there’s a lack of interest in the other assassinations. But this one focuses on November 22, 1963, and the events that led up to, and followed, it.

      • Robert Harper says:

        Thomas: beautifully said. DiEugenio & Pearse in PROBE first put all three in context for me, about 20 years ago. Since then, Peter Dale Scott has been shining the light into the “cluster” on a regular basis.To add to the odds: each man had enormous appeal with the combo of POOR and MIDDLE CLASS. Before and after, the middle class has yearned to be part of the 1% or 5% or 10%; The Kennedy brothers and Dr. King spoke to a coalition not seen since. If you spoke truth to power, you got killed.

      • BrotherBruce says:

        Thomas, Great analogy. Very appropriate. The evidence showing Lyndon Baines Johnson to be a homicidal sociopath was clear and convincing even before he elbowed his way into the Executive Branch of Government. The deaths from the Asian war that he escalated – in exchange for the Presidency – along with the 3 murders he presided over during his stolen 5 year stewardship, simply push him a bit higher up the grisly pyramid occupied by history’s most prolific mass murderers.
        If Jack and Bobby had Lyndon’s street smarts they would have recognized the ploy being used to lure the President to Dallas. Johnson had been one of the three most powerful men in the nation in June of 1960. It wasn’t clear why he stooped to blackmail, blubbering and begging (of Sam Rayburn) to procure a spot as Kennedy’s running mate until the
        nightmare on Elm St. showed why the “Master of the Senate” went to such lengths to become a seemingly powerless VP.
        Kennedy was warned by everyone from Adlai Stevenson to Jeanne Dixon not to visit Texas. But like a moth to a flame, Lincoln to Forbes Theater and JFK to Dallas; They intuitively understood that their destiny awaited. Lincoln’s recurring dream of attending his own funeral still haunts as do the words of Alan Seeger that Kennedy memorized as a boy and often recited:
        I have a rendezvous with death
        At some dispute barricade
        And I to my pledged word am true
        I shall not miss that rendezvous.

  7. David Regan says:

    Whatever civility may have existed between them was likely gone once MLK publicly took on the administration over the war.

  8. Gerald Campeau says:

    In my opinion LBJ was allso a target on Nov 22 1963 to give the people persuing Operation Northwoods freedom to invade Cuba and VN.

    • BrotherBruce says:

      Gerald, A very compelling observation! LBJ was a paranoid man. Not for nothing was he on the floor of his limo when it turned into Dealey Plaza. Even considering that he had trusted his spooks to place a first class and trustworthy team of marksman around the planned kill zone, the possibility of a double cross remained a concern for him. One of the first questions he asked Hoover when he got him on the phone after the assassination was: “Were any shots fired at me”? Hoover reassured him that there weren’t. The fact remains, Johnson was on the floor before the first shot was fired because he couldn’t be sure that he too might be targeted by the same people he’d trusted and tasked with performing the shooting of the man who stood in his way of the Presidency.

  9. Kennedy63 says:

    Putting aside the ridiculous partisan-minded people who would rehash by-gone animosities of dead people (Hoover, Johnson, Kennedy), I like what lysias stated: “I don’t think it was just chance that the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy happened on LBJ’s watch.”
    I might add John F Kennedy to that list. I think that Citizen Advocates (instead of CT’s) should consider the interconnected and corrupt links (by personnel and authority) between government, organized crime, wealthy citizens, and corporations that existed at the time of these assassinations. I noticed that the CIA and FBI basically used the same tactics and were not “adverse” to operating outside of, to misinterpret, or extend the purpose of, laws restricting certain activities. We know this corrupting influence permeated local FBI and CIA offices; we know that government and business personnel shifted between these entities, so much so, that Washington became a refuge for people of questionable character hiding behind the veneer of respectability and power, while consorting with mobsters and other corrupt public officials. There is and always has been a seamy side of power: murder, deceit, betrayal, treachery, hidden agendas, villainy, and subterfuge. When you look of the JFK assassination, this is what can be observed. LHO allegedly ‘shot’ JFK, but the real assassins were sanctioned. Accept that America had an assassination apparatus both internationally (CIA) and DOMESTICALLY (FBI) and that both of these entities were not above using this capability against ” perceived enemies.” Johnson had a lot of intelligence from different sources; he and Hoover communicated in cropped speech (regarding JFK & MLK) but the context is clear and the implications immense. Between the two of these stooges, I would not put past them involvement in at least one, or two of the (JFK, MLK, and RFK) assassinations.

  10. Here is LBJ’s blood brother Hoover calling MLK “the most notorious liar in the country:” http://www.ratical.org/ratville//JFK/MLKACT/JEH_MLKnl.pdf

    This is the exact same time period the FBI was mailing letters to MLK urging him to commit suicide and letting him know they had the sex dirt on him.

    • BrotherBruce says:

      The nickname Lyin’ Lyndon was well earned. One doesn’t have to be a fan of the Kennedys to question the findings of the Warren Commission. If you’ve read the well researched and well balanced LBJ biography by Robert Caro – he states and resoundingly demonstrates Johnson’s bottomless capacity for deceit, deception and betrayal. The term “credibility gap” was coined by the press to portray the difficulty that Americans had in believing anything that President Johnson told them.
      In the words of R. Rovere in the New Yorker; “It seems to be a fact beyond dispute that no other President has ever had to live in an atmosphere so heavy with distrust and disbelief as Lyndon Johnson. What may well be a majority of the American people are persuaded that the President is a dishonest and dishonorable man”.
      The Country had been advised of Johnson’s mis-deeds in the 1948 US Senate race in Texas when “A group of dead men rose from the grave to cast their ballots in alphabetical order for Lyndon Johnson” as he blatantly stole the US Senate race from Coke Stevenson. It was an outrageous scandal, even by Texas standards. And, unfortunately, his crimes didn’t begin or end with the theft of a Senate race.
      Over the weekend of 11/22-24/1963 he was able to call the Dallas Mayor, Chief of Police and District Attorney and order them to stop investigating the assassination:”You have your man” he told them in no uncertain terms. Next was a call to J. Edgar Hoover advising him that the entire investigation was in his hands; Proclaiming; “We’re not just friends and neighbors, you’re my brother”.
      Robert Caro doesn’t take sides in his 4 volume study of LBJ. However, after you’ve read the full biography it’s difficult not to implicate Johnson in the murder of John Kennedy. To understand the events of 11/22/63 you need to follow every Dickensian thread that leads to and away from Kennedy’s murder in Dallas. To be blunt – one really has to be blind not to see Johnson’s hand behind the assassination and the cover-up. Folks who stood in the way of LBJ had a funny habit of turning up dead.

  11. More on the LBJ-J.Edgar Hoover blood brother connection. Lyndon Johnson lived 3 houses away from J. Edgar Hoover for 18 years from 1943 to 1961 – about 57 yards away and across the street.

    It was not unusual for J. Edgar Hoover to come by for Sunday brunch at the Johnsons, along with such men as Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, Sen. Richard Russell. Even a young Bill Moyers attended when all 3 of those men were there. Google “Lady Bird Johnson Funeral – Bill Moyers” (in 1954 between Moyers sophomore and junior year in college).

    Those power brunches are described by Bill Moyers, “who was there.”

  12. Ronnie Wayne says:

    “A Texan Looks at Lyndon” by J Evetts Haley should be required reading for anyone interested in what some Texans thought of LBJ at the time of his ascension to the Presidency.
    JFK’s death allowed LBJ to avoid prosecution for some of his crimes as well as an embarrassing end to his career and legacy.

  13. Yet more fabulous work from FAIR, destroying the crackpot fantasy of an LBJ-MLK partnership. http://fair.org/blog/2015/01/19/maureen-dowd-sets-martin-luther-king-straight-on-how-freedom-is-won/

    Reality is LBJ/Hoover were doing all they could to destroy MLK.

    Maureen Dowd appears not to know that when Hoover passed along evidence of King’s infidelities, the Johnson White House’s actual response (as conveyed by Walter Jenkins, Johnson’s No. 1 aide), was that:

    “the FBI could perform a good service to the country if this matter could somehow be confidentially given to members of the press.”

  14. JOHNSON WAS A PSYCHOPATH WHO HATED KING. HIS GREAT SOCIETY WAS AN ATTEMPT TO COUNTERBALANCE THE WAR. HE HAD NO GENUINE EMPATHY OR SYMPATHY FOR THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT BEYOND ESTABLISHING A PERMANENT VOTING BASE.

    • Bill Clarke says:

      mark colucci January 19, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      Johnson already had a permanent voting base. It was called the south and it was solidly behind the democrats.

      So Johnson throws all these white votes away in return for a much much smaller number of black votes.

      Would you like to redo your math here?

      • The government was behind the murder of Martin Luther King Jr as was proven at trial by Wm F Pepper.
        If one is unwilling to accept Johnson had anything to do with the assassination of Kennedy that is one thing, to think that Johnson had no foreknowledge of the murder of MLK is absurd.
        \\][//

        • Bill Clarke says:

          Willy Whitten January 21, 2015 at 8:26 pm

          I have a pretty good grip on what is absurd here, Willy.

          • “I have a pretty good grip on what is absurd here, Willy.”~Bill Clarke – January 22, 2015 at 4:31 pm

            Do you really Bill? Have you ever read ORDERS TO KILL by Wm F Pepper?
            \\][//

          • Bill Clarke says:

            Willy Whitten January 24, 2015 at 1:30 pm

            WW. Do you really Bill? Have you ever read ORDERS TO KILL by Wm F Pepper?

            No Willy, I haven’t. But it sounds like a hum-dinger.

      • Vanessa Loney says:

        Hi Bill

        The thing I don’t understand about LBJ is, if we are to give him credit for his legendary negotiation skills with Congress and political courage in getting the Civil Rights Bill passed in 1964 then what happened in 1963? Didn’t he have those skills and the courage to get JFK’s bill passed then?

        The only real difference between 1964 and 1963 was JFK’s death and the change in public mood that followed it. That’s what enabled LBJ to get his legislation through. Any other efforts on his part should also have been present in 1963 (if he’d actually been trying in the VP job).

        • Bill Clarke says:

          Vanessa Loney January 22, 2015 at 1:08 a

          Oh I don’t think he was trying in 1963 and there are several reasons for this. Robert Caro titled one of his volumes “Master of the Senate” and I think that no doubt Johnson was.

          But in 1963 he was no longer in the senate, much less master of the senate. He could no longer threaten and harm those that opposed him (and he could be ruthless here) and he could no longer award those that supported him in the senate. That is one of the things that once made him master of the senate. In 1963 it was gone.

          In 1963 Johnson was also hampered by being outside the Kennedy circle. Although JFK had ordered that LBJ be included in their meetings very often this did not happen, greatly wounding LBJ’s over sized ego and pride. Here I think the contempt between Bobby and Johnson hurt the nation the most.

          Johnson might not be master anymore but he still knew how the senate worked and he still knew how to work it. JFK had not studied the senate since he was running for president while being a senator. None of the Kennedy crew had expertise in working the senate. Johnson could have been a tremendous help in getting the Kennedy bills passed but was ignored, again mostly due to Bobby I think. I don’t believe Johnson was even consulted on the Civil Rights Bill (or mostly any other bill)JFK presented to congress. That is how bad it was.

          On top of that, the time wasn’t right. In my studies the two men that most believed the time had to be right was Lyndon Johnson and Ho Chi Minh. They didn’t believe in squandering your forces fighting battles you could not win. You won what you could and lived to fight another day. I don’t think the time was right until after the assassination and Caro recounts LBJ telling his group that they had a limited time after the death of JFK to get the bill passed. In 1963 I doubt anyone could have got the Civil Rights Bill passed without the public mood changing, as you say. Those that claim JFK would have got it passed his next term belong to a group I call the “wait for next term” gang. The Bill was dead in the water.

          • Vanessa says:

            Hello there Bill 🙂

            Thanks for your thoughtful response.

            I’m still struggling to understand LBJ’s actions. As VP LBJ would have been in the box seat for the Democrat nomination after JFK. If he really was shut out of decision-making by the Kennedys wouldn’t one way to demonstrate his value to the administration be to get the Senate on side? As VP wouldn’t he (along with the President) have had access to a range of perks and persuasive power that he could have used in the Senate?

            I would have thought that the very thing he could bring to the table for the Kennedy administration (apart from the southern vote) was his skills in the Senate. We’ve seen plenty of useful VPs who’ve worked hard for their administrations and then become the Party’s Presidential nominee. Why not him?

            I don’t understand why LBJ didn’t take this golden opportunity he had been given and run with it. Surely, there’s got to be more to it than just he and Bobby didn’t get along??

            PS In a post on the Vietnam thread I asked whether you thought the war could be won. Just in case you haven’t seen it – it’s here. I would appreciate your views when you have a moment.

            http://jfkfacts.org/assassination/experts/was-jfk-going-to-pull-out-of-vietnam/#comments

          • Bill Clarke – January 24, 2015 at 7:47 pm:

            “No Willy, I haven’t. But it sounds like a hum-dinger.”

            And that Bill reads like a disingenuous hand wave. Do you have any idea of who Pepper is?

            I have a feeling that you do not wish to enter this arena deeply, because you understand that if MLK was killed by a government hit team, that MO will naturally extend to the other political assassinations of the era.
            \\][//

          • David Regan says:

            Willy raises a good point. The King family, represented by William Pepper, never accepted that James Earl Ray was the assassin and won a civil trial against Loyd Jowers for his involvement in a conspiracy to kill MLK.

            MLK’s Family Feels Vindicated http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mlks-family-feels-vindicated via @cbsnews

            Interesting to note Pepper is now representing Sirhan Sirhan in attempts of getting a new trial, presenting evidence of conspiracy in RFK’s death also.

          • Bill Clarke says:

            Willy Whitten January 26, 2015 at 10:53

            “No Willy, I haven’t. But it sounds like a hum-dinger.”

            WW; And that Bill reads like a disingenuous hand wave.

            BC; It was.

            WW; Do you have any idea of who Pepper is?

            BC; A 9/11 truther.

            WW; I have a feeling that you do not wish to enter this arena deeply, because you understand that if MLK was killed by a government hit team, that MO will naturally extend to the other political assassinations of the era.
            \\][//

            BC; We are safe here since I don’t think MLK was killed by a government “hit team”.

          • Bill Clarke says:

            Vanessa January 25, 2015 at 8:22 pm

            Hello Vanessa.

            The only other reason I can think of is that LBJ knew if he got the civil rights bill passed the Kennedy brothers would never allow him to receive any credit for it. And yes, I think LBJ could be that petty and paranoid at times.

            What I believe, and this is just my opinion, is that LBJ knew the civil rights bill could not be passed. So why get involved and get a bloody nose over a Kennedy problem. Another approach here would be LBJ feared if he put his stamp on the bill and couldn’t get it passed he would, as the Vietnamese say, lose much face. Lyndon Johnson wasn’t big on losing much face! And that is about all I’ve got on this one.

            Discussing this with you I realized I had never seen any of the historians ask and answer your question and this seems rather strange to me. It could be simply my memory which isn’t worth a damn anymore but if I get time I’ll check up on that. It has my curiosity stirred up now.

            I didn’t check back to the Vietnam subject and had indeed missed your post there. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I’ll answer that one on a new reply.

          • Bill Clarke says:

            Vanessa January 25, 2015 at 8:22 pm

            Part 1.

            Vanessa. PS In a post on the Vietnam thread I asked whether you thought the war could be won. Just in case you haven’t seen it – it’s here. I would appreciate your views when you have a moment.

            Again, thanks for bringing it to my attention. You have thrown me a fast ball here and I know I’m going to get hit but I’ll stick my neck out and try to reply here.~~ In a nut shell, yes I think the war was winnable. Just because we lost it doesn’t mean it was unwinnable. I think it was unwinnable the way LBJ and Westmoreland ran it but they were fools, both of them about the war in Vietnam.

            The only strategy they came up with was a war of attrition. Kill more communist than they killed of us. My god, I and my men lived like animals and that was the best they could do! I was furious when I read this in the first book I read on Vietnam. Still am. To make it worse they fought a war of attrition but left the valve open on the Trail! Westmoreland whines that this is all he could do since LBJ wouldn’t let him go into North Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos but that is BS. Chasing communist all over the Annamite mountains like Westmoreland did was the most stupid use of troops I’ve seen. Very few Vietnamese lived in the mountains, in some areas 90-95% of the Viets lived in the coastal areas. It was a war for the people so; Step 1 in winning the war is to put those troops LBJ sent him (and not half a million for god’s sake) in the coastal areas to work on pacification. Westmoreland blew off pacification and the SVN army as well. Not only was he stupid but he was also arrogant and in much over his head.

            Despite many claims of micromanagement by Washington, Westmoreland had freedom inside of South Vietnam. Step 1a, we fire Westmoreland and bring in Abrams. In fact, the first thing Abrams did on taking command was to stop this large unit search and destroy operations Westmoreland loved. Next he armed and trained the village defense units which Westmoreland had ignored. One of the “IF” questions of Vietnam is what would have happened if Abrams had command instead of Westmorland but Westmoreland was one of Max Taylor’s boys so he beat Abrams to the command.

          • Bill Clarke says:

            Vanessa January 25, 2015 at 8:22 pm

            Part 2.

            Among the things required for a successful insurgency is the requirement of a sanctuary to escape to, rest, rebuild and retrain. Of course the communist had this in spades with the DMZ, Cambodia and Laos. They also had a resupply train through both countries. Communist records reveal that the communist lived in fear that we would shut down the trail or invade North Vietnam. Surprisingly they estimated it would only take 2 or 3 American divisions to do either. There were three mountain passes that the trail had to go through in Laos, one major and two minor. Step 2 for winning the war is to close the Trail. Then clean out the sanctuaries in Laos and Cambodia and soon the communist in SVN are getting hungry and low on ammo. This also would have forced the communist to mass their forces to reopen the Trail, there they could be taken under fire by the massive firepower of the U.S.

            Next, Step 3 for winning the war is we finally take some initiative. We mine the harbors and we might even send some troops into NVN just for a little while. That would shake them up and make them withdraw some of their units from the south. That would help. This isn’t as farfetched as it seems, during TET 68 the only divisions left in NVN was the road repair division and the anti-aircraft division. All the other divisions were in South Vietnam.

            Now, that wasn’t so hard was it? I don’t know why they didn’t promote me to general! Not to be flip about a terrible thing, I certainly don’t underestimate the communist. We would have had to keep some force in SVN for many years like we have in Korea. But I really feel like it was winnable, especially after Abrams took over. There are several good books on what happened after TET68 and Abrams had turned the war around. He did this despite budget cuts and troop reductions but we had simply run out of time, years wasted by Westmoreland and LBJ. Also the communist defeat in their Easter Offensive of 1972 makes me believe that things had changed for the better.

            And that is my opinion, free of charge. Now I’ll run for my bunker!

          • Vanessa Loney says:

            Thanks Bill, I appreciate that. 🙂

            But as part of the administration wouldn’t it have been to his advantage to do his damnedest to ensure that the administration was successful and re-elected in 1964? That reflected glory would then have given him a better run for his own candidacy in 1968. Otherwise it seems a bit like cutting off your nose just to spite your face.

            And it sort of sounds like this – LBJ – the great wheeler and dealer, ruthless political operator, Master of the Senate is given the walk-up to a Presidential nomination (which he could never otherwise have dreamed of) and then because Bobby is mean to him becomes…..a giant sook.

            It would seem to be more consistent with LBJ’s character that he participated in a plot to have JFK killed in 1963 because he was going to be dumped from the ticket in 1964. And I’m not one that actually believes that!

          • Vanessa Loney says:

            Hello Bill

            Well, that is definitely one big call to make! Thanks for your detailed analysis.

            I have to say I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that the war was winnable after the fact. Even Nixon seemed to think privately that it couldn’t be won despite what he said publicly (which is one of the reasons why I think he was such a terrible President). I obviously have no military expertise whatsoever but I thought that the experience of the French proved that that particular war wasn’t winnable by anyone except Ho Chi Minh.

            Good luck in the bunker. 🙂

          • Bill Clarke’s hind sight suggestion that the war in Vietnam could be won militarily is pure conjecture. What is not conjecture is the fact that everybody won when the US finally ended it’s stupendous blunder, as the facts finally plainly showed that the “Domino Theory” was nonsense from the beginning.
            \\][//

          • Bill Clarke says:

            Vanessa Loney January 27, 2015 at 7:22 pm

            Vanessa, I haven’t found anything that clearly answers your question but I did find these remarks in “The Years of Lyndon Johnson; the Passage of Power”, Robert Caro.

            “A number of factors had contributed to the deadlock (of the Senate), but the key factor was the one about which Lyndon Johnson had, through Ted Sorensen, tried to warn Kennedy in June: not to send Congress a civil rights bill until all his other major bills had been disposed of, lest the other bills be held up, as hostages against civil rights.” Kennedy had sent Congress the civil rights bill anyway—and now the other bills were being held up.” Page 345.

            “If you don’t get your other bills “locked and key,” Lyndon Johnson had warned, these other bills would be stalled. His advice had not been heeded. And the other bills were stalled.” Page 262.

            So at least LBJ offered his advice which is more that I remembered happening. But I wonder if the fact he went through Ted Sorensen instead of going directly to JFK isn’t a sign of the poor utilization of Johnson by the Kennedy boys. Note Johnson’s advice was not utilized here.

            There is a good account of this deadlock here by Caro. JFK had submitted, among other good bills, a tax cut bill that was sorely needed. A good bill for the country, Harry Byrd wouldn’t let it out of his finance committee until the civil rights bill was either withdrawn or the teeth taken out.

          • Bill Clarke says:

            Vanessa Loney January 27, 2015 at 7:26 pm

            “I have to say I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that the war was winnable after the fact.”

            I got a kick out of that one, Vanessa. You travel in the wrong circles to have ever heard this. It really isn’t that uncommon in my circles of course. In fact you are in some good company about this unwinnable war. This was the first war in which the people or politics were more important than military power. Even Mao leaned a bit to the military side in his war. Some say that this strategy cannot be defeated and we certainly didn’t defeat it. But I’m thinking a mirror image strategy would work. Instead of bombs like we did you go after the people which didn’t happen until too late in the day for us.

            I don’t think the French in Vietnam showed us much. They went back to reclaim a colony they had raped for over 80 years. We should be ashamed for helping them move back to Vietnam and finance their war. The French suffered from being thoroughly hated by the Viets and they had a good reason for this hatred. The French were brutal in VN. They didn’t mind starving the people when they exported too much rice.

            We could have learned some things from the French experience but of course we didn’t. Both countries thought their military power would prevail. It didn’t.

            Old Ho was a leader of men as we say. He had the touch. The South Vietnamese I knew in Vietnam would quickly tell you Ho was #1. They were not so happy with the communist (#10) which had mostly worn out its welcome in SVN by the time I got there. Ho captured the crown when he ran the hated French out of Vietnam. I believe he was much wiser than Mao or Stalin but he could be as ruthless when called for. I wonder if the communist would have prevailed, especially in the early years, without Ho.

            Thanks. My bunker has served me well for many years. You just have to get in it before they get you!

          • Bill Clarke says:

            Willy Whitten January 27, 2015 at 10:03 pm

            WW. Bill Clarke’s hind sight suggestion that the war in Vietnam could be won militarily is pure conjecture.

            BC. Damn Willy, I thought it was pure military genius!~~ Did you miss, Willy, the part where I said I’d use most of the U.S. troops in pacification work in the heavily populated coastal areas of Vietnam. Do you consider this military? Then I’d use the military to cut the Trail and some other cleaning up. You are aware that Uncle Ho also used military power in conjunction with his “pacification” work? It takes both.

            WW. What is not conjecture is the fact that everybody won when the US finally ended it’s stupendous blunder,

            BC. Yes, that most certainly is conjecture on your part. Ask the Viets that spent 15 or 20 years in the reeducation camps if they won. Ask the ones that came out of the camps feet first. Ask the Buddhist that are still being thrown in prison today if they won. Ask the writers and artist that have been imprisoned. Ask the Vietnamese that was still going hungry in 1985 how they won.

            as the facts finally plainly showed that the “Domino Theory” was nonsense from the beginning.

            You take a theory formed in the mid 1950s and 25 years later you shout “haha, it wasn’t true”. Weak Willy. Very weak.

          • Vanessa says:

            Hi Bill

            I have a feeling that if my circles and your circles ever happened to meet they would be in a constant state of shock at each other’s pronouncements :).

            As I’ve said before I think aid was the way to go if the USA wanted to win hearts and minds – it seems to be more successful than shooting people. Having said that, IMHO, once nationalism comes into play it pretty much trumps every other -ism going in terms of appeal. I’m not saying that is a good thing (not at all) but just that it is a very, very powerful thing.

            I appreciate your distinction between the military victory and the ‘people’ victory. I agree that Vietnam did demonstrate that to a tee.

            Even if the French had been benign colonisers it would have made no difference in the long run. The Vietnamese would have always wanted to run their own country. The world has seen countless examples of this phenomenon and we still don’t seem to have learned.

            Looks like you might be safe in the bunker today 🙂

          • Vanessa says:

            Thanks Bill, I really appreciate you taking the time to find that information. Hmm, maybe it did come down to lack of judgement by the Kennedys on how best to use LBJ. It seems unbelievable that JFK would not have recognised what an asset LBJ could have been. And it seems unbelievable that LBJ would not have wanted to demonstrate that value even if purely for his own benefit. I still find it a puzzle.

      • Lyndon Johnson, after decades of opposing civil rights, came out strong for civil rights one week after the JFK assassination because he politically *had* to. If he did not, he was not going to be the Democratic nominee in 1964. Robert Kennedy would have been.

        LBJ’s approval rating post JFK assassination was a majestic 74% approval and 12% disapproval for a WHOLE YEAR post JFK murder. In other words, supporting civil rights posed absolutely no electoral threat to LBJ. He knew he would lose the Deep South, but who cares when your approval stays at 74% after you *have* to come out for civil rights. Johnson’s greatest threat would be to not come out for civil rights post JFK murder.

        Web link: http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu/CFIDE/roper/presidential/webroot/presidential_rating_detail.cfm?allRate=True&presidentName=Johnson

        11/20-25/64 Gallup 70 19 11 1529
        6/25-30/64 Gallup 74 15 11 1581
        6/11-16/64 Gallup 74 14 12 1527
        6/4-9/64 Gallup 74 12 14 1624
        5/22-27/64 Gallup 74 13 13 1640
        5/6-11/64 Gallup 75 10 15 1607
        4/24-29/64 Gallup 75 11 14 1661
        3/27-4/2/64 Gallup 76 12 13 1676
        3/13-17/64 Gallup 78 9 13 1701
        2/28-3/5/64 Gallup 80 9 11 1662
        2/13-18/64 Gallup 74 9 18 1655
        1/30-2/5/64 Gallup 76 8 16 1631
        1/2-7/64 Gallup 77 5 18 1630
        12/12-17/63 Gallup 74 4 22 1577
        12/5-10/63 Gallup 78 2 20 1613

        • Bill Clarke says:

          Robert Morrow January 27, 2015 at 11:35 pm

          Then why did Johnson push the 1957 Civil Rights Bill and the 1960 Civil Rights Bill through Congress? They would not have been passed without Johnson.

  15. Sam says:

    I had always heard that Martin Luther King spoke out against the Vietnam War in 1967, and that this angered LBJ to the point where he hated King. Is this an accurate historical assessment or not?
    We hear a lot in the media about King’s civil rights commitment, which was of course monumental. Yet if he in fact spoke out against the military and the whole Vietnam thing, how come nobody mentions it? Is it untrue? If it is true, might this perhaps change how historians might view the LBJ-MLK relationship?
    Could we add also the FBI hatred, and maybe CIA hatred of King, if he was speaking out against their war in Vietnam?

    • Bill Clarke says:

      Sam January 19, 2015 at 10:09 pm

      I don’t know if “hate” is the proper word but yes, I think there is no doubt this is true. Johnson felt that King had betrayed him and Johnson didn’t take betrayal lightly.

      I don’t think this has been hidden from history. More that a few accounts of this happening.

      No doubt Hoover hated King. I’ve never heard of the CIA going one way or the other.

      • I’m not sure about your claim that Johnson felt betrayed by King. Did LBJ suddenly forget about their partnership in working for Civil Rights legislation? He liked MLK then, but now felt betrayed by him just because of his opposition to the war? LBJ should have realized that that kind of thing is natural in politics-working together on one issue but being opposed to one another in a different issue.

        • Bill Clarke says:

          Paul Turner January 23, 2015 at 10:06 am

          Partnerships and marriages breakup every day. Sometimes amicably and sometimes what were once good friends or loved ones no longer speak to each other. Sometimes the breakup of a partnership causes a shooting or killing! And god no, I don’t think LBJ had King killed! I do, however understand the breakup.

          I believe what causes your confusion here can be found in your sentence, “He liked MLK then, but now felt betrayed by him just because of his opposition to the war?” It wasn’t a minor “just because” to LBJ. King might as well have stuck him with a hot blade.

          Here are some statements to support my “claim”. “Indomitable Will; LBJ in the Presidency”, Mark Updegrove, pages 274-275.

          Tom Johnson: “LBJ was disappointed, hurt and angry when Dr. King later distanced himself and became an opponent of the war in Vietnam.”

          Bob Hardesty: “LBJ’s anger toward King was mixed with regret and sadness. He couldn’t understand how King could have turned so completely on him after all he had done for civil rights.”

          • Bill, I believe your Hardesty quote somewhat matches what I said about LBJ not understanding that this kind of thing is natural in politics. I wonder how you would comment on the more recent differences between the late Ted Kennedy and President Bush 43. I refer to how Kennedy worked with Bush to help get “No Child Left Behind” passed, but later said that his(Kennedy’s)vote against what turned out to be our military involvement in Iraq was the best vote he ever made as a U.S. Senator?

          • Bill Clarke says:

            Paul Turner January 24, 2015 at 4:59 pm

            PT. Bill, I believe your Hardesty quote somewhat matches what I said about LBJ not understanding that this kind of thing is natural in politics.

            I think so Paul. Hardesty had more to say on the subject which I didn’t post because of time. I’ll post it now, same page. “There were others – like Senator Wayne Morse – who vocally disagreed with the President on Vietnam but who supported his domestic agenda almost 100 percent and were not ashamed to say so”. Now while you and I could probably disagree on one issue but work together on another issue for a common goal, I’m not sure LBJ could. I think his insecurities and ego ruled that out for him. Once you crossed Lyndon Johnson I think he crossed you off his list and you probably didn’t get back on it. This is rather puzzling since LBJ was an astute politician and as you say should have played the political game here a bit better. But as Caro says, he was a complex man.

            As for what the late Senator Ted Kennedy said, I’d have to agree with him.

            I ran across this statement by Updegrove that was interesting. I don’t know if I buy it or not but he said “For King, Vietnam was an all-or nothing proposition; nothing else Johnson did mattered as long as the war raged. King was a crusader, not and old guard civil rights leader like Roy Wilkins, the executive director of the NAACP”. Perhaps we had two unmovable forces here in 1967.

    • lysias says:

      Democracy Now! every MLK Day replays MLK’s speech against the Vietnam War delivered in the Riverside Church in New York City exactly one year before MLK was assassinated.

    • “Yet if he in fact spoke out against the military and the whole Vietnam thing, how come nobody mentions it? Is it untrue?”~Sam

      Why isn’t it mentioned? That is the technique of the Public Relations Regime, to present half-truths of history and avoid troublesome details that make up the whole truth.

      See:

      Martin Luther King Jr.: “Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam”

      Sermon at the Ebenezer Baptist Church on April 30, 1967

      “I call on the young men of America who must make a choice today to take a stand on this issue. Tomorrow may be too late. The book may close. And don’t let anybody make you think that God chose America as his divine, messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world. God has a way of standing before the nations with judgment, and it seems that I can hear God saying to America, “You’re too arrogant! And if you don’t change your ways, I will rise up and break the backbone of your power, and I’ll place it in the hands of a nation that doesn’t even know my name. Be still and know that I’m God.” ”
      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article16183.htm
      \\][//

      • Sam says:

        Thank you, Wally, for posting this quote from King’s speech. That sounds like quite a threat to Johnson, the military, and the CIA, who backed the Vietnam War almost unanimously. Of course, LBJ later hedged his bets, questioning the war at the end of his life, but he didn’t do enough to stop it, the 1968 Paris Peace Talks being too little, too late for his career.

        I have to wonder if Martin Luther King, already hated by J. Edgar Hoover, didn’t become a lightning rod for conservatives in government to kill him? The King family seems to think so, as they agreed with the jury who found Ray, the accused assassin, to be set up as part of a plot. This kind of information makes people uncomfortable, and I think that is why so many try to deny it, just as many denied the atrocities of slavery, corrupt robber barons, indian removal, etc. King spoke out about what he saw and believed, which made people uncomfortable at the time. I think he died for “talking too much.”

  16. David Regan says:

    How John F Kennedy’s assassination spurred the drive for racial equality http://gu.com/p/3kg9m/tw via @guardian

  17. I am addressing this here because the string is too long in the part of the thread it appears in:
    Bill Clarke – January 27, 2015 at 12:15 am

    “No Willy, I haven’t. But it sounds like a hum-dinger.”

    WW; And that Bill reads like a disingenuous hand wave.

    BC; “It was.”
    . . . . . . .

    So what do we make of a commentator here who admits quite candidly that he is being disingenuous?

    Bill goes on in this same comment to dismiss Wm F. Pepper because he is a “9/11 Truther”. How sound is such reasoning? This is rather the same as the reverse reasoning we get from those who hand-wave the 9/11 truth movement as “tin hat grassy knoll conspiracy nuts”. This is a broad circle of false reasoning taking in a half a century of denial by the mainstream apologists.
    \\][//

  18. Let’s not forget this Amy Davidson piece in the New Yorker on Why Selma Is More Than Fair to LBJ.

    http://www.newyorker.com/news/amy-davidson/selma-fair-l-b-j

  19. David Regan says:

    50 Years Ago This Week We Started Bombing Vietnam http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/02/50th-anniversay-vietnam-veterans-war via @motherjones

    • Paul Turner says:

      That is a sad reminder of American history, as we probably would have LEFT Vietnam at that time, had JFK lived and been re-elected.

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