Thursday, January 2, 2014

Phillip Nelson's book on LBJ and LBJ's Role in JFK's Murder and Why it's Relevant Today

Phillip Nelson's book LBJ The Mastermind of JFK's Assassination is excellent, meticulously researched and definitely worth reading.  Not only does Nelson bring together in a well organized and highly readable format on very complex subjects (LBJ, JFK and JFK's murder), he sheds considerable light on the sordid and evil character of LBJ, a man of unspeakable evil.  Moreover, Nelson draws from the works of the best JFK researchers.

Phillip Nelson's book LBJ The Mastermind of JFK's Assassination is excellent, meticulously researched and definitely worth reading.  Not only does Nelson bring together in a well organized and highly readable format on very complex subjects (LBJ, JFK and JFK's murder), he sheds considerable light on the sordid and evil character of LBJ, a man of unspeakable evil.  Moreover, Nelson draws from the works of the best JFK researchers.

My first dive into LBJ and the extent of his evil occurred while reading Operation Cyanide, Why the Bombing of the USS Liberty Nearly Caused World War III by Peter Hounam.  I was so blown away by that incredible book that I summarized it in a blog post. 

The Most Incredible Story Never Told: The USS Liberty, Israel & LBJ's Order to Destroy the USS Liberty

The bombing of the USS Liberty and its crew of 294 American was directly authorized by LBJ.  In fact, LBJ ordered Israel to sink the ship.  It's an astounding story.  The USS Liberty miraculously survived through a weird sequence of events including insubordination by some members of Israeli Air Force who deliberately dropped their bombs in the water.  However, LBJ's order was carried out by the equally psychopathic leaders in Israel and 34 Americans lay dead as a direct result of LBJ's order and Israel's cooperation.

Hounam's book focused exclusively on the documentation of the USS Liberty event but not on LBJ personally.  Nelson's book provides remarkable insights into LBJ, who he was, how he rose to power, how he used power and the fact the that any sane and rational individual could only conclude that LBJ was a madman, a psychopath, a sociopath, a ruthless abuser of power, corrupt beyond comprehension and a total pig of a man.

According to Nelson, when Johnson was accosted by persistent reporters asking him to explain why we were at war in Vietnam "he opened his pants, withdrew his penis, and shouted "this is why?".  LBJ was obsessed with the size of his manhood and believing he was the biggest of them all, he dubbed it his 'jumbo'. He also loved challenging men to skinny dipping sessions in the White House pool for the express purpose of proving 'mine is bigger than yours'.

LBJ was also obsessed with degrading and humiliating folks by having them watch or take dictation while he was defecating and he was known to frequently leave the bathroom door and demand an audience of subordinates.  The 'watch me shit' routine started very early in his career while he was just a legislative aid.

LBJ was the son of a Texas legislator and cotton farmer who went bankrupt when cotton prices plunged; his father died a poor and despondent alcoholic after the foreclosure of the family farm.  If anything, LBJ learned at an early age that money and power were all that mattered and how you got it did not matter so long as you got it.  He graduated from Southwest Texas State Teachers College in San Marcos, TX which landed him a teaching job in Houston.  After a year of teaching, he really lucked out and became a legislative aid to TX Congressman Richard Kleberg in DC.  Kleberg was a rich aristocrat who really had no interest in politics or legislating because he spent his time on the golf course, playing polo and attending bourbon parties.  LBJ literally ran his office where he learned about power and its players.  He was a quick study and started making contacts with congress critters as well as those who ran government agencies; he was so good at his job that he even impersonated Cong. Kleberg on the telephone. Kleberg wasn't around much anyway and had more or less delegated his responsibilities to LBJ.

LBJ's big chance came in 1937 when a TX Congressman for the 10th District died.  He jumped into a competitive race and won at the age of 29.  According to Nelson, LBJ was not a hit with his colleagues who "began treating the new congressman with barely checked contempt, their animosity exacerbated by Johnson's overbearing personality, the way he strutted through the House dining room as if he were a famous celebrity".

As Nelson takes the reader through a 600 page documentary on the life of LBJ that included murders, corruption and always the suitcases full of money, typically $50,000 - $100,000 from favor seekers in DC's play to play game to plunder the taxpayers, the journey is also glimpse into the American political system which hasn't changed much since the days of LBJ. In fact, corruption was rampant before LBJ and continued to be rampant after LBJ, up to and including the present.  What has changed is that the thieving business of public corruption has been codified into law and while the suitcases full of cash are not nearly as numerous as they once were, massive amounts of dirty dark and PAC money continues to  flow to Congress Critters, the RNC and the DNC like gushing rivers of manna from the heavens from folks seeking a substantial slice of public largess. These days, the game of public corruption has been fined tuned to a respectable science.

The highlights of LBJ's remarkably common political life include:  How Johnson got rich, the 1948 TX senate race with massive vote fraud, Abe Fortas, a future Johnson appointed Supreme Court Justice whose legal skills facilitated the vote fraud in the 1948 senate race, Billie Sol Estes, Bobby Baker, J. Edgar Hoover, other LBJ ordered murders including the murder of his own sister, the 1960 presidential election and the centerpiece of Nelson's monumental work - JFK's murder.

Woven throughout the tapestry of massive criminality, lust for power and family dynasty lies American culture in the context of the Kennedy clan vs. the Johnson clan.  That these 2 families hated each other is an understatement and the legendary friction has been well documented.  Johnson rose from nothing through sheer corruption and his unrelenting will to achieve monetary and political power in the redneck racist south while the Kennedy boys were already rich, pampered, Ivy League educated and destined for public power. Both clans were severely compromised - Johnson through his legendary corruption and the Kennedy brothers through there numerous sexual dalliances that resulted in perceived national security threats and even the deaths of several women.

When the overtly corrupt butts head with the severely compromised in the vicious cycle of politics, money and power, whether or not somebody gets literally eliminated or merely neutered  is largely dependent upon their connections within hierarchy of power.

LBJ - Rags to Riches

The Huffington Post listed LBJ on its list of the 10 wealthiest presidents in US history, here.  Once Johnson was elected to the House of Representatives in 1937, his raw and absolute lust for power and money was easily and significantly advanced in DC's 'Pay to Play' den of corruption and favoritism.

The lion's share of LBJ's fortune was derived from his acquisition of the Austin radio station KTBC in 1943 for $17,500.  Effectively, Johnson used his political clout and substantial contacts within the FCC to drive the radio station into near bankruptcy so that he could literally steal it at a fire sale price.  Nelson described the deal:
The real story of Johnson's acquisition of KTBC radio - at the time, operating out of a small building with a studio, a control room, and three small offices, essentially bankrupt because of the FCC's continuing resistance to approve its requests for expansion of its weak signal on the high end of the dial - was that Johnson himself had influenced the highest echelons of the FCC to drive the station out of business to prime his coming to the rescue, buying it for a highly discounted price just before its collapse.  After months of denying the station's requests for greater broadcasting rights, then denying the application of a syndicate of new owners headed by J.M. West, a prominent Austin business man and publisher, to purchase the station for $50,000, the FCC, on February 16, 1943, approved the Johnsons' bid to purchase the distressed property.    The story was later reported by Life magazine's  Keith Wheeler and William Lambert in their 1964 series titled "How LBJ's Family Amassed its Fortune and more extensively revealed how the business was run primarily by Johnson....
Unlike J.M. West, the Johnsons had solid connections to the New Dealers running the FCC, including the commissioner himself, Clifford Durr....
Through the help of Johnson's friends - Speaker Sam Rayburn and lobbyist Tommy Coccoran, to whom many of the top officials of the FCC were indebted for their jobs - the FCC shifted its attitude toward KTBC, immediately after Lady Bird Johnson submitted her application to buy it.
Well the rest is history.  A TX legislative aid turned congressman turned senator turned, turned senate majority leader turned vice president turned president  went on to amass a fortune, a fortune swathed in corruption, fraud and the wheeling and dealings of insider government and business connections.

It's not as if Johnson and his style of patronage leadership was in any way disdained by his congressional colleagues.  After all, he was elected senate majority leader precisely because he was corrupt and more importantly, he continued and expanded the systematic corruption of 'play to play'.

Billy Sol Estes  

Billy Sol Estes is a typical born and bred Texas crook who bought and bribed anybody and everybody to get what he wanted which was mostly government permission to commit fraud and rob the taxpayers.  In many ways, Estes was very typical of the Texas political and business class.  In Texas, all you need to do is invoke God, Jesus and religion to gain respectability regardless of your criminal inclinations.  Nelson writes about Estes and his perceived moral superiority based on religion:
Estes held himself out as a person of high morals and was very active in his church as a lay preacher, assisting the regular pastor as needed, often delivering sermons on Sunday mornings.  As evidence of his morality, he liked to tell people that he never smoked, drank, gambled or swore, and he considered dancing immoral.  But while Billie could qualify as a paragon of virtue on Sundays in church, on the other days of the week, his modus operandi was that of a cutthroat, ruthless businessman who did not hesitate to use his skills of fraud and deceit on a massive scale to ruin competitors and amass a personal fortune.  The multiple frauds that the sanctimonious Estes had been committing for over fifteen years, all while trying to portray himself as beyond reproach, were beginning to be exposed by the end of 1960.
Estes was involved in numerous fraud schemes but his most famous schemes and scams involved the US Department of Agriculture (DOA), cotton allotments and phony grain storage elevators.  The Estes-Johnson relationship went back a long way and Estes was considered a dear friend of Lyndon and Lady Bird.

While dozens of Department of Agriculture (DOA) employees ranging from the low to the high eventually resigned or were fired for their roles in accepting bribes from Estes, there was one honest DOA official in TX who was on to the schemes and scams of Estes.  His name was Henry Marshall.  Despite stupendous efforts to bribe him to shut him up, Marshall refused all bribes and remained committed to exposing Estes frauds.

On June 3, 1961 Henry Marshall was found dead on his farm and "had been beaten on his head and upper body, forcefully poisoned with carbon monoxide, and and shot five times with a rifle".   His death was rule a suicide.  

The hero of the Henry Marshall murder investigation was Texas Ranger Captain Clint Peoples who continued to investigate the murder and eventually succeeded in getting the body exhumed for another autopsy at which time the death was then ruled a 'possible suicide, probably homicide'.  Peoples even wrote a book about his investigation and disclosed in a 1962 police report that 'it would have been utterly impossible for Mr. Marshall to have taken his own life'.

Johnson was in so deep with Estes that he greatly feared that his political future would be over if the Estes investigation continued.  In fact, LBJ truly feared being sent to prison.

Although Ranger Peoples died mysteriously in a car crash on June 22, 1992, Nelson summarizes his investigation as follows:
Captain Peoples suspected all along that it was Bill Sol Estes's political friend in Washington, Lyndon Johnson, who he had also suspected of complicity in the murder of Doug Kinser ten years before.
The Henry Marshall suicide-murder brings us to another chapter in the criminal life of LBJ, namely Mac Wallace and the murder of Doug Kinser in Austin.

LBJ, Mac Wallace, Doug Kinser and LBJ's Sister Josefa Johnson 

Malcolm 'Mac' Wallace got a job in the Department of Agriculture with the help of his friend Lyndon Johnson.  If the story of  Henry Marshall committing suicide by severely beating himself in the head and body, ingesting carbon monoxide poisoning and then shooting himself 5 times with a rifle is difficult to believe, then the story of the murder of Doug Kinser by Mac Wallace is one for the bizarro files.

The Kinser brothers, Winston and John, were Austin small business men who wanted to open a pitch and putt gold course.  Mac Wallace had an adulterous wife who not only committed adultery with numerous men, she also had an affair with Doug Kinser.  But Wallace's wife Mary Andre didn't just have adulterous affairs with men, according to Phillips she also had affairs with women including Johnson's sister Josefa, a deeply troubled woman with loose morals, severe alcohol problems and very loose lips.  In fact, Phillips writes about the alleged threesome between Kinser, Mary Andre and Josefa Johnson.  Ed Clark, an attorney and very close personal friend of LBJ supposedly told Wallace that he needed to get rid of the problem because it could prove very politically embarrassing to Lyndon.

Wallace drove from Washington DC to Austin, went to the Kinser golf shop and shot him dead.  There was no question that Wallace did it.  Wallace was even found guilty of first degree murder by a Texas jury.  His defense team was organized by Ed Clark and Nelson reports that LBJ left his busy schedule in DC and rented a room near the court house although he did distance himself from the publicity of the trial but not attending.

Astoundingly, Wallace got a 5 year suspended sentence on a first degree murder conviction in a state that is notorious for executing murderers.  Wallace writes:
Thirty five years after the crime, in a March 31, 1986 Dallas Times Herald interview, Mr. D.L. Johnson admitted being the juror who forced the others to recommend the verdict and suspended sentence.  He admitted being a cousin and good friend of one of Wallace's defense attorneys.....
According to Bill Adler of the Texas Observer, several of the jurors telephoned Kinser's parents to apologize for being part of the suspended sentence, but said they went along with it only because threats had been made against their families.
Much additional information eventually became known, ironically because of Lyndon Johnson's efforts to secure classified security for his murderous  protégé.  A full decade after Douglas Kinser's murder, a Navel Intelligence security investigation conducted in 1961 uncovered significant additional information about the circumstances of the murder that had been suppressed at the original trial......despite the ONI's unanimous decision against granting Wallace a security clearance, Johnson overruled the denial and forced them to grant him his classified status.
It definitely pays to have friends in high places.  Ranger Peoples was convinced that Mac Wallace was at the Henry Marshall ranch at the time of that murder.  As the Phillips book unfolds he states that Mac Wallace was in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

Josefa Johnson died mysteriously in her sleep on Decenber 25, 1961.  There was no autopsy and the death certificate was issued by a physician who never saw the body.

Billy Sol Estes died in Texas in March, 2013 at the age of 88.  Estes eventually was convicted of fraud, served time in jail, had his 24 year sentenced overturned in court and went back to prison for a few years after convictions on other charges.  Estes claimed that at least 9 folks that he personally knew of, including Josefa Johnson, were murdered on orders from LBJ.  Some have put the LBJ hits as high as 14 and even higher.

The 1948 Senate Race and Abe Fortas  

LBJ was a legendary vote fraud artist but the 1948 Democrat Texas senate primary is one for the 'Vote Fraud Hall of Fame' book.  Back then Texas was a solidly blue state and whoever won the Democrat primary for the Senate was guaranteed a general election victory.  LBJ ran for the senate in 1941, a mere 3 years after winning his seat in the House of Representatives, but he lost despite massive vote fraud.  Nelson writes "He stole thousands of votes when he first ran for the Senate in 1941, but unfortunately for him, he had not stolen enough and thus lost the election. That experience apparently taught him a lesson, because seven years later he stole untold thousands of votes to secure a seat in the United States Senate".

Despite massive vote fraud in the 1948 election and a team of LBJ lawyers who had more or less concluded that election investigations would disclose the depth of LBJ's vote fraud machine and cost him a seat in the Senate, LBJ would not accept defeat.  Facing defeat, he called his attorney friend Abe Fortas.  Fortas had previously help LBJ in the TX Marshall Ford Dam project, another monstrous taxpayer rip-off perpetrated by LBJ for the exclusive benefit of Brown and Root, a TX construction that loaded up LBJ with money in exchange for highly lucrative government contracts.  Phillips writes:
After the lawyers described  the dilemma, Fortas said he could envision one possible scenario for Johnson, though it was a very large gamble: The only hope for Johnson was to take the case to a single circuit court judge and ask for a stay of the injunction on jurtisdictional grounds, and do so with a weakly presented, unpersuasive plea presented to a judge predisposed to the rule against Johnson - essentially the opposite of what any other laywer would have prescribed.  Fortas presented the perfunctory alleal to a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals judge who was almost guaranteed to reject it out of hand....
The Fortas gamble, if successful, would quickly yield an unfavorable ruling that could be sent immediately to Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, who could hear the case as a single justice;  Fortas thought Justice Bloack would rule for themm, because he knew that Black, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, would ultimately prefer to see Johnson, not Stevenson, in the Senate; Justice Black knew Johnson personally and the two were of like minds.
And that's precisely what happened.  The racist Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, a fellow southerner, ruled in favor of Johnson and handed him the election.

Fortas was rewarded for his service to LBJ.  When LBJ became president, he successfully got Fortas on the Supreme Court.  But when LBJ attempted to make Fortas Chief Justice, the senate confirmation votes fell short.  Fortas eventually resigned from the Supreme Court amid financial scandals.

Brown and Root

Brown and Root was a small and nearly bankrupt TX construction seeking government contracts.  As a newly elected Representative in 1937, LBJ's first project was to secure government contracts for Brown and Root and Abe Fortas was there to help.  Larded up with government contracts, Brown and Root became a large and highly profitable company that was subsequently acquired by Haliburton, a controversial construction company once headed by Dick Cheney.

All of these government contracts in DC's 'pay to play' wheel of fortune involved bribes and kickbacks. Businesses paid the politicians and were rewarded with huge profits because that's precisely how the District of Crime operates.

Of all the DC movers and shakers that continuously primed the pump of DC's 'pay to play' game in exchange for suitcases for of cash, perhaps none was more infamous than Bobby Baker.

Bobby Baker

LBJ has many partners in crime (staff, lobbyists, law enforcement, FBI, corporate CEO's, attorneys, judges and congressional colleagues), and he was very close to all of them but LBJ's was perhaps closest to Bobby Baker, a scoundrel and a sleaze, as well as LBJ chief bagman for his criminal empire.  LBJ was a master at distancing himself personally from his criminal empire and had an army of crooks and criminals who did the dirty work for him.  His most trusted lieutenants included staffers Bobby Baker, Walter Jenkins, John Connally, Cliff Carter (all staffers) and attorney Ed Clark.  Other players included Texas oilman Clint Murchison and other prominent Texans.  If one was an LBJ loyalist, you got rich, very rich.

Baker started out as a 14 year old senate page who quickly caught LBJ's eye.  LBJ so admired Baker that he said "If I had a son, this would be the boy" and hired him as secretary to the Senate majority leader in 1955.  Baker's meteoric rise to power and prominence earned him title of the "one hundred and first senator".  According to Nelson, Baker "was the closest person in Washington to Lyndon Johnson and even bought two to Johnson's in order to be as close as possible at all times to him."

Regarding Baker's own rag to richest story, Nelson writes:
In only eight years, while his salary doubled to $19,600, he reported (probably understated) his net worth of $2,166,866, which had grown from about $10,000 at the start.  Despite his $20,000 salary, Banker had ownership interests in nine different corporations, including his own vending company, a travel agency and one of the first high-rise hotels in Ocean City, Maryland, the Carousel....
In addition to his close relationship with Lyndon Johnson, with whom he skimmed money through favors made and traded, influence peddling, and governmental job appointments, Baker had managed to ingratiate himself into the government bureaucracy that controlled the awarding of contracts for many areas of government commerce."
One of Baker's companies was a vending machine company and Baker used his power to get his vending machines installed in many government offices and military installations.

LBJ and Baker were owners of a private nightclub in DC called the Quorum Club where congress critters, the political elite, lobbyists, high ranking bureaucrats and businessmen could go ostensibly to frolic in private and enjoy the favors of stunningly beautiful women.  Both Baker and J. Edgar Hoover had the place bugged and collected a ton of information on severely compromised individuals.  A lot of dirty deals were negotiated at the Quorum Club and Baker and Hoover had the goods on everybody.  Compromised individuals facing sexual or financial scandals are suddenly compliant and very pliable - they will do whatever it takes to preserve their public image and power.

J. Edgar Hoover

The legendary J. Edgar Hoover whose reputation as America's chief crime fighter earned him national respect and adoration was a total fraud, a blackmailer and a murderous criminal who used his power to squash the investigation into JFK's murder.   It's impossible for Hoover not to have known about the plan to murder JFK; he was directly complicit in JFK's murder and cover-up.   LBJ lived across the street from Hoover for many years and they became quite close.  A lot of the dirty leverage that LBJ used against others came straight from Hoover who used the FBI to gather the dirt on everybody from businessmen, members of Congress and high ranking bureaucrats.  If anything, DC is a town of many well kept dark secrets.

TX oilman Clint Murchison owned the Hotel Del Charro in La Jolla, California, a well known San Diego suburb for the rich and famous. The Del Charro was more like a private club for the rich and powerful. Politicians, businessmen, well known mafia figures and J. Edgar Hoover frequented the hotel. Hoover vacationed there annually with his homosexual partner and supposedly never paid; he was a guest of Murchison. Many researchers have concluded that the Mafia had documented evidence of Hoover's homosexuality (photos) and that Hoover was bribed into backing off on investigations into organized crime. When the nation's chief law enforcer hangs out with big name mobsters, it raises the issue of the integrity of law enforcement and the FBI. But in a world where everybody had some dirt on everybody else, the game is all about protecting the power brokers and guarantying freedom from criminal prosecution and/or public scrutiny of financial or sexual activities.

LBJ's World Starts to Crash

John and Bobbie Kennedy were working fast and furious to gather enough evidence on LBJ to destroy his career, expose his criminal empire and land him in prison.  Moreover, it was common knowledge that JFK was absolutely going to ditch LBJ as his running mate in the 1964 election.  LBJ and the Kennedy brothers were mortal enemies.  As Attorney General, Bobby Kennedy was J. Edgar Hoover's boss but despite Hoover digging up sexual dirt on the Kennedy brothers, something that was quite easy to do considering their extraordinary appetite to bed numerous women regardless of the risk or consequences, Bobby managed subvert the FBI and dig up the dirt on Johnson which was fed to the press.

Specifically, investigations of Billie Sol Estes and Bobby Baker, and their criminal activities linking back to LBJ were advancing with a fury.  However, the Bobby Baker story really started to break in the fall of 1963. Nelson writes:
The news of the emerging scandals began showing up more regularly in The New York Times during September 1963 and continued throughout October, including linkages of Baker to Johnson, Davidson and Murchison and stories about another associate, Ed Levinson, and his Las Vegas skimming operation.  The Long Island tabloid Newsday printed an article on October 19, 1963 titled "Baker Scandal Quiz Opens Today," beginning with these words: "Already liberally spiced with sex, scandal, and intrigue, the tantalizing case of Robert G. (Bobby) Baker comes under official scrutiny today.  And what everyone wants to know is: Who is going to get caught?". The article included the following : "A report, from those who claim 'insider information,' is that the Justice Department started an investigation of Banker as a means of embarrassing Johnson and eliminating him from the Democratic ticket next hear...." (emphasis added).  The November 8 issue of Life magazine featured a coveer page with a picture of Bobby Baker at a masqueeerade party with a bold headline: "CAPITAL BUZZES OVER STORIES OF MISCONDUCT IN HIGH PLACES: THE BOBBY BAKER BOMBSHELL."  The article (p. 36) asked the rhetorical question, "How had a simple, hardworking majority secretary, earning $19,612 a year, struck it so rich in so short a time?'.  
Johnson and Hoover knew they had to tread carefully around the breaking news stories and rumors that were quickly spreading about Capitol Hill's sex scandal because it was so closely  related to the concurrent Bobby Baker financial scandals, which included Johnson's procurement of a $100,000 payoff for the TFX contract and numerous other related financial payoff schemes developed over many years.
LBJ was instrumental in securing defense contracts for Texas based General Dynamics, for a price of course.

Meanwhile, the Billie Sol Estes fiasco was far from buried and Nelson writes "By the autumn of 1963, the rumors of Lyndon Johnson's many entanglements with the Billie Sol Estes case and the TFX payoff were still percolating."

JFK Needs to Die and Quickly

Nobody understood more than LBJ that his life was crashing, that he would be exposed as a crook and criminal and he would probably go to prison UNLESS he became president and had the absolute power to squash the investigations that could ruin and imprison him.  Killing a president was LBJ's only option to save himself, his empire and his legacy.

LBJ had numerous powerful friend in high places and in key agencies - the FBI, CIA, Department of Defense, Justice Department, corporate cronies, Wall Street and the mob.  That all of these resources combined to hatch a conspiracy to murder a sitting president who was growing more popular with the people and a whole lot less popular with big money interests and the military industrial complex is precisely what happened.  Furthermore, LBJ literally OWNED and/or CONTROLLED Texas  - nearly all of its politicians, legislators, police departments, county sheriffs, attorney generals and Texas big money.  Hardly anybody in Texas would consider crossing LBJ in anyway, let alone refuse to carry out direct orders from him.

Nelson's well researched account of how the murder was carried out and the players involved is a fascinating glimpse into how power and politics really work in DC.   Effectively, LBJ and his co-conspirators successfully implemented a coup d'etat by removing JFK's security detail, practically eliminating Secret Service protection and police motorcycle protection that had accompanied JFK on his other stops in TX.  In all probability, the Secret Service was complicit in JFK's murder.

Dealey Plaza was specifically chosen because it was a perfect kill zone where the presidential limousine could be slowed to a crawl and multiple hit teams placed to cover the kill zone.  Dealey Plaza was an assassin's dream, a trifecta of kill zones.

Although multiple shots were fired from several locations, the actual kill shot came from the front, was fired behind the Grassy Knoll, the entrance wound was in JFK's forehead and the exit would literally blew out the back of his head and spilled his brains everywhere, even on First Lady Jackie Kennedy.  That the kill shot was in the front of JFK's head was something that all the doctors at the Parkland Hospital immediately recognized.  If anything, a Texas doctors understands gunshot wounds, entrance and exit wounds.

The other critically important book that I read on JFK's murder was JFK and the Unspeakable, Why He Died and Why it Matters by James Douglass.  The Douglass and Nelson books are different in that Douglass focuses more extensively on foreign policy, not that Nelson in anyway ignored the issue but Douglass hardly even mentions LBJ who is the focus of Nelson's book.

Douglass is convinced that the murder was carried out by the CIA, that its fingerprints are all over the deed and that the CIA, military industrial complex and FBI were involved to various degrees in planning, execution and the Warren Commission cover-up.

Both Douglass and Nelson agree that the kill shot came from the front and that it was impossible for Lee Harvey Oswald to have committed the deed.  Both extensively cover interviews with Dealey Plaza witnesses and medical professionals at Parkland hospital who were forced to change their testimony under threats of bodily harm to them and/or their families.  Sometimes the Warren Commission just changed or omitted testimony.  Many of the witnesses were so intimidated and frightened by law enforcement and the FBI (the most critical federal agency in the cover-up) that they did not speak up for years.  Some wrote books detailing their experience and as the years passed some felt compelled to speak up about what really happened in Dallas on that fateful 22nd day of November in 1963.

It's impossible to summarize in a blog post all that happened on November 22, 1963 but Nelson's 600 page book is a page turner full of history and substantial documentations on the individuals involved including their motivations to murder a president.  The Douglass book is equally important and certainly not redundant.

If anything the Nelson and Douglass books complement each other and points of conflict are relatively insignificant considering all that happened on November 22, 1963 and during its subsequent government cover-up.

The members of the Warren Commission were handpicked by LBJ with the assistance of Hoover because the cover-up, magic bullet theory, witness tampering and fraud were indeed key components of the greatest political fraud and injustice ever perpetrated upon the American people.  The Warren Commission consisted of Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, Senator Richard Russell (GA), Senator John Cooper (KY), 2 representatives, Hale Boggs (LA), Gerald Ford (MI),  John McCloy, former president of the World Bank and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Allen Dulles, a former CIA Director.   The Warren Commission and its powerful insiders had a vested interest in protecting LBJ and his regime because much was at stake.  The American people must not ever know that a Vice President and various government agencies murdered a sitting president.

Although the Warren Commission got away with covering up the crime of the century, at least to the extent that the American people believed the government and elected LBJ president in 1964, all did not go well. Boggs and Russell came to understand that they were being used.  Nelson states:
Senator Russell so distrusted the FBI investigation that he decided to simultaneously conduct his own private inquiry which came to the conclusion that Oswald did not do it. Representative Boggs would later say that J. Edgar Hoover "lied his eyes out to the Commission - on Oswald, on Ruby, on their friends, the bullets, the gun, you name it.".
Senator Russell refused to sign the Warren Commission report unless his dissent was included.  He agreed to sign after he was promised that his dissent would be included.  His dissent was not included and had disappeared for several decades until it was located among Senator Russell's papers at the University of Georgia.

J. Edgar Hoover was very influential in assisting LBJ on who to select for the Warren Commission.  Nelson writes:
Under J. Edgar Hoover's guidance, the men Johnson appointed include two notable subgroups, the Eastern Troika and the Southern Gentlemen.  The Troika - John McCloy, Allen Dulles and Gerlad Ford - was the dominant group, comprised of men who had a personal stake in the outcome and were arguably affirmatively involved in the plot (though in Ford's case "unwittingly").  The Southern Gentlemen group, John sherman Cooper (KY), Hale Boggs (LA) and Richard Russell (GA) - was marginalized by the Troika and fooled into believing that their objections would be recorded as such when the full report was published; as it turned out, that was only a device used by the majority to swindle them into signing the report since the dissenting opinions were never published.
The problem with politics and power is that damn few are innocent.  Exactly why JFK selected LBJ as his running mate is the subject of dispute but Nelson believes that JFK was literally bribed into accepting LBJ after he had already selected Sen. Stuart Symington (MO).

However, the 1960 election was expected to be very close and ended up with the JFK-LBJ ticket winning over Nixon by a mere 100,000 votes although the victory looks better with the Electoral College vote of 303-219 . Still, LBJ delivered TX to JFK along with 24 electoral votes.

An Irish Catholic Yankee was not popular in the south so concerns about JFK carrying the south were always a major issue.  Moreover, it is entirely possible that the Kennedy campaign team was convinced that they stood a chance of winning most of everything except for the south and California (Nixon's home state) but that was an inherently risky assumption.   Still, JFK had decided to offer the vice presidency to Stuart Symington (MO) and later withdrew the offer and shocked everyone when he announced that LBJ would be his running mate.

Many researchers believe that JFK was bribed into accepting LBJ as his running mate and that JFK's political future would be ruined if word got out about his extensive extramarital sex life.  Nelson goes into considerable detail on how the bribe unfolded at the Democratic Convention and it all happened though JFK meetings with LBJ, Speaker Sam Rayburn, Washington Post's Phil Graham (a mentally unstable man who committed suicide with a 28 gauge shotgun on 8/3/63 at the age of 48) and Tommy Corcoran, a high powered DC lobbyist.  Rayburn, Graham and Corcoran were hardcore Johnson loyalists who despised JFK and pressured/threatened/bribed him into accepting LBJ as his running mate.

LBJ delivered key southern states in the 1960 general election that JFK would probably have lost without LBJ on the ticket.  Those state also delivered 73 electoral votes: TX (24), NC (14), GA (12), LA (10), SC (8) and MS (5), here.

Faced with nasty options, JFK made a pact with the devil, a decision that would ultimately cost him his life.   On the 1960 presidential election, Nelson writes:
The Kennedy-Johnson ticket won the election of 1960 in eleven states through massive voter fraud, with which the Republican candidate, Richard M. Nixon, would have won the presidency eight years earlier than he eventually did.
Behind every sordid political scandal in America along with the cover-up of crimes lies the US media.  If anything, the media has always and continues to facilitate lies and disinformation as agents of the government. Nelson covers this issue as it relates to the CIA and Frank Wisner, a high ranking CIA operative.
His organization evolved and became the agency's Plans Division in 1951, when Wisner succeeded Allen W. Dulles.  In the 1950's Frank Wisner was intent on establishing direct contacts between the agency and the Fourth Estate - the American press - journalists and book publishers who would willingly assist the CIA to communicate their view on any national or internatiional political or military issue in a favorable light....
In 1951, Wisner established Operation Mockingbird, a program to influence the American media.  "'Wisner recruited Philip Graham  (Washington Post) to run the project within the industry,' according to Deborah Davis in Katherine the Great: 'By the early 1950's, Wisner "owned" respected members of The New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and other communication vehicles.'"  These journalists sometimes wrote articles that were unofficially commissioned by Cord Meyer, based on leaked classified information from the CIA.
Ironically, LBJ, Phil Graham and Frank Wisner all were believed to mentally ill and suffering from bipolar disease.  Like Graham, Wisner succumbed to mental breakdowns and was hospitalized and Wisner eventually shot himself to death like Graham.

LBJ sat out his days in baronial splendor on his sprawling TX ranch, a real hero of the progressive left because of his Great Society and its socialist vision.  Scant attention was ever paid to LBJ's murderous deeds and crimes including vastly expanding the Vietnam War, a war JFK was determined to end.  Millions of southeast Asians died in LBJ's war along with the 58,286 names on the Vietnam War Memorial.  Millions of soldiers returned from Vietnam permanently injured and broken men.  The truth about the USS Liberty has always been buried by the government and media.

LBJ's 'official' biographers continue to sanitize LBJ and withhold the truth.  But Phil Nelson gives us the 'real' LBJ and the unvarnished truth in all its blood soaked glory.  Although Nelson does not cover the USS Liberty in this book, it's my understanding from a JFK-LBJ researcher friend that Nelson's next book will exclusively focus on the USS Liberty.

In liberty, I applaud the courageous Americans, researchers and authors who struggle to tell the truth against a backdrop of media and government duplicity, misinformation, disinformation, intervention and non-stop propaganda.  Folks like Phillip Nelson are true American heroes and national treasures, and decent and honest Americans need to support the work of Nelson and others whose commitment to truth and justice is the only thing that even remotely holds the promise to save us from tyranny and a militarized dictatorship as well as the persistent and pathological public corruption that supports it.

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