“You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’” —George Bernard Shaw
Being asked at some stage why this blog had the pretentious title; “We dream about things that never were and say: why not?”, – I refer back to one of the plays of George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) “Back to Methuselah“, which actually is a series of five plays on its own.
In “Back to Methuselah” the above quote is used by The Serpent to Eve in the Garden of Eden. The play was performed for the first time in New York City at the Garrick Theatre in 1922 and entailed for the time a most interesting science fiction fantasy which took three nights to do.
The former US Senator and assassinated Presidential Candidate Robert F Kennedy (1968) borrowed this quote and said it differently: “Some people see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say, why not?”
Kennedy and Martin Luther King were the people at the forefront for change in the United States during the Vietnam War. Martin Luther King was assassinated just a couple of months before Robert Kennedy was killed.
The movement for change came to a standstill, the Vietnam War escalated, – social issues to be developed in the US were put on hold. The last until the movement for change embodied in President Barack Obama evolved into a new episode in US history, at a time crucial for various developments in the world.
If the further movement for change on issues of human rights, on Peace and International Stability requires to get stronger, and if the quote in above fiction play (from Bernard Shaw) is being allowed to embody a stronger emphasis, then the “I” part in the quote needs to be changed in the “We” part.
We are all strongly interdependent and if the “dream” in whatever entity resonates as a ripple effect across the generations, like the waves are coming and going but (!) always coming in terms of new energy, “We” may create a movement eventually which breaks the obstacles for Peace and stability, the obstacles to reduce poverty and keep the ingredients to protect this small planet against climate changes and other disruptions of various nature.
We dream of things that never were and say: “Why not?”, reflects a shift in perception so to say. A shift in thinking where new and better options are explored, new ways discovered. Where the creativity from the right part of the brain takes over the reactive activity from the left side of the brain, the last where those activities are not balanced in the actions of people. Actions which are not right and call for change. Actions which require passion and creative thought for peace and development.
Where conscious activities take over the activities from the mind, as it is not the mind which dictates the outcome of the future, the first determines then the outcome of our common activities.
Obviously we can do this as people in breaking with the past where this is required and at times we do this by choice, – using this gift we all have.
At the end it is not “I” it is “We”!
There is no pretentious aim in the title of this blog, – as it is not about “me”, it is about “We” as a people, “We” as people, “We” embodied in the future with plenty of issues to be resolved. “We” who bear both the seeds of potential and defeat.
Defeat we had, potential we need.
Far too often we see the scary demeanour of empty confidence and coolness in this world.
People who both often speak too noisy with overbearing pride. People often who build their lives at a cost of others, –the last not rarely with intolerance and suppression. We see this in families, our communities, in organisations where people are still able to manage from inflated principles, – and finally we see this in our country and many countries around us.
Often in “the culture” as well of our political systems, – whether they are democratic or the opposite.
The more suppression there is the more violence it may create, with violence creating retaliation and retaliation creating more violence, – whether this is the violence in our demeanour or the violence of a society.
Again and too often we see the sickness of not rarely whole societies, – with true respect for those who turn against it. And too often as well again we see the sickness of the souls of those people with the kind of sickness we are neither able to remove nor to heal.
What we can remove however is the hidden sickness of our own souls and shine as brightly as we can, – knowing that we don’t live in a perfect world. But the last thing which remains by free choice is trying to take away some part of the misery of humanity and this world, when it comes our way drop by drop and piece by piece, – either by coincidence or by choice.
In the final analysis as human beings, – we have the last choice. And again this is not about “Me or I”, but it is about “We”, – where the sum of our individual activities do help to call the trumpet of our collective activities. The last in alignment with a massive human orchestra, directed perhaps by those conductors representing global efforts in favour of increasing international coöperation on the issues of our time.
This part is not seeing things and standing by only, – and wondering “why?”. This is part of the active process of “Dreaming things that never were and say: Why not?” A creative and proactive activity, an ongoing movement for change where only “we” as a people can make this change.
In the broader sense of the word it is a team effort of gigantic proportions, which does not fail when one of the leaders would be assassinated, but where the group activity would make sure that the anti-movement would be eliminated by the proper law enforcement which would be the fruit of our collective endeavours, – and the movement would endure, regardless death, which surrounds us day by day.
Whilst the reality of this world may make many of us pessimistic, – the power of being hopeful and believing in the potential goodness of human nature and going beyond the realities of ignorance and violence, – provides us with the seeds to “Dream things which never were and say: “Why not?”
So let us go forth therefore unto keeping the human spirit alive, against all odds.
Let us go forth into the field where we are able to touch the lives of others who walk in “the dark”, whether they are rich or poor, – whether they represent countries in regression or under repression. As both in our communities we are able to offer the peace which helps people to move forward and inevitably among countries as well, – we are able to support those who need guidance. Not the support of weapons, which only give destruction and not the provision of hope, – but the support to inhabit this planet within the range of our human destiny where forces against its survival can be controlled by the rational end of the human spirit.
The last to be shared with the vigilant efforts within our families, communities and finally between countries, – where law enforcement on peace, human rights and the protection of our environment is not impossible.
Not even impossible in times where annihilation still is possible, – when people can’t do without this enforcement on peaceful efforts to settle disputes of any kind.
Therefore we need to continue to dream things that never were and continue to say, – as acting we must: “Why not?” Each time and in each generation those efforts need to be renewed. Each time and in each generation new identities need to be evolved to combat the danger of evil spirits and evil movements, – whether it is organised crime or human trafficking, whether it applies to countries who foo the world or people who represent terrorist activities.
Where non-violence needs to be the universal aim, – violence can’t be always prevented as ready we need to be to combat the risks of greater destructions.
Never ever we will live in a perfect world. Never ever will there be an enduring peace as there is always the risk of conflict. But “We” as a people need to dream things to create the antidote for the evils of humanity, – which is an active process starting at the base of our own conscience in all our day to day activities where we have to make choices, where we have to make choices to make things better or bitter.
Therefore we have to dream things which never were and say” Why not?” Not because the people have to do it for us, but we have to do it for the people, for those who deserve our care and compassion.
Again lastly (I touched base on this before), the last responsibility we have as people is to remove the hidden sickness of our own souls. Either the sickness from the past or the present, which manifest itself in small and often unnoticed deeds. It’s a process of personal growth which means we need to leave certain things behind us and replace this by better things today and shine as such as brightly as we can.
After sustaining and surviving the most horrible experiments in 2nd WW concentration camps, – it is as Victor Frankl once said about choice.
Indeed, at the end we have a free choice.
They can take away everything from us, and even at the last moment we have the final choice as how to respond or not respond at all anymore.
So neither death nor life needs to face us in the things we don’t understand, as long we play our own part on this little planet.
At the end nothing is terminal, everything is transitional, – even where death separates us from our duties here on earth.
But the duties continue in hopefully endless generations to come, each with its specific problems where man made problems need to be resolved.
And finally therefore the “We” part in saying we dream things that never were and say “Why not?” is so important, because the power of our collective dreams for a better world in action creates a ripple effect which can’t be stopped, – neither today nor tomorrow!
Richard Milhouse Nixon (1913-1994 was born in Yorba Linda (California) in a lower middle class quaker family of an Irish background. After his degree at Duke University he worked for 5 years as a lawyer and served in the US Navy from 1942 until 1946.
He became a Republican member of US Congress in California by 1946. Whilst campaigning he pictured his democratic opponent as communist sympathiser. His tactical abilities allowed him to make a quick rise in political circles and he was an important member of the House Committee on “Un American Activities” whilst worker on the Elgar Hiss case. In his early Congressional years he was assisted by various people, including Jack Ruby ( as far as Department of Justice memo)
He became Vice – President under Dwight D Eisenhower when Eisenhower did win the elections in 1952. As Vice President he was known for his outspoken exchanges with Nikita Khrushchev during a visit to Moscow in 1959. He lost the presidential elections very narrowly from John Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1960. He lost then in 1962 the elections in California for the Governor position of this State.
Thereafter he became a succesful Wall Street lawyer. About 1967 he decided for an extensive tour around the world, visiting both Europe, the Middle East, Vietnam, Africa and Latin America. Whist reportedly undecided to run for the Presidential elections in 1968 he published an article called “Asia After Viet Nam” in the “Foreign Affairs Journal” reflecting on his policy of removing American combat troops from Vietnam. In this article he projected his potential Administration opening a way to China as well. Once decided to run for the Presidency in 1968, he mentioned in the 1968 campaign that he had a secret plan for a complete withdrawal from Vietnam. He returned to win the Presidential elections in 1968 with only a small margin benefitting in retrospect strongly from the assassination of his potential Democratic opponent Robert F Kennedy in June 1968. The unrest on top of this at the Democratic Convention in Chicago with police forces crushing anti Vietnam war protestors created on national TV a picture of unrest in the US and Nixon promised to change this situation. The US in 1968 was a country with strong divisions with strong opposition against the war in Vietnam and by far the majority of US citizens wanted to stop this war. Martin Luther King, jr was assassinated on the 4th of April 1968. He was a prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights movement and representing as well a growing opposition against the war in Vietnam. The New York Senator Robert Kennedy has been for months agonising on the question whether he should oppose both President Johnson and the war, but the growing and escalating violence decided him to run eventually for the Presidency at a relatively late stage, – however gaining increasing support from both the movement of social justice and those who were against the war. A large number of African Americans trusted him as because he seemed genuinely compassionate about the still existing social injustice in the US. There were however powerful groups in the US who did not want a second Kennedy in the White House and both the assassination on MLK and RFK caused the anti-war movement losing its strongest leaders. This needs to be discussed in some detail as it will show some of the forceful background dynamics pushing all in the same direction. Within this context the main obstacles for Richard Nixon’s election were resolved as the strength of the movement against both the war and for more social justice was reduced within a climate of unrest, which was obvious after 2 vital assassinations in a row and the war in Vietnam still going on. Many years later Coretta Scot King (MLK’s wife) did win a wrongful death civil trial against Loyd Jowers and other unknown co-conspirators in 1999. Jowers received $100000,- to arrange the assassination on MLK and the Jury was convinced that Government Agencies were parties to the assassination plot. It would seem that the LBJ government was involved at setting the stage of this assassination, using James Earl Ray as a scapegoat, as publicly on TV confirmed by Jowers on ABC’ Prime Time Life. Jowers stated that both the mafia and the US Government were involved in the MLK assassination. Reportedly Memphis police officer Lieutenant Earl Clark fired the fatal shots. The conspiracy did include J Edgar Hoover, Richard helms, the CIA, the Memphis Police Department(MPD), Army intelligence and organised crime. A very key person within the civil right movement was on the government payroll, responsible for infiltration and sabotage. Readers may wonder about the evidence of this revelation but this evidence was uncovered and put before a Jury in Memphis,TN, in November 1999. Seventy witnesses testified under oath with 4000 pages of evidence, much of it was it new. The news of one of the most national security trials was suppressed, as tends to happen in the US at times. It was clear that the 1997 reports of the House Select Committee on Assassinations re James Earl Ray justified verdict were wrong: he was not the one who murdered MLK!
All parties involved did not take any chance. It was agreed that MLK would not leave Memphis alive and at the time of his assassination he was under complete surveillance with various guns loaded in his direction if the attempt from one party would fail. Like the JFK assassination, but different, it was an ambush. MLK was not only a Civil Rights activist, he was even far more than a voice against the war in Vietnam, hence authorities decided to take him out of the picture. Regarding the RFK assassination there is no doubt that Sirhan Bishara Sirhan fired a gun but it did not cause the death of RFK. Multiple shooters were in the small area were RFK’ assassination took place. At least 9 shots have been fired at the end of the night Kennedy did win the primaries in Los Angeles at the Ambassador Hotel. The LAPD destroyed key physical and photographic evidence and eyewitness testimony. LA County Coroner and Chief Medical Examiner Dr Thomas T Noguchi prepared the autopsy report on RFK where the headshot damage not only reflected a pathologic impossibility, but it ruled out as well Sirhan’s gun as the offending weapon in RFK’s death. Sirhan is still in jail, being convicted of first degree murder.
Video images identified 3 former CIA agents were very close to RFK at the time of his assassination (Morales,Joannides and Campbell). David Morales was the Chief Operations at JM-Wave, training Cuban exiles in 1963 in covert actions against Fidel Castro. Morales and Campbell have talked with each other in the in the hotel lobby prior to the assassination (witness report David Rabern). Campbell has been reportedly in and around various police stations in the 2 months before the RFK assassination. Joannides has been the Chief of Psychological Warfare Operations at JM -Wave. He had retired from his CIA position but returned back to active duty in 1978 as the liaison between the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). Not sure who nominated him in this position but obviously Joannides failed to tell the HSCA that he ever worked at JM-Wave, as such maintain his covert identity and compromising the entire Congressional investigations. It was Joannides obstructing the HSCA to get access to vital information (crucial documents) about the JFK assassination during the re-investigations on the assassinations of JFK and MLK. The lead investigator of the HSCA Gaeton Fonzi concluded that Morales was directly involved in the JFK assassination as due to revenge of the Bay of Pigs.
Before we start on former US President Richard Nixon note that Richard Nixon and George Herbert Bush (the later US Vice-President and US President) have been integral to the Bay of Pigs operations. As Vice-President, Nixon worked under President Eisenhower, together with Allen Dulles from the CIA and other senior CIA staff on the strategic planning of the Bay of Pigs. The bestselling book “Plausible Denial” by Mark Lane in 1991 reflects on both CIA involvement in JFK’s death. The later President Bush was at the time of the Pay of Pigs a CIA operative and the FBI confirmed in documents being released many years later that Bush sr was involved in the CIA briefing the day after the JFK assassination.The role of FBI Chief Hoover in the JFK assassination is most controversial as well. Gerald Ford as member of the Warren Commission leaked all confidential information to FBI Chief Hoover. Without claiming to be correct in all details the general picture of key CIA people being involved in both the JFK and RFK assassination with Bay of Pigs links, Richard Nixon a close friend of Hoover with Bay of Pigs links, Herbert Hoover a profound RFK hater, major CIA background powers in favour of the Vietnam war etc etc give the background why RFK was killed in 1968 and how Hoover’s extra police actions in Chicago after 2 vital assassinations in a row did prepare the road for Nixon to get elected. Nothing is foolproof in life and in theory Hubert Humphrey could have won the 1968 elections but he was too closely associated with Lyndon Johnson who was most unpopular. Besides this LBJ warned Hubert Humphrey that if he would publicly oppose the Administration’s Vietnam war policy he personally would destroy Humphrey’s chances to get the Democratic nomination. Not much luck for Humphrey with such a boss and such mighty coöperation with FBI Chief Hoover. It was in both LBJ’s interest and Hoovers interest that all government secrets would stay secret and from this point of view with LBJ’s background knowledge about Nixon and Gerald Ford -(fully shared with FBI Chief Hoover)- ,..Richard Nixon would be the best choice to remain the status quo on secrecy and the war in Vietnam as being supported by the CIA. With both MLK and RFK out of the way the strong anti Vietnam war movement was at least for some part broken as part of a Government conspiracy similar as happened in 1963 with JFK. Most of the same key players were still in power.
With opposing LBJ about the war in Vietnam and running for the Presidency in 1968 Robert F Kennedy did sign his own death sentence, like MLK did when he spoke out against the war in Vietnam with so much people following him, like JFK did when he opposed the CIA and the Pentagon Generals when he despised their advise at times and decided to withdraw from Vietnam. No one can oppose the real background powers in the US, not even President Obama. This is America ladies and gentlemen, this was America and in a way it still is America. In the 1960ties there have been criminals in US Government systems neither allowing justice nor allowing peace in Vietnam at a stage this was desired. They robbed the Nation of people who perhaps not being perfect tried to do what was good in a particular time in history and the tool of the government was simply assassination and make the way free for people who would serve the needs for the American military establishment in the White house, rather than the need of the voters, – the parents who had to let their children go to Vietnam and had to receive the medals of honour when they died courageously in pointless war dictated by a corrupted government policy guided by the war heads of the Pentagon from which both Eisenhower and Truman said that their powers were far out of proportion. The US seemed to be a Republic with a Democratic image, but the real government was not a government from the people and for the people. It did not serve the people. It played the media. And when opposing powers were too strong, when the forces towards more justice developed with fierce and without fear, it became overruled and crushed by both the police and the military. Such things do happen in countries who at least are honest enough not to claim they are a democracy. The many dirty wars of the US are not a reflection of real democracies based on the values of those who prepared the US Constitution. It is this Constitution which needs to be protected to get a better Union. Not a Union only being able to survive with assassinations of those who give to the moral values and justice within this Union.
Obviously Nixon did promise the public a secret way out of Vietnam, whilst in secret preparing for the opposite if he was elected. By adding to the general feel of unrest in Chicago FBI Chief Hoover added in a strategic way to the chances of victory for Richard Nixon.
Once President Nixon nominated his campaign Director Bob Haldeman White House Chief of Staff, foreign policy decisions were made in close coöperation with Henry Kissinger. interestingly Secretary of State William Rogers was by far not always prior aware about some of the Administrations enterprises. Speechwriter for Richard Nixon Ray Price reflected on “the light side” and “the dark side” of Richard Nixon. He was however reelected in 1972 with a large majority. His Administration from 1974 sustained remarkable controversy over the Vietnam war. The invasion in 1970 of Cambodia and his approval of heavy bombardments on North Vietnam took his toll in the public opinion and he signed in 1973 a cease-fire.
A strategic arms limitation treaty with the Soviet Union was signed during his Administration and he was the first President to reopen US relations with China in 1972. The Watergate burglary as will be detailed later brought his Presidency totally down. Being the first US President to resign from office he avoided as such impeachment. The new President Gerald Ford gave him a full pardon in in 1974.
It would seem Nixon’s staff frequently conspired to keep the “darker side” of Nixon – as Ray Price reflected on – in check and obviously Nixon himself was involved in this. As it proved however, Nixon participated in some conspiracies with high level support outside the White House.
On the 3rd of November 1969 Nixon declared that his Administration would not give in to the demands of anti-war demonstrators, sympathising with “The great silent majority of Americans” to back him up in his efforts for a “just and lasting peace”. Nixon knew how to play the game of politics by doing what “the doves wanted” but meanwhile seeking ready coöperation with both the CIA and the Pentagon. In April 1970 Nixon ordered extra American troops into Cambodia. During a nation-wide student protest 4 students were killed by the National Guard at Ohio Kent State University. Nixon backed down a bit at the 1970 midterm elections preparing as well against the balanced and dignified Democratic senator Edmund Muskie from Maine, who wanted to run for the 1972 elections. Nixon’s state visit to China did raise his popularity. He signed 3 months later as well a treaty with the Soviet Union restricting from both sides establishing anti ballistic missile systems apart from limiting offensive missile launchers. Meanwhile however Nixon had responded already in the second part of 1971 to the publication of the Johnson Administration’s classified “Pentagon Papers”. This publication was unauthorised and provided an insight in the origins of the Vietnam war. Nixon assigned a group to prevent leaks of classified information and harassed perceived enemies of his Administration. FBI Chief Hoover proved to be very helpful with this. Some weeks after Nixon returned from the Soviet Union, four men were arrested at the Watergate complex as due to burglary into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. After his reelection in 1972 the Watergate burglars were convicted and several of them implicated Nixon’s closest associates. It proved that the Watergate-break-in was only one of the several acts of both sabotage and political espionage carried out by the Nixon Administration. Nixon tried to keep away secret tapes from hearings by the “principal of separation of powers”. He had however to provide many of the required tapes but not everything. The unravelling of the Nixon Presidency was unstoppable now and in 1974 the “House Judiciary Committee”started to discuss Nixon’s impeachment. It proved that Nixon had engaged in extensive domestic wiretapping apart from his questionable tax deductions through which he paid almost no federal income tax in 1973. On the 24th of July 1974 the Supreme Court ordered Nixon to give the tapes he had withheld. Those tapes were supposed to contain evidence of Nixon’s personal involvement in the Watergate operations including reflections about Watergate burglars being engaged in CIA operations. The verdict was that if he would not leave office on his own decision, he would be impeached, convicted and removed from office. On the 8th of August 1974 Nixon announced his resignation and Vice-President Ford was administered the Presidential oath on the 9th of August.
Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th President of the United States of America was supported by powerful circles in Washington when he was elected President in 1968. The US was unsettled as due to social unrest, in part due to the Vietnam war and in part as a result of the aftermath following 2 assassinations of perhaps both the most prominent political figures (MLK and RFK) representing the movement of social change and justice , – including the end of the war in Vietnam. I repeat this once more to put some matters in perspective.
President Johnson voiced private concerns in 1964 that Vietnam would become a second Korea but he was already so much compromised by his own past, including CIA and FBI collaborations, not being able to take a different course of action. Hence he did not go for a second term. However again, he warned his Vice-President Hubert Humphrey not to turn against the Vietnam war as otherwise his chances on the Democratic nomination would be destroyed. In a way LBJ did aid in the process to get Nixon elected.
Both the Pentagon and the CIA have the perception that Presidents come and go and as long as the military interests of the US are not compromised, they take no obvious interest who has the reigns in the White House, as long long term interest are not at stake. Those long term interests are fairly restricted to the military US interests. Needless to say that those views may clash with the Presidential powers in the White House. Prominent people in US politics may be succesful to be elected Commander in Chief with profoundly different views on the strategic views of the US in the future, in which case “national security” will be considered. This is the reason that both JFK and RFK became the victim of assassination plots to make the way free for persons who were able to coöperate more with those background powers.
The strategic powers of both those Government Agencies are very strong and do own all the means to drive their points in ways the public has no knowledge of. This does not mean that all people working for either CIA or Pentagon are wrong. Most of them are highly regarded professionals with both courage and integrity, however both Organisations are that large that some people at the wrong time in certain positions can make significant differences to the culture by which those Agencies work. This culture does not change overnight with a new Chief or Director, if the previous one had a controversial impact.. The right US President at the time can make a huge difference with nominating people with high credentials in those positions, – however the wrong President at a certain time can make from this point of view devastating failures with implications beyond imagination. It clearly makes the system of US Governance not fool-proof, as corruption may as such develop at the highest levels of US powers,- whilst both Congress and the public are kept in the dark. Richard Nixon was one of those Presidents, allowing collaboration with those forces who have neither much conscious nor morality. Strict regulation and control of those powers is required as a national security interest which favours the many in the US, and not only a few in Washington. The reflections in retrospect of some insiders of both FBI and Military establishment including the CIA do speak in clear terms about involvement in terrible actions throughout decades, neither controlled by the President nor with insight from Congress. The Eisenhower administration warned already for the excessive powers of both the CIA and the Pentagon and it has been clear what those powers are able to inflict if opposed by powerful different views, but also what they are able to inflict to regain control via the persons being elected US President.
Coming back on what has been stated before: it proved that Nixon had engaged in extensive domestic wiretapping, apart from questionable tax deductions through which he paid almost no federal income tax at all in 1973. On the 24th of July 1974 the supreme Court ordered Nixon to give the tapes he had withheld. Those tapes were supposed to contain evidence of Nixon’s personal involvement in the Watergate operations, including reflections about Watergate burglars being engaged in CIA operations. The verdict was that if he did not leave the White House on his own decision, he would be impeached, convicted and removed from office. On the 8th of August 1974 Nixon announced his resignation and Vice President Gerald Ford took over as US President on the 9th of August. Only 1 month in his Presidency, Ford pardoned Richard Nixon completely, avoiding as such further investigations in the Watergate burglary as this would have far more implications than the public knows. Gerald Ford has been part of the Warren Commission with the task to investigate the JFK assassination. Gerald Ford “the CIA man in Congress” had very close links with Allen Dulles, ex CIA Director who was sacked by John F Kennedy. Gerald Ford had close links with Nixon, in part as he became his Vice-President at a time when there was the potential that Richard Nixon could run in trouble over Watergate. This all happened when FBI Chief Hoover was still alive. Obviously we know that Spiro Agnew had to resign but his succession was for strategic reasons vital. Gerald Ford was a very close with FBI Chief Hoover as well. This Presidential Pardon for Nixon will be discussed in the next chapter
The question as whether President Nixon did contribute to the country needs to be answered in the affirmative. As a person and a President he appeared to have major flaws. As will be revealed later he was compromised already before entering the White House. After the JFK assassination he was the second US President (we will discus this later) who should have been convicted after a full further Watergate investigation. Nixon had a very strong personal ambition and drive, by nature he was often unpredictable and at times leaning on his staff.
Did he violate justice at the time of his Presidency and before? The answer is yes. He deserved to be impeached and sadly the Watergate scandal was never further investigated as it would have revealed a more darker side of Nixon than we know.
Strictly spoken by any moral standards he was not suitable for the US Presidency and in terms of timing we can be glad in retrospect that he was not the “Commander-in-Chief” during the Cuban missile crisis. The world would not have existed anymore as he would have done what Allan Dulles presented him. Cuba would have been attacked and the Russian Commanders would have ordered to fire installed nuclear missiles back to the major cities in the US.
Let’s say that history has been mild from this point of view, but history has been relentless in terms of corrupting powers at the United States government.People may have skill and talent, but if they have a lack of conscious justice gets violated and things go wrong. Error’s are always possible. Genuine people make them but they are genuine to admit them and correct them. The problem with Nixon was that he was not very genuine. It was somewhat wishful thinking perhaps when he said: “I am not a crook!”
Lets face it, the US as a country of generally genuine people is far more than the sum of the failures and corruptions of past Governments, but neither the past nor the future can take away the criminal actions which took place and processes need to be in place that this will never ever happen anymore as the US needs to raise above the standards from the past!
“I am making a collection of the things my opponents have found me to be, and when this election is over I am going to open a museum and put them on display” -LBJ.
Perhaps Lyndon Baines Johnson neither needs a museum to put his assumed actions by his opponents on display, nor does he need the archives and classified documents to support his actions, – as history will deal with this eventually when at about 2029 any of the secret documents not being destroyed over time, will be disclosed to the public.
His Presidency marked a change history would take, neither by choice of the public, nor by justice assumed to be operating in the systems of US government. His Presidency and the entire Executive branch at his time is still surrounded in some mystery.
Many historians tried to describe both the man and his years in public office, and all have been succesful in giving some details of this man in action, smart and bright in his background dealings, charming at times in private conversations, – but at the same time a man to be dealt with with caution. Lyndon Johnson would not shy away from any operation if the last would save his public career.
Whilst discussing LBJ, the question might be raised how far a person is prepared to go to compromise justice if so required, to save his personal and public reputation against any wrong doings in the past. Obviously the last depends on what happened in this past.
From any person to become US President it might be assumed that apart from the drive to power there are generally spoken good intentions to contribute to the country. Once being faced with the responsibility of the US Presidency the perception of people in this role do change in line with the requirements of this role and the broader responsibilities, – extending by far the responsibilities of being a US Senator or Governor. Still the element of choice is around to compromise yourself based on wrong advise, compromise yourself as result of the history you have (of perhaps being compromised already) and people being prepared to help you at the highest level as long as you know “you owe them” as well. The scenario’s are always complex, different as well, for each US President. Some US Presidents have been in a position never ever being compromised in the past, entering from this point of view with a clear conscience in the White House. They had nothing (“terrible”) to hide, don’t need the favours from FBI and others to protect their past from becoming public knowledge. Speaking in the present, they don’t need to “pay back” with certain favours and deals never to be made public. Strictly spoken this is the best position as when you are principal centred you can’t go much wrong, despite genuine errors and mistakes perhaps. However if this is not the case and you are already compromised before entering the White House, the level of dependence on those who are prepared to protect your history from becoming public knowledge (within the same systems of the Executive branch) are not without risk. Some may compromise themselves even further in those complex scenario’s where conscience is slowly losing control of the actions being required, even at the highest level of public office in the US. “Review of the JFK assassination 2011″ in the June 2011 edition of this blog gives an extensive picture of the level of criminal corruption at the Executive branch of the United States of America when Johnson took over from John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th US President.
As will be illustrated on LBJ – power can be dangerous, especially if the systems of governance at times are allowed to work outside the domain of the law without being detected at the same time by the systems who are supposed to protect the law, and the integrity of public office. At times it proved that all those systems suffered from widespread criminal infestation never as such being acknowledged by the US from historic point of view.
At the end of the day it all depends on the people operating those systems at the Executive branch, however it depends as well on the people operating the Legislative branch within the US, as both the House and the US Senate have much powers. However they proved not always to work with the public interest at heart as due to dominating powers at the background compromising this public interest.
In the above spirit US Presidents from LBJ until the latest Bush Administration will be discussed, not as an attack on the American system of government, but as a concern that the systems of governance (the physical exercise of managing both power and policy in the US) has been so weak for decades in the democratic republic of the US. It is a reflection of a deep-rooted unresolved problem where it seems that the Union of the US as a concept has neither been perfect nor optimal. The last however is a minimum requirement.
People who were or became US President did live in the White House at a certain time in history, had to face certain pre-existing dynamics and most of the time they tried to deal with this as good as possible within the given circumstances. They could make a personal choice to grow in those circumstances and leave a legacy despite some violations of justice. As an US President it is almost impossible to make always the best possible decision at any given possible time, as much is dependent on the perception and advise being created within both cabinet, advisers and Agencies. However where justice get compromised still there is the personal choice to make it better or worse, to make it better or bitter.
It is the dilemma we all face as people, however within the position of the highest executive powers this requires the wisdom to be aware that once’s actions may decide the lives and wellbeing of many others. It can make a Nation grow or break on its fundamentals, its future. It can make a Nation develop in surplus or deficit, both morally and financially.
Within this context we start with Lyndon Baines Johnson, or LBJ as he was often called.
Lyndon Johnson (1908-1973) was born close to Stonewall in Texas and his family with a Baptist background was quite involved in State’s politics. He worked as a high school teacher and after the Japanese attack on “Pearl Harbour” he joined straight away the US Navy.
He was a “New Deal” Democrat representative in 1937 before actually joining the Navy during the war. In 1948 he did win the race to be the Democratic senator for Texas and under the Presidency of John F Kennedy he served as Vice President. LBJ has been the majority leader in the Senate since 1955 and after the JFK assassination on the 22nd of November 1963 in Dallas (Texas) , he became the new US President without having initially an electoral mandate. With a huge majority he was elected in the US Presidential elections of 1964 and managed without much resistance to pass the Civil Rights Act through Congress in 1964. This bill was largely prepared already by JFK the previous year, not popular at the time. The battle for civil rights as we know has been a long one and significant incidents during the Kennedy Administration prepared the Kennedy team for the required legislative changes to pass Congress once reelected, but history took a different course of action..
Once elected with such majority of voters Johnson with the complete backing of the US military powers, ordered in 1965 the Airmobile Division and forces of the CIA to go to Vietnam to increase the US fighting strength, followed by an increase in military fighting strength from 75000 to 125000 man on the ground. This evolved quite quickly after the 1964 elections in 1965. As often happens in history there needs to be a trigger to get public opinion on board when it applies to extending or starting war. LBJ used a surprise Vietcong attack at Pleiku in which 6 American military advisers were killed and 116 wounded on the 6th of February 1865. LBJ’s aides assisted him with a 2 stage and premeditated contingencies plan , prepared several months before the attack. The first step was a retaliation airstrike in North Vietnam and the second step was to intensify the air war. History shows this was implemented in 1965.
It proved that LBJ decided on this level of intervention without really considering the costs and implications. Looking at the last Bush Administration we see that history tend to repeat itself, however the triggers are different. Bush used 9/11 to go to war in Afghanistan and the second step was the war in Iraq. He as well did not consider the costs and the wider implications, a legacy which did leave the US with both a material and immaterial deficit, billions of dollars lost and not being accounted for, a multi trillion budget deficit, more than a million lives being lost and human rights being compromised at the limits against the Convention of Geneva.
As part of the slogan “The Great Society” LBJ implemented a few economic and social welfare programs, including MediCare for the elderly and legislation to improve education, whilst increasing the war efforts. He needed this public support at the domestic front to carry out in close coöperation with the military powers a most excessive war program in Vietnam, as this was the agenda of the military leaders in the US.
As a result of the huge war implications in Vietnam an active anti-war movement within the US started to grow with fast increasing levels of public dissatisfaction with LBJ. LBJ was pushed by both the CIA and the Pentagon not to change direction and as both the CIA and Pentagon were the background powers playing a part in the JFK’s assassination with LBJ’s full approval and awareness beforehand, he had not much choice to continue the way it was to aim for a US military victory. By the end of August 1966 only 47% in the US did approve Johnson’s Presidency. The war became increasingly unpopular. By 1968 more than 500000 US military troops were concentrated in Vietnam. The war was costing some 2 billion dollars a month and meanwhile more bombs were dropped in Vietnam than during the second world war.
Within this context the new York Senator Robert Francis Kennedy decided to run for the Presidency in 1968, being a major representative of the anti-war movement and social justice.
LBJ faced “a catch 22 position”. He became aware that the Vietnam was an “ugly war” after his new Defence Secretary Clark Clifford following the replacement of Robert McNamara tried to seek a political solution. LBJ was stuck. With RFK being likely a successful candidate and both the CIA and Pentagon still pushing the war in Vietnam he was facing a predicament. The background US powers were loyal to him as there was a reciprocal arrangement between him and the background powers regarding the premeditated JFK assassination and him (LBJ) taking over as US President. Johnson had no other choice than to resign, in despair. Before this, LBJ did fully support the JFK assassination cover up with installing the Warren Commission and highly CIA favourable representatives running the historical falsehood this Commission provided to mislead the US people and Congress. With LBJ deciding not to be reelected anymore in 1968 it did not mean that the CIA and Pentagon’s directions about Vietnam had changed. This direction needed to be continued after 1968, with still being the issues around the JFK assassination a matter of “national security” not to be disclosed and the direction of Vietnam as part of the same “national security” not to be discontinued. It opened the way for new background dynamics neither to be compromised nor to be disclosed. The powers behind the US President were very smart in playing the democratic systems within the US at their own benefit.
The RFK assassination including the assassination of Martin Luther King, jr facilitated elections in which Richard Nixon could be elected. Lyndon Johnson could not face the Vietnam war anymore where he could not find a way out without repercussions. He was an unpopular President and as reflected he would likely lose the 1968 elections anyway.The week after LBJ declined to accept the nomination from the Democratic Party for another term as President – Robert Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles after winning the California primaries, which would almost secure him to get the Democratic nomination and the Presidency in November 1968.
The anti-war demonstrations were stronger than ever before and the strongest representatives of the anti-war movement were actually Martin Luther King,jr and New York Senator Robert Francis Kennedy. Both the CIA, the FBI with Hoover and the Pentagon were opposed to the anti-war movement, opposed against a potential RFK being President in 1968. RFK would have been neither a US President being compromised by the military establishment nor by either the CIA or Hoover from the FBI. With RFK winning the California primaries in June 1968 he became the person who would likely defeat Nixon in 1968. Nixon was aware of this, like FBI Chief Hoover as well.
Nixon was from CIA perspective 100% save for US military policy and the anti-war movement needed to be broken. First by taking Martin Luther King,jr out of the picture and when Robert Kennedy increased in popularity and became the likely candidate to win the elections after the primaries in California, the premeditated strategy was to assassinate Kennedy as he was considered to be at this stage the main obstacle for CIA’s defined “national security” . The implications would be horrendous if Kennedy would be elected President in 1968. He was perhaps even more determined than his brother John J Kennedy. Both the FBI (with Hoover still being the Chief) and the CIA could not face this prospect as with RFK being President the withdrawal from Vietnam would become a fact. Hoover would likely lose his job with everything he inflicted at the background of the various scenes he played a role. However needless to say the JFK assassination with a floored Warren Commission report would be vigorously investigated again and CIA involvement with Lyndon Johnson’s part would be disclosed to the public. As such Kennedy would likely get both Congressional and public support to reorganise the CIA and bring LBJ to justice. RFK became a security risk. As a US Senator of New York he was of no harm but being the potential next President after Johnson would open all the past corruptions from US Government and “Bobby” would not take any nonsense. He did not make it. The cover up was smart and well swallowed by the American public. The question is who gave the order to take him as a second Kennedy out of the picture. Not unlikely there was Presidential approval from Johnson, because Johnson was prepared to pay any price to avoid history catching up on him, and so were the background powers at the same time.
Unrest outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago (Illinois) with riots and protests by thousands of anti-war demonstrators (many of whom favoured McCarthy) were crushed on life television by brutal police force from Chicago (after the RFK assassination in June 1968), – which increased a growing sense of general unrest with the public. The police acted on strict orders from the FBI (Hoover).
Both the combination of LBJ being unpopular, the riots in Chicago and the discouragement of both African – Americans and liberals after the assassinations of both MLK and RFK contributed to that former Vice President Nixon (under Eisenhower) did win the Presidential elections from Hubert Humphrey (LBJ’s Vice President). Johnson had warned his Vice-President that when he would oppose the war in Vietnam, he would destroy his career.
Robert Kennedy’s assassination did not only play Nixon in his favour, but it played Nixon’s close ally Hoover and the CIA in their favour as well, besides the Pentagon. LBJ likewise did not need to worry about RFK anymore. The secrets of the 22nd of November 1963 in Dallas would be even more secured with Richard Nixon than with Hubert Humphrey, as both Nixon and Johnson had a silent agreement on this issue as both were involved.
The background powers in the US proved to be succesful in their strategic approach with impact on public opinion as well. Richard Nixon did win the Presidential elections carrying 32 States and 301 Electoral votes. Richard Nixon was an old close ally of both Hoover and the “old” military establishment.
The level of LBJ’s violations of Justice
Lyndon Baines Johnson was a highly controversial politician to start with. Smart as a politician, but corrupt before he became even Vice-President.
His involvement in the Bobby Baker scandal did never see the public light in full and the fact that he has been reportedly facilitating an assassination to silence the person who would potentially make his involvement and other corruptions public during the time he was Majority leader of the Senate gives an indication how far he was prepared to go to save his public reputation. He had people working for him to do “the dirty work”.
His ambitions to take over from JFK started already early in the White House and he was able to create at an early stage already a good relationship with both Hoover and the CIA. After the Bay of Pigs predicaments he had further dealings with Allen Dulles (who was fired as CIA Director by Kennedy) and Richard Nixon (the architect of the Bay of Pigs plans in Cuba). An important “oil representative” from Texas had a CIA assignment and a growing role at the time. His name was George Herbert Walker Bush, the son of Prescott Bush (1895–1972) a vivid JFK opponent, a close friend of both Nixon and Eisenhower.
Johnson’s relations with both President Kennedy and in particular Robert Kennedy were strained at times, the least. Robert Kennedy from the beginning was against LBJ’s nomination for the Vice Presidency. Especially both Robert Kennedy and Johnson’s relationship was very tense, – and when Robert Kennedy in his function as Attorney General got to know more about Johnson’s background including his profound corruption (and an earlier assassination) he decided with his brother the President that the time was there to find an alternative for the Vice Presidency of LBJ in 1964.
Johnson was actually a very practical choice during the elections of 1960 as within his role of Majority leader in the Senate he was quite popular. He was known for his tactical approach and many background dealings and very capable in this role. Actually he had hoped to win the democratic Presidential nomination in 1960 and personally he felt he deserved it more than Jack Kennedy.
Days before the JFK assassination Robert Kennedy was in the process of leaking most damaging information to Life Magazine about the Bobby Baker scandal in which Johnson was clearly involved. It would blow his political career for once and for all, however the 22nd of November 1963 did change history for once and for all.
FBI Chief Hoover assisted LBJ to prevent the Bobby Baker scandal leaking to the press after LBJ’s inauguration.
We may assume with LBJ knowing that Robert Kennedy was in the process of ending his political career was determined to prevent this happening at all costs. As he reflected to his mistress on various occasions he felt often utterly embarrassed by the Kennedy’s and before the 22nd of November 1963 he reflected to her that this would soon over, and that it would never happen again.
In retrospect Lyndon Baines Johnson should have been never US President. With a positive public image initially of being reliable and pleasant perhaps he proved otherwise to be ruthless, calculated, unstable, – and violating justice in the worst possible way against US Constitution and against the US law. The JFK assassination, the Warren Commission, key witnesses being assassinated, the Vietnam war etc do cast a very dark shadow on this otherwise capable man. Being capable and being a person of good integrity not always goes well together as proved in Johnson.
His social reforms were good. It did help public approval whilst LBJ preparing with both the CIA and the Pentagon an immediate and drastic change in the Vietnam policy after the assassination of JFK. There is obviously more to his general Presidential legacy than mentioned in the above.
However concentrating on the issue of violating justice, the measure of this man was not what he did do wrong at an incidental time of his life by error or mistake or by a relatively minor flaw of character. The issue with LBJ is what he did do wrong as a deliberate act to screw up a Nation as part of a Coupe d’Etat where he was personally involved, allowing as such the assassination of President John F Kennedy. The orchestrated cover up afterwards in which various other people were killed are part of this history. He got his way, escaping with an FBI assisted cover up of the Bobby Baker scandal when he became President and was forced in a predicament to escalate the war in Vietnam with many American and other soldiers being killed, within a conflict which actually was the conflict of South Vietnam.
Many people in retrospect do consider the war in Vietnam an error of judgement, hence JFK reportedly -and with evidence at the time – wanted to withdraw just before he was assassinated. This was not what the military background powers wanted and together with Lyndon Johnson, supported by the parts of the Executive branch a pending Coupe d’Etat was in the process of preparation. Johnson convinced Kennedy that it was important to go to Dallas in Texas to sort some frictions out in the Democratic Party which would boost his Kennedy’s support in the 1964 elections. Kennedy was warned for going to Texas but the 1964 elections were important and the reasoning of Johnson made sense. Johnson would look after some security issues and both the CIA and FBI would prove to be helpful.
The Coupe d’Etat on the 22nd of November 1963 did change the direction for the US for many years to follow, with still implications in the ruling systems, – neither allowing nor permitting justice about the failures of those years during various Administrations afterwards.
Likewise the might of both the CIA and the Pentagon with Presidents either unable or unwilling to tighten control, did escalate both the losses of human lives and the costs of various pointless war’s at a level to bring a Nation on the verge of total financial collapse in 2011, apart from gross injustice being inflicted over the past decades. This happened by choice, neither controlled within the Executive branch nor regulated within the Legislative branch.
In terms of US Presidential profiles in violations of Justice, the participation in the Coupe d’Etat as it happened in 1963, the orchestration of the worst possible political crime in US history buried in the graves of many, did actually create a precedent or authority to continue certain trends at the Executive branch increasing the disconnection between citizens and the government.
This was possible in the US and in a way it is still possible. The US Constitution is at the heart of Justice, but neither the Executive branch nor the Legislative branch did allow the justice systems to work in the US as it should be. It would benefit the country so much if this would change and this first chapter on the Presidency of Lyndon Johnson gives an indication where it should have changed.