Monday, March 23, 2015

Who was Jay Harrison? Ace JFK Assassination researcher who focused on the Lyndon Johnson angle to JFK's murder

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Who Was Jay Harrison?

The article below appeared on JFKCountercoup2, a blog written by Bill Kelly, JFK assassination researcher. It is not clear from the posting where or when the article appeared. What it fails to mention is who provided the information for the obituary, or even who wrote it for the newspaper. Very likely it was furnished by Walt Brown, the history teacher and COPA member trusted by Harrison at the time of his death to receive his files and papers.

Jay's father's parents were John Calvery/Calverley Harrison (born in Lancashire, England, in 1868, died in Leominster, MA in 1921) and Eva Maude Proctor (1876 – 1950). Jay's mother was born in California to John Archibald Fraser, Jr. and Charlotte Theresa Mcclintock.

Obituary: HARRISON, JOHN FRASER [J and Jay]

Jay was born in Portland Maine on 8 Nov 1933. He was the only child of John Alexander and Leonore Mary (Fraser) Harrison. His father was then the Portland Branch Manager for the Burroughs Adding Machine Company.

His paternal ancestry went back to 5 pilgrim passengers onboard the Mayflower that landed in Plymouth, MA on 16 December 1620. His maternal ancestry went back to the Fraser Clan in Kintail Parish of Ross and Cromarty County Scotland thence to Brockville Ontario, Canada, along with a direct linkage to Simon Fraser (his Great-Grand Uncle) of Canadian historical fame.

Jay used to joke that one day, when he was about 13 and living on the family farm back in Ogunquit Maine, he looked into a mirror and said "Where in the world did he come from?" and he searched for the answer to that question for the rest of his life. He was an active genealogist from that day forward.

Jay graduated from Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring MD and went on to the Industrial Engineering School at The University of Maryland. His college education was interrupted by the Korean Police Action in early 1953.

Jay was drafted into the US Army and was trained in communications and intelligence and among other assignments was assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Communication Center in The Pentagon. Following his "active" service he was assigned to a Reserve SIRA Team (Strategic Intelligence Research and Analysis) for 6 more years.

Jay held, during his military service, every Security Clearance ever issued and was sworn to secrecy on many subjects for the rest of his life. He abided by that commitment and refrained from addressing subjects that are today common topics on the internet.

Jay also attended George Washington University and the University of Maryland while he was stationed in Washington, DC, and then in later years Graduate School at the University of Texas in Austin.

As a veteran, and while attending UofM, Jay worked evenings repairing Multilith printing presses in Government agencies for Addressograph-Multigraph in Washington, DC. Jay then joined the sales component of A-M and became a Junior Salesman in Rochester, NY servicing Eastman Kodak Co. It was in Rochester that he met and married Marian Ernest, another A-M employee. Upon promotion to Senior Salesman Jay was transferred to the newly created branch office in Montgomery, Ala. Jay and Marian arrived in Montgomery in the first week of December in 1955 and that was the same week that Rosa Parks refused to relinquish her seat to a white person on the bus and the famous "bus boycott"  began.

Over the next few years Jay was promoted and reassigned by AM to Cleveland, OH, Erie, PA and eventually Dallas, TX in late 1959.

On 13 Jun 1961 he became a Reserve Officer on the Dallas Police Department. His military background and genealogical research experience was used by the DPD's Criminal Intelligence Section.


At the time of the Kennedy Assassination at 12:30PM on 22 Nov 1963 he was on assignment observing the Black Muslim Church, as intelligence information was that members of that church would be creating a scene somewhere along the motorcade route. When the shooting event happened, he went to the School Book Depository Building and arrived there 4 minutes following the shooting. Later that day he was on the guard team for Governor Connally at the ICU in Parkland Hospital.

He was the first Reserve Officer of the DPD to be awarded the The Meritorious Conduct Award, the highest award to an officer of the DPD. This award was made on May 14, 1965 for his research efforts  into the Kennedy Assassination and associated events before, during and after the action.

In 1964 he left A-M Corp and joined one of his clients (Texas Instruments) as its Corporate Printing Coordinator.

In July 1966 he was was hired by Frank McBee, the VP of a small but rapidly growing, electronics firm in Austin to be their Publications Manager. That company's name was TRACOR. Jay's first day there was  Monday, 1 Aug 1966, and he and a personnel officer ate an early lunch at the Night Hawk Restaurant at 19th and Guadalupe. They came outside about 12:05 and at that time Charles Whitman was shooting from the Tower.

In 1968 Jay became VP of Market Development of Norman Harwell & Associates (NHA, Inc) the 2nd largest technical publication firm in the world. In 1971, after the elimination of MIL-Spec requirements of the federal government, NHA went from over 1700 employees to less than 100. Unfortunately Jay was one of the ones that was looking for a new job.

In 1974 he returned to Austin and went to work for Nash Phillips-Copus Co (NP-C) as a salesman in their Multi-family Division. He was NP-C's Salesman of the Year in 1975 and 1976. He was awarded the Outstanding Salesman of the year award by the Austin Association of Sales Executives;  He was one of the top 10 Salesman in the nation in the years 1976, 77 and 78 by the National Association of Homebuilders. Jay was promoted to Sales Manager of NP-C in 1977. NP-C was the 2nd largest builder in Texas and 7th largest builder in the nation. CenTex Construction (a Clint Murchison, Sr Company) was the largest builder in both TX and the nation.

In 1979 Jay founded Texas Real Estate Marketing & Consulting Corp (TREMAC). It grew to be in the top 3 of Commercial real estate firms in the Austin Market. Its annual sales exceeded 35 million dollars. It went dormant in the real estate crash of 1988.

Jay has been a licensed real estate broker for over 25 years. He wanted to return to commercial real estate sales when the market recovered in 1998/99 but he has been recovering from major surgical and physical disabilities since 1998.

He has been Amateur Radio Licensed since 1952. His current call sign is N5BHU.  Jay received the original "Mayday" from the Medical college on Grenada Island and ALL the communications with that facility were through his home in Rollingwood for over a week in October 1983. The US Department of State and The Defense Department had open telephone lines to his residence for that whole week. His station was manned for 24 hours a day and he still has audio tapes of all the communications. (Ref: Dick Stanley AAS Staff).

Jay has done genealogical research for over 55 years and is a highly respected researcher of Colonial New England, The Republic of Texas, and early Texas History. He has been a contributing patron of the Texas State Library and through the years has donated many thousands of dollars in books, equipment and computer CD's to their genealogical collection. He was one of the original founders and authors of "Automated Archives" the ORIGINAL producer of genealogical CD ROMS in the early 1990's.


Jay is the Certified Genealogist for The Texas Supreme Court Historical Society. His current effort is doing hard genealogical research on all 150+ Justices of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Texas and the State of Texas.

Jay was a licensed pilot and in his spare time liked to cruse off into the wild blue yonder.

He can now do it permanently.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Would Lyndon Johnson have supported gay rights and gay marriage?

MY REPLY TO MARK UPDEGROVE: Laughable. Mark Updegrove has outdone himself now. First he tells us LBJ and MLK had a "partnership" on civil rights, while the King family went on the public record in 1997 on national TV and stated they think Lyndon Johnson murdered MLK. Now he is trying to paint the hyper demented LBJ as some sort of progressive on gay rights. The reality is after Jenkins was arrested in the YMCA for gay activities with a WWII veteran, Lyndon Johnson tasked Bill Moyers and the FBI for finding and outing homosexuals in the Goldwater campaign. Bill Moyers' memo to the FBI on this matter is in the files. Lyndon Johnson *only* supported civil rights for blacks because he had just murdered John Kennedy and he had to inoculate himself with the Left who deeply suspected this homicidal psychopath's role in the JFK assassination (correctly). LBJ's political risk was in *not* supporting civil rights because if he had done that he would not have been the 1964 Democratic nominee; Robert Kennedy would have been. LBJ's first Gallop poll after coming out for civil rights was a majestic 78% approval and 2% disapproval and it remained at 76% approval and 13% disapproval for the entire year of 1964. By 1965, even with huge Democratic majorities in Congress LBJ put voting rights on the backburner and was forced to act by Bloody Selma, a campaign which he opposed because LBJ hated all civil rights demonstrations. Only after the civil rights street peaceful street protesters had changed the politics nationally, then and only then does LBJ give an impassioned plea for voting rights, a speech that was written by Richard Goodwin, an LBJ speechwriter who later married a mistress of LBJ, Doris Kearns Goodwin.  Ray Hill of Houston who worked at the Kinsey Insitute in the mid 1960's read LBJ's secret sexual history there. It described Lyndon Johnson's promiscuity, bisexuality and the fact that he (LBJ) had sex with his grandmother Ruth Ament Huffman! I don't think LBJ would have publicly come out for "gay rights" but when it came to having demented sex with his grandmother, Lyndon Johnson was "all in." Mark Updegrove is a paid PR flack for the legacy of Lyndon Johnson and I have never seen Updegrove speak credibly about the man or his true politics. LBJ was a blood brother of J. Edgar Hoover who for decades would collect sexual blackmail on high profile figures and LBJ was cut precisely from the same cloth. So, no, it was absurd that Lyndon Johnson would have supported "gay rights" except that if Ray Hill is correct, Lyndon Johnson was a closeted bisexual.

Mark Updegrove and LBJ and "gay rights:" the question: "Would LBJ have supported marriage equality?"

Monday, March 16, 2015

Why was Lyndon Johnson immediately telling (at 1:20 PM) Mac Kilduff that "communists" had murdered JFK? Would it be LBJ's *paranormal abilities*?

Before John Kennedy’s body is in rigor mortis, a “very cool” Lyndon Johnson, by 1:20 PM is immediately telling JFK assistant press secretary Mac Kilduff: “We don’t know what kind of a communist conspiracy this might be…”

From Robert Morrow   512-306-1510
          Go to the 11 minute mark of this very important Mac Kilduff interview (11-22-91): Mac Kilduff was filling in for JFK press secretary Pierre Salinger who did not make the Dallas trip.
          The political world in America and the Kennedy entourage were thinking it was a far right Dallas conspiracy that had just killed JFK - one of the “nuts” from “Nut Country” as John Kennedy had described Dallas just two hours before his death,after reading an assault ad accusing him of treason in the Dallas Morning News, on the plane ride over from Fort Worth. (JFK to Jackie: “We’re heading into nut country.”)
          So, how does Lyndon Johnson, with his legendary political ken, immediately deduce with his paranormal abilities that it was a “communist conspiracy” within mere minutes (or seconds) of his finding out (1:20PM) that JFK was deceased and a full 30 minutes before patsy Oswald was arrested at 1:50PM in the Texas Theater? Didn’t Lyndon Johnson himself have a nasty experience with Dallas’s Mink Coat Mob in the 1960 presidential campaign?  Just one month before in October 1963, Adlai Stevenson had been assaulted by the far right of Dallas Because of that Adlai Stevenson had in fact personally implored JFK to not go to Dallas. Not only that, a Dallas citizen Nelle Doyle had written JFK and begged him not to come to Dallas because of fears over his safety in the far right Dallas atmosphere.
Did Lyndon Johnson have divination powers the equal of Carnac the Magnificient  to immediately *know* that the communists  must have murdered John Kennedy?

LBJ left Parkland Hospital at 1:26 PM. U.S. intelligence agent and patsy Oswald not arrested until 1:50PM. LBJ’s comments to Kilduff were made sometime just after 1:20PM when he found out JFK was deceased.
It was interesting to note in retrospect what his reaction was, Bob. You will recall that Adlai Stevenson had been to Texas a few weeks before that. And we had the far political right was very active in General Walker … and Adlai Stevenson had been belted with rotten eggs in Dallas. So we all though this was some sort of you knowright, far right activity. Lyndon Johnson was very cool. He said, “Well now Mac [he said] before you make that announcement we don’t know what kind of a communist conspiracy this might be.” He was thinking a communist conspiracy.
INTERVIEWER BOB HENSLEY OF WTVQ:: “He is saying that it was a conspiracy. He wants to know who was involved.”
That’s right. But he [LBJ] thought said ”this could be a communist conspiracy. And I think the best thing for me to do is get back to Air Force One before you make that announcement.”
I said “alright.”
He [LBJ] said then “We will wait back there. For whatever you are going to to. And then to go back to Washington.” So with that we left the trauma room with Johnson, went out the emergency exit of the hospital, put him in his car and he took off for Love Field, to go back to Love Field and Air Force One.
Just one month before, Adlai Stevenson had been assaulted by the far right of Dallas:
4) Robert Caro “The Transition: Lyndon Johnson and the events in Dallas,” The New Yorker, 4-2-12  

5) The JFK assassination was “Operation Northwoods” and LBJ helped to orchestrate it’s enactment:  
Peter Pringle essay on Dallas 1963, The Independent 11-20-93: We’re heading into nut country

The Dallas Morning News was in the front line of outrage against the nation's capital, suggesting it was inhabited by 'an unknown number of subversives, perverts, and miscellaneous security risks.' But the real security risk was the President's visit.

Dallas already had a reputation for roughing up Democrats. In the 1960 campaign, Lyndon Johnson and his wife, Lady Byrd, were spat on by a group of housewives. A month before Kennedy's arrival, the UN ambassador, Adlai Stevenson, was assaulted in a crowd. Kennedy had been advised against the visit by several aides, unsolicited Dallas residents and by the Texas governor, John Connally, who said people in the city were 'too emotional'. In that year, a kind of fever lay over Dallas, wrote William Manchester in his book Death of a President. People carried huge billboards calling for the impeachment of the Chief Justice, Earl Warren. Cowboy-booted executives placed 'KO the Kennedys' bumper stickers on their cars. Jewish stores were smeared with swastikas and Kennedy's name was booed in classrooms. The Dallas city council rushed through an ordinance banning attacks against visiting speakers, but many still feared the worst, especially in a town where guns could be bought without a licence or any kind of registration.

There was more than gunfire. The day of the assassination, 22 November 1963, the Dallas Morning News printed a full-page advertisement, ominously bordered in black, accusing Kennedy, again among a long list of other complaints, of being a Communist patsy. It was signed by the American Fact-finding Committee, which eventually was identified as a group of right-wingers led by Nelson Bunker Hunt, of the oil-rich Dallas family. It was this advertisement that prompted Kennedy's remark: 'We're heading into nut country today'.
Lyndon Johnson to Madeleine Brown on 12-31-63: It was Dallas, TX oil and “renegade intelligence bastards” who murdered JFK
           Madeleine Duncan Brown was a mistress of Lyndon Johnson for 21 years and had a son with him named Steven Mark Brown in 1950. Madeleine mixed with the Texas elite and had many trysts with Lyndon Johnson over the years , including one at the Driskill Hotel in Austin, TX, on New Year's Eve 12/31/63.

    Late in the evelning of 12/31/63, just 6 weeks after the JFK assassination, Madeleine asked Lyndon Johnson:

    "Lyndon, you know that a lot of people believe you had something to do with President Kennedy's assassination."    

    He shot up out of bed and began pacing and waving his arms screaming like a madman. I was scared!

    "That's bullshit, Madeleine Brown!" he yelled. "Don't tell me you believe that crap!"

    "Of course not." I answered meekly, trying to cool his temper.

    "It was Texas oil and those fucking renegade intelligence bastards in Washington." [said Lyndon Johnson, the new president.]  [Texas in the Morning, p. 189] [LBJ told this to Madeleine in the late night of 12/31/63 in the Driskill Hotel, Austin, TX in room #434 which is now known as the Governor’s Suite. LBJ kept this room on retainer for business and as a place to tryst with his mistresses. LBJ and Madeleine spent New Year’s Eve ‘63 together here.

Robert Caro on why blacks had good reason to distrust "Southern segregationist" Lyndon Johnson

Waiting for Obama I

When LBJ said, 'We shall overcome'

By Robert A. Caro

As I watch Barack Obama's speech to the Democratic convention, I remember another speech: the one that made Martin Luther King cry. Obama's speech - and in a way his whole candidacy - might not have been possible had that other speech not been given.

That speech was President Lyndon Johnson's address to Congress in 1965 announcing that he was about to introduce a voting rights act, and in some respects Obama's candidacy is the climax - at least thus far - of a movement based not only on the sacrifices and heroism of the Rev. Dr. King and generations of black fighters for civil rights but also on the political genius of Lyndon Baines Johnson, who as it happens was born 100 years ago Wednesday.

When, on the night of March 15, 1965, the long motorcade drove away from the White House, heading for Capitol Hill, where President Johnson would give his speech to a joint session of Congress, pickets were standing outside the gates, as they had been for weeks, and as the presidential limousine passed, they were singing the same song that was being sung that week in Selma, Alabama: "We Shall Overcome." They were singing it in defiance of Johnson, because they didn't trust him.

They had reasons not to trust him.

In March 1965, black Americans in the 11 Southern states were still largely unable to vote. When they tried to register, they faced not only questions impossible to answer - like the infamous "how many bubbles in a bar of soap?" - but also the humiliation of trying to answer them in front of registrars who didn't bother to conceal their scorn. Out of six million blacks old enough to vote in those 11 states in 1965, only a small percentage - 27 percent in Georgia, 19 percent in Alabama, 6 percent in Mississippi - were registered.

What's more, those who were registered faced not only beatings and worse but economic retaliation as well if they tried to actually cast a ballot. Black men who registered might be told by their employer that they no longer had a job; black farmers who went to the bank to renew their annual "crop loan" were turned down, and lost their farms. So the number of black men and women in the South who actually cast a vote was far smaller than the number registered; in no way were black Americans realizing their political potential.

More important, many civil rights leaders felt that Johnson wasn't helping them nearly as much as he could have - and that in fact he never had. He had passed a civil rights bill in 1964, but it hadn't been a voting rights bill. And they remembered his record, a long record.

It was not merely that during his first 20 years, 1937 through 1956, in the House and Senate, he had voted against every civil rights bill - even bills aimed at ending lynching.

Leaders of the civil rights movement who had watched their bills die, year after year, in Congress - not a single civil rights bill had been enacted since 1870 - knew that Johnson had been not merely a voter but a strategist against civil rights, a tactician so successful that Richard Russell of Georgia, the leader of the Senate's mighty "Southern caucus," had raised him to power in the Senate, had, in fact, made him his anointed successor as the South's legislative leader, the young hope of the elderly Southern senators in their desperate battle to maintain racial segregation.

Some civil rights leaders who had been talking to Lyndon Johnson since he became president were by the spring of 1965 convinced of his good faith, but most were not, and the mass of the movement, symbolized by those protesters outside the White House gates, still distrusted him.

Men and women who knew Lyndon Johnson, however, felt there was another element to the story. They included the Mexican-American children of impoverished migrant workers he had taught as a 21-year-old schoolteacher in the little town of Cotulla, Texas; to the ends of their lives they would talk about how hard he had worked to teach and inspire them. "He used to tell us this country was so free that anyone could become president who was willing to work hard enough," one student said.

Others remember what one calls the story about the "little baby in the cradle." As one student recalled, "He would tell us that one day we might say the baby would be a teacher. Maybe the next day we'd say the baby would be a doctor. And one day we might say the baby - any baby - might grow up to be president of the United States."

His former students weren't alone. Men and women at Georgetown dinner tables were also convinced of the sincerity of Johnson's intentions. "I remember at this dinner party, Johnson talking about teaching the Mexican-American kids in Cotulla, and his frustration that they had no books," recalls Bethine Church, the wife of Senator Frank Church of Idaho. "I remember it as one of the most passionate evenings I've ever spent."

These men and women felt Johnson truly wanted to help poor people and particularly people of color, and that he was held back only by his ambition: his desire to be president, and because he was a senator from a Southern state. But when, in 1957, ambition and compassion were finally pointing in the same direction - when he realized that he would never become president unless he removed the "magnolia scent" of the South - he set out to pass a civil rights bill, he did it with a passion that showed how deeply he believed in what he was doing.

The bill he got was a weak one, and civil rights leaders blamed him because the advances it made were meager. Only a week before the March 1965 speech, King had said that at the rate voter registration was going, it would take 135 years before even half the blacks in Mississippi were registered. And as the limousines were pulling through the gates that night in March, the protesters were singing "We Shall Overcome," as if to tell Lyndon Johnson, we'll do it without you.

But they didn't have to.

When Johnson stepped to the lectern on Capitol Hill that night, he adopted the great anthem of the civil rights movement as his own.

"Even if we pass this bill," he said, "the battle will not be over. What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and state of America. It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life."

And, Lyndon Johnson said, "Their cause must be our cause, too. Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice."

He paused, and then he said, "And we shall overcome."

Martin Luther King was watching the speech at the home of a family in Selma with some of his aides, none of whom had ever, during all the hard years, seen King cry. But Lyndon Johnson said, "We shall overcome" - and they saw him cry then.

And there was another indication of the power of that speech. When the motorcade returned to the White House, the protesters were gone.

Another significant moment had occurred in the Capitol after the speech, as Johnson was coming down the aisle accepting congratulations.

It wasn't just congratulations he wanted. One of the congressmen on the aisle was Emanuel Celler, the 76-year-old chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which handled civil rights legislation. Long a rights champion but now an elderly man, Celler said he would start hearings on the bill the following week, but "I can't push that committee or it might get out of hand."

Suddenly, Johnson wasn't smiling. His eyes narrowed and his face turned cold. He was still shaking Celler's hand, but with his other hand he was jabbing at the old man. "Start them this week, Manny," he said. "And hold night sessions, too."

Celler did. The heroism of the march at Selma, the heroism all across the South, the almost unbelievable bravery of black men and women - and children, so many children - who marched, and were beaten, and marched again, for the right to vote, created the rising tide of national feeling behind the passage of civil rights legislation, the legislation not only of 1965 but of 1964 and 1957. That feeling did so much to make the legislation possible. It has taken me scores of pages in my books to try to describe that heroism, and all of them inadequate.

But it also took Lyndon Johnson, whom the black leader James Farmer, sitting in the Oval Office, heard "cajoling, threatening, everything else, whatever was necessary" to get the 1965 bill passed and who, with his legislative genius and savage will, broke, piece by piece, in 1957 and 1964 and 1965, the long unbreakable power of the Southern bloc.

"Abraham Lincoln struck off the chains of black Americans," I have written, "but it was Lyndon Johnson who led them into voting booths, closed democracy's sacred curtain behind them, placed their hands upon the lever that gave them a hold on their own destiny, made them, at last and forever, a true part of American political life."

Look what has been wrought! Forty-three years ago, a mere blink in history's eye, many black Americans were unable to vote. On Thursday, a black American ascended a stage as nominee for president. "Just give Negroes the vote and many of these problems will get better," Lyndon Johnson said. "Just give them the vote," and they can do the rest for themselves.

All during this long primary campaign, after reading, first thing every morning, newspaper articles about Barack Obama's campaign for the presidency, I would turn, as part of the research for my next book, to newspaper articles from 1965 about Lyndon Johnson's campaign to win for black people the right to vote.

And I would think about Johnson's great speech, when he adopted the rallying cry of black protest as his own, when he joined his voice to the voices of all the men and women who had sung the mighty hymn of the civil rights movement.

Martin Luther King cried when he heard that speech. Since I am not black, I cannot know - cannot even imagine - King's feelings. I know mine, however. To me, Barack Obama is the inheritor of Lyndon Johnson's civil rights legacy. As I sit listening to Obama, I hear other words as well. I hear Lyndon Johnson saying, "We shall overcome."

Robert A. Caro, who has won Pulitzer Prizes for his biographies of Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson, is at work on the fourth and final volume on Johnson.


McGeorge Bundy compared Lyndon Johnson of 1966 to Joseph Stalin and former top aide Bill Moyers said he was a "sick man."

McGeorge Bundy compared the Lyndon Johnson of 1966 to Joseph Stalin (1971) and former top aide Bill Moyers said he was a “Sick man.” (1969)

January 14 1969

I took part with Bill Moyers, Jack Valenti, Eric Goldman and Ted Sorensen (in Kansas City) in a National Education Television commentary. Afterward Bill and I went over to the Algonquin for a drink. We talked a bit about the problem of writing about Johnson. Bill said, as he has said to me before (and Dick Goodwin has said even more often), that one great trouble was that no one would believe it. He said that he could not see how one could write about Johnson the private monster and Johnson the public statesman and construct a credible narrative. "He is a sick man," Bill said. At one point he and Dick Goodwin became so concerned that they decided to read up on mental illness - Dick read up on paranoia and Bill on the manic-depressive cycle."

[Schlesinger, Journals, p. 306]

January 15 1971

Last night I spoke at the annual dinner of the Century. I sat next to Mac Bundy and we discussed, among other things, the Khrushchev memoirs. I remarked on the curious resemblance between Khrushchev's account of the life around Stalin - the domineering and obsessive dictator, the total boredom of the social occasions revolving around him, the horror when invited to attend and the even greater horror when not invited - and Albert Speer's account of the life around Hitler. Mac said, "When I read Khrushchev, I was reminded of something else in addition - my last days in the White House with LBJ."

[Schlesinger, Journals, p. 333] 

Longtime LBJ aide George Reedy on what a Narcissist, Bully, Sadist & Lout Lyndon Johnson was

Reedy worked for LBJ from 1951-1965

"He was notorious for abusing his staff, for driving people to the verge of exhaustion- and sometimes over the verge; for paying the lowest salaries for the longest hours of work on Capitol Hill; for publicly humiliating his most loyal aides; for keeping his office in a constant state of turmoil by playing games with reigning male and female favorites."

"There was no sense in which he could be described as a pleasant man. His manners were atrocious- not just slovenly but frequently calculated to give offense. Relaxation was something he did not understand and would not accord to others. He was a bully who would exercise merciless sarcasm on people who could not fight back but could only take it. Most important, he had no sense of loyalty- at least, not the kind of loyalty I learned on the Irish Near North Side of Chicago, where life was bearable only because people who had very little in the way of wordly goods had very much in the way of mutual trust. To Johnson, loyalty was a one-way street: all take on his part and all give on the part of everyone else- his family, his friends, his supporters."

[Reedy, p. x]

"He was cruel, even to people who had virtually walked the last mile for him. Occasionally he would demonstrate his gratitude for extraordinary services by a lavish gift- an expensive suit of clothes, an automobile, jewelry for the women on his staff. The gift was always followed by an outpouring of irreverent abuse (I believe he thought his impulse was an example of weakness for which he had to atone) and a few members of his entourage noted that gift was invariably tax deductible on his part. Furthermore, some of the most lavish presents frequently went to members who had performed no services other than adulation. And when his personal desires were at stake, he had absolutely no consideration for the situation in which other people found themselves. They were required to drop everything to wait upon him and were expected to forget their private lives in his interests. He even begrudged one of his top assistants a telephone call to his wife on their wedding anniversary, which the assistant was spending on the LBJ ranch and his wife at their home in Washington, D.C." [Reedy, xiv]

"He had a habit of adopting all useful thoughts as his own, and often the originator of highly important ideas would forget his or her own authorship in a matter of hours and be ready to swear that the whole thing originated in the brain of "the Leader." [Reedy, xvi]

"He had a remarkable capacity to convince himself that he held the principles he should hold at any given time, and there was something charming about the air of injured innocence with which he would treat anyone who brought forth evidence that he had held other views in the past. It was not an act. His whole life was lived in the present and he was tenacious in his conviction that history always conformed to current necessities." [Reedy, p. 2]

"To complicate the picture, his own view of what had happened frequently shifted. To the outside world, this appeared as a form of mendacity. It is my firm belief, from close association over a number of years, that the man never told a deliberate lie. But he had a fantastic capacity to persuade himself that the "truth" which was convenient for the present was the truth and anything that conflicted with it was the prevarication of enemies. He literally willed what was in his mind to be reality and, as he was a master at imposing his will upon the people, the society, and the world around him, he saw no reason for history to be exempt from the process."

[Reedy, p. 3]

"That other man had to be Robert Kennedy, whom he regarded as the focal point for all the forces who sought the downfall of Lyndon Johnson." [Reedy, 6]

"As a rule, his language colorful, pointed, and what can most charitably be described as "earthy." His "humor" was based chiefly on the contents of toilet bowls and he was addicted to "pie-in-the-face" practical jokes. His favorite spectator sport was watching bovine copulation and he gloried in summoning fastidious males to his bathroom, where conference and excretion could be intermingled. His consumption of beverage alcohol was for purposes other than sacramental and in quantities that did not accord St. Paul's "a little wine for thy stomach's sake." [Reedy, p.34-35]

"They had to be young, they had to be cheerful, they had to be malleable, and it helped if they were slightly antagonistic to him at the outset. He dearly loved to convert an anti-Johnson liberal with a slightly plump figure and a dowdy wardrobe into a lean, impeccably clad female whose face was masked in cosmetics and who adored the ground he walked on (or, at least, told him she adored the ground he walked on). To her, he would pour out all his dreams and aspirations in what (as it was described to me later by one woman with a sense of humor) was an incredibly potent monologue. The motif was that he trusted her loyalty and needed her wisdom and she had to come with him to occupy the top spot in his organization. It was an offer rarely refused.

The reality was somewhat different. The best the woman could hope for was a position as his private secretary. She learned very quickly that it was not the post of a top "advisor." He had no respect for the political intelligence of any woman except his wife- and, unfortunately, he usually listened to her only when he had done something stupid and had to find a bail-out manuever.

There were many compensations for the reigning favorite. She could look forward to travel under plush conditions, attendance at glamourous social functions with the Johnsons (he would always find a "safe" male for an escort), expensive clothes, and frequent trips to New York, where a glamorous make-up artist would initiate her into the mysteries of advanced facial make-up, resulting in cosmetics so lavishly applied that they became a mask."

[Reedy, p. 36]

"Very few reigning favorites were allowed to run the office for any great length of time. One of them, who held his attention longer than the rest and for whom he exhibited some really deep feelings, was married off, probably because a continued relationship was incompatible with the vice presidency.

The others dropped back into the pool known to the male staff members (speaking under their breaths) as "the harem." His greatest joy was traveling with a large number of women over whom he could fuss- buying their clothes, supervising their diets, and admonishing them at every public stop to "put on some fresh lipstick." It was quite a show. He may have been "just a country boy from the central hills of Texas" but he had many of the instincts of a Turkish sultan of Istanbul."

[Reedy, p. 37]

"The result of all of this was an office in a constant state of turmoil. A new reigning favorite meant a period of several weeks in which workable routines would be upset; morale would fall to all-time lows; efficiency would go out the window."

(Reedy, p. 37)

"He was rarely candid, and when he spoke of personal matters his words were such a mixture of fantasy, euphemism, and half-truth that it was impossible to separate out the nuggets of revelation. In this case, however, the facts are compelling. As it became clearer that inexorable forces were pushing him into the small circle of men from whom the nation picks its chief executives, he developed a pattern of conduct that indicated beyond a doubt a desire to revert to childhood. He intermingled, almost daily, childish tantrums; threats of resignation (which I realize in retrospect were the equivalent of the small boy who says he will take his baseball and go home); wild drinking bouts; a remarkable nonpaternal yen for young girls; an almost frantic desire to be in the company of young people."

[Reedy, p. 56]

"A few weeks after his heart attack in 1955, he summed up the whole problem when he told a conference of doctors, gathered to evaluate his condition, that he enjoyed nothing but whiskey, sunshine, and sex. Without realizing what he was doing, he had outlined succinctly the tragedy of his life."

[Reedy, p. 56]

"The drinking bouts became increasingly heavy and increasingly frequent. When he was with staff members, there would usually be a point at which he would launch a tirade reviling an assistant for a long series of fancied wrongs and assumed inadequacies. ...

They were invariably preceded by a wild drinking bout. He was not an alcoholic or a heavy drinker in the commonly accepted sense of those words. But there were occasions when he would pour down Scotch and soda in a virtually mechanical motion in rhythm with the terrible tension building visibly within him and communicating itself to his listeners. The warning signs were unmistakable and those with past experience tried to get away before the inevitable flood of invective. As they found out, it was rarely possible.

[Reedy 56-57]

"As the 1960 campaign drew closer, the drinking bouts surpassed all previous records.... The 1960 campaign was a nightmare for the staff- a weird collage of beratings, occasional drunken prowls up and down hotel corridors, and frantic efforts to sober him up in the mornings so he could make the speaking engagements. Here again he came close to disaster. He spent a whole night in a hotel room in El Paso pouring invective upon the head of a bewildered advance man...On the stump he had very few peers. But in his rooms at night, the drinking patterns continued as did the threats of leaving the campaign." [Reedy, pp. 58-59]

"Someone had told him about the theories of subliminal conditioning then making the rounds and his methodology was to mutter "sincere" over and over in the presence of journalists. When he could insert the word into a sentence, he would do so even when it had to be dragged in by the heels, kicking and screaming. When he could find no sentence that was suitable, he would repeat "sincere" under his breath, over and over to the absolute bewilderment of his audience. Fortunately, he dropped the effort before articles could appear questioning his sanity."

[Reedy, p. 68]

"This occurred when he was vice president and obsessed with the idea that Bobby Kennedy was directing an anti-LBJ campaign. His elevation to the presidency made absolutely no difference. Brush after brush took place with the journalists who, in the early days of his administration, accepted him as a miracle worker to be treated with downright reverence. Eventually, however, his conviction that they were opposed to him created an opposition- always the outcome of paranoia. He did not attribute this to his own shortcomings but to the machinations of the man he regarded as his arch foe. At this stage of the game, Bobby was helpless to do him much mischief but LBJ still believed that there was a plot for which the press was the principal instrument." [Reedy, p. 70]

"In a very important sense, LBJ was a man who had been deprived of the normal joys of life. He knew how to struggle; he knew how to outfox political opponents; he knew how to make money; he knew how to swagger. But he did not know how to live. He had been programmed for business and for business only and outside of his programming he was lost." [Reedy, p. 81]

"I never fully understood this or other similar episodes. In the back of his mind, it is possible that he believed these visits were inspired by Bobby Kennedy as part of a "plot" to delete the name LBJ from the ticket in 1964. This had become an obsession with him- a conviction that peopled the world with agents of the president's brother all seeking to do him in. Someone- I never found out who- very actively fed this belief and kept him in a perpetual state of anxiety. This reached major proportions with the outbreak of the Billy Sol Estes and Bobby Baker scandals....

There was absolutely nothing to keep Johnson's name in the Billy Sol Estes story except the LBJ refusal to deal with the press. He covered up when there was nothing to cover and thereby created the suspicion that he was involved somehow. His reasoning was simple: The whole thing existed as a Bobby Kennedy plot and to talk about it to the press was to help Bobby Kennedy.

About the same thing happened in the Bobby Baker scandal except that in this instance he was really close to the central figure in the expose. He had considered Bobby as virtually a son and succeeded in promoting him to be secretary of the Senate Majority at an age when Bobby should have been in knee britches."

[Reedy 134-135]

"But Johnson refused to accept the obvious explanation. He insisted that it stayed in the press because of conscious pressure from Bobby Kennedy, who, he claimed, was holding daily briefings with the sole purpose of knifing LBJ in the back. He was so convinced of the existence of these meetings that I made a personal effort to check on them myself. There was not the least bit of evidence that they were taking place or had taken place. I am not a master spy but it is hardly likely that during that period the attorney general of the United States could have engaged in such an organized effort without one of my newspaper friends tipping me off.

This viewpoint did not impress Johnson in the slightest. He merely said I was "naive" and that he would demonstrate the truth to me. The next time the two of us were together with a correspondent, he lectured the man on how wrong it was to ask stooge questions and then said: "I know all about those briefings downtown." It became apparent at once the correspondent did not know not know about them but that did not stop LBJ. He continued his lectures to other correspondents- a practice that led to some speculation as to his mental stability. Fortunately, the speculation did not appear in print.

These episodes were merely ludicrious. Much more serious was his interpretation of all his relations with the administration as involved with "plots." He resisted- to the point of hysteria- the round-the-world trip which later became famous for his discovery of Bashir, the camel driver, in Karachi.... He raved, at least to me, that Bobby Kennedy was trying to set him up.

[Reedy, pp. 136-137]

"Those of us who had to deal with what few substantive matters characterized the vice presidency found it increasingly difficult to secure decisions from him. The consumption of booze increased as did the number of hours he would spend in bed at home just staring at the ceiling and growling at anyone who came into the room... There was some demon within the man himself that would have operated in any position short of the presidency."

[Reedy, pp. 139-140]

"Why Jack Kennedy offered Lyndon Johnson the vice presidency and why Lyndon Johnson accepted it, I will never know. Frankly, I doubt whether anyone will ever know now that the principal protagonists are dead. My guess is that it represented a shrewd political judgement on Kennedy's part."

[Reedy, p. 141]

"Behind the scenes, however, the campaign was grinding agony for a staff which felt a duty to the campaign to keep the seamy side from showing. There were some terrible moments- drunken, aimless wanderings through a hotel corridor in Chicago (fortunately blocked off by police) in which he tried to crawl into the bed of the female correspondent (I got the impression as we led him away that he was seeking comfort, not sex); a wild drinking bout in El Paso in which he spent the night cursing and raving at a good friend; continuous torrents of abuse directed at his staff. It was amazing to watch him go out in public and make truly compelling speeches off-the-cuff after such episodes."

[Reedy, p. 142]

"Whatever the reality, however, the LBJ paranoia continued to mount. He was convinced that Bobby Kennedy had virtual control over the nation's press and that this control was being used to pave the way for a "dump LBJ" campaign in 1964. This was a period in which he proceeded to "hang around" the outer offices of the White House- something like a precinct captain sitting in the anteroom of a ward leader hoping to be recognized. It was not a very propossessing sight and certainly not worthy of a man of his stature."

[Reedy, p. 147]

"He was not a man of thought and, instead, it became for him the period of intense misery. He obviously had not found what he had expected to find in the vice presidency, and while his intellect was keen, it was not of the variety that could grant him inner serenity. What could have been to a philosopher an era of growth was, in his eyes, a time of shame and failure.

[Reedy, p. 147]

"Johnson campaigned as though there were a real contest with the outcome in doubt. In time I came to understand that the act of campaigning had importance to him that was totally unrelated to the goals. There was some form of vitalizing force in frenzied crowds that drove him into a state of ectasy...

"What was even more interesting was the scene that invariably followed a session with a crowd. Despite his tapping technique, some people would always be able to grasp his palm for a fleeting moment. In such instances, it would be necessary for him to tear loose- leaving long scratches on the back of his hand. He loved those scratches. A medical attendant aboard Air Force One was ready with some soothing ointment for a gentle massage. LBJ would insist that everyone on the plane cluster around during the massage period and he would point lovingly to each scratch, describing in detail the person responsible for it. The first time I witnessed the performance, it seemed to me that he was thinking in terms of the Stigmata from the Cross. But the performance was much too sensual for such an interpretation. There was something post-orgasmic about the scene. A psychiatrist could have had a field day."

[Reedy, p. 152]

"The trouble was that Johnson himself became a victim of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. It froze him into a totally uncompromising position where he had no alternatives- or thought he had no alternative- to feeding more and more draftees into the meat grinder. He had never, in his entire life, learned to confess error, and this quality- merely amusing or exasperating in a private person- resulted in cosmic tragedy for a president. He had to prove that he had been right all along. And this meant that he had to do more of what he had been doing despite the demonstrable failure of his Vietnam policies."

[Reedy, p. 165]

"There were a few key traits to his personality and it is unlikely that he shed them. As a human being he was a miserable person- a bully, sadist, lout and egoist. He had no sense of loyalty (despite his protestations that it was a quality that he valued above all others) and he enjoyed tormenting those who had done the most for him. He seemed to take a special delight in humiliating those who had cast their lot in with him. It may well be that this was the result of a form of self-loathing in which he concluded that there had to be something wrong with anyone who would associate with him."

[Reedy, p. 171]

"His lapses from civilized conduct were deliberate and usually intended to subordinate someone else to his will. He did disgusting things because he realized other people had to pretend that they did not mind. It was his method of bending them to his designs.

[Reedy, pp. 171-172]

Arthur Schlesinger from his Journals


January 6 1963

The New Year opened quietly, with the President [JFK] still in Florida. On Friday, January 4, I went to the National Archives for the opening of an exhibition celebrating the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation. Bobby gave the speech - it was derived from a speech I had written for the President for use on January 1 by television from Palm Beach, but which the President had decided not to use on the grounds that a segregated city was hardly the best place from which to make an emancipation speech. It was a good speech; and, at the end, Joe Rauh passed me a note saying, "Poor Lyndon." I asked Joe what he meant. He said, "Lyndon must know he is through. Bobby is going to be the next President."

[Schlesinger, Journals, p. 185]

October 13 1963

Frank Wisner and Mac Herter went into a long bit about how terrible it was for Jackie Kennedy to go off on the Onassis yacht. Wisner said that "everyone" in Europe knew that Lee Radziwill was having an affair with Onassis, and that Jackie was along as cover. The gossip of the idle rich is exceedingly boring.

[Schlesinger, Journals, p. 201]

March 25 1964

"There is nothing more dangerous, so far as I can see, than being accepted by Johnson as one of his own. I think he has been meticulously polite to those in the White House whom he regards as Kennedy men. But, when he starts regarding them as Johnson men, their day is over. He begins to treat them as Johnson men, which means like servants. This is what is happening to Pierre Salinger. Of all the Kennedy people, he seemed to make the transition most easily - which meant that LBJ began shouting at him, ordering him around and humiliating him just as if he were Jenkins or Valenti. Teddy White told me a terrible story in which Johnson made Salinger eat a plate of bean soup at a White House luncheon out of pure delight in the exercise of authority. As soon as people become Johnson men, he seems to stop listening to them and to use them only as instruments of his own desires."

[Schlesinger, Journals, p. 225]

"June 16 1964

I went to New York on Tuesday night for a dinner in honor of Jackie to thank contributors to the Library. Afterward we went to the Smiths'. I had a long talk with JBK. She started to tell me about the trip back from Dallas and the effort made to get her to change her dress when Jim Fosburgh came up and we had a change of subject. A few nights ago (June 5) at the French Embassy, Godfrey McHugh gave me a long account of that ghastly afternoon. Godfrey told me that they did not know the Johnsons were on Air Force One. He and Kenny kept asking the pilot to take off, and were told that the plane had to wait for Mrs. Johnson's luggage - a mysterious excuse, since none of them knew that the Johnson's were already occupying the presidential apartments in the back of the plane. Godfrey also said that LBJ was in a panic at the hospital, convinced that there was a conspiracy and that he would be the next to go. Godfrey also gave me a horrendous account of his visit to the LBJ Ranch before the [Ludwig] Erhand visit in December - Johnson's crudeness, discourtesy, drunkenness, etc."

[Schlesinger, Journals, p. 227-228]

July 23 1964

Bobby seemed philosophical about the vice presidency. His thoughts are still turning to the idea of spending a year at Oxford reading and writing.

We talked a good deal about his relationshp to LBJ. Obviously Johnson's actions in the first 24 hours after JFK's death left wounds which will take a long time to heal. Bobby commented that Sarge Shriver had taken it on himself to harmonize the situation then and had only made it worse. Bobby said, "I told Sarge that if I wanted him to intervene I was capable of asking him to do so." His references to Sarge were fairly cool, and he seemed scornful of the notion that Sarge might be a serious possibility for the vice presidency.

After a silence Bobby said, "You know the worst thing Johnson has said? ... Once he told Pierre Salinger, 'When I was young in Texas, I used to know a cross-eyed boy. His eyes were crossed, and so was his character. Sometimes I think that, when you remember the assassination of Trujillo and the assassination of Diem, what happened to Kennedy may have been divine retribution.'"

[Schlesinger, Journals, p. 227-228]

[My note: John Kennedy had a lazy eye and was a bit cross eyed.]

October 30 1966

"[RFK] talked a bit about campaigning with Johnson. He said that, after a day together in New York, he said to Johnson back at the hotel, "Did you enjoy the day?" Johnson looked at him earnestly and said "Of all the things in life, this is what I most enjoy doing." Bobby said it to us incredulously" "Imagine saying that, of all the things in life, this is what you like the most."

At Clark's we talked about the [William] Manchester book [The Death of a President], and this led on to a discussion of the autopsy photographs and then of the Warren Report. RFK wondered how long he could continue to avoid comment on the report. It is evident that he believes it was a poor job and will not endorse it, but that he is unwilling to criticize it and thereby reopen the whole tragic business."

[Schlesinger, Journals, p. 254]

December 10 1967

Dick [Goodwin] suggested that LBJ, if reelected, would use all his wiles and powers to prevent RFK's nomination. (Bobby interjected, "He would die and make Hubert President rather than let me get it.") Ted felt that he would try this, but his capacity to do damage would be limited."

[Schlesinger, Journals, p. 268]

March 13 1968

"I went to dinner [Tuesday] at Ham Armstrong's - the Anthony Edens, Jack McCloys, Bill and Judith Moyesr, Nin Ryan. I had a fascinating talk with Bill. He thinks that LBJ is now well sealed off from reality; the White House atmosphere, he said, is "impenetrable." He also feels that LBJ explains away all criticism as based on personal or political antagonism; Bill used the word "paranoid." He said that he had himself such a personal debt to Johnson that it had taken him a long time to reach these conclusions, and even longer to say them; but he felt that four more years of Johnson would be ruinous for the country."

[Schlesinger, Journals, p. 280]

April 4 1968

David Karr called today. He had spent an hour yesterday with LBJ and says that it was "terrifying." Johnson was, first of all, filled with self-pity. He seemed very hurt over the Kennedy attitude toward him and kept talking about his "partnership" with JFK. "Then my partner died, and I took over the partnership. I kept on the eleven cowhands [the cabinet]. Some of the tenderfeet [Arthur Schlesinger, Jr?] left me. But I kept on. If he is up there in heaven looking down, I know that he knows what I have done."

He was bitter about RFK. He said for example, "On civil rights I was stronger than he was," instancing some issue about the guarantee of home mortgage loans, which, he said, Bobby would not put into the civil rights bill; ... He also talked about Bobby in connection with the Bay of Pigs (with which Bobby had no connection) and said that the credibility gap began then in the Kennedy administration and not in the Johnson administration. And he kept talking about an alleged affair RFK had with Candy Bergen in Paris.

[Schlesinger, Journals, p. 286-287]

January 14 1969

I took part with Bill Moyers, Jack Valenti, Eric Goldman and Ted Sorensen (in Kansas City) in a National Education Television commentary. Afterward Bill and I went over to the Algonquin for a drink. We talked a bit about the problem of writing about Johnson. Bill said, as he has said to me before (and Dick Goodwin has said even more often), that one great trouble was that no one would believe it. He said that he could not see how one could write about Johnson the private monster and Johnson the public statesman and construct a credible narrative. "He is a sick man," Bill said. At one point he and Dick Goodwin became so concerned that they decided to read up on mental illness - Dick read up on paranoia and Bill on the manic-depressive cycle."

[Schlesinger, Journals, p. 306]

January 15 1971

Last night I spoke at the annual dinner of the Century. I sat next to Mac Bundy and we discussed, among other things, the Khrushchev memoirs. I remarked on the curious resemblance between Khrushchev's account of the life around Stalin - the domineering and obsessive dictator, the total boredom of the social occasions revolving around him, the horror when invited to attend and the even greater horror when not invited - and Albert Speer's account of the life around Hitler. Mac said, "When I read Khrushchev, I was reminded of something else in addition - my last days in the White House with LBJ."

[Schlesinger, Journals, p. 333]