By Jon Christian Ryter
September 19, 2007
Men are not perfect creatures. It's the nature of the beast. Presidents are no exception. Before they become the most powerful man in the world, they climb into their trousers and tied their shoes the same way we do—one leg and one foot at a time. While most of this century's leaders came from reasonable affluence, a few of them—like Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon or Reagan—could have been your neighbors growing up. They didn't come from money. None had expectations of greatness. Circumstance was their only guide through their early years, and circumstance placed them in the path of greatness.
Before Bill and Hillary Clinton moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the American people never imagined they could be sufficiently buffaloed by any politician to vote a crook into the White House. Richard Milhous Nixon—who stoutly protested that he was not a crook—had serious ethics problems but whose criminal complicity was limited to his participation in the coverup of the burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters by key members of his re-election team. Nixon's criminality was minuscule compared to the Clintons. Nixon's ethic lapse was bad enough to warrant his impeachment and removal from office—but only because the Democrats were in control of both Houses of Congress. Had Nixon not resigned at the urging of George H.W. Bush (who also masterminded the selection of House Minority Leader Gerald Ford as America's first appointed Vice President—who apparently assured Bush that he would pardon Nixon if he was forced to step down—its obvious from hindsight that Nixon would have been the first sitting president removed from office had he not resigned.
Hindsight also supports the conjecture that had President John F. Kennedy not been assassinated in Dallas, Texas on Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, the headlines in the nation's newspapers on Monday, Nov. 25, 1963 most likely would have concerned efforts to force the resignation of the Vice President, talk about the possible impeachment of Johnson, or Johnson's decision not to be on the ticket in 1964.
Those headlines failed to materialize not because Sen. John McClellan [D-AR], the powerful Chairman of the Permanent Intelligence Committee or Sen. B. Everett Jordan [D-NC] (who conducted the secret inquiry of the conduct of the Vice President on Nov. 22 through the Senate Rules Committee which he chaired) were close friends who shielded him; but, rather, because the Vice President became the President of the United States that same day. The Senate Rules Committee, which had more than enough evidence to successfully impeach Johnson, suspended its investigation for a year. When the investigation reconvened in 1965, none of the witnesses who were willing to incriminate a vice president would testify against LBJ who was now the sitting President of the United States. The investigation of Johnson began after J. Edgar Hoover leaked information about Bobby Baker and his Capitol Hill whore house to Sen. John Williams [R-DE] who initiated an investigation of Baker and another key LBJ aide, Walter Jenkins—the father of six children—who was caught having sex with a retired soldier at the YMCA in Washington. Williams' investigations earned him the nickname "Lonewolf Investigator." Williams' investigation of Baker's led to the aide's resignation on Oct. 9, 1963. At that point, McClellan and Jordan—both friends of LBJ—took them over.
Had Lyndon B. Johnson been a Republican his dirty laundry—like Spiro Agnew's—would have made serialized headlines in the New York Times and Washington Post until one man's scandals tarnished the entire party. That was the fear of the Democrats in December, 1963. They were afraid LBJ's mob connections through Bobby Baker—and Johnson's greed—would personally implicate him in a myriad of crimes with Baker, Estes and several mob figures, least of which was the strange "suicide" of Truman Agriculture Dept. investigator Henry Marshall (who was found dead on June 3, 1961—shot five times with a bolt action rifle) and the murder of John Douglas Kinser (who was slain by Malcom "Mac: Wallace to keep Kinser from talking about an affair he and Wallace were having with LBJ's sister, Josefa). A Texas jury found Wallace guilty. Eleven jurors voted for the death penalty. One held out for life in prison. The judge overruled the jury and sentenced Wallace to five years—on probation. He walked out of the courtroom a free man. Several reporters at the time believed LBJ put Wallace up to killing Kinser. Johnson's lawyer, John Cofer, defended Wallace.
In an April 10, 1937 special election to replace deceased Texas 10th Congressional District Rep. James P. Buchanan, former elevator operator and two-semester school teacher—and brand new New Dealer—Lyndon Johnson agreed to become FDR's man in Texas in exchange for help to win Buchanan's congressional seat. With a handful of Democrat Party money, help from his growing circle of political friends in Jim Welles and Duvall counties, and an extra push from the While House, Johnson won.
And when Sen. Wilbur Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel decided not to seek reelection in 1948, Johnson threw his 10-gallon hat into the ring. Also in the July 24 primary race was Texas Gov. Coke R. Stevenson and a handful of lesser known State politicians. When the ballots were counted, Stevenson led Johnson 477,077 to 405,617. However, because Coke Stevenson did not have a 50.1% majority of all the votes cast, a two-man run-off vote was set for Aug. 28. When the result of the tallies came in, Stevenson was the winner of the US Senate seat by a margin of 113 votes. Johnson's people called Duvall County Judge George Parr who felt he could find the votes they needed in Alice, Texas in adjacent Jim Welles County. (Parr headed the political machine in Duvall County, Texas and is believed to have ordered the deaths of several of his political enemies. He was convicted of tax evasion in 1936, but was pardoned by President Truman. He became LBJ's "go-to-guy" when dirty work needed to be done.. Parr single-handedly delivered the 1948 Senate victory to LBJ.) (Author's note: Remember Alice, Texas —and the import of the cast of players there.)
Magically, a recount found an additional 202 Johnson votes in Jim Welles County Precinct 13—all neatly recorded in blue ink even though all of the ballots cast during the election were recorded in black ink. Johnson was now in the lead—by 87 votes. By the time Duvall County was recounted, Johnson picked up an additional 4,622 votes. Thirty-eight uncounted "votes" favoring Coke Stevenson in what was reminescent of Al Gore's 2000 recount in Democratic strongholds in Florida, were also found. Seeing theft even with his eyes closed, Stevenson attempted to confiscate the voting records as evidence of vote tampering by Johnson. Johnson asked Judge Roy Archer in Austin to issue an injunction and declare him the winner of the primary. Archer did.
Had Archer delayed the order for another hour or two, the Jim Welles County officials would have thrown out Box 13 and restored Stevenson's lead. As Stevenson headed to the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals for an injunction barring the State from declaring Johnson the winner, Johnson called Justice Hugo Black of the US Supreme Court—who actually had no constitutional jurisdiction over a State primary election. On Sept. 29, 1948, Black issued an order killing the 5th Circuit's injunction. Johnson won. Judge T. Whitfield Davidson of the 5th Circuit observed that the US Supreme Court did not have legal standing since this was not a dispute in a general election, but in a State primary. "The US Supreme Court," he said, "altered my opinion, but it hasn't changed my mind," adding that Black's ruling was "...probably unlawful." As the court of last resort, when the Supreme Court speaks, no court can refute them. Stevenson took the defeat bitterly because he knew the election was stolen by Johnson's cronies in Alice, Texas. He retired from public life and died on June 28, 1975.
Election theft is no different than any other form of thievery. Those who devise illegal schemes to steal votes should pay a stiff price. Texas Gov. Dan Moody—no friend of Johnson's—many times after the 1948 election theft, said that "...if the District Attorney here had done his duty, Lyndon Johnson would now be in the penitentiary instead of the United States Senate." Stealing is stealing. And the theft of votes robs not only the candidate who loses them, it robs of the voters of their right to select those they wish to represent them. There is no more serious crime in the nation. Those who do it should the rest of their lives in prison.
Rise to power
When Lyndon Baines Johnson ran for the US House of Representatives in 1937 he was still an inch from poverty. The elevator operator turned school teacher turned errand boy for the Democrat Party Machine was born in a small farmhouse in the poor area along the Pedemales River in Stonewall, Texas. While his father served five terms in the Texas legislature and was a close friend of Congressman Sam Rayburn, Sam Early Johnson never tried to enrich himself at the expense of the taxpayers. LBJ, who wanted historians to paint him in the image of FDR or Thomas Jefferson more closely resembles William Jefferson [D-LA] who was caught in the summer of 2006 with a freezer full of bribe money.
Lyndon Johnson, like Bill and Hillary Clinton and most career civil "servants" who pursue politics as a vocation, earn comfortable middle income paychecks—but not enough to make them multimillionaires. That type of "income" generation comes only from using one's high office for personal gain. And, that's against the law. Ask any of the myriad of LBJ historians and, without diverting their eyes downward (a sign of lying), they will tell you the Johnson family wealth came from money left to Claudia Alta (Lady Bird) Johnson by her mother (Minnie Pattillo Taylor)—and her sharp business acumen to turn a dime into a dollar. (The White House version of Claudia Taylor's childhood suggested that she came from wealth, and that she lived in a sprawling country mansion.)
It's a convenient story. But its not true. While the Taylor home was clean and well-maintained, it was just a big old brick house on the wrong side of the tracks. When Lyndon married Claudia on Nov. 17, 1934, her father, Tom Taylor, was the shopkeeper of a small general store in Karnack, in East Texas. The business was actually owned by the estate of Claudia's mother who died on Sept. 6, 1918. In addition to the store that provided Lady Bird's father with a living, Minnie owned just shy of 12 thousand acres of land in Harrison County. In her will, she left everything to her three children. Taylor did not possess the liquidity to buy the store and its inventory, which was valued at around $8,625.00. The Pattillo land, which Minnie inherited from her parents, was worth about $87 thousand. Claudia's youngest brother, Antonio—who suffered from a physical handicap, received $26,000 as his share of the Pattillo "fortune" shortly after his mother's death. Tom, Jr., the eldest of the three children received $40,500 as his share of the estate in 1924, leaving $21,000 for Claudia.
On Nov. 6, 1936 Tom Taylor signed a note, agreeing to pay Claudia her inheritance in three installments of $7,000 per year. Hardly a fortune. When Johnson ran for Congress the following year, he reported to one of his biographers that he borrowed $10 thousand from Lady Bird who took the money out of her "inheritance." Only, at the time, Johnson's wife had not received the first penny from her father. And, in fact, she never did.
Instead, Congressman Johnson struck a deal with a munitions company to build an ordnance plant in Texas—on land that would be donated to them by the federal government. The land Johnson suggested was owned by the estate of Minnie Pattillo. The Johnsons quitclaimed Claudia's inheritance (for propriety's sake). Nine days after quitclaiming her inheritance, Tom Taylor sold 2,887.6 acres of land to the federal government for $70 thousand. With an invisible slippery-tongued Texas snake oil salesman at the helm, the LBJ Company was launched. And the fairy tale legend of Lady Bird's financial prowness was born. For part two click below.
© 2007 Jon C. Ryter - All Rights
[Read "Whatever Happened to America?"]
Jon Christian Ryter is the pseudonym of a former newspaper reporter with the Parkersburg, WV Sentinel. He authored a syndicated newspaper column, Answers From The Bible, from the mid-1970s until 1985. Answers From The Bible was read weekly in many suburban markets in the United States.
Today, Jon is an advertising executive with the Washington Times. His website, www.jonchristianryter.com has helped him establish a network of mid-to senior-level Washington insiders who now provide him with a steady stream of material for use both in his books and in the investigative reports that are found on his website.
Hoover gave the Attorney General enough evidence to hang Johnson. But, understanding that politics was more important to the Kennedy's than justice, Hoover also handed copies of the files to Sen. John Williams [R-DE].