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Joan Mellen did not debunk LBJ’s complicity in JFK’s murder

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11 hours ago, Larry Hancock said:

Kirk, having known MB fairly well and actually having helped fund the publication of her book I can tell you it was not nearly that simple.  Her reason for doing the book was to tell her family history and primarily the story about Johnson and her son and his abandonment of them.  That was a very emotional and personal thing for her.  She was also sincerely convinced of Johnson's complicity, not by the party as that was a minor thing early on but rather by some personal remarks he made to her - which are classic Johnson and very possibly classic Johnson braggadocio and/or misinformation.  Anybody who ever believed personal remarks from Johnson was just being played as a sucker.  She was particularly convinced by his violently angry remarks on the day of the assassination - which we know related to Connolly and the car seating and which was a real event. 

However I can also tell you that her early remarks about a party and guests were very mild and far more limited than what they later came to be....certain people played on her as she became older and essentially manipulated her story to fit their agendas and to make it much more sensational and dramatic.  I know that to be true.  In the beginning it was not much more than being invited to a party, going and very late seeing LBJ arrive and immediately take a couple of folks behind closed doors. Actually given how the trip was going down, the fact that he had never been happy with it and that it was giving way too much political leverage to Connally - who he was competing with - could easily explain that.  What the story became during the years after she began to work on her book was part MB and part a number of other people.

Its yet another lesson to us all to be very cautious about sources, especially those that come very late and whose story evolves over time.


Larry,

Did MB's early story have ANYBODY of significance attending the party? Hoover? And did Johnson say ANYTHING that indicated he was aware of a plot?

Till now I've dismissed her story completely because of that long list of attendees. But now I'm reconsidering and wondering if there was anything of significance that can be learned from the real story. I watched the video of that housekeeper (cook? I don't recall) who said that she was told Hoover would be there. (She said she would have gone there if the VIP were someone famous, but she hadn't heard of Hoover.)  Anyway, her testimony seemed sincere. That' also has me taking a second look at MB's story.

 

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Via Jim Harwood---Vince: can you post this link at Education Forum under the Joan Mellon/LBJ thread. It's a 1997 Newsweek report of the phone tapes made by LBJ. You'll find LBJ doesn't want to be President in 1964, complains that he cant get rid of the Kennedy admin. and just doesn't want the job of President. These idiots that blame the murder of JFK on Johnson just amaze me. http://www.newsweek.com/johnson-tapes-173886

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Sandy,  I really do not remember when Hoover came into the story, as I said when I first heard it the party was no big deal and MB was simply surprised that Johnson even showed up, she was not expecting him.  As I recall the party was mostly a reception for some of the well connected people in town in Fort Worth for the Pepsi convention.  Johnson came in late and virtually hauled Murchison into another room,  he was apparently  upset and given how much he had opposed the trip and how badly it was going from his political viewpoint that's understandable.  I've researched and written about Johnson in some depth and all the signs are he was just fed up with being VP and if anything was interested in going back to Texas and  possibly making a Senate run; he had sent his head campaign down there months before.  As to a plot, no, what I recall is simply a call that day early in the morning from an extremely upset Johnson shouting that Johnson would never embarrass him again - and he had just done so in the argument about limo seating.   Then sometime later, months maybe, she said he made an off hand remark suggesting a conspiracy of some sort...but then we know he made several similar remarks to that effect.

Separately I can say that a number of folks have tried to corroborate how Hoover could even have been there considering that the record shows him in a breakfast meeting in DC the following morning...

All in all I think MB offered some interesting insights into Johnson character (or total lack of it) but if you want something truly suspicious I would look elsewhere....I give the best examples of possible Johnson foreknowledge, limited at best, that I could find in SWHT.

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So Larry, Do we really disagree at all?, You're reaffirming that almost the entire guest list she enumerated that were at the Murchison meeting was fabricated with the exception of LBJ arriving late and talking to Murchinson. His talk with Murchison was about no sinister plot to kill Kennedy, but to complain how poorly the political trip to Texas had been going for him.

So the point you want to get across is really that in your research with her , you felt an empathy for MB, and felt as she became older, other people "manipulated her story to fit their agendas and to make it much more sensational and dramatic".  Of course that's quite an understatement, spreading a story that the sitting VP killed the POTUS is the greatest scandal in US History. And she did pick up the ball and very convincingly spread quite a whopper for many years, unless you think that she eventually believed everything she was saying.

Larry, I understand if it's important for you to convey that the huge whopper that was perpetuated was not completely MB's fault. Since my aim is to try to get to the truth as best as I can about the Murchison meeting as a supporting story to the "LBJ did it" conspiracy theory. All I'm concerned about is a lie is a lie. I take  your statement as acknowledging the Murchison meeting was not to plot the assassination of JFK,, which if the meeting ever  happened at all, I'm in agreement with.  I also take in account  you and Vince's statements as astute researchers that you both debunk the popular conspiracy  theory that LBJ wanted  to be President so bad that he would do anything to achieve that goal, and interpret that neither of you prescribe to the "LBJ did it" theory.

  .

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Kirk, I think my message was pretty clear in regard to the book and MB's reason for doing a book so I will leave that as stated.  I did pull a copy of the book since I doubt anyone has taken the effort to buy a copy and the party is covered in about half of one page with no implication that it had anything to do with a conspiracy.  MB described it as a social involving Murchison's friends, she did say she was told it had been been scheduled earlier was in honor of Hoover although she does not describe actually seeing him at the party - while she does describe seeing several of Murchison's wealthy oil friends - who she did know by sight. She was surprised by Johnson appearing although she knew he had been in town earlier in the week for the Pepsi convention - which was true. 

She simply describes Johnson as pulling some of the men briefly into the room, agitated and coming out red faced. 

And that's it....her other statements about his remarks was described in my other post.

No I don't proscribe to the LBJ did it theory, although if you read SWHT you will find the evidence I picked up that he may have had some minor amount of general pre-knowledge and some of his immediate actions of the evening are still hard to explain even after all our research.

 

 

 

 

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Larry -  wasn't Nixon attending the same Pepsi convention?

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Yes he was Paul, it was a national convention and Nixon did legal work for Pepsi.  He was there and photographed at various events, Johnson had been there earlier in the week. The convention brought a number of well known names into Fort Worth and peripherally to Dallas.

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Seamus Coogan did some nice work  on this.  

Hoover almost certainly could not have been there.  As neither could another person who these "LBJ did it" exegetes put there, that is McCloy.

Many years ago I did a tracing of how this whole Murchison party began, and then how it evolved over time and over how many versions had been presented.  To my knowledge it began with Penn Jones.  I don't know if Larry would agree with that.  But I would also like to ask Larry which version of Brown's book is he talking about?  Is it the Livingstone version? Or was there one before that?

And I am sure Larry knows that Brown later tried to switch the parentage of her son from LBJ to someone else and actually sued that other person. 

 

Edited by James DiEugenio

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Jim, the book is Texas in the Morning (Walt Brown and Harry LIvingston were both involved) and yes as time passed things got even more complex.  All I am trying to do is to point out how with the actual involvement of a lot of other people including several JFK "researchers" the whole story about the party expanded....lots of folks began giving MB advice in her later years and  a lot of it was not good for her.  

Don't really know about Penn and the party...or if I knew don't remember...

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I don't know how the Mae Newman interview came about. Where it was filmed. 

Who interviewed her? Was she paid for this interview?

Did some researcher find her? Did she come forward to a researcher on her own that perhaps she had read about?

Newman and her background ( apparently everything she said about her employment-duties and duration and employer- were true ) and her credibility isn't being trashed as much as Madeline Brown's ( and she didn't have such a deep personal pain and loss grudge against anyone like MB had against LBJ ) but she and her Hoover story are dismissed simply because she wasn't at the meeting herself and of course saw no one that attended, especially Hoover.

Everything Newman says in her interview is just recalling second hand accounts by other Murchison servants that she knew and worked with on a daily basis.

So even if Newman believed what she is saying in that interview was true, her story is considered meaningless because again, it was all 2nd hand hearsay, she wasn't at the meeting and saw no one herself and there is no way to verify her recounting as those other staff members are probably dead now and apparently these mentioned staff members never came forward to anyone to corroborate Newman's story of 11,21,1963.

All these realities about Mae Newman and her TMWKK interview account of a 11,21,1963 Murchison/Hoover get together make it hard to look at her story in any light other than unimportant, misinformed gossip shared by an uneducated domestic employee nobody.

I guess the only thing worthy of Newman's interview is her heart tugging tale ( if true ) of all the champagne and caviar celebrating in the Murchison household for a week after JFK's slaughter. And how it appeared to her that she was the only one grieving for JFK ... a fellow Irish Catholic.

I'm sorry, but I believe Ms. Newman and her entire story of that 11,21,1963 Murchison gathering and Hoover's attendance there.

How many times are we JFK truth seekers forced to go to and rely upon our lifetime experience, common sense gut feelings in deciding what we believe of all the second hand accounts ( hundreds if not thousands) of JFK event related testimonies related by people of all types of various economic, gender, ethnic, educational and credibility backgrounds?   Most everything we come across falls into this category versus first hand eye witness, hard evidence ones.

Heck, not one person ever came forward to say they personally witnessed Lee Harvey Oswald sitting in the TXSBD 6th floor sniper's lair and firing a rifle at JFK's motorcade. Everything anyone uses to establish that as fact...is based on second hand testimony and disputed hard evidence findings.

And even if Hoover and LBJ were or were not at this supposedly less than ominous Murchison social that had nothing to do with JFK and his visit to Dallas, we all know of Hoover's stays at Murchison's Del Charro motel in La Jolla, Ca which was also a hangout for known Mafia members and not far from the Del Mar race track where it seems Hoover and his man friend Tolson got some very profitable "hot tips" on certain horses in certain races. I think we all feel that Hoover had some suspiciously questionable "friendships" with some very bad background people who did him favors that the average person would consider graft.

This whole cabal of Hoover, Murchison, LBJ, etc ... all JFK hating, all corrupted. 

It's hard for me to read or listen to any defense of these characters and their actions as anything less than totally despicable.

Edited by Joe Bauer

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James Wagenvoord has written a chapter in my soon to be released book.  Yes, his story has been sourced and yes he is the real deal.  As Mr. Hancock says, we should be wary of "sources' but we should also, IMO, seek and try to validate stories from living witnesses as I have tried to do and let the reader decide for themselves if they are telling the truth or not.  So many of us in the JFK field, have agendas.  Mine is to find my grandfather's film as well as the truth as to what happened.  James Wagenvoord's only agenda is truth.  He has written 40+books that have nothing to do with the JFK Assassination.  The stories he tells in my book are from a personal memoir he wanted his daughter to have regarding his times at Life Magazine.  I'm indebted, honored and happy to call him a friend and have great respect for his whistle-blowing words.

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On 9/2/2017 at 7:17 AM, Larry Hancock said:

I did pull a copy of the book since I doubt anyone has taken the effort to buy a copy and the party is covered in about half of one page with no implication that it had anything to do with a conspiracy.  MB described it as a social involving Murchison's friends, she did say she was told it had been been scheduled earlier was in honor of Hoover although she does not describe actually seeing him at the party - while she does describe seeing several of Murchison's wealthy oil friends - who she did know by sight.


Thanks for looking that up Larry.

That story along with Mae Newman's leads me to believe that Hoover was indeed at the party. Or at least was supposed to be. I'll have to go back and listen to Newman's story again.

Though this doesn't seem very important. So what if Hoover was at the party?

 

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It does not mean that at all Sandy.  Because at least in that version she did not see him.  (That version did change over time.)

Here is Seamus Coogan on the subject of this mythical gathering:

Johnson himself was seen by a few thousand people and filmed that night in the company of President Kennedy at the Houston Coliseum. Johnson didn’t arrive in Fort Worth until 11.05 pm on the night of the 21st of November, and it is roundly reported that he wound up his day in the same hotel at a very late hour with his advisors. (William Manchester, Death of a President, pgs 135, 138).

The same goes for Dick Nixon, who was on the town late that night with Joan Crawford. (Nixon was a partner in a law firm that represented the Pepsi-Cola Company. Crawford was the wife of the CEO of Pepsi.) This was widely reported in the Dallas press and was still being reported until fairly late that evening. (The Dallas Morning News, Friday, November 22, 1963, Section 1-19) Kai Bird’s biography describes John McCloy hearing the news of the assassination while having breakfast with former President Eisenhower. (The Chairman, p. 544) As for Hoover, according to Anthony Summers, it is highly likely (to the point of absolute certainty) that J. Edgar Hoover, like McCloy, was nowhere near Texas at the time. For instance, the next day he was calling Bobby Kennedy from his Washington office at around 1:34 P.M EST with news of the shooting. (Summers, Official and Confidential, p. 394). In fact, none of the standard biographies of Hoover—Powers, Theoharis, Gentry, or Summers—notes him being in Texas that evening.

A Dallas-to-Washington round trip is around 3.5 hours each way. Why would two very powerful and highly visible 68-year-olds, like Hoover and McCloy, fly to Dallas to meet with Johnson at some ungodly hour, well after 11:00 P.M CST, compromising themselves in the process, and then fly back from Dallas, arriving home anywhere between 3:00-5:00 AM the following morning?

The chauffer that supposedly furnished the Hoover story was identified as Warren Tilley, but he was unable to talk due to throat cancer. His wife Eula who also worked for Murchison said that there wasn’t any such party, and further, that Clint Murchison Sr. had suffered a stroke in 1958 and he would have been unable to attend. But beyond that, Clint Murchison Sr. was not even living in that house those days, but in his ranch 75-85 miles southeast of Dallas. His son John Murchison was occupying the house in question with his wife. Another purported witness to the party was a seamstress named May Newman who did not work in the house that staged the alleged party but in the house of Virginia Murchison, Clint’s second wife. And, if so many famous people flew into Dallas that night, and so many of them drove to one house, would not at least one or two reporters have noticed it? Or been told about it?

One more point, MB later changed the time of LBJ's arrival in light of the above fact about the 11:05 time.  And in fact, as noted above, if one reads The Death of a President, LBJ and his wife drove from the airport to the hotel and went to the Will Rogers Suite. 

Edited by James DiEugenio

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If the Life Magazine Bobby Baker/LBJ graft expose story that was to be published the week of December 4th, 1963 is true, why is it hard for anyone to acknowledge the reality that the damage of such a piece in perhaps the most popular magazine in the country might very well have ended LBJ's political career not to mention fostering possible criminal charges of kickback corruption? 

What greater threat to his political and personal life had LBJ ever faced before this?

It's so obvious there was much more to LBJ's red faced anger and stress during JFK's Texas visit than just JFK choosing John Connolly to ride with him through Dallas in the presidential limo versus Yarborough.

LBJ was about to be done in by Life Magazine via RFK! 

My guess is that the goal of RFK's feeding Life Magazine this Bobby Baker/LBJ dirt was a power move to be used to pressure LBJ to voluntarily leave the 1964 ticket. 

But the most important question to ask in this scenario of LBJ under life ruining threat circumstances ( again if true ) is what LBJ felt he could or must do to counter this threat.  How far was he ( and his lobby ) willing to go to end this threat?

Whatever LBJ decided, the fact is that with JFK blown away...this massive threat just evaporated instantly and entirely. No one can argue this reality point.

And it has been mentioned that LBJ didn't even want the presidency at this point? That he just wanted to go back and be a grand old senator again?  

All that obsessive super ambition and effort LBJ exhibited and expended his entire political life had just petered out by the time he was 55 for who knows what reasons. Just three years after his own presidential run?

And all the super wealthy and JFK hating power groups and people LBJ fronted for ( Brown and Root, Hunt and Murchison - the richest men on Earth- and the protected by LBJ Hoover ) who would benefit like they never had before if LBJ were President, would just have to understand that ole Lyndon had just had enough and they'd just have to fend for themselves under another JFK 4 year term.  Please!

Whether or not LBJ didn't want to be President, his wealthy constituents sure knew what they wanted and needed and LBJ surely couldn't allow himself to be ruined politically.

Once again, common knowledge and common sense make perfectly clear what the stakes truly were in November, 1963 regards LBJ and all those he represented versus and in conflict with JFK/RFK and how much LBJ and his benefactors stood to gain and or lose by what happened to JFK and LBJ up to the election of 1964.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, James DiEugenio said:

It does not mean that at all Sandy.  Because at least in that version she did not see him.  (That version did change over time.)

Here is Seamus Coogan on the subject of this mythical gathering:

Johnson himself was seen by a few thousand people and filmed that night in the company of President Kennedy at the Houston Coliseum. Johnson didn’t arrive in Fort Worth until 11.05 pm on the night of the 21st of November, and it is roundly reported that he wound up his day in the same hotel at a very late hour with his advisors. (William Manchester, Death of a President, pgs 135, 138).

With much due respect Jim D., I'm not sure how much "roundly reported" means in the way of proving whether LBJ did not possibly slip out of the hotel for a brief meet up only a 40 + minute drive away even after 11:PM the evening of 11,21,1963.  Could Johnson have had the ability to leave like that without reporters noticing? I would think so considering his many years of doing the same for his many proof established rendezvous. And the super high energy LBJ was only 55 at the time. Not 68 like Hoover and McCloy.

The same goes for Dick Nixon, who was on the town late that night with Joan Crawford. (Nixon was a partner in a law firm that represented the Pepsi-Cola Company. Crawford was the wife of the CEO of Pepsi.) This was widely reported in the Dallas press and was still being reported until fairly late that evening. (The Dallas Morning News, Friday, November 22, 1963, Section 1-19) Kai Bird’s biography describes John McCloy hearing the news of the assassination while having breakfast with former President Eisenhower. (The Chairman, p. 544) As for Hoover, according to Anthony Summers, it is highly likely (to the point of absolute certainty) that J. Edgar Hoover, like McCloy, was nowhere near Texas at the time. For instance, the next day he was calling Bobby Kennedy from his Washington office at around 1:34 P.M EST with news of the shooting. (Summers, Official and Confidential, p. 394). In fact, none of the standard biographies of Hoover—Powers, Theoharis, Gentry, or Summers—notes him being in Texas that evening.

A Dallas-to-Washington round trip is around 3.5 hours each way. Why would two very powerful and highly visible 68-year-olds, like Hoover and McCloy, fly to Dallas to meet with Johnson at some ungodly hour, well after 11:00 P.M CST, compromising themselves in the process, and then fly back from Dallas, arriving home anywhere between 3:00-5:00 AM the following morning?

Hoover could have slept on such a flight.

The chauffer that supposedly furnished the Hoover story was identified as Warren Tilley, but he was unable to talk due to throat cancer. His wife Eula who also worked for Murchison said that there wasn’t any such party, and further, that Clint Murchison Sr. had suffered a stroke in 1958 and he would have been unable to attend. But beyond that, Clint Murchison Sr. was not even living in that house those days, but in his ranch 75-85 miles southeast of Dallas. His son John Murchison was occupying the house in question with his wife. Another purported witness to the party was a seamstress named May Newman who did not work in the house that staged the alleged party but in the house of Virginia Murchison, Clint’s second wife. And, if so many famous people flew into Dallas that night, and so many of them drove to one house, would not at least one or two reporters have noticed it? Or been told about it?

Jim, is the entire May ( Mae? ) Newman story made up? The driver of Hoover from the airport to the other Murchison house, according to Newman, had a specific first and last name different than Tilley...Jules Phifer. 

Are you saying that another Murchison driver "Warren Tilley" claimed "he" was Hoover's driver that night?

Tilley claimed Hoover was picked up that night? But his wife Eula ( also a Murchison domestic ) says the opposite?

That there wasn't even a get together that night? How confusing is that?  

Maybe Eula tried to dismiss what her husband claimed out of fear for their employment and physical well being.

Was it through this Tilley that the producers of TMWKK found out about Newman and searched her out? If so, why would Newman come up with a different driver and include specifics such as the driver complaining that he didn't receive a tip? 

I've worked for wealthy people in various domestic positions including driving and let me tell you - Newman's recounting of her driver complaining about not being tipped is as real as I can imagine regarding the mind set of someone in that position.

But the general dismissing of Newman's story points just isn't washing well. Her countenance just seems too sincere and humble to me. And her memory seems very clear of that time period with specifics. But, how could it not considering how dramatic and traumatic that time and experience was for her.

One more point, MB later changed the time of LBJ's arrival in light of the above fact about the 11:05 time.  And in fact, as noted above, if one reads The Death of a President, LBJ and his wife drove from the airport to the hotel and went to the Will Rogers Suite.  

Did LBJ stay in that Suite the rest of the evening?  Even William Manchester couldn't know for sure. He certainly wasn't personally outside the suite door the rest of the evening.

 

Edited by Joe Bauer

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