Johnny Reb and Billy Yank Flag Debate Continues

Johnny Reb and Billy Yank Flag Debate Continues

by DC Dave

This is a continuation of my email exchanges with a history professor who was a colleague of mine from 1972 to 1978 at a small private college in North Carolina. I taught economics. The first three rounds are chronicled in “The ‘Rebel’ Flag and the ‘Civil War’ Debated.” The controversy begins with B’Man’s article, “What Does the Stars and Bars Represent?” In my concluding paragraph of the previous article I had promised to publish any response to me should it be forthcoming. He did respond, and I responded to him. The ball is in his court once again. First, we have his response:

 

Round 4

I had hoped to be able to accept an apology for your transmitting my messages to B-Man’s site without my permission.  Alas, I found none, though I did find instead another condemnation of my laziness, with others following. Regarding B-Man’s site, I simply don’t want to be associated with it, but that train’s now left the station.  Your opinion of how I should feel about the use of my own words is interesting, but it’s not your place to act on that opinion.

I wanted a conversation with you because I know you and take you seriously.

I can’t help noticing a parallel to the flag controversy:  One party is aggrieved by another’s act and says so.  The other party replies, not with an apology, but by exacerbating the grievance.

If you do nothing else, please address the following questions, which you didn’t do previously.  I’m not accusing you of anything.  My response then was long and this one is also.

Let’s focus on the title of the original message, “The Real Meaning of the Stars and Bars.” You had said you “do not accept” the notion that there is revulsion among “grassroots” blacks about the flag, and this summed up your response to my suggestion of courtesy to the people who felt insulted.  I looked for supporting evidence but found none, and added:

This is anecdotal, but I know and frequently meet with a number of “grassroots” black people, assuming by grassroots you mean wage earners, schoolteachers, preachers, healthcare workers, etc.  They are all offended by the flag, in varying ways.  At least one dismisses it as white folks being white folks; at least two are brought nearly to tears as they discuss it; and another seethes quietly, to take four examples. Poll after poll says that blacks see the flag as a symbol of racism.  For example, CNN: 72% of blacks nationwide, 75% in the South.  I know: this is MSM.  But do you have evidence of your own that removes us from the realm of anecdote?

Do you really believe that there is no reason for black people to be insulted or hurt by the display of the flag?  What evidence supports your belief of little revulsion among blacks?  And, to repeat, why isn’t a courteous response to their grievances appropriate?

Could you also respond to this?

Thus far, it looks to me as though the flag controversy is improving things [i.e., race relations], not worsening them.

One more.  I wrote:

Finally re MSM [“mainstream media”], which is a blanket whose size I don’t know. You and B-Man reject them totally, as near as I can tell.  Another sweeping generalization.  Wouldn’t it make more sense to evaluate them newspaper by newspaper, network by network, pundit by pundit, etc.?  When, for example, in the aftermath of the Charleston murders, a report launches a stereotyped condemnation of Southern racists, chalk it up to the fact that the reporter is a simpleton (as many are) or an idiot (fewer, perhaps, but plenty nonetheless).  Then also note that that many of the same MSM widely publicized moving, humane statements by Paul Thurmond, Mayor Riley, and many other white folks, some ordinary, some not.  They were an eloquent contradiction of the crude, false stereotypes sometimes perpetrated.

Do you have any response to the above?  Is everything from whatever you mean by MSM automatically invalid?

From here on, I’ll try again to defend myself and my profession.   It’s fine with me if you don’t respond, but professional historians’ views of the causes of the Civil War, and thus the meaning of the flag, are an important part of what follows.

No, I can’t cite any historians who have written about Forrestal or Foster. I have read the piece in which you attack three of them, but your contempt seems to result from the fact that at least one doesn’t read the evidence the way you do. He’s therefore a liar.  You focus with unusual intensity on those cases.  Fine.  But are John Hope Franklin, or Eugene Genovese, or Stanley Engerman, or Anne Scott, or Saul Friedlander, or Gerda Lerner, or hosts of others who make up the profession, including yours truly as a lesser member, to be condemned and insulted because they don’t?  This seems so elementary that I’m reluctant even to mention it.

In my opinion and, evidently, in many others’, in the grand scheme of things the Forrestal and Foster cases are relatively unimportant.  True, they may illustrate bad behavior on the part of people in government, but this is no shock.  I’m not surprised that most historians have focused on broader issues, those that help us better understand forces that shape more people’s lives.

I was mistaken to call the JFK assassination controversy “supposed”, but numerous historians have, in fact, focused on it.  I attended a session at the Southern Historical Society Convention in, I think, 1978, and as I recall, all the historians on the panel thought, to differing degrees, that there were flaws in the Warren Report. Their conclusions might not have matched yours, but historians did not ignore or suppress the topic, and continued to write about it.  So did many journalists.  You know this.

My conclusion hasn’t changed:  You condemn a profession that contains thousands of people on the basis of flimsy evidence and analysis.

On slavery as a cause of the Civil War, which is central to how black people feel about the flag:

SC began the fighting. Virtually every historian knows that Lincoln’s goal in responding was to save the Union, not end slavery.  He made this clear in the inaugural (which said some conciliatory, kind things about the South). This has been settled for decades. He may have baited the South into firing the first shot (a matter of debate, as I understand it), but they eagerly bit.

What we should do, however, is to distinguish between immediate causes and long-term, deeper ones, from which we can learn more.  The two most important immediate causes are the secession, and Lincoln’s action in response. The first is more important than the second, which would not have happened without the first. How we view Lincoln’s action depends on one’s view of the importance of maintaining the union, and on assessing the deeper causes of his action.

What are the fundamental causes of secession?  It depends on how far back you want to go, which is a matter of opinion.  You could look at the debates over the Constitution in the 1780s/90s.  The existence of slavery almost caused the union not to exist in the first place.  Isn’t that suggestive.

Or to the time of the Missouri Compromise, 1810s and onward.  Some thought, JQ Adams for example, that there might be war, or some kind of dissolution of the union, if the slave states believed that slavery would be forbidden in the new states/territories.  That ruckus lasted for decades.

The southern economy, and therefore the region’s way of life, was based on slavery. Can you imagine the Southern way of life being remotely similar to what it was, if it had it been based on free, non-racialized labor?  Many factors caused Southerners to fear for slavery’s future, from tariffs, to the abolitionists’ actions, to John Brown’s raid, and many other episodes. (Lincoln’s election should have been the least of their worries.)  All these fed secession and revolve around slavery.  And there are still those pesky Declarations of Secession, whose substance you dismissed.

The reason the Southern states seceded and attacked Ft. Sumter was that they feared they could not maintain slavery.  The reason Lincoln perpetrated war was to nullify secession, which most (but of course not all) of his constituency in the North wanted him to do, not because he was a bloodthirsty warmonger.

The most charitable description of a view that the war was entirely Lincoln’s fault is that it’s superficial.  If I missed something in your response, please set me straight.  I don’t want to insult you.

Professional historians have worked very hard to try to understand these things.  They argue all the time.  Most are neither timorous nor eunuchs, whatever that means (“timorous eunuchs” sounds redundant).  They are often partly or completely wrong, but usually other historians provide a corrective and there is an argument, which is the way scholarship works.

(All italics are in the original.)

 

My Response

Amidst all the mutual verbal fireworks, petulance, and selective responses to score debating points, I have actually detected a little bit of common ground, and there might be more if we work at it.  You may have noticed that I conceded on the point of South Carolina’s display of its flag on its Capitol building on account of the intent behind originally running it up there.  More even than the public funding, the fact that it was put up as a symbol of determined resistance to integration and the civil rights movement suggests that it should have been taken down a long time ago.

I believe you also conceded that what one chooses to do with the Stars and Bars in a private capacity is another matter, entirely, but then you go on to argue that it’s not nice to do it because black people generally take offense at it as a symbol of slavery.  I don’t think you’d get any argument from either B’Man or me that flaunting the Confederate battle flag can be taken that way in the black community which is one reason neither one of us would put one on our vehicles and, up until very recently, neither one of us had ever even owned one.  In the article on the Stars and Bars that you took such strong exception to, initiating this exchange, I don’t see any advocacy on his part for the indiscriminate display of the Confederate flag.  He does take a very strong pro-free speech position, saying that there should be no legal restrictions and that “no matter what a person’s reason for owning the Stars and Bars (even the most vile, racist, hating rationale), it is their freedom to use that emblem as a form of speech.”

Although you don’t state it in such strong terms, it looks to me that his position and your position on the private display of the flag are essentially the same. The 28.32-minute video that requires more time to review than any part of the article (which I gather you must not have watched) takes a very balanced view of the question, and it also quite amply represents the views of blacks and whites of different generations, political persuasions, and political leanings.  You will find well-represented there the views of those blacks that by “getting out,” in contrast to your supposedly cloistered former colleague, you have learned represent the overwhelming majority of the black community (reinforced by the polls you cite). But you will also see support for my position that for the past 30 years or so the Stars and Bars hasn’t been such a big deal to black people.  One really doesn’t have to get out and talk with a lot of black young people to know that there’s no particular reason why they should give a damn one way or the other.  It’s just a white, redneck, Dukes of Hazzard, NASCAR, country music sort of thing for generally lower class Southern white people as they—and most people in our socio-economic group North and South—see it. They have not experienced it as a symbol of oppression, they don’t see the white people that they come in contact with using it as a symbol of oppression, and therefore feel no particular reason to get all worked up over it.  Common sense will tell you that that was the ascendant position in the black community up until the most recent episode, becoming more prevalent with every passing year as the veterans of the civil rights struggle die off.

I have never met him, but from talking to him, exchanging emails with him, and reading his writing, I believe that B’Man would identify most closely with the woman in the video whom one might call a middle to upper middle class liberal Southern white.  For a variety of reasons, including the offense that it might cause to blacks, she doesn’t think that it’s a good idea to display the Confederate battle flag.  That is also my position.  But he and I also have a good deal of sympathy for the Southern whites in the video who apparently very sincerely would show the flag out of pride in their heritage, in their “Southernness,” if you will, and I would proudly display it at a gathering of the descendants of the POWs whose ancestors, like my great grandfather John Henry Martin, were held there at Point Lookout.  Maybe that’s where we begin to part company and on that point have very little common ground.  You give the impression that you are a rather shallow-rooted transplant, particularly into the South’s traditional white community.  I have the distinct impression that you would be a good deal more uncomfortable at a Southern heritage gathering than you would be at an NAACP meeting, for instance.

That one difference hardly explains the virulence behind your short, tart, offensive initial email, though, in which you call B’Man’s piece “nonsense,” say he is making a fool of himself, and express sadness that I should appear to go along with it.

“I wanted a conversation with you because I know you and take you seriously,” you now say. That’s a fine way to start a reasoned discussion!  In the early nineteenth century it would have been nearly sufficient to provoke a challenge to a duel.  Forgive me for taking it at least as a challenge to a duel of words.  And you take me so seriously that, with my record there for all to see  you write that my main interests seem to be the Holocaust and the Confederate flag/Civil War.

You have also insisted that I respond to this statement of yours, “Thus far, it looks to me as though the flag controversy is improving things [i.e., race relations], not worsening them,” so here goes:

I’m used to taking minority positions because I like to think for myself and I care about the truth.  Whatever your motivation might be, I really think you’re in a small minority on that one. Your idea of improved race relations seems to emanate from the notion that the South hasn’t been defeated enough and that the only good white Southerners are the ones who will admit once and for all times that they were the bad guys in the War between the States.

You also ask for specific examples of irresponsible press coverage of the flag issue.  Might I call your attention to an editorial cartoon by Wasserman in the Boston Globe  (it would be) that B’Man reproduces in his June 22 article raising questions about the Charleston event?  A TV reporter is standing in front of a gigantic Confederate flag shown to be flying on the Capitol Building of South Carolina and he is saying, “Officials are still trying to fathom the roots of the shooter’s hatred.”

Flag of hatred,” the web site Chatauqua calls it, the one that B’Man is specifically objecting to in his article, and they liken it to the Nazi flag.  Thus they give encouragement to the race hustlers like Al Sharpton and the Southern Poverty Law Center, who are the George Wallaces and Lester Maddoxes of our day, but from the other side.  No, I really don’t see how green-lighting these race-baiters who demonize the traditional South is improving things.

Now let’s talk about the historians you say that I am maligning.  Certainly, as a group, concerning the issues I know best, they have richly earned my disparagement, present interlocutor included, but more about that later.  Let’s talk about those you say support your case that slavery caused the War Between the States.

I can’t say it enough, but there are two very distinct things at issue, the secession and the war.  I would almost be ready to stipulate, as the lawyers say, that the slavery issue was the primary cause for the secession, and “War of Northern Aggression” would still be a far more apt name for the conflagration than “Civil War.”  There was not a fight over control of the central government.

At least two of the authors you site would be out of their field opining on the cause of the war per se.  Stanley Engerman is an economic historian and expert on the institution of slavery generally, not just in the United States.  Eugene Genovese was a social historian whose essay on how the institution of slavery put its mark on Southern society I once assigned to my economics classes.  I found his economic-based argument for social and political control by the slave owners in the Southern states quite compelling.  It was what my forebears from a non-slaveholding county in North Carolina were up against.  You might remember it from the North Carolina history that we all got in the eighth grade in the public schools.

The really interesting thing about Genovese, though, is that if he were alive today he would be more likely to be on my side of the debate about the Confederate flag than on yours:

As far as I know, although residing in Atlanta at the time, former Marxist historian Eugene D. Genovese did not take a public position in this debate [over the Confederate flag in the 1990s in Georgia]. But if he had, it is not hard to divine the side on which he would have intervened. Much of Genovese’s work in the 1990s has sought explicitly to specify and defend an ideal of “traditional southern culture” against its detractors, to cleanse this ideal of the stigma of slavery and white supremacy, and to offer it up as something that speaks to the modern condition in general and the perceived crisis of the left in particular.  Alex Lichtenstein

Genovese later in life actually went farther in defense of the South’s hierarchical traditional conservative society than a person of my Yadkin County pedigree, in the NC foothills, would care to go.  I have talked about Daddy’s grandfather on his father’s side, John Henry.  His grandfather on his mother’s side, Barton Roscoe Brown, reflecting the sentiment of many people in the county, hid out in the mountains during the war and later became a legislator in the carpetbag government in Raleigh.  His brother, though, did sign up with Lee’s army and died of illness in Virginia.  Yadkin was a very conflicted county, with a far more egalitarian social structure than in the eastern part of the state and with widespread anti-slavery sentiment.   Nevertheless, Abraham Lincoln did not receive a single vote for president in Yadkin in the 1860 election.  It’s true that the state government didn’t even have him on the ballot, but there is no record of anyone even having written in his name.  He was a very polarizing figure, seen throughout the South as purely a regional, anti-Southern politician.  When he launched his military assault upon the South it is easy to see why most people would have concluded that that assessment of the man had been correct and that they had to fight to defend their homeland.

It really does all come back to Lincoln, and your grudging concession really says it all: “He may have baited the South into firing the first shot (a matter of debate, as I understand it), but they eagerly bit.”

Later on you write, “The reason the Southern states seceded and attacked Ft. Sumter was that they feared they could not maintain slavery.”

Neither you nor anyone who might wrap himself in the mantle of “historian” is ever going to sell that tale to anyone with any critical faculties.  The South wanted war with the North you are telling us.  They weren’t suicidally crazy.  No, I can’t say it any better than that Lincoln “baited the South” into providing him with his much desired casus belli.  I know it might be painful to come to grips with that reality, something akin to staring directly into the sun, but there it is.  As you have as much as conceded, his first inaugural address shows that he had every intention of reigning in the seceding states militarily, that is, to kill and maim them back into the fold for the greater good, however voluntary the founding fathers might have conceived the union arrangement to be.  Now let all those people who keep pointing to the secession declarations of various Southern states to show their pro-slavery sentiment find something that compares with Lincoln’s speech in showing the Southerners’ desire for war with the North.

But wait.  Right after your sentence conflating the Southerners’ motivation for secession with the motivation for attacking Ft. Sumter you state, “The reason Lincoln perpetrated war was to nullify secession…” Yep.  There you’ve said it.  He might not have liked to think of himself and you and many who have backed him in his endeavor might not like to think of him as a “bloodthirsty warmonger.” Call it nullifying secession if it makes you feel better about it, but the bloodshed and suffering are the same. The Communists in the Soviet Union, in China, and even in the killing fields of Cambodia, justified their barbarities in the highest sounding, idealistic terms.  I believe that there is general agreement that Lincoln and his backers had no idea how great the bloodshed would turn out to be.  They miscalculated, thinking it would be a walkover like the Mexican War of their recent experience.

Actually, upon more thought we really shouldn’t take Lincoln at his word for why he was going to attack the South.  Defending the noble concept of democracy has a much better ring to it than pushing the agenda of the Northern industrialists and railroad companies and preserving the federal revenues from the largest exporting and importing section of the country.  Tariffs, at that time, were virtually the only source of revenue for the federal government.  And if, as Genovese persuasively argued, the economic clout of those in whose hands the primary generators of wealth was concentrated translated into political power in the South, why would it not have worked that way in the North as well?

At this point I must admit that I am not above practicing the baiting ploy myself.  That was part of what I was doing in invoking the Mencken characterization, “the timorous eunuchs who posture as American historians.” Mencken was a master of the writing technique known as “exaggeration for effect.” I applied the quote to a particular event in American history and in this instance I can say from experience and with countless examples—including one of yours to follow—that in this instance it is not even an exaggeration at all.

Here you are in your General P.G.T. Beauregard role:

“No, I can’t cite any historians who have written about Forrestal or Foster. I have read the piece in which you attack three of them, but your contempt seems to result from the fact that at least one doesn’t read the evidence the way you do. He’s therefore a liar.”

The article in question, which you avoid mentioning, is “Letter to a Court Historian about Forrestal’s Death.”

Your old bugaboo has reared its head again.  Once more, it would appear, you have not bothered even to read the article right in front of you all the way through before leveling a demeaning charge.  Here is the article’s concluding paragraph:

As Mencken would have anticipated, [Professor Greg Herken] is in good company.  Douglas Brinkley has brushed me off more than once as have the entire stable of historians at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center and a host of others.   Frankly, I don’t know how they live with themselves, or at least how they can refrain from spitting at what they see in the mirror when they shave in the morning.

If you go to all the links you’ll find enough historians to mount a pretty serious assault upon Fort Sumter, a lot more than three.

And about that reading of the evidence, Herken writes of recent secretary of defense James Forrestal spending a restless night copying a poem before jumping out a window.  I show with the transcription entered into evidence at the official hearing and with a number of examples of Forrestal’s handwriting that someone else obviously did the copying.  I also present the testimony of the Navy corpsman overseeing Forrestal’s hospital room during the hours in question in which he says officially that the lights were off in the room and that Forrestal did no reading or writing.

Where is the honest difference of opinion that you would suggest exists here?  Can you read the evidence?  What does it tell you?  What should it tell any honest historian?  Why are they all still lying about Forrestal’s death, when they bother to say anything at all?  And it is also valid to ask exactly the same questions about them with respect to Vincent Foster’s death, the second highest U.S. government official ever to “commit suicide,” with Forrestal being the first.

Then you say this:

“In my opinion and, evidently, in many others’, in the grand scheme of things the Forrestal and Foster cases are relatively unimportant.  True, they may illustrate bad behavior on the part of people in government, but this is no shock.  I’m not surprised that most historians have focused on broader issues, those that help us better understand forces that shape more people’s lives.”

That might cover the ones who have ignored these episodes, but what about the ones that I specifically take to task who have addressed themselves to the subjects but have simply repeated popular lies?  I was going to say “official lies” but in the case of Forrestal’s death the absolutely last official word is simply that he died from a fall from a 16th floor window without offering any opinion as to what might have caused the fall.  Those weighing in dishonestly in the Vincent Foster case I have called “The Moral Midgets of American Academia,” with a detailed explanation.

Now let us consider your rather breathtaking assertion that they are of relative unimportance “in the grand scheme of things,” hardly worthy of the attention of a person carrying the gravitas of your profession.

Let’s stare into the sun again.  The leading opponent in the government—and really in the entire country—of the creation of the state of Israel in Palestine has almost certainly been assassinated according to the best evidence now available, but all the American opinion-molding community has covered it up, calling it a suicide.  Those facts, you would want us to believe, are “relatively unimportant…in the grand scheme of things,” but you get all exercised over someone waving a Confederate flag.  If I were writing things like that I wouldn’t want it splashed all over the Internet, either, whether or not my name was on it.

As for Vincent W. Foster, Jr., the importance of the murder of Bill Clinton’s deputy White House counsel and its subsequent cover-up should be important to anyone on its face, especially to anyone calling himself a historian.  For those who need a little help I have written “Vince Foster’s Valuable Murder.”

One of the ways the Foster case has been important to me is to be found under my “Welcome” on my home page:

Fool’s Paradise

Welcome to the American aquarium,
Where life can be lived without care.
If you swim only where you’re supposed to,
You won’t even know that you’re there.

But thanks to my curiosity
An upsetting thing came to pass:
I followed the trail of a mystery,
And I discovered the glass.

Yes, I do “get out.” In doing so, I have apparently received quite a different education from the one you have received since we served on the same faculty some 37 years ago.  That different education would explain why I would embrace, while you apparently recoil from B’Man’s article that sets the stage by making the observation, “The MSM is not our friend. They are not truthful. They are pawns used to brainwash you. Period.”

After all, early in my January 2002 article, “Michael Chertoff, Master of the Cover-up,” explaining with examples why I did not believe the official story on 9/11, I wrote, “Recent history has shown that the more important the event, the greater the likelihood [the mainstream media] will lie to you about it.” Much of what I had learned about Chertoff’s treachery I had learned from following his actions in the Foster case.

There is getting out, and then there is getting out.

 

David Martin

July 21, 2015

 

Follow @BuelahMan

BuelaHuh?

Did I rub you the wrong way or stroke you just right? Let me know below in the comments section or Email me at buelahman {AT} g m a i l {DOT} com

If for some reason you actually liked this post, click the “Like” button below. If you feel like someone else needs to see this (or you just want to ruin someone’s day), click the Share Button at the bottom of the post and heap this upon some undeserving soul. And as sad as this thought may be, it may be remotely possible that us rednecks here at The Revolt please you enough (or more than likely, you are just a glutton for punishment??), that you feel an overwhelming desire to subscribe via the Email subscription and/or RSS Feed buttons found on the right hand panel of this page (may the Lord have mercy on your soul).

Comment Policy:

Please keep comments relevant to the topic. Multiple links will automatically relegate your comment to the spam section, so keep that in mind as you post. 1st time commenters must receive Admin approval, but have free reign after that.


All posts are opinions meant to foster comment, reporting, teaching & study under the “fair use doctrine” in Sec. 107 of U.S. Code Title 17. No statement of fact is made or should be implied. Ads appearing on this blog are solely the product of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BuehlahMan’s Revolt or WordPress.com

The “Rebel” Flag and the “Civil War” Debated

The “Rebel” Flag and the “Civil War” Debated

by DC Dave

confed7re+%281%29

Overdoing Learning

Could it be I’ve learned too much?
If charged, I must confess.
My views would be more popular
If I knew much less.

I might vote for Democrats
Or for the GOP
And not have old acquaintances
Almost run from me.

Education’s big with them
And ignorance the foe,
Except for those disturbing things
That they don’t want to know.

You will find the poem above if you click on the “post-doctoral” in my message, “Welcome to the world of post-doctoral politics” on my home page. I have the distinct impression that one such “old acquaintance” has been running from me for quite some time. Actually, he’s a bit more than an acquaintance. I really thought of him as my closest friend at the small college in North Carolina where I taught economics for six years when we were both fresh out of graduate school. He’s the one person there whose email address I have retained and with whom I have remained in touch over a period of some 37 years. I grew up not far from the college and on occasion when I was in the area I would call him or drop in on him and he would bring me up to date on what had transpired since I left. Teaching history there, as it turned out, was not only his first job out of graduate school, but it was his last job as well. He spent his entire career there, retiring a few years ago.

Reflecting now on the relationship, I think that the friendship was a bit one-sided. We got along splendidly as colleagues, but I think a major reason for it at the time was that our political views were so similar. I have summed mine up with a 2002 poem entitled “A Chomsky Dissenter.”

A Chomsky Dissenter

When I trusted Noam Chomsky
I had a cozy home.
With my academic friends
I did not feel alone.

I liked his doughty dissidence;
At least I thought him bold.
And he helped me see beyond
The daily lies we’re told.

Then I saw he stayed away
From major mysteries
Like a student of the woods
Who won’t go near the trees.

Now the trees are falling down
And crushing all we see,
And all the Chomskyites can do
Is run away from me.

Another indicator of the one-sidedness of the friendship is that through the years, now that I think of it, all the emails between us, I believe, have been from me to him, except in the cases where I might have asked a question and a response was required. None, from my recollection, came at his initiative. Most tellingly, since he was on my mailing list and I write about political matters that I think should at least interest him, I have regularly sent him articles that I have written, and I never heard the first peep from him about any of them until this past week.

What did it was a very short email that I sent a couple of weeks ago. I went on two major trips in June and had little time to do any writing of my own, so I sent out a highly topical article by my frequent collaborator on videos who uses the screen name of Buelahman, or B’Man for short. It read simply:

Enjoy

Dave

round1

That finally produced a response from the old friend. It came five days later and here it is:

I do enjoy reading this person, “B-Man”, making a fool of himself.  But I get the impression that you endorse this nonsense.  Sad.

Ahem! I responded immediately this way:

Indeed, I have found practically nothing that this gentleman has written that I disagree with.  I was particularly pleased to see him reference my essay, “Mencken and More on Lincoln’s Speech.”  I would be very interested to know why you think what he has written is nonsense and why you think my endorsement of it is sad.  As Thomas Sowell says he used to write with red pencil on his students’ papers, “Specify, don’t characterize.”

You see that he gives readers an opportunity to comment.  I am placing this exchange on the comment page so all involved can defend what they have written.

I did as I promised and promptly put the exchange up, identifying my interlocutor only as an old academic colleague.

round2

The next day the former colleague did, in fact, “specify” with this response:

Thanks for replying.

I must admit that I did not read all of B-Man’s essay.  It goes on and on, and I didn’t have the endurance.  Here is my response to its central question.

Let’s leave aside some important issues, such as the overwhelming consensus among professional historians about the role of slavery in causing the Civil War, what slavery meant, what “heritage” means, what our white ancestors thought they were fighting for, etc.

Let’s simply address how we should treat fellow citizens.  A large segment of them, mostly black, say they are insulted, humiliated, and in other ways hurt by the sight of the common version of the Confederate flag.  Even if we don’t feel them ourselves, it is not the place of B-Man, or you, or me to deny those emotions in others.  We should assume them to be genuine and acknowledge that there are aspects of the symbolism of the flag that might cause them.

It is a matter of common courtesy and decency to stop doing things that cause our fellow citizens pain.

On the related issue, the right of anyone to fly the flag:  Governor Haley, and most other public officials I’ve heard address the issue, have explicitly affirmed the right of individuals to display the flag on their property.  The problem is its display at official public buildings, supported by taxpayers, including black ones and others offended by the flag.  (I supposed ultimately it could become an issue decided by courts and/or voters in some jurisdictions.)

Just because a right exists, however, is no reason why it should be exercised.

The email came in around the dinner hour, so I didn’t respond in detail until the next day, offering only a short acknowledgment of having received it at the time. Here is my detailed answer:

May I congratulate you for the somewhat improved tone of your follow-up email.  I say “somewhat” because it is still a bit lofty and dismissive concerning Buelahman’s essay, beginning as it does with what I can only take as a confession of intellectual laziness, “I must admit that I did not read all of B-Man’s essay.  It goes on and on, and I didn’t have the endurance.”

That is to say, you admit that you fired off your 23-word insult to your old academic colleague and his frequent collaborator without having bothered to read all of what he (and I?) have written on the matter.  In your short email, I might remind you, you manage to say that he is making “a fool of himself” and that he is writing “nonsense” and that it is “sad” that I should seem to go along with it.

Your opening sally in this follow-up raises an important question.  Have you still not read it?  You’re retired and certainly have the time, but are you still just going, as it appears to me, on emotions and impressions?  And how far did you get with your initial reading?  Did you pitch it aside just as he set the stage?

The MSM is not our friend. They are not truthful. They are pawns used to brainwash you. Period. But I want to focus on one particular subject today: the Stars and Bars…  The people who are embracing the media lies about this flag are the same people who kowtow to the media clowns doing the Empire’s bidding. The same people who are ignorant about WWII. The same people who fall for every conceivable lie meant to divide the races and every other erroneous and fake cause.

Where is the nonsense here?  This looks like horse sense to me.  Are you among those people who believe that Timothy McVeigh masterminded the Oklahoma City bombing, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed did likewise for 9/11, Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone culprit in the death of JFK, and the Tsarnaev brothers killed the people the MSM say they did in Boston, to mention just four examples of the sort of thing he is talking about?  If so, I can see why your mind might close up tight at that point and you would do no further reading.

Is it also your considered opinion that I have made a fool of myself with “Mencken and More on Lincoln’s Speech,” upon which B’Man draws heavily?  How so?

Now, with not the slightest sense of irony, on the heels of your short, insulting blast, you lecture us in the best New Englander tradition that it all comes down to a matter of civility. Civility!  Many black people, you–and our wonderful news media–tell us, take the Stars and Bars as a symbol of racial superiority and a celebration of slavery and therefore, all of us, but Southerners in particular, should simply have the common courtesy never to display the damned thing.

The worst thing about that argument is its timing.  If we were still in the 60s and Southern hardliners were waving the flag in the face of people at lunch-counter sit-ins, I might say you have a point.  Considering the original motivation behind the flying of the Confederate Battle Flag on the Capitol Building in South Carolina and the fact that it is supported by public funds, I agree with you that the case is strong to take it down there.  But let’s take the sort of cold, clear-eyed look that Buelahman takes in his essay at this obviously orchestrated campaign to mothball the Stars and Bars forever in the wake of the event in Charleston.

For one so putatively concerned about people’s feelings, you should see how this hullabaloo looks to many native Southerners.  At a time when racial harmony in the South has never been greater, the national press is dragging their culture, their history, and the flag that to many is representative of their Southernness into the mud, all because of this truly bizarre and anomalous happening in Charleston.  In a nutshell, it certainly looks like we Southerners are all being blamed for killing a group or righteous black people on account of our endemic and ineradicable racial hatred.  I don’t like that.  It’s easily as insulting as your first email.

I also do not accept the assertion that within the grassroots black community there is any strong revulsion to the Stars and Bars as it has been used for the last thirty years or so.  This current hysteria certainly looks ginned up to me by agents of the Empire, people like Al Sharpton.  The knucklehead successors to Ronnie Van Zant in Lynyrd Skynyrd might have capitulated, but I don’t think the writers and performers of “The Ballad of Curtis Loew” need worry about how their display of the flag is taken by the black community. In my view they should continue to show their pride in their roots with the most recognizable symbol available, and I’m pretty confident that Buelahman would agree with me on that.

Now, briefly, let’s talk about your first point.  You appear not to know to whom you are writing when you invoke “the overwhelming consensus among professional historians about the role of slavery in causing the Civil War.” Just this April I began my essay, “Letter to a Court Historian about Forrestal’s Death” with these lines:  “H.L. Mencken aptly called them ‘the timorous eunuchs who posture as American historians.’”  In 2009 I penned “The Case for Free Inquiry”:

You say they gassed six million Jews.
I ask you how you know.
You say it’s from historians;
They agree that it is so.

But what about the Forrestal death?
They agree on that one, too.
And until I checked it for myself,
I only thought I knew.

I don’t need “professional historians” to do the most elementary thinking for me.  The war in question was, somewhat like our two ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a war of choice.  Then it was the choice of Abraham Lincoln and his cohorts to wage a war of aggression against the states that had proclaimed their secession from the Union.  Even Lincoln’s biggest defenders will admit that the Fort Sumter episode was designed by Lincoln to get the South to fire the first shot so that he could claim the moral high ground.

No one could deny that the slavery was an important factor in the secession.  I think that it is debatable as to whether it was the most important factor, though.  The war, itself, is all on Lincoln.  The professional historians that you like to invoke consistently rate this butcher of so many of his fellow Americans as perhaps our greatest president, which is another good reason not to trust them.

I can say with some confidence that my great grandfather, John Henry Martin, who came from a piedmont county in North Carolina that had virtually no slaves, did not fight under Robert E. Lee and spend the last months of the war in the hell hole of the Point Lookout P.O.W. camp to defend the institution of slavery.  He and his fellow Southerners were attacked by the minions of Lincoln’s federal government and they felt that they had no choice but to resist.  What’s going on now has made me want to trek back down to Southern Maryland and plant another Confederate Battle Flag by the monument to John Henry and his fellow victims.  See http://www.plpow.com and http://www.cem.va.gov/cems/lots/point_lookout.asp.

round3

That one got his juices flowing, and his pen. The manifestly unwarranted tone of condescension is still there as best exemplified by the concluding short paragraph with its otherwise puzzling repetition of his supposed sadness, but now one can detect a rather strong admixture of dudgeon:

Thanks for your congratulations.  Now I see what you mean about being “lofty.”  I do enjoy being taken to the woodshed.

I wish you had not posted my first message to you on B-Man’s site without my permission; I hope you didn’t do likewise with my second.

In your latest you either stated or implied that I’ve been brainwashed, “kowtow to media clowns,” and am lazy.  I emphatically reject the first two charges.  On the third, I read enough of B-Man’s rant (much more than you evidently think), with its belaboring of the obvious, sweeping generalizations about his opponents, odd digressions, etc., to get enough of his point.  But life’s too short, and B-Man’s piece is too long; I’ll accept the charge of intellectual laziness in this case.

You apparently accept without qualification Mencken’s belief that professional historians are “timorous eunuchs.”  You certainly make clear your own contempt for them, as does B-Man.

In the cases that seem to bother you most, regarding the very existence of the Holocaust and Lincoln/Civil War causes, it is true that specialists in those topics are almost entirely against you (though many portrayals of Lincoln are complicated).  Apparently you see this as the result of nefarious conspiracies, not research and reflection.  Are there any other topics that cause you to condemn the entire profession?

(I have not examined your Holocaust stuff; I studied and taught the topic and am familiar with the evidence and controversies, at least until 2007.  I have not looked at yours in part because my anguish about the topic itself is profound, and yes, I think deniers’ arguments that I have read are nonsense.  Damn!  Intellectual laziness again.)

On the other supposed controversies that you mention, I prefer not to touch those tar-babies.  If you think I’m hopelessly naïve, so be it.

In paragraph 4 above, I should have said “contempt for us.” I have been a professional historian, by which I mean someone who has gotten paid for teaching and publishing, for many years.  So was my father, far more distinguished than I.  I know many professional historians.  Some are of course charlatans and some incompetent.  But I personally know or knew several who contributed significantly to debates about Southern history and the causes of the Civil War, and they are all (or were, some now being dead) diligent, honest, honorable people, trying hard to get it right, and Pa was one of them.

You and B-man rightly reject sweeping generalizations about Southerners.  Heal thyself.  Blanket rejection of the work of an entire class is silly.

Here’s an anecdote: In the 1950s my father taught early 20th century US history.  When a colleague died suddenly (Charles Sydnor; maybe you remember the name), he added the South as a field and had to get up to speed quickly.  I distinctly remember asking him, when I was trying to do a report in the 7th grade (I think), what caused the Civil War, he said “sectionalism.”  I had no idea what that meant, and he tried to explain it, probably without success.  I was 12.

Some years later he had changed his mind, believing slavery to be the root cause.   I don’t know what caused him to take the new view.  Perhaps he had become more conversant with the primary sources; perhaps he had read new stuff.  Perhaps the profession itself was shifting.  There is a theory that historians, influenced by the tensions of the Cold War in the 1950s, had an unacknowledged tendency to promote national unity, and highlighting the role of slavery in Southern culture might not do that. Things changed as Cold War tensions decreased.  Perhaps.  All good professional historians acknowledge the role of bias in their work, and that the national “mood” helps create it.  The mood is different now.  You and B-Man might agree.

The point is, Truth about the past is elusive, never rigid.  What is accepted now will certainly be modified in the future.  It’s not useful to be stuck in the past about the past.

Having said that, it is still legitimate, I believe, to say that slavery was the root cause of the war, not merely an “important factor.”  More emphatically, it was the “primary cause”, despite B-Man’s belief to the contrary.  Sectional pride, the Southern way of life, and anger at self-righteous Yankee bullies and tariff mongers, etc., become pale imitations of what they actually were if you remove slavery from the mix.

But you needn’t do a thought experiment.  Read the Declarations of Secession of the rebel states.  Of course, defending state sovereignty in general is right there, but what specifically are they defending?  Slavery.  It’s discussed at length at the beginning of the SC, GA, TX, and MS declarations and is virtually the only specific issue mentioned.  As I understand it, only four states produced Declarations wherein they detailed causes of their action, rather than legalistic Ordinances of Secession (which all did).

I had suggested that we lay this thorny problem aside.  We did not.  Fine.  Nevertheless, given all the above, I don’t see how any rational person can deny that black people, particularly those who are descendants of slaves, are entitled to believe that the Civil War, and the flag widely considered to be the symbol of the Southern side, are linked to slavery and therefore racism, even if some say that’s not what they mean when they display it.  An insult can still be an insult despite the intent of the issuer.  “I’m sorry you misunderstood me” is a lame response to criticism.  And others, you’ll acknowledge, do have racist intent by flying the flag.

Now, I must respond to the issue of my New England background, from which I am allegedly lecturing you.  It is true that my father was born in MA.  My mother was born in KA.  I am 70.  I went to school 7 years in MA but have lived 63 years in the South.  I was born in Alexandria VA, but my parents came to NC when I was 13 months.  I decided to come with them.  I went 10 years to segregated NC public schools, and, I’m sorry to say, absorbed and lived a lot of racism, despite my parents’ efforts to resist it.  I agree, however, that my Southernness is tainted; I can’t help it.

However much it comes from a Yankee background, which is actually irrelevant, and however much my concern for others’ feelings is “putative,” the only way you addressed the substance of my call for decency and courtesy to our fellow citizens is to assert that you “do not accept” that there is revulsion for the flag in the “grassroots” black community.  You give no evidence for this.

This is anecdotal, but I know and frequently meet with a number of “grassroots” black people, assuming by grassroots you mean wage earners, schoolteachers, preachers, healthcare workers, etc.  They are all offended by the flag, in varying ways.  At least one dismisses it as white folks being white folks; at least two are brought nearly to tears as they discuss it; and another seethes quietly, to take four examples.  Poll after poll says that blacks see the flag as a symbol of racism.  For example, CNN: 72% of blacks nationwide, 75% in the South.  I know: this is MSM.  But do you have evidence of your own that removes us from the realm of anecdote?

Do you get out much?  The only way I can keep a straight face about your belief that race relations in the South over the past several decades “have never been better” is to note how low the bar was set.  From that standpoint, yes, things have improved, and white and black Southerners deserve credit.  Thus far, it looks to me as though the flag controversy is improving things, not worsening them.

And I still see no reason for rejecting the plea to flag displayers to consider the feelings of their fellow citizens, however much you impeach me, the messenger.  Generosity is a noble trait, well within the best Southern tradition.

Finally re MSM, which is a blanket whose size I don’t know. You and B-Man reject them totally, as near as I can tell.  Another sweeping generalization.  Wouldn’t it make more sense to evaluate them newspaper by newspaper, network by network, pundit by pundit, etc.?  When, for example, in the aftermath of the Charleston murders, a report launches a sweeping, stereotyped condemnation of Southern racists, chalk it up to the fact that the reporter is a simpleton (as many are) or an idiot (fewer, perhaps, but plenty nonetheless).  Then also note that that many of the same MSM widely publicized moving, humane statements by Paul Thurmond, Mayor Riley, and many other white folks, some ordinary, some not.  They were an eloquent contradiction of the crude, false stereotypes sometimes perpetrated.

Anyone in his or her right mind knows that there were and are many honorable Southerners like your great-grandfather (and your father, from what I remember about him).  If MSM or anybody else state or imply otherwise, shame on them.  But there is often a baby in the bathwater.

So ends the lecture.  I apologize for its length.  I remain sad to participate in this.

I must say that that response got my juices flowing, and I responded immediately, which was just yesterday:

Thanks for responding. Concerning some of your main points:

“I wish you had not posted my first message to you on B-Man’s site without my permission; I hope you didn’t do likewise with my second.”

I see what you mean with your confession of intellectual laziness.  How hard would it have been to check the site to see that I did?  What’s the problem?  Are you ashamed of what you have written?  I didn’t identify you after all?  As Buelahman suggests with his comment, it really does look like you have a free speech problem.  You know as well as I do that I would be wasting my time discussing these important topics in private with you.  I think they should be aired.

“In the cases that seem to bother you most, regarding the very existence of the Holocaust and Lincoln/Civil War causes, it is true that specialists in those topics are almost entirely against you (though many portrayals of Lincoln are complicated).”

More intellectual laziness on display, I’m sorry to say.  On the record, it is you, not me, that they seem to bother the most.  I have written relatively very little on either topic, which is not to say that they do not bother me.

“Are there any other topics that cause you to condemn the entire profession?”

I must say that this pretty much takes the cake in the intellectual laziness department.  I name the article in which I invoke H.L. Mencken favorably in his denunciation of American historians and I give its date of April 2015.  Do you know I have a web site?  I have sent you articles from it over and over.  Did you just trash them all?  I guess I have to give you a link:  “Letter to a Court Historian about Forrestal’s Death.”  Were you to have only bothered to read the article to which I referred, you would have discovered that I have written quite a bit about Forrestal’s death and you would have discovered that YOU professional historians have richly earned every bit of the contempt that Mencken and I pour upon y’all, and then some.

A critical reader can also see that the poem in my rejoinder to you, “The Case for Free Inquiry,” is a great deal more about Forrestal and about professional historians–and about the poem’s title, for Pete’s sake–than it is about the gassed six million story.

Your chosen profession also comes in for its share of contempt from me for what it has said or not said about the death of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent W. Foster.  See http://ariwatch.com/Links/DCDave.htm#VinceFoster.  See also my poem “Ignoble Historians.”  You will notice that in that third-person web site listing the categories in which I have weighed in there is no mention of the Holocaust or anything having to do with Lincoln or the Civil War.

“You and B-man rightly reject sweeping generalizations about Southerners.  Heal thyself.  Blanket rejection of the work of an entire class is silly.”

Point me to one professional historian who has written anything truthful and worth reading about James Forrestal’s death that takes into account the latest evidence, available to the public since 2004, and I might begin to reconsider my blanket rejection of their work. (Would you like to join me in a joint article for publication?)  Show me one American news organ that reported on the full contents of the Starr Report on Foster’s death, including the part that the 3-judge panel that appointed Kenneth Starr forced him to include, and I might begin to have second thoughts about that entire class, as well.  More recently and closer to home, show me the American news organs that are reporting on the federal case against the nation’s biggest alien smuggler, headquartered in North Carolina.

No, on the record, I would say that accepting as truthful almost anything that these groups tell us about anything that is really serious is not warranted.

“But you needn’t do a thought experiment.  Read the Declarations of Secession of the rebel states.  Of course, defending state sovereignty in general is right there, but what specifically are they defending?  Slavery.”

I do believe you mean the “seceding” states.  Your bias is showing.  You also are talking about those states’ stated reasons for seceding.  Yet, in your first response to me you strongly imply that slavery, which you say your evidence shows was the reason for the secession, caused the Civil War according to a consensus of historians.  Just look at Lincoln’s first inaugural address.  He could hardly make it clearer that he is going to war against the seceding states and that he is doing so for one reason alone, and that is for their act of secession.  It’s almost enough to make one ask not what all those historians have been reading, but what they have been smoking.

“On the other supposed controversies that you mention, I prefer not to touch those tar-babies.  If you think I’m hopelessly naïve, so be it.”

Supposed controversies?  The JFK assassination, 9/11, etc.?  What about the RFK and MLK, Jr. assassinations? Surely you must see why I have a problem with your profession.  You want the public to trust your judgment and your opinions and here in debate (which you would clearly prefer not be open) you virtually confess to hopeless naiveté on the most important subjects of our day.   How can you compartmentalize your thinking like that?  Who’s being silly and who’s being serious?

I have repeated the exchange just as it transpired with links as I had them. Perhaps I should have put them in more freely, because my debating opponent seems to be somewhat cyber-challenged. Buelahman linked to my “Mencken and More on Lincoln’s Speech,” so I didn’t really see the need to do it again, and perhaps that leaves him with an excuse to continue to ignore it, like he ignored my letter to the “court historian.” What strikes me about the Gettysburg Address and Lincoln’s first inaugural is the great similarity of their arguments. The war is all about the mortal danger to the noble experiment of democracy that the secession represents. Don’t take my word for it. Take Lincoln’s.

I also failed to put in a link to the tribute to all little-known black blues performers everywhere by the quintessentially Southern rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, either, so here it is: “The Ballad of Curtis Loew.”

Call me unfair for putting this exchange up at the point where I have the last word, but stay tuned. Should another response, lachrymose or otherwise, be forthcoming, I shall publish it. In the meantime I have plans afoot to take to task publicly one of the surviving cohorts of my debating opponent’s father for some public utterances of his about the Vince Foster case.

David Martin

July 9, 2015

Follow @BuelahMan

BuelaHuh?

Did I rub you the wrong way or stroke you just right? Let me know below in the comments section or Email me at buelahman {AT} g m a i l {DOT} com

If for some reason you actually liked this post, click the “Like” button below. If you feel like someone else needs to see this (or you just want to ruin someone’s day), click the Share Button at the bottom of the post and heap this upon some undeserving soul. And as sad as this thought may be, it may be remotely possible that us rednecks here at The Revolt please you enough (or more than likely, you are just a glutton for punishment??), that you feel an overwhelming desire to subscribe via the Email subscription and/or RSS Feed buttons found on the right hand panel of this page (may the Lord have mercy on your soul).

Comment Policy:

Please keep comments relevant to the topic. Multiple links will automatically relegate your comment to the spam section, so keep that in mind as you post. 1st time commenters must receive Admin approval, but have free reign after that.


All posts are opinions meant to foster comment, reporting, teaching & study under the “fair use doctrine” in Sec. 107 of U.S. Code Title 17. No statement of fact is made or should be implied. Ads appearing on this blog are solely the product of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BuehlahMan’s Revolt or WordPress.com

The American (Establishment) Catholic on Forrestal’s Death

The American (Establishment) Catholic on Forrestal’s Death

by DC Dave

crucifix_flag_flat

On his Wikipedia page under “Religion” in the box on the upper right, we find “Catholic” for America’s first secretary of defense, James Forrestal. Indeed, culturally at least, Forrestal would seem to be the epitome of an Irish-American Roman Catholic. His father was an immigrant from Ireland and his mother had aspirations for young James to become a priest. But, according to biographers Townsend Hoopes and Douglas Brinkley, Forrestal had broken with his Catholic faith at the time that he left Princeton University, although they interpret his thwarted request to have Monsignor Maurice Sheehey of Catholic University come visit him when he was confined to Bethesda Naval Hospital before going out a 16th floor window of the main tower there on May 22nd, 1949, as a desperate attempt to get back into the good graces of the Church.

Whether we might say that it is about a “fellow Catholic” or not, what “cradle Catholic” Donald R. McClarey has recently written in The American Catholic about Forrestal’s death is an affront to the man’s memory. It does violence to the truth. Everyone, Catholic or otherwise, should be appalled by it. Here are the offending lines:

Tragically, Forrestal, who had worked non-stop on Defense issues since he joined the Roosevelt administration in 1940, had a nervous breakdown.  While undergoing psychiatric treatment he committed suicide by jumping from the 16th floor of the National Naval Medical Center.  He left behind a note with a quotation from Sophocles’ Ajax…

James_Forrestal

James Forrestal

There’s really no excuse for anyone to be writing such things in 2015. We now have the Internet—The American Catholic is an Internet publication, after all. Since 2004 the official report on Forrestal’s death has been available online, and the evidence that it contains shows beyond serious doubt that McClarey has repeated falsehoods. Research these days begins with the Internet because it’s so easy. Simply typing in the name “James Forrestal” into any search engine leads one quickly to my web site and the discoveries that I have made.

One might think that McClarey was just negligent. He was merely repeating what was in the 1992 Hoopes and Brinkley biography, after all, and Forrestal’s death was only tangential to the subject of his article entitled “James Forrestal and His Prophecy,” which is primarily a sort of flag-waving defense of the U.S. Marine Corps. (Concerning that article, had Forrestal’s counsel been taken, the bloody battle of Iwo Jima, to which McClarey refers, would likely never have been fought because Japan would have already surrendered, but that is another topic. See “Oliver Stone on the Japanese Surrender.”) The possibility that McClarey had made an honest error, more on the order of a sin of omission caused by insufficient research diligence underlay the email that I sent him almost three weeks ago.

Now that so much time has passed and he has failed to respond, the likelihood that his was a sin of commission from the very beginning is great. The fact that his editor, Tito Edwards, at The American Catholic has also failed to respond to my May 18 email to him virtually seals it. Here is the latter email, which includes the original email to McClarey:

photo_8608

Tito Edwards

Dear Mr. Edwards,

On May 8, 2015, I sent the following email to a writer for your publication:

Dear Mr. McClarey,

A friend has called my attention to your February article in The American Catholic. You seem not to be aware of what we have learned since the release of the official report on Forrestal’s death in 2004. For starters, that poem transcription that you quote was in someone else’s handwriting. Taken all in all, the evidence points heavily toward murder and cover-up and not to suicide. See my latest article on the subject here. For a brief introduction to the subject see “New Forrestal Document Exposes Cover-up.” I believe that it is incumbent upon you to write a follow-up article correcting the record. I have come to expect government propaganda from the mainstream press. The Catholic press should not abet them.

The first law of history is not to dare to utter falsehood; the second, not to fear to tell the truth. – Pope Leo XIII

Sincerely,

David Martin

I would have preferred to make my comment about the article online on your web site, but when I attempted to do so, I received a message that comments had been closed on the article.  May I ask you why that is so?  Looking at your site’s “comments policy,” I see nothing about any comments period or any reason for closing comments.  What possible reason could there be for closing comments on any topic, but particularly for doing it so quickly after there had been so few comments on a topic of such great importance?  I have taken note of your “three strikes and you’re out,” treatment of those you deem in violation of your rules, though I may not agree with them.  Continuing the metaphor, how do you decide that a person will not even be allowed up to the plate?

Ten days have now passed and Mr. McClarey has not responded to my email.  I sent it through a lawyer referral service so I have every reason to believe that he received it on the day I sent it.  In case he didn’t, would you please forward the message you see above to him?

Your responsibility hardly ends with fulfilling that errand request, however.  Your web site has published information about the death of a great American public servant that is contradicted by the best evidence now available.  The misinformation is so bad that the man who put it out is apparently unwilling to defend what he has written.  If he will not do it, you have an obligation either to defend it or to retract it publicly.

Sincerely,

David Martin

All those practicing evil hate the light and will not come to the light lest their deeds should be exposed.   John 3:20

The U.S. Government’s Catholic Apologists

FireShot Screen Capture #181 American Catholic

ShrineFlagReflecting upon this non-response from a publication that displays an eagle and an American flag with the cross (not a crucifix) on its masthead, I am reminded that our local diocesan newspaper the Arlington Catholic Herald did not print my letter exposing arch-neocon George Weigel for the duplicity of an article of his that they had published. I am also reminded that it is a rare American Catholic church these days that does not have an American flag in its sanctuary along with all the Christian iconography, and that the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, has taken to hanging a massive flag from its bell tower on patriotic occasions like Memorial Day and Independence Day.

The Catholic Church seems to have replaced the late Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority as the most consistent supporters of jingoism and militarism within our government, and McClarey’s article is certainly consistent with that trend. With one issue, that of the undeniably worthy position against abortion, taking precedent over all others, the Church’s support for militant jingoism becomes virtually inevitable.

Holy Bible And Cross On American Flag

Holy Bible And Cross On American Flag

Parishioners are encouraged to support candidates who oppose abortion on demand, but those people are almost always Republicans who also are the biggest supporters of an aggressive foreign policy and militarism in general. Moreover, even if it is genuine, the Church’s effort to obtain a Supreme Court majority to overturn Roe v. Wade is doomed to failure as long as it gives a pass to the powerful opinion molders in favor of abortion. The annual March for Life would be much more effective if it ended up in front of the Washington Post building instead of the Supreme Court Building

Most disturbing of all from a Christian standpoint is that the Church’s embrace of the government and its flag has entailed a growing divorce from the truth.   That is because the government’s foreign policy, in particular, is built upon an ever-growing edifice of lies. Furthermore, it is a foreign policy that, at least since the assassination of John F. Kennedy, is much more in the interests of Israel than it is of the United States. It would be more honest if the flag being waved in support of the mindless patriotism that the Catholic Church has fostered were the one depicting the Star of David instead of the Stars and Stripes.

rosary-israel-flag

It is at this point that the misbegotten foreign policy and the disregard for truth come together in The American Catholic. James Forrestal, you see, was the leading opponent within the United States government of the creation of the Jewish state of Israel in Palestine.

 

David Martin

May 27, 2015

 

Follow @BuelahMan

BuelaHuh?

Did I rub you the wrong way or stroke you just right? Let me know below in the comments section or Email me at buelahman {AT} g m a i l {DOT} com

Please keep comments relevant to the topic. Multiple links will automatically relegate your comment to the spam section, so keep that in mind as you post.

If for some reason you actually liked this post, click the “Like” button below. If you feel like someone else needs to see this (or you just want to ruin someone’s day), click the Share Button at the bottom of the post and heap this upon some undeserving soul. And as sad as this thought may be, it may be remotely possible that us rednecks here at The Revolt please you enough (or more than likely, you are just a glutton for punishment??), that you feel an overwhelming desire to subscribe via the Email subscription and/or RSS Feed buttons found on the upper right hand corner of this page (may the Lord have mercy on your soul).

All posts are opinions meant to foster comment, reporting, teaching & study under the “fair use doctrine” in Sec. 107 of U.S. Code Title 17. No statement of fact is made or should be implied. Ads appearing on this blog are solely the product of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BuehlahMan’s Revolt or WordPress.com

How to Become a “Made Man” in the Media

How to Become a “Made Man” in the Media

by DC Dave

David Corn

David Corn

A late uncle of mine who flew a spotter plane for the Air Force during the height of the Vietnam War once told me that during his stint there one of our “intelligence services” tried to recruit him. He declined the offer, he told me, but only after he had gone so far as to take a required “psychological evaluation” for them. The experience, he told me, appalled him. “I could tell from the questions,” he said, “that they were looking for someone who was immoral.”

Many years later I told that story to a small group at a party in the Washington, DC, area. Among the group was a young man whose friends strongly suspect of being in the CIA. Unable to restrain himself he blurted out, “I took that test.”

I have less direct evidence for it, but I have been told that at least in the covert action field, it is common for novices to be required to perform some illegal act so that they will be compromised against turning into whistleblowers later in their covert careers.

I found myself reflecting on this sordid vetting process for members of our clandestine services as I was surfing the cable news channels the other day to

Peter Baker

Peter Baker

see how they might be spinning the latest ceasefire in Ukraine, the one brokered by Germany and France, without U.S. participation. Who should I see there—on MSNBC, I believe it was—offering their “expert” opinions back-to-back but two journalists whose paths had crossed mine when I was following the case of the mysterious death of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent W. Foster, Jr. in the 1990s. They were David Corn and Peter Baker.

I first became aware of Corn when we both attended a press conference in Washington, DC, in the spring of 1995 in which Christopher Ruddy announced the findings of three investigators that tended to support Ruddy’s theory that Foster had not died at the place where the body had been found. Ruddy’s loudest and most aggressive antagonist at that news conference was Corn, then working for The Nation magazine. I have since come to realize that the scene I witnessed there was nothing more than a show, with Ruddy playing the rightist and Corn the leftist. The “investigation” that Ruddy was touting, I have since figured out, was little more than a charade, as I explain briefly in the recent article, “Latest Foster Cover-Up Book Not Completely Worthless.” Corn’s objections, as I recall, did not address the real weaknesses in what Ruddy was reporting, but simply amounted to the usual “conspiracy theory” denunciation.

Corn has continued to play his role of leftist Clinton-couple defender, as we see in his Mother Jones article of a year ago, “Here Come the Crazy Clinton Conspiracies of the 1990s.” Ruddy, on the other hand, has been groomed for bigger things, as I show in my article of about the same time, “Double Agent Ruddy Reaches for Media Pinnacle.” In so doing he has had to change his act in a manner that is on a par with a professional wrestler converting from villain to good guy—or vice versa, depending upon one’s ideological leanings. He has now disavowed his “crazy Clinton conspiracies of the 1990s.” How far he has gone is well captured by this quote from Business Week, cited in my article:

Ruddy’s own conservatism, despite a fervent anti-Obama streak, is far from Tea Party obstructionism. “People mellow or change or get perspective as they age,” says liberal journalist Joe Conason, often Ruddy’s foil during the Clinton battles, who now counts him as a friend. “Or most people do. He’s not this right-wing kid that he was.”

Notice that it is Conason, along with co-author Gene Lyons, and their book, The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton, whom Corn invokes in his Mother Jones article for a blanket denunciation of any suggestion that the Clintons might have been involved in the sort of illegal activities that Ruddy made his bones exposing.

Actually, at that 1995 press conference, Ruddy, born in 1965, was more at the stage of his career for the spook-vetting process than was Corn. Corn was already 36 years old and had written the book Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA’s Crusades. Kevin Barrett’s assessment of Corn and that book is summed up in this passage:

Corn is obviously CIA all the way—otherwise why would he cover up Shackley’s connection to the JFK assassination? Why would he write an exhaustive “biography” of Shackley that omitted Shackley’s extensive links to CIA drug running? And most important of all, why would Corn be working overtime against 9/11 truth?

I had long since arrived at a similar evaluation of Corn, as we can see in my 1998 article, “Rotten Goulden/Corn,” in which I pair him with the obvious CIA journalist, Joseph Goulden. In sum, if there is any such thing as a journalist who works for the CIA—and if there has ever been any such thing as Operation Mockingbird—then surely Corn is one of them.

Peter Baker

That brings us to current New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker. This sentence from his Wikipedia page tells you that he is at the very heart of the U.S. media establishment: “Baker is a regular panelist on PBS’s Washington Week and a frequent guest on other television and radio programs.” (If they will just write what’s expected, they can be handsomely paid.)

I don’t recall ever having seen his name until it appeared on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the death of Vince Foster. To my knowledge, it was the first time he had ever written on the subject. His ignorance and his mal-intent showed. He would have been 30 or 31 years old at the time, and it looked to me like this was his baptism in the cauldron of corruption that our press has become:

“Do your part to further the cover-up of this murder, young man, and you will go places.”

He did, and he did. It worked for two members of Kenneth Starr’s cover-up team, John Bates and Brett Kavanaugh, who were made federal judges by President George W. Bush, and it worked for Baker.

Here, in its entirety, is Baker’s Foster-debut article and how I reacted to it the time. Those familiar with my subsequent work will notice that I let one of Baker’s biggest and most important whoppers go right by me. I still had—and still do have—quite a bit to learn:

Post Propaganda on Foster

Would they have to write such simple-minded propaganda pieces as this if there were not a major cover-up going on? Look for my parenthetic comments.

One Death Altered Path of Presidency

Five Years Later, Clinton White House Still Facing Aftermath of Foster Suicide

 

By Peter Baker

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, July 20, 1998; Page A01

After a cheeseburger lunch at his desk, Vincent W. Foster Jr. left his office around 1 p.m., saying he would be back. Five hours later, his lifeless body was found next to a Civil War cannon in a Virginia park. (Neither The Post nor anyone else in the press has ever had the first question about the preposterous story about the finding of the body.) As his compatriots at the White House struggled to absorb the shock, one senior official told a colleague, “I don’t know that it’ll ever be the same after this.”

Few statements have been so prescient. Five years ago today, the man who grew up with President Clinton (No he didn’t. Clinton moved away from Hope after kindergarten.) and practiced law with Hillary Rodham Clinton drove across the Potomac River, shot himself at Fort Marcy Park and ultimately altered the course of a presidency.

What was certainly a personal tragedy for his friends and family became a defining event for a young administration, one that robbed any remaining innocence (Now there’s a good one. What about the Waco massacre and the sordid Arkansas past?) from the fresh-faced crew that had arrived in Washington brimming with optimism just six months earlier, one that permanently colored how the nation’s leader looks at its capital and its culture, and one that spawned an enduring climate of suspicion and a cottage industry of conspiracy theories. (It’s always a theory when it’s the government. When you’re the girl friend of a drug dealer, it’s twenty years to life.)

Even now, five years removed, the aftermath of Vince Foster’s suicide continues to ripple through the Clinton White House, whether it be a new book examining the events surrounding his death (I would heartily recommend “The Secret Life of Bill Clinton,” by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.) or a ruling by the Supreme Court just a few weeks ago setting a national precedent on the bounds of attorney-client privilege.

“It was a deep cut,” said Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty, the former White House chief of staff who grew up in Hope, Ark., with Clinton (Tell a lie often enough and maybe people will believe it.) and Foster. “It clearly had a tremendous impact.”

Just how tremendous would be hard to overestimate. Foster became a symbol of the travails of the Arkansas circle around the Clintons. He became a cult figure among some of the same people obsessed by the John F. Kennedy assassination and Roswell UFOs. (Truth Suppression #5) But there are those looking back now who believe that had Foster lived, the story of the Clinton presidency would have been different in tangible ways—albeit for vastly divergent reasons.

“I thought his death changed history in some respects,” Bernard Nussbaum, who was White House counsel and Foster’s immediate boss at the time, said in an interview last week. (Now there’s a good, discredited person to interview. Why not interview the witness, Patrick Knowlton, who is sure Foster’s car was not at the park, when his body was?)

In the months after Foster died, as the controversy over Whitewater bloomed into a full-fledged Washington scandal, Nussbaum was the lone voice in the upper ranks of the White House resisting the call for the appointment of a special prosecutor, arguing that it would lead to a never-ending search for crimes where they did not exist.

Nussbaum lost the fight. Clinton reluctantly agreed to an investigation into his real estate dealings back in Arkansas, leading to the appointment of special counsel Robert B. Fiske Jr. and his successor, Kenneth W. Starr, and the resulting years of subpoenas, indictments and court battles that touched on everything from FBI files to Foster’s death to Clinton’s alleged sexual adventures. (“Please don’t throw me in the briar patch,” said Br’er Rabbit. The revelation by Dan Moldea that [Washington Times reporter] Jerry Seper lied about his Park Police sources for the news that Whitewater documents were removed from Foster’s offices gives away the game. This was a White House leak to cause a Special Prosecutor to be appointed to perform the cover-up duties in the Foster case. The Park Police report with all of its curious, indefensible redactions would have never done the job.)

“If Vince had been around to support that position, if I hadn’t been the only one among his senior aides to take that position, he would have had a big impact,” Nussbaum said. “I really believe if Vince had lived, the president would not have sought the appointment of an independent counsel, and history would have been different.”

A former investigator who looked into many of those issues has reached the same conclusion from another vantage point.

The way the White House seemed to stand in the way of the Justice Department and others investigating Foster’s death and the belated discovery that Whitewater files had been removed from his office—described by a subsequent Senate report as a “pattern of stonewalling” –generated a brush fire of speculation that there must be something the Clintons were hiding. (Who could imagine such a thing of the Clintons or The Post?)

“I don’t think the suicide per se was the significant thing,” said the investigator, who declined to be identified for fear it might affect his current business. (Another way of saying, “We’re making up a source here to shovel out the propaganda line you are supposed to swallow.”) “I think the handling of the Department of Justice by the White House counsel’s office in the days after the suicide ignited Whitewater. Had that not happened, the whole thing might never have triggered all the interest in Congress and ultimately the independent counsel.”

Foster came to Washington after the 1992 election with no experience in the hothouse world of national politics. A tall, slender lawyer known for his handsome face and gracious though reserved manner, (A Davidson gentleman, as we liked to say back then.) Foster was a lifelong friend of the president (We previously pointed out that, for what it is worth, this statement is not true.), but really was closer to Hillary Clinton (No kidding), who playfully called him “Vincenzo” and palled around with him and their fellow partner at Little Rock’s Rose Law Firm, Webster L. Hubbell (to the point of being joint beneficiaries to an annuity), who would join them in Washington as associate attorney general.

Foster’s six months as deputy White House counsel were marked by unaccustomed controversy—failed nominations for attorney general, challenges to the secrecy of the first lady’s health care task force and, finally, the travel office affair in which longtime employees were fired while business was steered to the president’s allies. (Oh yes, there was the matter of the immolation of all those offbeat Christians at Waco. It’s easy for a Christian-bashing paper like The Post to forget such things, I guess.)

He took the criticism far more seriously than many and in words that effectively became his epitaph, he wrote in a note found ripped up after his death that while neither he nor anyone in the White House violated any law, “the public will never believe the innocence of the Clintons and their loyal staff. . . . I was not meant for the job or the spotlight of public life in Washington. Here ruining people is considered sport.” (But the note was obviously forged and planted.)

His reaction to that had no parallel in modern U.S. history. Foster was the first person at the top echelon of government to kill himself since James V. Forrestal committed suicide in 1949 shortly after being replaced as defense secretary. And the bitter sentiment of Foster’s note struck a nerve in a highly political, fiercely partisan city.

“His death, I think, really made people think,” said William Kennedy, another Rose partner who served as associate White House counsel (who hastened over to the morgue along with Craig Livingstone to identify Vince’s already well-identified body. After the visit, the keys that had not been found in a previous search of Foster’s pants pockets were “found” by Park Police.) but returned to Little Rock after an unhappy time in the capital. “And I think it was one of those events that for once made people in Washington stop and seriously examine what they were doing –how they approach things, what their values were, what they should be doing. And from that perspective, it was a sea change. It did force that reexamination.”

Kennedy (another fine, objective authority to interview) paused as he thought about this. “But,” he added, “and I say this with a great deal of sadness, nothing seems to have changed.”

The president appears to share that judgment. It was after Foster’s suicide that he began talking about the culture of poison in Washington, (gag me with a spoon) a recurring theme for the last five years and the main thing he said at his second inauguration in 1997 that he wanted to cure.

As recently as Saturday night, while not mentioning Foster, Clinton on a weekend trip home to Little Rock referred to Washington as “a completely different culture.”

“There are times when I wake up in our nation’s capital, and I deal with people day in and day out, and they say one thing one day, and then the next day they’re trying to basically say that I’m the worst thing since Joe Stalin,” Clinton said.

But even in the midst of his latest controversy, the investigation into his ties with Monica S. Lewinsky, Clinton assured his fellow Arkansans that he will survive. “I mean, I don’t know what you all expected,” he said Saturday night at a fund-raiser. “Did you think they’d wheel me in here in a gurney tonight? Listen, you prepared me well. This is no big deal.”

Some aides said the Foster suicide did have some salutary effects within the White House. It served, they said, as a wake-up call highlighting the importance of balancing a workaholic schedule with personal life.

“Even considering how pressurized and intense the work is here,” said presidential counselor Douglas B. Sosnik, “this is a very family friendly workplace in which we’re constantly reminded of what’s most important in your life, which is your family.” (It’s dry-heave time)

Perhaps the chief irony of Foster’s death is that a man who so hated the spotlight will forever be remembered by some as the center of a bizarre conspiracy in the mode of the JFK killing. (Could anything be more bizarre than the suicide story they are peddling? Well, perhaps the magic bullet is.) No matter that every investigation that has looked at the case—including the Park Police, two congressional inquiries, Fiske and, finally last year, Starr –came to the same, unequivocal conclusion that Foster died at his own hand in Fort Marcy Park. (This is why they had to get a special prosecutor appointed, to personalize the cover-up. Truth Suppression #7) There will always be people convinced that Foster was murdered in a safe house in Northern Virginia. (Now you know for sure that’s not how it happened. This is obvious misdirection.) That his body was rolled up in a carpet and moved to the park. That he had been involved in a CIA-sponsored drug-smuggling operation. (Now they’re even making me wonder if that’s why he was killed.)

In retrospect, according to some people close to him and the White House, the fuel for that fire resulted from the confluence of three factors—speculation about Foster’s relationship with Hillary Clinton, the Whitewater connection and the seemingly hurried initial investigation hindered by White House-erected obstacles.

The White House search of Foster’s office the night of his death continues to cause mystery. During the formal search two days later, Nussbaum insisted on looking through all the papers himself, contrary to an earlier agreement, while angry Justice Department and police investigators looked on and were shown only what the White House counsel deemed relevant.

The White House did not disclose the discovery of the torn-up note until days later, after notifying Foster’s family. (How do we know this? Could it be they hadn’t yet forged it when they said they had discovered it?) Five months later, the White House acknowledged that Foster had a file on Whitewater. Two years after his death, the White House produced handwritten notes in which Foster wrote that Whitewater was “a can of worms you shouldn’t open.” (Probably forged as well.) In January 1996, the White House discovered and turned over long-missing Rose firm billing records last thought to be in Foster’s possession.

Nussbaum remains convinced he made the right decision to protect sensitive White House documents and personal papers unrelated to Foster’s death. “If I make a mistake, I have a history of admitting a mistake,” he said. “But what happened there was the right way . . . for a lawyer to act in that circumstance. The only regret I have is not talking more publicly, defending myself more publicly.”

But critics said the incident provided the first major evidence of what would become a pattern of the Clinton White House: exacerbating political and legal trouble by not being as forthcoming as it should. (Truth Suppression #9)

“Every single incident since Vince Foster, the same issues keep coming up,” said Robert J. Giuffra Jr., who was chief counsel to the Senate Special Whitewater Committee. “History keeps repeating itself. . . . Many of the same things they’re being criticized for in the Lewinsky matter are things they were criticized for in the handling of Foster’s office.”

Only last month what may be the last of the legal issues arising from Foster’s death was resolved. Starr tried to subpoena three pages of notes taken by a lawyer Foster consulted nine days before killing himself. But the attorney, James Hamilton, persuaded the Supreme Court that attorney-client privilege persists after a client’s death, setting a binding precedent that will have major impact on the legal profession across the country. That was an unforeseen legacy that Foster, the lawyer’s lawyer, would have liked.

Others around Foster have moved on. His wife, Lisa, moved back to Arkansas and married a federal judge, James Moody. His oldest son has become an investment banker, his youngest just graduated from college. (And The Post, along with the entire news media, swallowed the story that the Park Police never interviewed the sons, not even about the ownership of the gun, because the Foster family lawyer wouldn’t let them do it.)

Last month, his alma mater, the University of Arkansas law school, created a professorship in his name.

The Clintons, too, have gone on. They do not talk about Foster often, according to their friends, but they probably think about him. (Now if those pesky Burketts, whose “suicided” son had the same autopsy doctor as Foster, would just “go on.”)

“This is just an ache in their heart that will just never go away,” said Diane Blair, a close confidant of Hillary Clinton from Arkansas.

David Martin

July 21, 1998

Did you catch that big overlooked lie? “Foster was the first person at the top echelon of government to kill himself since James V. Forrestal committed suicide in 1949 shortly after being replaced as defense secretary.” I did not write my debut article on that subject until more than four years later.

Unfortunately, the penultimate paragraph is also out of date. Like the corrupt coroner, Dr. James C. Beyer, who jimmied up both the autopsy of their murdered son, college student Tommy Burkett, and the murdered Foster, both Burkett parents have “gone on” to the afterlife. They died of cancer within a couple of years of one another, and their web site thepacc.org, has literally gone to the dogs. It stood for Parents against Corruption and Cover-up. It has since been taken over by People against Canine Cruelty (to cats?). In this update I have replaced the old link to “Burketts” above with an original from the Internet archives of the WayBack Machine.

Returning to Baker, one of the benefits of selling out to Mister Big is that you get promoted and you get to publish books and have them promoted by your employers. We have seen it in spades with David Von Drehle, who was given a “book leave” by his Washington Post employer after the yeoman work that he did on the Foster murder cover-up and was made the editor of their Style section upon his return.   For his part, Baker and his wife Susan Glasser were sent off to Moscow to cover Russia and Vladimir Putiin. How they covered it and the “expert” opinion that he can be expected to furnish on the TV news programs these days can be found in the predictable book that resulted from their time there. I have not read their Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the End of Revolution, but from all that I have seen of Baker and the Post, and his current Times employer as well, this critical customer’s review of the Kindle edition sums it up pretty well:

If you are looking for Russophobic propaganda, this book will do nicely. The anti-Putin, and frequently anti-Russian bias is pervasive throughout its pages. Of actual scholarship and research there is almost none. It is clear that the authors started writing this book having already reached two conclusions: (1) Everything in Russia is horrible, and (2) It’s all Putin’s fault. The book has many flaws, but it turns simply disgusting when the authors delve into the subject of terrorism. The quasi-apologist attitude and the lack of serious condemnation were strongly offensive. Apparently, when a group of individuals is murdering defenseless women and children “over there”, they are not terrorists, but cute and cuddly resistance fighters. Disgusting.

In conclusion, I would like to recommend an alternative for anyone interested in a much more unbiased and scholarly perspective. The book is “Putin: Russia’s Choice”, by Richard Sakwa. Dr. Sakwa is the Head of the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent. His book is available on Amazon.com: Putin: Russia’s Choice

My local Fairfax County (VA) system has five copies of the Baker-Glasser book in its various libraries. They have no copies of the Sakwa book, apparently offering no alternative to the mainstream news propaganda of Baker and his cohorts. I have no plans to read any books by either Baker or Corn, and when their faces appear on the TV screen, my first impulse will be to go for the clicker.

David Martin

February 18, 2015

Follow @BuelahMan

BuelaHuh?

Did I rub you the wrong way or stroke you just right? Let me know below in the comments section or Email me at buelahman {AT} g m a i l {DOT} com

Please keep comments relevant to the topic. Multiple links will automatically relegate your comment to the spam section, so keep that in mind as you post.

If for some reason you actually liked this post, click the “Like” button below. If you feel like someone else needs to see this (or you just want to ruin someone’s day), click the Share Button at the bottom of the post and heap this upon some undeserving soul. And as sad as this thought may be, it may be remotely possible that us rednecks here at The Revolt please you enough (or more than likely, you are just a glutton for punishment??), that you feel an overwhelming desire to subscribe via the Email subscription and/or RSS Feed buttons found on the upper right hand corner of this page (may the Lord have mercy on your soul).

All posts are opinions meant to foster comment, reporting, teaching & study under the “fair use doctrine” in Sec. 107 of U.S. Code Title 17. No statement of fact is made or should be implied. Ads appearing on this blog are solely the product of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BuehlahMan’s Revolt or WordPress.com

Persistent Lies about James Forrestal

Persistent Lies about James Forrestal

From the Arlington Cemetery Web Site

by DC Dave

This is an email that I sent on December 18, 2014. It did not bounce back as undeliverable, so I assume it reached its intended recipient. As of this date I have received no response and the changes that I suggested have not been made. Consequently, I have decided to make the email public:

Dear Arlington National Cemetery Webmaster,

On the site for our first secretary of defense, James Forrestal, you state, “On May 22 [1949], after several prior attempts at suicide, and after copying a passage from Sophocles’ “Chorus from Ajax”, he jumped from the 16th floor hall window.”

Only the date in that statement is verifiably correct.  The allegation of several prior suicide attempts originates with the scandal columnist and Forrestal enemy Drew Pearson.  Pearson had no source for his allegations and not one person has come forward to support it.  Rather, everyone who has looked into the multiple suicide attempts charge has found it to be bogus.  Biographers Townsend Hoopes and Douglas Brinkley say that Elliot Janeway was told by Ferdinand Eberstadt that Forrestal made an attempt to kill himself at Hobe Sound, FL, (with no details given), but they did not interview Eberstadt, who was alive when they wrote their book, and Janeway is at least as unreliable as Pearson.

Concerning the passage from the poem by Sophocles, check out the copy that I obtained with the Freedom of Information Act in 2004 and the samples of Forrestal’s handwriting here.  Now do you still want to say that he was the one who copied that excerpt?

He did not go out the hall window, either; he went out the window of a kitchen across the hall from his room.  And if you still want to maintain that he jumped, I suggest that you examine the handwriting on that surrogate suicide note again and reflect upon the meaning of what you see.

Sincerely,

David Martin

The Arlington National Cemetery web site in question is not an official government site. On the site’s home page one is greeted with this message: “Welcome To The Unofficial Site Devoted To America’s Most Hallowed Ground And To The Heroes And The Pathfinders Who Rest In Eternal Peace And Honored Glory There.”

Above that is the message:

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY (WEBSITE)

Where Valor Proudly Sleeps

The man whose name is behind the site is one Michael Robert Patterson, and at the bottom of the page he tells us one more time that he and his site are in no way associated with either the United States government or its army. By the manner in which he has treated the subject of James Forrestal’s death, he and his site would seem to be not very closely associated with the truth, either.

I first took note of the Arlington Cemetery site’s Forrestal observations in Part 2 of “Who Killed James Forrestal?” published more than ten years ago on September 22, 2004. In Part 2, reading from the official inquiry on Forrestal’s death, the Willcutts Report, we also have this exchange with the lead psychiatrist in the case, Dr. George Raines:

Q: Did Mister Forrestal make any attempts at suicide while he was under your care?

A: None whatsoever.  The matter of suicide in Hobe Sound, he told Doctor [William] Menninger that he had attempted to hang himself with a belt.  Menninger and I were very skeptical of that and both he and I were of the opinion that it was sort of a nightmare.  The man had no marks on him and there was no broken belt.  Very frequently a depressed person has a fantasy of dying and reports it as real.  So far as I know he never made a single real attempt at suicide except that one that was successful.

Captain Raines is the one doctor among the several that Forrestal had who testified that his patient had expressed James_Forrestalsuicidal urges to him. He also absurdly volunteered that the handwriting of the transcribed poem looked like Forrestal’s. For a man with an intimate knowledge of the case, who was clearly doing his best to sell the suicide story, to deny knowledge of Forrestal making any previous attempts at suicide virtually confirms that there were no such attempts. Even without this testimony, which did not come to light until 2004, repeating Drew Pearson’s completely uncorroborated and patently ridiculous claims was irresponsible to begin with.

I made reference to the erroneous claims of the Arlington Cemetery site again on September 27, 2004, in a short summary article entitled “New Forrestal Document Exposes Cover-up.” This repeated mention has obviously had no effect on Mr. Patterson. After the passage of a decade, I decided to make a more active effort to get him to bring his statement concerning Forrestal’s demise into closer conformity with the known facts.

From studying his home page, we should hardly be surprised at his failure to respond. Taking him at his word that he is not associated with the U.S. government, it is still hard to imagine how his site would be different if it were wholly owned and financed by the most war-profiting elements of the military-industrial complex. Consider his collection of quotes on his home page, particularly the one laid out as though it were some lyrical poem at the top of the second column:

Great harm has been done to us.

We have suffered great loss.

And in our grief and anger we have found

our mission and our moment.

–President George W. Bush, September 2001

This celebration of the whipping up of war fever is very reminiscent of what Hermann Göring told American psychologist Gustave Gilbert at Nuremberg:

Why, of course, the people don’t want war… But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. …the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

HallowedGrounds

“Hallowed Grounds”

All that is needed to give the Göring observation a particularly American flavor is to suggest that the war glorification be wrapped in the cloak of religion. To call this military cemetery sacrilegiously “our most hallowed ground” is a step in that direction. But that’s not enough for Patterson. With another of his quotes, he turns to the master of the genre:

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom.

–Abraham Lincoln, November 1864

From a site that is devoted not to truth but to the glorification of war, then, I don’t suppose I should be holding out much hope that they would do justice to a man who labored mightily to bring an end to the Pacific War well before the assaults on Iwo Jima and Okinawa and the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and to forestall our endless involvement in war in the Middle East. Unfortunately, I’m also getting the same non-response from the less jingoistic Find A Grave. I sent the following message to Curator, Senior Administrator Russ Dodge on the same day:

Hi Russ,

Your misstatement  concerning the nature of James Forrestal’s death is not as egregious as the one at the Arlington National Cemetery site, but if you will read what I sent them (attached) you will still see that what you have written is now indefensible.  The evidence is now really overwhelming that he was thrown from the window of the main tower of the Bethesda Naval Hospital.

Dave

Find A Grave has a number of other people working on their site, with their email addresses.   Perhaps readers could join me in importuning them.

??????????

David Martin

January 8, 2015

Addendum

Readers clicking on the word “misstatement” in my letter to Russ Dodge of Find A Grave, above, will see that there is no longer any obvious misstatement there.  Previously it said that Forrestal committed suicide by jumping from a 16th floor window of the Bethesda Naval Hospital.  Now it says only that he fell from the window, which is in harmony with the government’s last word on the subject in the Willcutts Report, the official investigation of Forrestal’s death.  It is also in harmony with his official biography from the Department of Defense, whose last paragraph has this very telling statement:

In fact, centralization of authority in the Office of the Secretary of Defense became a constant objective under Forrestal and many of his successors. Unfortunately, Forrestal was no longer in the Pentagon when Congress approved these amendments. He left office on 28 March 1949 and died tragically less than two months later.

One can be sure that those words, which don’t explain the nature of the tragedy, whether he was murdered, committed suicide, or died by accident, were chosen very carefully.

As for the new statement at Find A Grave, we fancy that the change was made because we decided to follow our own advice and write a more detailed follow-up email explaining why it was inappropriate to say flatly that Forrestal committed suicide, but this time with a copy to all of the other editors listed on the web site.  Readers who are still inclined to communicate with them might thank them, as I did, for making the necessary change.

That leaves Michael Robert Patterson of the Arlington National Cemetery site with the claim that Forrestal committed suicide.  We hold out little hope, though, for anyone who would state as fact the ridiculous uncorroborated claim by scandalmonger and political enemy Drew Pearson that Forrestal made four previous attempts at suicide.  Furthermore, anyone who would print approvingly President George W. Bush’s war cry on the eve of his vengeful criminal assault on Afghanistan obviously just has an agenda and is not really interested in the truth.

Follow @BuelahMan

BuelaHuh?

Did I rub you the wrong way or stroke you just right? Let me know below in the comments section or Email me at buelahman {AT} g m a i l {DOT} com

Please keep comments relevant to the topic. Multiple links will automatically relegate your comment to the spam section, so keep that in mind as you post.

If for some reason you actually liked this post, click the “Like” button below. If you feel like someone else needs to see this (or you just want to ruin someone’s day), click the Share Button at the bottom of the post and heap this upon some undeserving soul. And as sad as this thought may be, it may be remotely possible that us rednecks here at The Revolt please you enough (or more than likely, you are just a glutton for punishment??), that you feel an overwhelming desire to subscribe via the Email subscription and/or RSS Feed buttons found on the upper right hand corner of this page (may the Lord have mercy on your soul).

All posts are opinions meant to foster comment, reporting, teaching & study under the “fair use doctrine” in Sec. 107 of U.S. Code Title 17. No statement of fact is made or should be implied. Ads appearing on this blog are solely the product of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BuehlahMan’s Revolt or WordPress.com

The Great Suppression of 2014

The Great Suppression of 2014

by DC Dave

media_blackout_by_dndnma

When I conceived the idea for this article, I had only one example of important news that was completely suppressed by the mainstream American news media this year in mind. I have since thought of two more that are certainly worthy candidates for the “Biggest News Suppression of the Year” award, however. While I am still going to devote most of this article to the original topic, I have decided to invite readers to give their opinion as to which should receive the award and why they think that. They are to do that by taking part in the forum on B’Man’s Revolt.

Reader participation begins with a search of the Internet using as many search engines as you care to use. Here are the three word combinations to search:

  1. Stan Eury Lee Wicker indictment
  2. German pilot MH17
  3. CIA German journalist

Complete Blackout on Expanded Indictment

EuryIndictment

Stan Eury Indicted

 

What I discovered on #1 is that, amazing as it may seem, more than two months after the expanded and revised federal indictment of the leader of “the largest alien smuggling ring in our nation’s history” was handed down, absolutely no one in the press has reported it. My article, “Feds Pile New Charges on Top Alien Smuggler” continues to be the first and the last word. As we suggest in the first of the “Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression,” if it’s not in the news it’s as if it didn’t happen.

Anyone capable of thinking for himself just a little bit will know that the story is not being ignored because it is not newsworthy. When the smaller indictment was handed down, not involving the primary way in which Eury’s operation has brought future illegal aliens into the country, the H-2A program for farm workers, nor implicating Eury’s two chief lieutenants, even The Washington Post found it sufficiently newsworthy to report upon, albeit belatedly and by printing a story submitted by a North Carolina-based freelancer.

In the meantime, the Associated Press, which has ignored both installments of the federal indictment, sent around a totally un-newsworthy fluff piece touting the great virtues of Eury’s North Carolina Growers’ Association, which I described at the time as an “Infomercial.” If you haven’t already done it when you read the earlier article, do the same sort of Net search that I recommend above for the pre-set title of the AP article, “NC farmers lead country on legal foreign workers.” It’s still up at lots of mainstream sites with the same headline at each place.

Jim_Garrison

Jim Garrison

It’s quite a rare thing when the press gives much more favorable news coverage to the person accused of a crime than it does to his government accusers. The only precedent that I can think of that comes close is the treatment that the press gave to New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison when he brought Clay Shaw to court on charges of complicity in the John Kennedy assassination. But Garrison was only a local DA. We’re talking about a huge federal indictment in the current case. We have also learned from our contacts within the North Carolina Employment Security Commission (NCESC) that the indictment is the result of a multi-agency investigation that began during the last year of the Bush administration. It represents a bipartisan effort by the proper authorities to punish and stamp out fraud and corruption in the foreign guest worker program. If you thought that the news media would get behind them in their efforts, then you don’t understand our news media.

Back in October I discovered that the co-writer of that NCGA “infomercial,” Kate Brumback, is based in Atlanta and that her special areas of coverage should have made her aware of the Eury indictment. That made her the perfect person for my email, although I open copied her accomplice, Ray Henry, who specializes in immigration and energy matters:

October 22, 2014

To: Kate Brumback

Subject: NCGA Leadership Under Federal Indictment for Fraud

Hi Kate,

5d8iZLv8

Kate Brumback

I see from the Internet that you specialize in both immigration and legal matters.  Consequently, it is somewhat surprising that in that article that went out with your name and Ray Henry’s on it back in April heaping praise upon the North Carolina Growers’ Association (NCGA) you somehow managed not to report that the executive director of the NCGA, Stan Eury, and his daughter were under indictment by a federal grand jury for major abuses of the guest worker program.

Now the charges have been dropped against his daughter because she has apparently negotiated a plea bargain and has become a cooperating witness.  The indictment has also been expanded from 41 counts to 87 counts and the agricultural part of Eury’s operation is much more directly implicated than before.   Furthermore, replacing Eury’s daughter in the indictment are his top two lieutenants, Lee Wicker and Ken White.

You can read all about it in my article, “Feds Pile New Charges on Top Alien Smuggler.”  Considering how badly you misled the public with that earlier article, I believe that it is particularly incumbent upon you to set the record straight by reporting these new developments.  Don’t you?

Dave

The email did not bounce back from either addressee, so I assume it reached its target. As you might have guessed, I got no response, and no article providing the needed corrective of the misperception of the NCGA that the article engendered has appeared.

Before that I had nudged the NC freelancer, with whom I had established a friendly email relationship, to write up the new developments. He told me that before he could begin to write about it he would have to find someone who would pay him for it, suggesting that the future for that didn’t look very bright. His getting that first piece into The Post is looking more and more like a fluke. Predictably, nothing on the new indictment has appeared with his byline on it to my knowledge.

WRALBut what about WRAL television in Raleigh, which broke the first indictment story? It’s looking like that was a fluke as well. They were among the news organs that carried the “infomercial,” although it’s no longer up on their site.

One of my informants within the NCESC alerted them, as well as the Raleigh News and Observer and the Fayetteville Observer about the expanded indictment. The influential Raleigh paper has never written the first thing negative about the NCGA, so when they blew him off he was not surprised. But WRAL stiffed him as well.

The Fayetteville paper is much smaller, but it is near Eury’s headquarters in the small town of Vass and it had written a short piece on the first indictment after the federal prosecutors had sent out a press release. The writer of that earlier piece expressed some enthusiasm when contacted about the expanded indictment, which he had not heard about, but said that he would have to run it by his editor. That was the end of that.

Fayobmediablackout

Come to think of it, there is one area in which the lawbreakers almost always get a sympathetic press and the law enforcers get a bad press. That is illegal immigration. The illegal immigrants are always just “undocumented,” don’t you know?

The late comedian George Carlin said that he didn’t believe anything the government told him. But as we see in this instance, the government—or at least some elements of it—can be better than the press. We have seen it before, when we first used the “great suppression” term, in a section heading of Part 3 of “America’s Dreyfus Affair: The Case of the Death of Vincent Foster.” We called it “The Great Suppression of ’97.” The three-judge panel that appointed Kenneth Starr decided, over his strenuous objections, to include as an appendix the submission of the lawyer for the dissident witness, Patrick Knowlton, which, one of the judges wrote to the others, “…contradicts specific factual matters and takes issue with the very basics of the report filed by the [Independent Counsel].” That is to say, it destroys the conclusion of suicide. Here’s part of what I said about it at the time:

Now there has developed a popular notion, encouraged in no small part by the opinion molders in the mainstream press, that those who treat various official pronouncements with skepticism are simply “anti-government.” Such people may be contrasted with the media people themselves who show us how “responsible” they are by only giving us “the facts,” as long as those facts bear an officially-approved label. But here we have a case of one official government body, the three-judge federal panel, administering a slap in the face to another official government body, the Office of the Independent Counsel. Certainly citizen critics who applaud the action of the judges can hardly be called “anti-government,” nor can the nation’s press, who unanimously covered up the fact of the judges’ inclusion of the Knowlton/Clarke Addendum, be called anything that resembles “responsible.” The adjective that comes to my mind is “corrupt.”

German Press Breaking Away?

ulfkotte_neu-300x150

Udo Ulfkotte

Those two stories out of Germany are, to my mind, very important as well. The first one strongly suggests that the story touted by the American government and press that that Malaysian airliner that crashed over Ukraine was brought down by an errant missile launched by pro-Russian separatists is not true. Rather, the German expert concludes that Ukrainian fighter jets must have shot down the liner.

Performing our third Net search, we find the pronouncement by prominent German journalist, Udo Ulfkotte, that he and other Western journalists had long been bribed by the CIA to write things their way. To those of us who were familiar with the line often attributed to the CIA’s Frank Wisner that, “You could get a journalist cheaper than a good call girl, for a couple hundred dollars a month,” this was no great revelation, but coming publicly from the mouth of one of the bribed journalists it was big time news.

Because, like a growing number of people these days, I get most of my news from “alternative” sources on the Internet, it didn’t occur to me at first that these two news stories out of Germany had been suppressed. I had read about them from multiple sources. None of those sources, I finally realized, were even remotely what one might call “mainstream,” however.   My Net search then confirmed what I suspected. How about your search?

All-Time Great Suppressions?

censorship-610x400

That 1997 suppression of the full news about Kenneth Starr’s report on the death of Vincent Foster certainly should be very high on the list; and their blackout of my 2009 revelation of the resignation letter of his lead investigator, Miguel Rodriguez, and my 2013 exposure of his dissenting memorandum.

Another suppression was of the significant accomplishment of the current writer. That was the breaking free through the Freedom of Information Act of the official investigation of the death of the first secretary of defense James Forrestal from a fall from a 16th floor window of the Bethesda Naval Hospital. One might call that one “The Great Suppression of 2004.” The Seeley Mudd Manuscript Library of Princeton University even put out a press release about it, but the entire mainstream press completely ignored it. The press in this instance was, once again, worse than the government.

Then there was the “Great Suppression of 2006.” That was when The Times of London reported that in 2006 the Zionist extremist Stern Gang had in 1946 attempted to assassinate British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin, his predecessor and future Prime Minister Anthony Eden, and a number of other high officials in Britain by sending letter bombs. The article is still up on Information Clearing House, but the story never made it into the mainstream American press. It’s a rare American, indeed, who knows that that bit of perfidy ever happened, or that the same group attempted to assassinate President Harry Truman by the same method a year later.

You, dear readers, might have candidates of your own for all time great suppressions and 2014 news suppressions by the press. I might not even know about them…because the news was suppressed. If so, let us know by weighing in at B’Man’s Revolt.

By the way, my NCESC informants tell me that the big visa-fraud trial of Stan Eury et al. has been postponed from its original November 2014 date to some time in late spring 2015. If the press should report on that trial it would expose their dereliction in reporting on what led up to it, so I think we can all get ready for “The Great Suppression of 2015.”

David Martin

December 2, 2014

Follow @BuelahMan

BuelaHuh?

Did I rub you the wrong way or stroke you just right? Let me know below in the comments section or Email me at buelahman {AT} g m a i l {DOT} com

Please keep comments relevant to the topic. Multiple links will automatically relegate your comment to the spam section, so keep that in mind as you post.

If for some reason you actually liked this post, click the “Like” button below. If you feel like someone else needs to see this (or you just want to ruin someone’s day), click the Share Button at the bottom of the post and heap this upon some undeserving soul. And as sad as this thought may be, it may be remotely possible that us rednecks here at The Revolt please you enough (or more than likely, you are just a glutton for punishment??), that you feel an overwhelming desire to subscribe via the Email subscription and/or RSS Feed buttons found on the upper right hand corner of this page (may the Lord have mercy on your soul).

All posts are opinions meant to foster comment, reporting, teaching & study under the “fair use doctrine” in Sec. 107 of U.S. Code Title 17. No statement of fact is made or should be implied. Ads appearing on this blog are solely the product of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BuelahMan’s Revolt or WordPress.com

Lyndon Johnson, Sinister “Colossus”

Lyndon Johnson, Sinister “Colossus”

by DC Dave

A review

I am more and more impressed by the fact that it is largely futile to get up and make statements about current problems.  At the same time, I know that silent acquiescence in evil is also out of the question.

Thomas Merton, Faith and Violence, 1968

51L7anqMBTL

The more we learn about the 36th president of the United States, the more we see the fairly modern words “sociopath” or “psychopath” associated with his name. (Do a Net search pairing “Lyndon Johnson” with each.) As one reads Phillip F. Nelson’s sequel to LBJ, the

Mastermind of the JFK Assassination entitled LBJ: From Mastermind to “The Colossus,” the very old fashioned word of “evil” is the one that comes repeatedly to my mind. Johnson’s own grandmother, Ruth Baines, according to Nelson, sized up his character when he was only five years old and predicted that he would end up in the penitentiary.

Instead of becoming a problem for a prison warden, though, he became a problem for his country and for the world. In his first volume, Nelson argued persuasively that what many had suspected all along but were afraid to face up to it or share their suspicions with others, that is, that LBJ was behind his predecessor’s assassination.

And why wouldn’t he have been? He was the primary beneficiary, after all. He appointed the Warren Commission, and they performed what most people realize now was a monumental cover-up by pinning the entire blame upon a low level secret government operative with no motive and without the means to have fired all the shots that were fired. Once it is acknowledged that the assassination was the result of a plot involving a number of people it follows inexorably that the man who would become president had to have been, at the very least, on board with it. Otherwise, it would have been entirely too risky for the plotters. The killing also occurred right on Johnson’s Texas turf, and he had been instrumental in getting Kennedy to make the trip to Dallas.

Henry Marshall

Henry Marshall

We also learned from that first volume that that turf was already littered with bodies thanks to Lyndon’s machinations. While most of his new book is devoted to analysis of LBJ’s actions once he became president, Nelson begins with a further fleshing out of the story of the 1961 murder (originally improbably ruled a suicide) of United States Department of Agriculture agent Henry Marshall. Marshall had been hot on the trail of the widespread fraudulent operations of Billie Sol Estes and Lyndon Johnson’s intimate connections to them. Johnson, by that time, was already Vice President, but had Marshall remained alive and on the case, his future did not look bright.

The Real Lone Ranger

The hero of Chapter 1 is Texas Ranger Clint Peoples, who was thwarted by the political muscle wielded by Johnson in his attempt to get Marshall’s cause of death changed from suicide to murder. Thanks mainly to his dogged continued efforts, a federal grand jury in 1984 did change the ruling from suicide to murder, but by then the likely culprits, LBJ and his henchmen Cliff Carter and Malcolm “Mac” Wallace, were all dead and there was no one to charge with the crime.

Texas Ranger Clint Peoples

Texas Ranger Clint Peoples

Had Captain Peoples been able to have the cause of death changed to “homicide” in 1962 he could have aggressively pursued his investigation of Johnson and probably brought an indictment and if that had happened…the name Lyndon B. Johnson would have been lost in the dustbin of history as just another dirty politician who spent his last years in the penitentiary, just as his own grandmother had predicted would occur.

Had Captain Peoples been successful in 1962, it follows that John F. Kennedy might have remained president for another five years and the 50,000 plus American men and women killed in Vietnam during the Johnson-Nixon years would have also lived on. The millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians killed during those years would also have been able to continue living there lives, for the most part, as peaceful peasants. For those killed in the civil war, at least it would not have been by the crusading Americans, but by their own tribe, and in much smaller numbers. There would have been many other changes if Johnson’s war had never occurred, so many that it is impossible not to comprehend the “what-ifs” of a culture undamaged by the Johnson presidency. One thing is clear though: The magnitude of that difference would have been “colossal” in the most literal sense. (pp. 18-19)

With his unblinking second look at the purely evil deeds of which Lyndon Johnson was capable with his reign of terror in Texas, Nelson stands out from the more mainstream biographers such as Robert Caro and Robert Dallek, no matter how comprehensive, unvarnished, and even negative their portraits of the man might seem. This groundwork is essential for understanding the further evils that LBJ perpetrated with respect to the Kennedy assassination, the Vietnam War, and the Six Day War.

For the first of those subjects, one must read Nelson’s first volume on Johnson; there’s little rehash in this one. He addresses the other two, and much more, in “The Colossus” but before he does, he does some more spadework in Texas. Some of that handiwork was recently put on display at LewRockwell.com in the form of excerpts from the book. These are “LBJ’s Double—Cousin Jay Bert Peck—And His Untimely Death” and “John M. Liggett: From Embalmer Extraordinaire to Serial Killer—then Dead Man Walking.”

Readers not wishing to digress by clicking on those links might consider two shorter vignettes from the book that suggest that the psychologists might, indeed, have some useful insights concerning LBJ that transcend questions of morality. The case can certainly be made that he was not just homicidal, but he was a homicidal madman.

Life Imitates Art

The two passages I have chosen fall into what one might call the “life imitating art” category. When George Carlin made his observation at the 4-minute mark of the video above that war is just a lot of prick waving, it is highly unlikely that he knew of the incident that had occurred some two decades before:

Another entry [in the daily notes of historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.] made just a week before Johnson left the White House for good indicated that Schlesinger had talked to Bill Moyers and Richard “Dick” Goodwin about the problems with anyone ever trying to write a book about Johnson, because “no one would believe it.” He also wrote that Moyers had said that Johnson was a “sick man” and that both Moyers and Goodwin read up on mental illness. Goodwin tackled the paranoia issue and Moyers studied up on manic-depressive cycles. Moyers also appeared in a later note, dated November 11, 1971, when he made a comment about how Johnson thought that his “manhood” had been tested during the period of the escalation of the Vietnam War. This was a particularly insightful point because it runs parallel with an incident that occurred during the very period of the escalation, in a 1965 press conference held at his ranch. A reporter had asked him to explain why we were at war with Vietnam and President Lyndon B. Johnson, in response to that question, unzipped his pants, withdrew his penis and, holding it so that all the reporters, male and female could view it clearly, exclaimed “This is why!” And with that the press conference ended and everyone walked away, so stunned that the original question was soon nearly forgotten. Naturally, this incident was not widely reported in the press by those same reporters, who were more concerned with protecting the president from such knowledge becoming public. Fortunately, there a few brave souls who made sure the record was duly noted. (p. lii)

Sadly, from the picture that Nelson paints of the man, had Johnson ventured a more serious answer to the reporter’s question he could hardly have done any better than he did. He knew nothing of world affairs. He was never a student of anything except how to amass more power for himself and dominate other people. His complete ignorance of military matters did not prevent him from pushing ahead in Vietnam and micro-managing every aspect of America’s war, though.

Interestingly, one of Adolf Hitler’s greatest failings as a national leader is that he fancied himself a great military strategist and meddled far too much in matters that he should have left to his experts. In the following long paragraph we see a Lyndon Johnson who is eerily reminiscent of Der Führer in the much-parodied dressing down of his generals that is ubiquitous on YouTube (shown in the video above):

[Marine Corps] Lieutenant General [Charles G.] Cooper’s book, A Marine’s Story of Combat in Peace and War, written with Richard E. Goodspeed, provides a vivid description of the inner workings of the White House/Pentagon decision-making process in 1967. It also reveals something even more important than the chaotic manner in which the White House made decisions; it documented yet another of Lyndon Johnson’s manic—clearly psychotic—episodes as he screamed obscenities at the very officers who had struggled to come up with an effective plan to achieve the results that Johnson had demanded of them despite severely limiting their options. Cooper had accompanied the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the White House meeting, which they had requested, to resolve a problem they felt was caused by the existing policy of “piling on forces in Vietnam without understanding the consequences.” The Joint Chiefs were led by the chairman, General Earle Wheeler of the US Army. The other chiefs of their respective military organizations were: General Harold Johnson, the Army chief of staff; General John P. McConnell, the Air Force chief of staff; General Wallace Greene Jr., the commandant of the Marines Corps; Admiral David McDonald, the chief of naval operations. Secretary [Robert] McNamara had reluctantly acceded to their request after discussing and preparing the president for their meeting. While seeking the opinions of these generals and admirals, and pretending to understand the strategic planning they had put together, Johnson seemed to appear in deep thought as he processed the information, briefly turning his back on them. The following passages provide a vivid account of what happened next, as Cooper held a map of Vietnam for the presentation by General Wheeler. As soon as he finished, Johnson began his vicious assault, suddenly whirling around, screaming and cursing each of them in turn. Lieutenant General Cooper summarized his recollections of that frightening day:

Lt. Gen. Charles Cooper, USMC

Lt. Gen. Charles Cooper, USMC

Noting that it was he who was carrying the weight of the free world on his shoulders, he called them filthy names—shitheads, dumb shits, pompous assholes—and used “the F-word” as an adjective more freely than a Marine in boot camp would use it. It was unnerving, degrading.

Author Cooper’s stunning description of presidential behavior to his visitors that day, as he quoted Johnson’s statements—for example, those “idiots gave him stupid advice, [adding that] he had the whole damn world to worry about” –bespeaks more than the words in the excerpt say. This was another Johnson meltdown, an incident that suggests the “Colossus” was in another psychotic rage, just like those that Richard Goodwin wrote about in his book, or the account of lobbyist Robert Winter-Berger as he told of Johnson’s meltdown in Speaker McCormack’s office in March 1964 covered elsewhere, that other historians go to great lengths to avoid because it does not fit in well with the paradigm that they have attempted to construct. (pp. 347-348)

The Vietnam War that that Johnson mishandled in almost every way imaginable was not something he inherited from his predecessor and struggled to cope with as best he could, as many historians would have us believe, either. Although he was a stout anti-Communist, Kennedy had all the subtle understanding of world politics that Johnson lacked and was on his way to ending American direct participation in the war. One of Johnson’s very first decisions, notes Nelson, was to reverse that policy and to set the course toward making that war America’s war.

Johnson had three main reasons for escalating the conflict in Vietnam, none of which had anything to do with sound geopolitics. The first was connected to that graphic display before the news reporters. We were the tough guys, and Lyndon was just going to show those impudent little Vietnamese who was the boss. America’s military was to be used simply as an extension of the Johnson personality, the psychotic bully. Second, the JFK assassination could be regarded as a coup d’état by the national security state—sometimes called the secret LBJ-and-GWBgovernment—the leadership of which Johnson through his machinations had acquired. One of the main purposes of the Kennedy assassination was to reverse Kennedy’s course in Vietnam, so that’s what Johnson promptly did. Third—an explanation that I have first encountered in this book—Johnson learned all his most important political lessons as a pro-New Deal politician supporting Franklin Roosevelt in Texas. He always thought of himself in the most grandiose terms, of his historical legacy. Success in war, he saw from Roosevelt, was the surest way for history to regard him as a “great” president. He thought that victory would be relatively easy and he would be hailed as a hero (shades of a later president from Texas).

Just as Johnson was a hands-on president, to a fault, when it came to running the war, and up to his eyeballs in the JFK assassination, so, too, must he have been at the pinnacle of the plots that ended the lives of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. Nelson devotes seven pages to the first subject and an entire chapter to the second.

wills_1-052412

Not Giving the Devil His Due

Even the domestic legislation that he pushed through, Medicare, Medicaid, and the various other “Great Society” welfare programs that he is credited for having pushed through may be regarded as Lyndon’s attempt to buy popularity by the FDR method.

Nelson also takes a decidedly revisionist view of Johnson’s accomplishments on the civil rights front. He reminds us that as the powerful Senate majority leader he was the primary obstacle to the passage of any meaningful civil rights legislation for many years, or any significant legislation at all, for that matter. Maybe he could be given the benefit of the doubt on that because he had to get reelected in Texas, but, according to Nelson, he continued to be an obstacle as vice president, repeatedly telling Kennedy that the time was not right and offering none of the political clout with the Congress that he was still able to wield. Knowing, in fact, that the time was overdue for civil rights improvements, he wanted to make sure that he could get credit for them when he became president through the plot that was brewing.

What LBJ was particularly good at was in seeking power, in detecting where it truly lay, and figuring out how to best ingratiate himself with the power wielders so that he could participate in it. His abuse of his subordinates was also legendary, which we get some flavor of in the military episode cited and throughout Nelson’s book. In my days in the bureaucracy I encountered more than one of what we called the “kiss up and kick down” personality types. Lyndon is almost a caricature of the ones I knew.

tumblr_inline_mir7kuz45U1qz99fl

That Johnson should have bought a house in Washington that made him a close neighbor of another such type, FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover, could hardly have been an accident, according to Nelson. He also sucked up to House Speaker and fellow Texan Sam Rayburn and to the powerful Georgia Senator Richard Russell.

Even from Caro one quickly sees that LBJ from his youth was a person with an uncommon nose for power.   What we don’t get from Caro or from Dallek or from the outrageously mistitled Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream: The Most Revealing Portrait of a President and Presidential Power by Doris Kearns Goodwin is any great sense of the real corrupt power that Johnson sucked up to and on whose behalf he exercised his modicum of power once he had achieved it. That’s what sets Nelson’s book apart and makes it “must” reading for anyone who would understand what Johnson did to the country and where we are today. The title of his Chapter 4, and the names of the section headings within it tell the story.

Power for What and for Whom?

First, the title: “LBJ’s Use of America’s Wealthiest and Most Influential—and How It Led to Presidential Treason.” And here are the section headings:

  • President Johnson’s Zionist Connections (1937-67)
  • Lyndon Johnson: The First Jewish President?
  • 1941: Lyndon Johnson Goes to War—in Hollywood
  • The Zionist/Terrorist Associates of LBJ
  • Completing the Circle: Johnson’s Long History of Indenture to Zionists
  • A Quick Look at Twentieth Century International Developments and Lyndon Johnson’s Role in Them
  • Senator Lyndon Johnson’s Favor to his Zionist Friends
  • The Israeli Lobby, circa 1960-63 vs. 1964-68

jfk-lbj-mossadThat last section shows how the power of that lobby over the American presidency grew exponentially with JFK’s assassination. To demonstrate that Kennedy was standing up to Israel in opposition to its development of nuclear weapons Nelson even reprints the entire text of the strong letter that Kennedy wrote to Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol on July 5, 1963, that one can read on this Rense.com site. Following the logic, he even comes very close to endorsing Michael Collins Piper’s thesis, explained on that site, that Israel was principally behind the Kennedy assassination:

Michael Collins Piper, in his controversial 1995 book, Final Judgment, made the case that the Mossad, through its direct connections to James Angleton and its indirect other connections to the CIA front international corporation known as Permindex—with its direct ties to Clay Shaw, who had been indicted for his role in “handling” Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans—was “involved” in the JFK assassination…

220px-Angletn

James J. Angleton

 

There is no question that Kennedy took a hard line against Israel’s procurement of nuclear weapons while Lyndon Johnson reversed that to the point of giving in to their every demand, as we will examine shortly. For the record, I find that Piper’s charge is not of equal credence with the assertions of complicity by the other named parties in this and my previous book. Even if the Mossad played a significant role in the assassination, it was inexorably tied to its undeniably close connection to James J. Angleton, “Israel’s best friend” as noted elsewhere, and his involvement would have been inherently dependent upon the existence of the “driving force,” for which the chief driver and the only man who had the power to bring all the other disparate forces together, as demonstrated in LBJ: The Mastermind of the JFK Assassination, was Lyndon B. Johnson. (pp. 205-206)

At this point, we must note that Nelson can make such a confident assertion about LBJ’s primacy in the JFK assassination by omitting all mention of a lawyer by the name of Louis Bloomfield. The following quote is from the aforementioned Rense.com site: “The chairman of Permindex was Louis M. Bloomfield of Montreal, a key figure in the Israeli lobby and an operative of the Bronfman family of Canada, long-time [Meyer] Lansky associates and among Israel’s primary international patrons.”

Oswald’s handler, Shaw, then, would have been in world Zionism’s chain of command and not in LBJ’s chain of command. Furthermore, from reading Nelson’s Chapter 4 only, one might seriously wonder if Lyndon, himself, was just another link in that command chain.

For more on this subject see my article “The Kennedy Assassination and the Press,” particularly the section entitled “Who’s Mister Big?” Who calls the shots for the news media, whose crucial complicity is evident in every major scandal in living memory, from the James Forrestal murder to 9/11? My conclusion is that it is not the American president, even when the president had the power that LBJ had.

Courageous New Ground

damage-USS-Liberty

Nelson truly sets himself apart from all who have gone before him on LBJ with his willingness to take a clear-eyed look at two of the very biggest political hot potatoes of the twentieth century. These are the 1949 violent death of America’s first secretary of defense, James Forrestal, and the 1967 Israeli assault of the USS Liberty.

liberty_israel-1Taking the second of these first, devoting his entire Chapter 7 to the topic, after careful detailed analysis Nelson comes to what appears to be the inescapable conclusion that not only was the assault on the Navy spy vessel not accidental, but that it was a carefully planned set-up in which our president was treasonously complicit. It is abundantly evident that the Israelis knew what ship that they were attacking and that they made every effort to sink it, killing everyone on board. The Egyptians were to have been blamed, “Remember the Liberty!” was to have been the resonating war cry, and the false flag attack would have had the United States militarily involved in the Middle East on behalf of its attacker 44 years before the events of September 11, 2001. The crewmen of the Liberty were amazingly able to keep the ship afloat with 34 killed and scores wounded and a gaping torpedo hole in the side, and to defeat radio-jamming efforts and get out a call for rescue. Initially, Johnson called back rescue planes with the clear intent of letting the ship sink with all on board killed, and thereby silenced. Only when it became obvious that the cover story was completely blown was the murderous attack called off.

But this single order to abandon all protection for a US Navy spy ship is, lamentably, only incidental to an overall story about greater deceits and treachery on the high seas, and in high places, one that remains “unresolved.” The timeline referenced in the previous citation goes on, to include much of the continuing developments covered within this chapter.

There is one entry in particular on that extended timeline that is of more than the usual interest, under the date of June 14, 1967, six days after the attack: “Liberty arrives in Malta. Total news blackout imposed. Rear Admiral [Isaac] Kidd, acting on orders from [Admiral] John McCain II, warns crew: ‘You are never, repeat never, to discuss this with anyone, not even your wives. If you do, you will be court-martialed and will end your lives in prison, or worse.’ Secretary of Defense McNamara informs media that, ‘Department of Defense will have no further comment.’” (p. 390) [Emphasis added by Nelson]

Nelson makes the further comment, “It is sobering to ponder what could possibly be ‘worse’ than ‘ending your lifeuss-liberty-mcnamara-1 in prison’ and why would McNamara announce that the Department of Defense would have no further comment; this was a rather unusual statement, considering the circumstances.”

What is abundantly evident is that extraordinary efforts were made, after the sinking of the ship failed, to cover the whole thing up. We saw the same thing 18 years before when Forrestal went out a 16th floor window of the Bethesda Naval Hospital and the official investigation of the incident was kept secret. The conclusion of my poem written some months before I obtained the investigation with by third Freedom of Information Act request applies equally to the Liberty incident:

Secret Forrestal Investigation

Did James V. Forrestal murder himself,
Or was he assassinated?
To examine the Navy’s official report,
For 54 years we have waited.

Is there official skulduggery here?
I’ll let you readers decide.
But usually when someone keeps something hidden,
It’s because he has something to hide.

What is little known to the public is that the young Zionist partisan Johnson, freshly elevated from the House to the Senate in a thoroughly tainted election, played a role in the Forrestal death saga, albeit, probably no more than a bit part. As we report in Part 1 of “Who Killed James Forrestal,” and Nelson does in his Chapter 5, Johnson paid a visit to Forrestal at his room in Bethesda Naval Hospital, to which the latter had been confined after he had experienced some sort of mysterious breakdown. We can rule out that it was an innocent social visit by a well-wisher. We learned of the visit from Driven Patriot: The Life and Times of James Forrestal by Townsend Hoopes and Douglas Brinkley and they learned of it from an interview by the late Hoopes of Forrestal assistant Marx Leva, who also told them that it was “against Forrestal’s wishes.”

james forrestal-lbjJohnson and Forrestal were on far opposite sides of the fence over the question of recognition of the new state of Israel. Forrestal, primarily out of concern for U.S. strategic interests in the Middle East, had been the administration’s strongest opponent of the Zionist venture and had suffered merciless, indeed slanderous, attacks in the press on account of it.

Nelson speculates that the purpose of the visit might have been to subject Forrestal, in his weakened emotional state, to the notorious “Johnson Treatment,” a combination of “supplication, accusation, cajolery, exuberance, scorn, tears, complaint, and hint of threat.”

He is suggesting, I suppose, that the intent was to drive Forrestal even further over the edge and perhaps to induce him to kill himself so others wouldn’t have to do it. Since their political differences should have been well known and since Forrestal would have surely communicated to his doctors that Johnson’s visit was unwanted, it amounts to virtual medical malpractice for the visit to have been permitted. Not surprisingly, the subject never came up when the Navy conducted its review.

My own guess is that Johnson was brought in on that action in the manner in which a member of the Mafia becomes a “made man.” Maybe he was asked to report on the means of access to Forrestal’s room for the phony patients on the same floor who would eventually throttle him and throw him out the window. The role might have been wholly superfluous, but he had been made a party to a monumentally treacherous political act of the sort that would mark his entire political career, and it would have been done on behalf of the people whom he would serve throughout his life.

Nelson is quite convincing in his argument that the Israelis would never have had the audacity to engage in their attack upon the Liberty without Lyndon Johnson’s total knowing acquiescence. Nelson, citing British journalist Peter Hounam’s book, Operation Cyanide: How the Bombing of the USS Liberty Nearly Caused World War Three, notes that B-52s carrying nuclear weapons, with their refueling plane escorts, were scrambled from the west coast of the United States some two hours before the Israeli assault even began, between 2 and 4 am Pacific time and presidential adviser Clark Clifford was urgently called to White House at around 6 am Eastern time. Reminiscent of the BBC reporting the collapse of Building 7 before it occurred, Johnson was apparently prematurely reacting to the false flag attack on the Liberty. So deeply must he have been involved that it’s not a complete reach to say that he was as much the “mastermind” in the killing of 34 American sailors as he was in the killing of his presidential predecessor, and had the attack succeeded completely he would have been the “mastermind” of an almost unspeakable atrocity.

LBJ-Israel-Agent

No one could suggest, though, that with his involvement in the Zionist plot against Forrestal he was doing any more than getting his feet wet in a conspiracy that originated somewhere much higher than he was at the time. One of the lessons he surely learned from the success of the assassination was that he could count on the cooperation of the press in covering up high political crime as long as it was beneficial to those to whom he owed a higher loyalty. Looking over the man’s entire political career, rather than to call him a “Mastermind” or a “Colossus” or a “Flawed Giant,” as Dallek does in the title of his biography, I think that “Malignant Minion” is more fitting.

 

David Martin

November 25, 2014

Follow @BuelahMan

BuelaHuh?

Did I rub you the wrong way or stroke you just right? Let me know below in the comments section or Email me at buelahman {AT} g m a i l {DOT} com

If for some reason you actually liked this post, click the “Like” button below. If you feel like someone else needs to see this (or you just want to ruin someone’s day), click the Share Button at the bottom of the post and heap this upon some undeserving soul. And as sad as this thought may be, it may be remotely possible that us rednecks here at The Revolt please you enough (or more than likely, you are just a glutton for punishment??), that you feel an overwhelming desire to subscribe via the Email subscription and/or RSS Feed buttons found on the upper right hand corner of this page (may the Lord have mercy on your soul).

All posts are opinions meant to foster comment, reporting, teaching & study under the “fair use doctrine” in Sec. 107 of U.S. Code Title 17. No statement of fact is made or should be implied. Ads appearing on this blog are solely the product of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BuehlahMan’s Revolt or WordPress.com