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The Mink Coat Mob


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Bruce Alger and The Mink Coat Mob

The mob like mentality being sturred up to fight the health reform initiative reminds me of similar tactics used by Texas Rep. Bruce Alger and the so-called "Mink Coat Mob" of unrully Republican women who were incited to give LBJ the same treatment they later gave Stevenson.

The Adolphus Hotel by the way, is just across the street from Jack Ruby's Carousel Club.

While LBJ stayed across the street at the Baker Hotel, another famous Adolphus guest was William Butler Yeats.

BK

http://books.google.com/books?id=x6EcuyDFu...lt&resnum=4 - v=onepage&q=Mink%20Coat%20Mob%20LBJ&f=false

Page 373

…So frantic did LBJ become at one point during the campaign that Jack Kennedy told him, “I believe you’re cracking up.” Among other things, LBJ was sick with worry over the prospect of losing Texas. “I need you as I have never needed you before,” he cabled wealthy Fort Worth publisher Amon Carter.

In a last-minute effort to generate support, LBJ decided to travel into that heartland of radical conservatism, Dallas. Aides in Texas scheduled a luncheon address at the Adolphis Hotel on November 4. Lyndon and Lady Bird flew into Fort Worth that morning and were picked up by Carl Phinney, a retired military officer and Democratic activist. Approaching the outskirts of Dallas, the Johnson party was stopped by city police and told there was a ‘disturbance’ at the Baker Hotel, where Lyndon and Lady Bird were booked. The officer in charge insisted on taking the Johnsons in through the back entrance of the hotel. There was no avoiding the lobby, however, and what Lyndon and Lady Bird found there was a throng of well-heeled Republicans led by the reactionary congressman from Dallas, Bruce Alger, and Lyndon’s opponent in the Senate race, John Tower. The crowd, bearing banners reading, “LBJ Sold Out to Yankee Socialists” and “Beat Judas,” booed and hissed when they saw the vice-presidential candidate. They party shouldered its way to the elevators.

While LBJ was dressing for his speech at the Adolphius, located just across Commerce Street from the Baker, his advance man urged him to allow them to take him and Lady Bird through the restaurant exit and then by auto to the back door of the Adolphis. LBJ flatly rejected the suggestion. “If the time has come when I can’t walk through the lobby of a hotel in Dallas with my lady without a police escort,” he said, “I want to know it.”

Commerce Street between the two hotels was a mob scene. In the forefront of the crowd were young, well-to-do Junior Leaguers Alger had whipped into a frenzy. “The Mink Coat Mob,” one newspaper dubbed them. As LBJ clutched Bird to him, the crowd closed, shouting, “Traitor,” “Socialist,” “Judas,” and less polite epithets. A women snatched Lady Bird’s white gloves from her and threw them in the gutter. “It came upon me as a tremendous surprise and sort of an assault on my spirit,” Lady Bird said, “because we had felt that we were working for them all these years.” Bird, her gorge rising, startd to answer one young women who was screaming at her, but Lyndon put his hand over her mouth. Suddenly, she noticed that her husband was moving very slowly, more slowly than he needed to. She also recalled that he had told Phinney and other staffers there to escort them to disappear. Finally, the vice presidential couple reached the friendly confines of the Adolphus, and Lyndon went on to speak. As he knew would be the case, the “Adolphus riot” received nationwide attention in both the print and broadcast media. A groundswell of sympathy for the Johnsons swept the Lone Star State. The next day in Houston, home to both conservative and liberal Johnson-haters, the couple was treated to a uniformly warm reception. ...

http://books.google.com/books?id=x6EcuyDFu...lt&resnum=4 - v=onepage&q=Mink%20Coat%20Mob%20LBJ&f=false

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Gun Totting Man Outside Obama Town Hall Meeting

http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/08/11/po...ry5235445.shtml

New Hampshire state law is pretty clear about protecting its citizens' rights to carry firearms in public. Carrying a pistol or revolver openly is permitted without a license; carrying a concealed weapon requires a license from the state or local police.

William Kostric took advantage of that law on Tuesday to show up outside President Obama's Portsmouth, N.H. town hall meeting and hold a sign saying "It Is Time To Water The Tree Of Liberty." That invokes a phrase from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

Kostric did not immediately respond to an interview request from CBSNews.com.

Portsmouth police spokesman Lt. Frank Warchol told the Boston Globe that because Kostric was on private property -- it belongs to a church near the school with the town hall meeting -- he would not be arrested. "We can't do anything about it," Warchol said. "Obviously he's on our radar screen at this time."

Kostric was there around 11 a.m. ET, before Mr. Obama even left the White House en route for the Granite State, and there's no indication he ever laid eyes on the president. Nevertheless, around that time (11:35 a.m., to be precise) MSNBC's Carlos Watson called for Kostric to be forcibly disarmed: "I cannot imagine that there aren't enough lawyers in New Hampshire who can't file some sort of emergency injunction." One of his guests added: "Why can't we get rid of him now?"

MSNBC's Chris Matthews invited Kostric on his show and wondered why "you're carrying a goddamned gun at a presidential event?" (Kostric's reply: He was there peacefully, guns aren't unusual in New Hampshire, and Americans lose rights unless they exercise them.)

One MSNBC.com report indicates that Kostric was approached by a detective, possibly a Secret Service agent, who told him he could be arrested within 1,000 feet of a school with a weapon under a federal law.

Some background: the 1990 Gun-Free School Zones Act said that it "shall be unlawful" to possess a firearm within 1,000 feet of an elementary or secondary school.

That law is no longer on the books. In the case of U.S. v. Lopez, decided in 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court said violated Congress' powers to regulate interstate commerce and was therefore unconstitutional.

Congress re-enacted a version in 1996 with a narrower definition of interstate commerce; it says the statute does not apply "on private property not part of school grounds" or to anyone with a carry permit, with Kostric may or may not have.

It's reasonable to not understand the intricacies of gun laws; many vary from state to state, and few are written especially clearly.

But you'd hope that television commentators would take the time to learn at least a little before calling for measures such as court injunctions and disarming by police. One thing that MSNBC's hosts could have added is that a lawsuit filed last week in Washington, D.C. seeks to establish a broad Second Amendment right to carry firearms in public -- which, if successful, could mean that William Kostric's exercise in public handgun ownership will become much more commonplace.

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I am a lifetime hunter and I have a license to carry a concealed weapon. I cannot imagine though, that I would show up at a rally where the president of the United States is to be speaking, with a gun, whether I have the right or not. If there are no laws on the books to stop this then there must be a new set of laws enacted that are directed toward the president and vice-president. I think that they need to include members of congress as well. These town hall meetings worry me. Our public officials need more protection.

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The conviction among conservatives that, sooner rather than later, the Obama administration plans to outlaw firearms had fueled a run on firearms and ammunition in the US. Some calibers of ammunition remain in short supply in some locations as reactionaries attempt to stock up because they are convinced that ammunition--if not the guns themselves--will either become unavailable at any price, or will be taxed at such a rate as to make the purchase of ammunition by working-class people to become unaffordable.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I most certainly did renew my Indiana personal protection [concealed-carry] handgun permit in 2009...not because of any perceived problems from the Obama administration, but simply because my old permit expired in June 2009. I carry a handgun to hunt deer during the modern firearms season, and I prefer the shoulder holster...hence the desire to legally carry concealed.

Would I show up at a presidential rally carrying a firearm? Certainly not, but only because the odds are great that I would be arrested, my firearm confiscated by the authorities, I would be incarcerated until the rally was over,and even if no charges were filed against me, there's a chance [probably better than 50/50] that my firearm--or my permit-- might be "lost" or "misplaced" by the authorities..."accidentally,"of course, but only to "tech me a lesson."

Under the previous administration,I would bet that [legally] carrying a weapon at a presidential rally might have gotten the perpetrator charged as a terrorist and subject to "enhanced" interrogation techniques in some prison abroad. And I'm not completely sure the current administration isn't thinking like their immediate predecessors.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...ml?hpid=topnews

White House Backs Right to Arms Outside Obama Events

But Some Fear Health Talks Will Spark Violence

A man with an AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle joins protesters outside an event in Phoenix where President Obama was discussing health-care reform....

By Alexi Mostrous Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Armed men seen mixing with protesters outside recent events held by President Obama acted within the law, the White House said Tuesday, attempting to allay fears of a security threat

David Broder Remembers Bruce Alger

http://nky.cincinnati.com/article/AB/20090...T02/308140003/-

1/TODAY/Broder++Remembering+Bruce+Alger

Broder: Remembering Bruce Alger

By David Broder • August 14, 2009

WASHINGTON -- Watching the muscular tactics being used in congressional town meetings by some opponents of health care reform, I keep thinking somebody should remind the Republican leaders who are reveling in the scenes about Bruce Alger.

Alger was the first Republican congressman elected from Texas in the modern era, winning a Dallas district in 1954. In 1960, just a few days before the presidential election, he was part of a crowd of several hundred people who surrounded Lyndon B. Johnson, the Democratic vice presidential candidate, and his wife, Lady Bird, when they arrived for a luncheon at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas.

Many of the demonstrators carried signs labeling the Texas senator as a “Judas.” Alger’s placard read: “LBJ Sold Out to Yankee Socialists.”

As I later wrote, the Johnsons “were engulfed by the crowd, and for more than half an hour, were reviled and jostled as they slowly made their way across the lobby. Johnson refused offers of police assistance, telling an aide that if the time has come that I can’t walk with my lady across the lobby of the Adolphus Hotel, then I want to know it."

The backlash was instant and powerful. As conservative columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak later wrote in their book about Johnson, the scene in the Adolphus “outraged thousands of Texans and Southerners. Sen. Richard Russell of Georgia, who had not campaigned for his party’s national ticket since 1944, telephoned Johnson that evening to offer his services.” The Johnson biographers concluded that while no one could prove the case, it is “a credible hypothesis” that the Adolphus incident swung Texas and perhaps other closely contested Southern states to the Democrats.

In 1964, when Johnson headed the Democratic ticket, he got even: His coattails swept Alger out of office.

I was reminded of this saga by what happened to Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, the venerable Democrat who was shouted down last week by protesters at a health care town meeting in Romulus, Mich. Dingell, 83, has represented the area for 53 years, surviving all the political tides and a Republican effort to redistrict him out of office.

Nonetheless, he was called a “fraud” by a woman who said the plan he supported in committee would empty her wallet, and was booed and denounced by hundreds of others who filled the meeting hall.

Dingell said he hadn’t faced as angry a crowd since he voted for the civil rights bill in 1964, but said, “I’m a tough old bastard” and won’t waver.

Scenes like Romulus have filled cable news as Democrats across the country have been meeting their constituents during this August congressional recess. The cameras were watching as Sens. Arlen Specter and Claire McCaskill were harangued on Tuesday.

What doesn’t make the news is what the reaction is among the larger population of voters whose views will ultimately influence the fate of health care legislation.

I haven’t seen any polls taken since the demonstrations began, but an editorial in Tuesday’s Detroit Free Press said “the disrespect Dingell was shown in a state where he has made such a profound contribution was unforgivable.”

There have been many such editorials. And at least some Republicans are beginning to notice. Sarah Palin, who earlier had called the plans Obama is supporting “downright evil,” said in a Facebook post that “we must stick to a discussion of the issues and not get sidetracked by tactics that can be accused of leading to intimidation or harassment.”

But not all the GOP leaders have gotten the message. Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who represents a heavily Jewish district in Florida, phoned me to complain that top House Republicans have not publicly repudiated Rush Limbaugh for his statements likening Obama’s health policies to those of the Nazis.

Much improvement is needed in the health care bills, but I think these angry opponents are playing with fire.

David Broder is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Washington Post Writers Group, 1150 15th St., N.W, Washington, DC, 20071.

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