Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Lyndon Johnson’

Don’t Have a Holy Cow, Man! – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on January 22, 2021

We can’t get the full details due to supposed security concerns—but we do know that ordinary Americans in the clutches of raging mobs are expected to take it for the greater good. AOC tweeted on December 2: “To folks who complain protest demands make others uncomfortable… that’s the point.” That these events left some of them homeless, jobless, maimed or dead didn’t count. It was a price she was willing to let others pay. Earlier in the year we heard: “once someone doesn’t have access to clean water, they have no choice but to riot.” The media, somehow, forgot to report water shortages in any of the 48 cities that got torched.

By Tim Hartnett

The old gripe “is nothing sacred” looked worn out by 1987. That was when the National Endowment for the Arts finished handing Andres Serrano 20 grand for “Piss Christ.” He got the materials for his masterpiece from the gift department of a drug store then drank a 40 for the pissspiration. But that doesn’t prove life imitates art—Janet Cooke won the Pulitzer for fake news six years before that.

The NEA was launched by Lyndon Johnson—a chief executive well known for public displays of emission himself. If he had lived, LBJ probably would have ranked Serrano as an unequaled genius until Cardi-B came along. Federally funded artistes surely rate that prez, known for waving “jumbo” around, as a highly refined aesthete.

But if you thought the last vestiges of sanctimony swirled in the bowl a generation ago you’d be mistaken. A glance at the huffing and puffing in the January 15, Huffington Post is a good example. “Tucker Carlson Slammed for ‘Vile and Vicious” Attack on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez” reads the headline. Carlson was having some chuckles at AOC for claiming she narrowly escaped death when the Capitol got stormed on the 6th. A rapidly spreading cult demands that all of its prophets’ words be taken as gospel—unbelievers will taste their wrath:

“Wednesday was an extremely traumatizing event and it is not an exaggeration to say that many many members of the House were nearly assassinated. It’s just not an exaggeration to say that at all,” she said.”

We can’t get the full details due to supposed security concerns—but we do know that ordinary Americans in the clutches of raging mobs are expected to take it for the greater good. AOC tweeted on December 2: “To folks who complain protest demands make others uncomfortable… that’s the point.” That these events left some of them homeless, jobless, maimed or dead didn’t count. It was a price she was willing to let others pay. Earlier in the year we heard: “once someone doesn’t have access to clean water, they have no choice but to riot.” The media, somehow, forgot to report water shortages in any of the 48 cities that got torched.

When you write off half the country as “Nazis”—without any basis—who can’t be randomly attacked for the advancement of equity, diversity and ecology? The ungrateful working stiff remains fair game. It’s snorting at self-serving drama that’s the crime against humanity. That proscription is upheld by the faithful. Tweets and comments on the HuffPost article reveal a congregation that is seething. Wise guys are warned that poking fun at Democrats amounts to death threats.

Actual death threats, sent to others by AOC fans, leave media eyes rolling. Defending yourself from the random blows of the oppressed became unjustifiable aggression years ago. Now, laughing at a narcissistic performance is grounds for appearance before a Social justice Tribunal.

How long do we have before Twitter, Facebook, Google, Amazon and the rest of the Inquisition ration out the yuks in accordance with the new saintly order? Or are we already living it?

What unpretentious people actually find funny lays as low as the undead in daylight during our pious era. Woke vigilantes lurk everywhere, stalking humor with a stake for its heart. On top of that, in an epidemic of mass brain damage, audiences pretend that Hannah Gadsby, Samantha Bee and Chelsea Handler shows are not grating ordeals. Al Bundy is no longer around to critique them–possibly the greatest cultural loss of our times. Readership at HuffPost, Slate and Salon would place the shoe salesman in a noose next to Julius Streicher. If you’re not spending your days agonizing over what’s allowed to amuse you—or forcing yourself to enjoy entertainment from oppressed demographics—non-personhood may be your future.

When an unelected 16-year-old gets to rain fire and brimstone at a rapt UN audience—we sinners are expected bow in grievous awe—and never think of corporal punishment. Children who read the riot act to billions of adults are too young to be questioned or ridiculed—it’s the latest in generational privilege. So, Greta Thunberg becomes the equal of Joan of Arc, immolated for taking a sailboat ride. It’d be hilarious if we were allowed to laugh.

Getting tickled by Whoopi Goldberg recommending Jill Biden for Surgeon General puts the accused in double jeopardy. Not a shred of evidence exists that anyone on The View is capable of discussing a serious subject. But to remain un-excommunicated you must maintain the opposite opinion out loud. And then call the First Lady “Doc” for an advanced teaching degree secured with a thesis as original as a Joe speech. In Jill’s defense, assembly line mass production in the education industry doesn’t leave her playing doctor alone. If the equality movement isn’t careful we’ll end up with more castes and lowly serfs than feudal Europe and India combined. The very book Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson, is frequently a complaint about underlings that don’t recognize the author’s high caste.

Suppose Jussie Smollett had been slick enough not to get caught? Only the saps would be safe—anyone shaking their head gets relegated to the KKK. Just trying to pin down the hokey details would amount to a second lynching. Nipping sensible questions in the bud is the most precious stratagem of rule by the intersectionalists. They’d have the ex-Empire actor in the martyr books with Blandina if the Osundairo brothers could have lived with the dishonor.

Taking people too big for their britches down a notch is among the top five reasons for staying alive. Some of the greatest at dishing it out have taken the axe, the noose and the flame for the sake of it. In the name of those martyrs we can never let the woker-than-thou off the hook. If they come for us at least we’ll die laughing.

The Best of Tim Hartnett Tim Hartnett [send him mail] was born in Alexandria, Va. He works as a contractor and sometime bartender in Northern Va. Past columns include “What is the Conservative Movement” and “The Clothes Make the G-Man.”

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Let’s Abolish Those Presidential Medals of Freedom

Posted by M. C. on January 21, 2021

The war on terror made Presidential Medals of Freedom even more shameless. Retired colonel Andrew Bacevich observed, “After 9/11, the Medal of Freedom went from being irrelevant to somewhere between whimsical and fraudulent. Any correlation with freedom as such, never more than tenuous in the first place, dissolved altogether.”

James Bovard

The Washington Post is outraged that Donald Trump has sullied one of Washington’s most hallowed honors—Presidential Medals of Freedom. After the White House announced plans to bestow the medals on two Republican members of Congress and a football coach, the Post thundered that “Trump just underlines his own unworthiness when he makes a mockery of the Medal of Freedom….This president cannot be trusted to hand out medals.”

The Post editorial concluded with the obligatory uplift of the season: “Thankfully, the Oval Office will soon be occupied by a president—himself a rightful recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom—who understands and will honor the traditions of the presidency.” Did Biden receive the Medal of Freedom for taking the lead in enacting the 1994 crime bill, which the New York Times reported helped spawn “the explosion of the prison population”? Did Biden receive the medal for helping Barack Obama win reelection in 2012 by telling black voters that Mitt Romney would “put you all back in chains”? No, he simply received it for being Obama’s vice president, pocketing the award shortly before Obama left office. But from the Post’s view, the fact that Biden received a Washington honorific that included the name “freedom” proves that he is honorable.

Presidential Medals of Freedom have long been far more squalid than the Washington Post recognizes—in part because the Post cheered the wars that spurred many of the most tainted awards.

President Lyndon Johnson distributed a bucket of Medals of Freedom to his Vietnam War architects and enablers, including Ellsworth Bunker, Dean Acheson, Dean Rusk, Clark Clifford, Averell Harriman, Cyrus Vance, Walt Rostow, and McGeorge Bundy. When he gave the award to Defense secretary Robert McNamara, he declared, “You have understood that while freedom depends on strength, strength itself depends on the determination of free people.” In reality, Johnson treasured McNamara for his ability to help deceive Americans about how the US was failing in Vietnam. McNamara’s lies helped vastly expand an unnecessary conflict and cost more than a million American and Vietnamese lives. The Washington Post editorial page didn’t complain about those awards, because the Post avidly supported that war. (After exiting the Pentagon, McNamara joined the Post’s board of directors.)

President Richard Nixon inherited the Vietnam War and expanded and intensified US bombing of Indochina. Nixon gave Medals of Freedom to Pentagon chief Melvin Laird (who helped shroud the war’s continuing failure) and his secretary of state, William Rogers. President Gerald Ford gave the Medal of Freedom to his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, and his chief of staff, Donald Rumsfeld—two persons notorious for tarnishing the honor of the United States in foreign affairs. The Post didn’t denounce the Medal of Freedom for Kissinger; instead, they made the Great Deceiver a columnist.

President George H.W. Bush blanketed Medals of Freedom on top officials involved with the first Gulf War, including Norman Schwarzkopf, Colin Powell, James Baker, Dick Cheney, and Brent Scowcroft. The Post didn’t complain about those awards, because that was another war that the Post editorial page whooped up all the way.

The war on terror made Presidential Medals of Freedom even more shameless. Retired colonel Andrew Bacevich observed, “After 9/11, the Medal of Freedom went from being irrelevant to somewhere between whimsical and fraudulent. Any correlation with freedom as such, never more than tenuous in the first place, dissolved altogether.” After he deceived America into supporting an attack on Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush conferred Medals of Freedom on his Iraq war team, including CIA chief George “Slam Dunk” Tenet, Iraq viceroy Paul Bremer, General Peter Pace, General Richard Myers, and General Tommy Franks, as well as prowar foreign lackeys such as Australian former prime minister John Howard and British former prime minister Tony Blair. The Post was outraged, because—no, wait, the Post editorial page thunderously supported that war, too.

Perhaps because Trump did not start any disastrous wars which he had to paper over with awards to failed generals, he has distributed much fewer Medals of Freedom than other recent presidents. Sports figures were among the most notable recipients, including Jerry West, Tiger Woods, Lou Holtz, and Gary Player. Like prior presidents, Trump gave the award to some of his political allies and supporters, including Representative Jim Jordan, Representative Devin Nunes, and Rush Limbaugh.

A long series of American presidents could not have done so much to trample our rights and liberties and to wreak havoc around the globe without the aid of people with neither scruples nor decency. Medals of Freedom are one of the cheapest ways for rulers to reward their lackeys. The names of many of the medal recipients look like confirmation of the famous passage from Friedrich Hayek’s chapter in The Road to Serfdom “Why the Worst Get on Top”:

Since it is the supreme leader who alone determines the ends, his instruments must have no moral convictions of their own. They must, above all, be unreservedly committed to the person of the leader; but next to this the most important thing is that they should be completely unprincipled and literally capable of everything. They must have no ideals of their own which they want to realize; no ideas about right or wrong which might interfere with the intentions of the leader….The only tastes which are satisfied are the taste for power as such and the pleasure of being obeyed and of being part of a well-functioning and immensely powerful machine to which everything else must give way.

Except for Kissinger, of course.

Presidential Medals of Freedom encourage Americans to view their personal freedom as the result of government intervention—if not as a bequest from the commander in chief. Ironically, the individual who poses the greatest potential threat to freedom has sole discretion to designate the purported best friends of freedom. The media usually provides gushing coverage of the award ceremonies, never mentioning that the arbitrary power of the Supreme Leader was why the Founding Fathers fought a revolution.

The Post editorial page was correct when it declared, “This president cannot be trusted to hand out medals.” But if Biden starts a war and scatters Presidential Medals of Freedom like cluster bombs on the war makers, the Post will be cheering all the way. In reality, no president can be trusted to designate the true champions of freedom. At a minimum, Presidential Medals of Freedom should be suspended until presidents cease acting like czars or elective dictators. If that beneficent reform occurs…don’t wait up for the next award ceremony. Author:

James Bovard

James Bovard is the author of ten books, including 2012’s Public Policy Hooligan, and 2006’s Attention Deficit Democracy. He has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Washington Post, and many other publications.

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The Strange Synchronicity of Seemingly Unrelated Enigmatic Events: April 1963, Seven Months Before JFK’s Assassination – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 17, 2020

LBJ was interesting to say the least.

This book looks good.


LBJ: Master of Deceit


During the month of April, 1963, a number of strange events (or metaphoric “threads”) occurred that, when woven together, suggest that they had much in common, in the context of the evolving plot to murder President Kennedy and ensure that a major change in the direction of the United States would be effected: A military/intelligence take-over of the U.S. foreign policy was the immediate goal of the forces behind the 1963 coup d’état.  Domestic policy was the secondary, albeit inseparable, goal.

The following list includes some of the most notable events that took place over a two-week period of that month:

Wednesday, April 10TH:

Someone – to this day it is not clear who – shot a bullet through the window of retired General Edwin Walker, a staunchly-conservative veteran of World War II and the Korean War.  Walker, despite having been appointed by President Eisenhower to successfully lead the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School in 1957, later became associated with segregationists and members of the right-wing organization the John Birch Society.  In 1961 he became the only Army general to resign after his controversial actions related to allegedly indoctrinating troops under his command in Germany with materials that claimed that communists were in control of much of the government and were behind the racial integration program.

In 1961-62, Walker began making numerous public speeches and, with the backing of the oil billionaire and radio-host H. L. Hunt, he began a campaign to run for governor of Texas, but finished last in the Republican primary election to John Connally.  On December 4, 1961, his photo appeared on the front cover of Newsweek magazine under the title, “Thunder on the Right.”  It had become widely known in the area that Walker lived on Turtle Creek Drive near downtown Dallas.

The bullet hit the wooden window frame, which deflected it away from Walker.  Many researchers believe that it is unlikely that Oswald was involved in that shooting, given that at least one eyewitness stated that there were two men on the scene during the shooting, who escaped in separate cars immediately afterward; Walker himself stated that, after going upstairs to get a pistol, he came back down the stairway and, through a front window: “I saw a car at the bottom of the church alley just making a turn onto Turtle Creek.  The car was unidentifiable. I could see the two back lights . . . I could see it moving out . . . [it] would have been about at the right time for anybody that was making a getaway.”[i]  Oswald did not have routine access to a car.

Many, if not most, researchers have not only discounted the notion that Oswald fired the shot at Walker but believe that it was part of the plan, intentionally designed to set him up as a patsy as a specific instance of his supposed capacity for violence.  Given General Walker’s reputation as an arch-enemy of the Kennedys, especially their efforts to pass civil rights reforms, it is possible that he volunteered his assistance in such a caper.  That Jack Ruby had casually “fingered” Oswald soon after the event conveniently helped the commission to make a case of violent behavior for a man not otherwise known for that.

As noted below, at least before Marina Oswald told the Warren Commission that she believed that Lee was the shooter (the pressure on her — including threats of deportation — must be considered regarding everything she said), Walker suspected others of the act, specifically a neighbor of George De Mohrenschildt named Dr. William Wolf. As noted below, Wolf would die nine days later in a fire in his apartment.

Easter Weekend, April 13-14:

LBJ Reordered Security: From JFK to Himself Read the rest of this entry »

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Data Show That Poverty in the U.S. Was Plummeting—Until Lyndon Johnson Declared War On It – Foundation for Economic Education

Posted by M. C. on June 26, 2019

We were winning until the government turned it into (another) war.

Daniel J. Mitchell

One of the more elementary observations about economics is that a nation’s prosperity is determined in part by the quantity and quality of labor and capital. These “factors of production” are combined to generate national income.

I frequently grouse that punitive tax policies discourage capital. There’s less incentive to invest, after all, if the government imposes extra layers of tax on income that is saved and invested.

Bad tax laws also discourage labor. High marginal tax rates penalize people for being productive, and this can be especially counterproductive for entrepreneurship and innovation.

Still, we shouldn’t overlook how government discourages low-income people from being productively employed. But the problem is more on the spending side of the fiscal equation.

The Welfare State’s Effect on the Poor

In Thursday’s Wall Street Journal, John Early and Phil Gramm share some depressing numbers about growing dependency in the United States:

During the 20 years before the War on Poverty was funded, the portion of the nation living in poverty had dropped to 14.7% from 32.1%. Since 1966, the first year with a significant increase in antipoverty spending, the poverty rate reported by the Census Bureau has been virtually unchanged…Transfers targeted to low-income families increased in real dollars from an average of $3,070 per person in 1965 to $34,093 in 2016…Transfers now constitute 84.2% of the disposable income of the poorest quintile of American households and 57.8% of the disposable income of lower-middle-income households. These payments also make up 27.5% of America’s total disposable income.

This massive expansion of redistribution has negatively impacted incentives to work:

The stated goal of the War on Poverty is not just to raise living standards but also to make America’s poor more self-sufficient and to bring them into the mainstream of the economy. In that effort the war has been an abject failure, increasing dependency and largely severing the bottom fifth of earners from the rewards and responsibilities of work…The expanding availability of antipoverty transfers has devastated the work effort of poor and lower-middle income families. By 1975 the lowest-earning fifth of families had 24.8% more families with a prime-work age head and no one working than did their middle-income peers. By 2015 this differential had risen to 37.1%…The War on Poverty has increased dependency and failed in its primary effort to bring poor people into the mainstream of America’s economy and communal life. Government programs replaced deprivation with idleness, stifling human flourishing. It happened just as President Franklin Roosevelt said it would: “The lessons of history,” he said in 1935, “show conclusively that continued dependency upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber.”

In another WSJ column on the same topic, Peter Cove reached a similar conclusion:

America doesn’t have a worker shortage; it has a work shortage. The unemployment rate is at a 15-year low, but only 55% of Americans adults 18 to 64 have full-time jobs. Nearly 95 million people have removed themselves entirely from the job market. According to demographer Nicholas Eberstadt, the labor-force participation rate for men 25 to 54 is lower now than it was at the end of the Great Depression. The welfare state is largely to blame… insisting on work in exchange for social benefits would succeed in reducing dependency. We have the data: Within 10 years of the 1996 reform, the number of Americans in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program fell 60%. But no reform is permanent. Under President Obama, federal poverty programs ballooned.

Edward Glaeser produced a similar indictment in an article for City Journal:

In 1967, 95 percent of “prime-age” men between the ages of 25 and 54 worked. During the Great Recession, though, the share of jobless prime-age males rose above 20 percent. Even today, long after the recession officially ended, more than 15 percent of such men aren’t working… The rise of joblessness—especially among men—is the great American domestic crisis of the twenty-first century. It is a crisis of spirit more than of resources… Proposed solutions that focus solely on providing material benefits are a false path. Well-meaning social policies—from longer unemployment insurance to more generous disability diagnoses to higher minimum wages—have only worsened the problem; the futility of joblessness won’t be solved with a welfare check… various programs make joblessness more bearable, at least materially; they also reduce the incentives to find work… The past decade or so has seen a resurgent progressive focus on inequality—and little concern among progressives about the downsides of discouraging work… The decision to prioritize equality over employment is particularly puzzling, given that social scientists have repeatedly found that unemployment is the greater evil.

Encouraging Dependency

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How a Standoff With the U.S. Almost Blew Up Israel’s Nuclear Program

Posted by M. C. on May 4, 2019

Kennedy’s Nuclear nonproliferation. Killed by Lyndon Johnson.

When it comes to LBJ and Israel, we know who was the boss.

As we like to say here – Remember The Liberty

Avner Cohen

Throughout the spring and summer of 1963, the leaders of the United States and Israel – President John F. Kennedy and Prime Ministers David Ben-Gurion and Levi Eshkol – were engaged in a high-stakes battle of wills over Israel’s nuclear program. The tensions were invisible to the publics of both countries, and only a few senior officials, on both sides of the ocean, were aware of the severity of the situation

In Israel, those in the know saw the situation as a real crisis, as a former high-level science adviser, Prof. Yuval Ne’eman, told one of us (Avner Cohen) 25 years ago. Ne’eman recalled that Eshkol, Ben-Gurion’s successor, and his associates saw Kennedy as presenting Israel with a real ultimatum. There was even one senior Israeli official, Ne’eman told me, the former Israel Air Force commander Maj. Gen. (res.) Dan Tolkowsky, who seriously entertained the fear that Kennedy might send U.S. airborne troops to Dimona, the home of Israel’s nuclear complex.

What was at stake was the future of Israel’s nuclear program. Kennedy, with an exceptionally strong commitment to nuclear nonproliferation, was determined to do all he could to prevent Israel from producing nuclear weapons. Ben-Gurion (and later Eshkol) were equally determined to complete the Dimona project. For them, nuclear capability was an indispensable insurance policy against existential threats to Israel. The exchange between the American president and the two prime ministers illustrates both Kennedy’s tenacity and the Israeli leaders’ recalcitrance.

Earlier this week, we published – on the website of the National Security Archive – a collection of nearly 50 American documents from U.S. archives that illuminate for the first time the full scope of this secret American-Israeli confrontation. The collection includes not only the entire exchange of messages between the leaders – Kennedy, Ben-Gurion and Eshkol – but also many related American documents, some of which were declassified and became available only in recent months…

In the end, the confrontation between President Kennedy and two Israeli prime ministers resulted in a series of six American inspections of the Dimona nuclear complex, once a year between 1964 and 1969. They were never conducted under the strict conditions Kennedy laid out in his letters. While Kennedy’s successor remained committed to the cause of nuclear nonproliferation and supported American inspection visits at Dimona, he was much less concerned about holding the Israelis to Kennedy’s terms. In retrospect, this change of attitude may have saved the Israeli nuclear program.

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USS Liberty




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Lessons From the Tet Offensive, A Half Century Later

Posted by M. C. on February 3, 2018

for Johnson to lament that if he had lost Cronkite then he had lost the American people.

The ‘lessons’ described in the story have great merit.

Again, in most of these places the outcomes that matter will depend less on such metrics and more on politics, perception, and emotion. Again, Americans have the disadvantage of being the outsiders and the hazard of becoming targets of those with nationalist sensibilities or anger wrought by collateral damage.

Yet the point that struck me the most was that Cronkite would say anything bad about a democrat’s policy, let alone if that democrat was president. I doubt many republicans were invited to cruise the Potomac on Walter’s yacht.

By most strictly military measures, the offensive was a defeat for the communists and a victory for the United States and its allies. Communist forces were unable to hold the cities that they had brazenly attacked, and those forces sustained huge casualties. But the military outcome was not what mattered most, either in the immediate aftermath of the offensive or ultimately. The political, perceptual, and emotional outcomes were what mattered, and they led the history books to view Tet not as a U.S. victory but as a big setback. Read the rest of this entry »

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