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After years of researching Johnson and the JFK assassination, Phillip F. Nelson conclusively shows that LBJ had an active role in JFK's assassination, and he includes newly-uncovered photographic evidence proving that Johnson knew when and where Kennedy's assassination would take place. Nelson's careful and meticulous research has led him to uncover secrets from one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in our country's history.
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THE MANIACAL OBSESSION OF LYNDON B. JOHNSON
I'm just like a fox. I can see the jugular in any man and go for it, but I always keep myself in rein. I keep myself on a leash, just like you would an animal.
— LYNDON JOHNSON, DESCRIBING HIMSELF TO A FRIEND.
When he was twelve years old, Lyndon Johnson proclaimed to some friends, "Someday, I'm going to be president of the United States." The other children said they wouldn't vote for him, to which he replied, "I won't need your votes," as if he already knew how to steal elections. As a young man in his early twenties during his college years, he would go to Saturday-night dances dressed in a bright shirt, his hair combed into an elaborate pompadour, where he would strut around and tell anyone who would listen that he was going to be the president of the United States one day — an ambition repeated numerous times to others and no doubt thousands more to himself, as he grew older. In college, he told a fellow student, "Politics is a science, and if you work hard enough at it, you can be president. I'm going to be president." Another time, Lyndon broke up with his girlfriend, Carol Davis, because her father detested the entire Johnson family. Her father forbade her to marry into "that no-account Johnson family," saying, "Everyone in Blanco County knew that Lyndon's grandfather Sam had been 'nothing but an old cattle rustler — one generation after another of shiftless dirt farmers and grubby politicians.'" Johnson retorted, "To hell with your daddy. I wouldn't marry you or anyone in your whole damned family ... And you can tell your daddy that someday I'll be president of this country."
Eventually, securing the presidency became a deeply ingrained obsession. Given the poverty of his family and his nominal education, he would have to explore every possible way to achieve his goal; he would not need the conventional path as long as he could use other, quasi-constitutional, means. Even when he was a child, qualified observers saw troubling character traits within him that portended the kind of extralegal methods that would characterize his political life. His grandmother on his mother's side, Ruth Baines, regarded him as a disobedient delinquent and had considerable skepticism about Lyndon's future. "More than once," Lyndon's brother, Sam Houston Johnson, recalled, "she told my folks and anyone else who would listen, 'That boy is going to wind up in the penitentiary — just mark my words.'" Lyndon apparently did not disagree with her, saying as he recalled his youth, "I was only a hairsbreadth away from going to jail." This nascent criminality grew stronger until it was LBJ's central attribute.
Despite the realities of his impoverished family, Lyndon always liked to portray them as pillars of their community. J. Evetts Haley, a contemporary Texas historian, in 1964 noted Johnson's "genius of warping time and coincidence to his political purpose," citing as one example his frequent exploitation of the community, Johnson City; Johnson claimed it was named after his family, though it was not. He would often introduce himself as "Lyndon Johnson from Johnson City," his way of implicitly communicating the status accorded to his family for being founders of the town; after he left Texas for Washington, he would use the same technique, yet stretch the lie even further to leave the impression not only that his family founded the town but that they were of some special aristocratic lineage. As Johnson's most prolific biographer Robert Caro confirmed, if anyone asked Johnson directly whether there was a connection, "he would confirm that impression, saying that Johnson City had been founded by his grandfather, a statement that was, of course, not true." Lyndon had learned this bit of skullduggery from his father, Sam, who had moved his family to Johnson City so he could claim the same thing. He was actually the town drunk; he owed everyone there and was in debt until the day he died. After using up all the credit he could muster in Johnson City, he ventured to other towns in which to charge his purchases; he would open up new accounts and rack up more debt in various stores, until they cut him off. Truman Fawcett, the son of a drugstore owner in Johnson City, said that "he'd save a little cash money and put down some money on his bills here. But he couldn't ever catch up ... He was a man who didn't pay his bills."
Even many years after Johnson's death, some of his congressional aides during the 1930 — 1950s still believed the Johnson hyperbole about how his forebears were the town's founders was true: In his oral history recording at the Johnson Library, Horace Busby stated, "Johnson had awfully strong class feelings. They were not of someone from the under class feeling strongly against the upper class; it was the fact that Johnson [felt] — this is my interpretation of it, and this applied when he was president — that there were an awful lot of people from the upper classes elsewhere who did not understand he was from the upper class in Johnson City. I mean, it was aristocrat against aristocrat" (emphasis added). This stunning comment, from someone who worked with Johnson so closely for so many years, clearly shows that Johnson's delusions had spread to certain of his credulous subordinates. After all that time with Johnson, Busby was not aware of the poverty, the near starvation of the family, or the filthy house in which LBJ grew up. (A childhood friend of Johnson's told Robert Caro of how he ate dinner once at the Johnson house and was served a few scraps of bread with a little bit of bacon, which was "rancid.") It is instructive as to how so many of Johnson's closest associates during his presidency — men like Marvin Watson and Jack Valenti — had still not fully understood their mentor many years after his death; the reason, of course, was their own credulity in believing anything Johnson said, despite the fact that his compulsive lying about everything, even when he didn't have to lie, was well-known by them and everyone else who knew Johnson.
As for his mother, Rebekah, the regular folks in Johnson City had always felt she was pretentious — uppity, perhaps — and not quite as sophisticated as she liked to portray herself. She felt that her education put her above the menial housework required of a country lady. The inevitable result, of course, was manifested in the description of the Johnson home repeatedly heard by Robert Caro in his interviews with people who knew the family: "Filthy, dirty. It was a dirty house!" Lyndon was a precocious tyrant who gave his mother ceaseless demands, turning his mother into his personal servant. He would demand, "Where's my shirt? Where's my britches?" The reason for Rebekah's challenges in keeping a clean and orderly house and her capitulation to Lyndon's demands was that she had inherited genes that had been shaped by two generations before her; she was the third generation of a family that had suffered severe, incapacitating depression. Her son Lyndon B. Johnson would be the fourth.
The Onset of Lyndon Johnson's "Great Depression"
Lyndon Johnson was usually brash and aggressive with others, but he began to experience moods, sometimes lasting for several days before he rebounded to his normal self, during which he would become very quiet and hardly say anything to anyone. These episodes of loneliness would plague him for the rest of his life, leading him to rely on others to accompany him during their onset, in some cases having them promise they would stay near him while he slept. Johnson's slips into and out of the depressive phase of his condition were classic examples of manic-depressive cycles. His basic character traits emerged as a child and stayed with him thereafter; another of these was his narcissistic, abnormally self-centered nature. He exacted attention from everyone around him, one way or the other, and according to his classmates, he wanted them to acknowledge his superiority. His tremendous ego had started annoying people by the time he was eleven. The above traits were the initial signs of a person afflicted with what is now referred to as bipolar disorder.
His relationship with and treatment of his staff, now acknowledged in the more honest biographies of him, was often characterized by arrogance, derision, and condescension. For reasons that could only be understood by a person holding a doctoral degree in psychology, they allowed themselves to be manipulated by Johnson in a way that is contrary to the training most self-respecting people get from childhood. The character deficiencies apparently held by all of his subordinates — traits which were obviously instantly detectable by Lyndon Johnson from the first interviews he had with them — allowed them to willingly participate in wholesale unethical, immoral, illegal, or unconstitutional actions, all for the pleasure of their paranoid and delusional boss.
In most cases, Johnson had to work up a violent outburst before he began berating his staff, either to them directly or when he attacked their competence to someone else. In at least one instance — the conversation he had with Bobby in the Oval Office as he quietly told Kennedy that he would not be selected as the vice presidential nominee — Johnson "urged him to stay at Justice, with its 'outstanding staff.' His own staff, Johnson said, wasn't much. He couldn't really count on Valenti, Jenkins, or Reedy. Moyers was good, but 'his most useful function was rewriting what other people did' ... Kennedy was appalled. Johnson was bad-mouthing people who were devoting their lives to him."
Dr. Bertram S. Brown, the psychiatrist who had seen a number of presidents and presidential aides, said, "Johnson's humiliation of his employees was a way of exercising his power ... Johnson was a megalomaniac ... He was a man of such narcissism that he thought he could do anything." Eventually, Johnson's behavior apparently disintegrated so far that even his top advisers noticed it. According to Anthony Summers, "Two senior aides, Richard Goodwin and Bill Moyers, became so alarmed by the president's state of mind that, secretly and unbeknownst to each other, they turned to psychiatrists for advice." In a letter to The New York Times, Richard Goodwin revealed years later, "We were describing a textbook case of paranoid disintegration, the eruption of long-suppressed irrationalities ... The disintegration could continue, remain constant, or recede depending on the strength of Johnson's resistance." Other Johnson assistants, like former press secretary George Reedy, observing his behavior on a daily basis for an extended period, believed the president was a "manic depressive."
Left unattended and unchecked by the people around him due to the fear of unleashing one of his uncontrollable and violent rages, his condition would culminate in his becoming psychotic in 1966.
Lyndon Learns the Art of Manipulation
In 1923, at age fifteen, before his father fell ill, lost his seat in the legislature, and began a slide into indebtedness, unemployment, and drunkenness that had already cost them their farm, he called Lyndon and asked him to come to Austin so he could buy him a suit. Lyndon saw an opportunity to lay an intricate plan to manipulate his father into buying not just some cheap seersucker suit, but the finest suit in the store. Knowing how his father was highly concerned with appearances, never wanting to look poor, he asked his friend Milton Barnwell to drive him to Austin, not just once, but twice: The first trip was to find the suit he wanted, a cream-colored twenty-five-dollar Palm Beach suit that he tried on to ensure it looked good on him. He then told the salesman that when he returned the next day with his father, the salesman must pretend Lyndon hadn't been there and then told him how he must showcase this particular suit and what he should say. The next day, Barnwell drove Lyndon back to Austin, where they met his father at the store; Lyndon's plan worked perfectly since Sam wouldn't dare ask to see a less expensive suit. He didn't appreciate the situation he had been put into, but he couldn't ask the clerk to see cheaper suits, and so he agreed to buy Lyndon the one he wanted. Lyndon's preference for conspicuous clothes was consistent with his lifelong struggle as a manic-depressive. In a school where everyone else wore blue jeans or overalls, he was the only one who showed up daily in slacks, a white shirt, and tie, dress he occasionally augmented with a yellow silk shirt and ascot, or "the only Palm Beach suit and straw boater in town." Lyndon's ability to lay intricate plans to accomplish his long-range objectives had only begun. It would be honed and perfected throughout the next fifty years of his life, even reappearing on the date he selected to be the last day of his life.
Johnson also began learning his skills of persuasion as a boy, following his father around the capitol and mimicking his style of "physical conversation," according to which Sam would rest his hand on the other man's lapel or around his shoulder and put their faces nearly nose to nose as they talked. He copied the way his daddy strutted and schmoozed and blustered with the other politicians in Austin as he began tasting the power of elective office. Men who knew him then recognized his early training, and they commented about it: "He was so much like his father that it was humorous to watch."
But while Lyndon was copying his father's political style, the deepening economic recession would open a chasm between them that would never be healed. As late as 1920, the price of cotton had dropped from forty to eight cents per pound, and the crop itself was decimated by hot weather, yet Sam Johnson tried to keep up appearances; the local paper reported that "Hon. S. E. Johnson and his little son Lyndon, of Stonewall, were among the prominent visitors in Johnson City on Wednesday of this week. Mr. Johnson has one of the largest and best farms in this section of Texas, and has been kept quite busy of late supervising its cultivation." In truth, by Lyndon's twelfth birthday that year, Sam Johnson's farm was on the threshold of being foreclosed upon; the "big land deals" and his cars "were nothing but a front."
The disintegration of Sam's career affected Lyndon psychologically; the reports of Lyndon's rejection of his father after Sam had become caught up in the collapse of the agricultural markets in 1920, forcing the sale of the farm in 1922, suggest that he was suddenly now very embarrassed by what followed: the complete collapse of his father's political career in 1923. Sam had turned down big money bribes that year to throw support behind legislation he had proudly sponsored called the "blue-sky bill"; it was intended to protect farmers from being swindled by "high-pressure salesmen" peddling phony oil stocks and was popular among his constituents. Lyndon's sister Josefa used to say to her friends whenever they wanted Sam's permission for something, "Let's get him talking about the Blue Sky Law. Then he'll be in a good mood and he'll say 'all right.'" The virtual collapse of Sam's health followed the loss of the farm and his solvency, leading to bleak years of indebtedness, drunkenness, and the near starvation of his family; all this was seven years before the start of the Great Depression.
Lyndon's rejection of Sam at this point suggests that he saw his father's noble actions regarding the bluesky law as being the cause of all the family's financial problems and the collapse of his political career. It was a lesson which he clearly never forgot: When the choice involved questions of morality, Lyndon Johnson consistently chose the more pragmatic and profitable, less noble avenue throughout his lifetime.
Lyndon Johnson Goes to College
After his father's political, financial, and physical collapse, Lyndon took off with a couple of other Johnson City boys to make a new life in California; after a few fruitless years there, Johnson decided in 1927 to return home and enroll in college at the Southwest Texas State Teachers College in San Marcos. That was the first year the college would graduate its first fully accredited class. The state considered it a third-class college, and professors were therefore paid less than the scale for high school teachers; it was hard for the school to attract good faculty because of the low pay, and most who taught at San Marcos were there because they couldn't find a job anywhere else, just as the students were there because they couldn't afford to attend anywhere else.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "LBJ The Mastermind of the JFK Assassination"
Copyright © 2013 Phillip F. Nelson.
Excerpted by permission of Skyhorse Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part I Background 1
Chapter 1 The Maniacal Obsession of Lyndon B. Johnson 2
Part II The Context of the Times: Secrets, Scandals, and Scams 65
Chapter 2 The International Scene 66
Chapter 3 Washington Affairs 131
Chapter 4 Unsolved Murders and Other Lingering LB J Scandals 186
Part III The Preassassination Conspiracy 265
Chapter 5 The Mastermind Secures the Vice Presidency 266
Chapter 6 The Conspirators 317
Part IV The November 22, 1963, Coup d'état 371
Chapter 7 The Hit and the Aftershock: Anomalies Abound 372
Chapter 8 A More Plausible Scenario 462
Part V Postassassination Intrigue 535
Chapter 9 The Cover-Up Continues 536