Author Topic: Kennedy and the Radical Right  (Read 12510 times)


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Kennedy and the Radical Right
« on: July 20, 2013, 09:20:07 AM »
"Rumors of impending national catastrophe were unusually rife in 1963, especially in that vast American subculture known as the 'far right,' elements of which formed part of [radio evangelist C.W.] Burpo's listening constituency. As a result of the manner in which Washington handled such crises as the Bay of Pigs, the Soviet missiles in Cuba, and the United Nations intervention in Katanga, the confidence that many religious conservatives still retained in the Kennedy administration was badly eroded. Even worse, some lived each day in a sort of quiet desperation because of 'special' reports not available to most Americans, reports circulated by right-wing organizations. Due to these alarming rumors, thousands of Americans believed in mid-1961 that some 250,000 Red Chinese troops were stationed in Cuba. In 1962 similar reports placed 150,000 troops from the same army in Mexico, with thousands more dragging their guns up from the beaches every night. At about the same time a frightening rumor concerning the Russians in South America was being circulated by the far right. The Soviets were said to be building the largest series of airfields in the world on the Bolivian Altoplano, the vast three-mile-high plateau that stretches some five hundred miles through the Andes. When completed, the network of bases would give the Russians undisputed military control over all of Central and South America. Early in 1963 a new rumor began circulating through the hundreds of right-wing groups and conservative camps. It started after the US Army announced the last in a series of three training maneuvers to be conducted in rural Georgia. A number of foreign nations who were members of the United Nations were invited to participate in the military exercise, known as Operation Water Moccasin III, and that fact alone was enough to arouse hostility and opposition from many people. But the rumor about Operation Water Moccasin III gained strength after speculation altered it to include the participation of black troops from Africa. Soon these black were further identified as Congolese troops. Could they be some of the same troops who had murdered and raped Christians in Katanga? And was it really true that U Thant of the United Nations was establishing a command post in Georgia? Would the South, and perhaps the rest of the country, be subjugated by the infamous United Nations, with help of our own United States Army troops." (James Morris, The Preachers p140)

1961 During his confirmation hearings, RFK was solemnly grilled by Sen. Strom Thurmond, and finally handed a pamphlet meant for school children ("A Scriptographic Presentation of What Everyone Should Know about the Constitution") by the Senator, who said earnestly, "Anyone can understand this. I urge you to study it." One senator recalled that RFK "didn't know whether to laugh or cry." (Robert Sherrill, Gothic Politics in the Deep South p259)

5/6/1961 M. Stanton Evans wrote in National Review: 'Operation Abolition' has become an unexpected best-seller. An estimated 700 copies of it are in circulation around the country, and a grand total of 15 million people are believed to have seen it. By and large, viewers react strongly to what they see; most find the film a startling presentation of what can happen in America under Communist auspices. The net effect is to alert the viewer to the dangers of internal Communism. Such conclusions are distasteful to various elements on the Left, which have long maintained as articles of faith that there is no danger from internal Communism.

6/9/1961 Life published a Gore Vidal interview with Barry Goldwater; "Well, I've known Bob Welch five, maybe six years...Of course all that stuff of his about Eisenhower being a Communist and so on was silly...Just the other day I sent somebody over to the Library of Congress to get me the bylaws of the Birch Society, and I was disturbed about this dictatorial thing, how he personally can chuck people out any time he pleases." Asked about JFK, Goldwater said, "I like him. Of course we disagree on a lot of things...I told Jack Kennedy: you could be president for life if you'd just lift some of those taxes so that businessmen - and I know hundreds of 'em - would have some really start producing....Conservatism is pretty divided. Suppose I started a party. Then somebody would come along and say, 'Well, look here, you're not my kind of conservative'...That's the trouble with the conservatives. They've got this all-or-nothing attitude...A political party can only start around a strong individual."

8/6/1961 NY Times quoted Billy James Hargis as saying, "We conservatives all agree on one thing - that our problem is almost entirely from internal subversion."   

October 1961 Notable among the "wild-eyed promoters" were the California right-wingers. Pres. Kennedy's Palladium speech came hard on the heels of a unique event: a coast-to-coast television program titled "Hollywood's Answer to Communism" and put on by the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade. The Crusade had many prominent Hollywood figures in its ranks, such as one-time General Electric pitchman Ronald Reagan, who had said in 1960: "Shouldn't someone tag Mr. Kennedy's bold new imaginative program with its proper age? Under the tousled boyish haircut is still old Karl Marx -- first launched a century ago."
That was about the level of it. In the the fall of 1961 the head of the Crusade, Dr. Fred Schwarz, an Australian physician-turned-commie-hunter, had held a five-day "Southern California School of Anti-Communism" at which many prominent people in the military or industry spoke (including Reagan). A Marine color guard was dispatched to give the proceedings an apparent official sanction. Rear Admiral Charles Ward warned that the idea of disarmament was "a trap," that nuclear testing must resume at once, that Kennedy Administration policies were ruinous and must be changed from accommodation to belligerence. Former FBI agent W. Cleon Skousen wanted a Congressional investigation to root out "a small leftwing group in the State Department," severance of diplomatic and trade ties to communist countries, and withdrawal from the United Nations.

10/1961 the United Klans of America began sponsoring training seminars on how to build bombs, led by a former Navy frogman. (The Fiery Cross, Wyn Craig Wade, p321)   

10/29/1961 NYT:   Thus far, Southern California right-wingers have not been specific about their political preferences. It is plain to most observers that few, if any, are in sympathy with the Kennedy Administration...    Mr. Welch [head of the John Birch Society] has also written that "the one man who comes closest to measuring up to all the needs and qualifications [of the office of President] is Barry Goldwater." [NYT, October 29, 1961, p. 43]
« Last Edit: November 03, 2013, 03:27:43 PM by TLR »


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Re: Kennedy and the Radical Right
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2013, 09:35:24 AM »
November 1961 At a meeting with newspaper executives, Dallas Morning News publisher E.M. Dealey told JFK: "We need a man on horseback to lead this nation, and many people in Texas think that you are riding Caroline's tricycle...We can annihilate Russia and should make that clear to the Soviet government." As the other publishers sat looking embarrassed, JFK blasted back, "I'm just as tough as you are, Mr. Dealey. I have the responsibility for the lives of 180 million Americans, which you have not..." When the News covered the story for the folks back home, it included tributes to Dealey from Bruce Alger and H.L. Hunt and favorable letters from readers. (Portrait of Power 271; Death of a President 49)   

11/3/1961 "Hollywood's Answer to Communism" aired over a network of 33 TV stations in California and also linked up to WPIX in New York. The three-hour program was broadcast from the Hollywood Bowl with a crowd of 15,000 in attendance and many Hollywood personalities present. C. D. Jackson of Time-Life appeared on the program and strongly allied Life magazine with the Crusade. This was a turnabout for Life which had initially criticized the head of the Crusade in a brief news item which poked fun at Schwarz and his "School of Anti-Communism," saying, "Schwarz preaches doomsday by Communism in 1973 unless every American starts distrusting his neighbor as a possible Communist or 'comsymp.' ...Schwarz . . . landed in this country with $10 in his pocket in 1953, but he has built the 'crusade' into a $500,000 business." The NYT expressed concern that the program was biased towards certain political views and called for networks to allot time for "differing opinions." The Crusade speakers advocated complete overhaul of the United Nations, and claimed it was folly to enter any kind of arms agreement with the Soviets.   

11/13/1961 Right-wing Hearst newspaper columnist Fulton Lewis Jr. announced, "I wouldn't impeach [Warren]. I'd lynch him." (Boston Globe)

11/18/1961 JFK, in a speech in Los Angeles, said, "Now that we are face to face again with a period of heightened peril...the discordant voices of extremism are heard once again in the land. There have always been those fringes of our society who have sought to escape their own responsibility by finding a simple solution, an appealing slogan or a convenient scapegoat. Financial crises could be explained by the presence of too many immigrants or too few greenbacks. War could be attributed to munitions makers or international bankers. Peace conferences failed because we were duped by the British or tricked by the French or deceived by the Russians.  At times these fanatics have achieved a temporary success among those who lack the will or the vision to face unpleasant tasks or unsolved problems. Men who are unwilling to face up to the danger from without are convinced that the real danger comes from within. They look suspiciously at their neighbors and their leaders. They call for a 'man on horseback' because they do not trust the people. They find treason in our finest churches, in our highest court, and even in the treatment of our water. They equate the Democratic Party with the welfare state, the welfare state with socialism, and socialism with communism. They object quite rightly to politics' intruding on the military -- but they are anxious for the military to engage in politics." (NYT 11/19) Two Republican Representatives from the  urban districts of Los Angeles, John H. Rousselot and Edgar W. Hiestland, are avowed members of the JBS. Meanwhile, outside the Hollywood Palladium where he spoke, for nearly an hour, 3,000 persons paraded, carrying signs and chanting and singing their protests over a  variety of issues. The demonstration, which started rather mildly five hours before the President spoke, was suddenly stepped up by an apparent influx of rightists. Some of the signs carried by men and women wearing red, white, and blue paper hats, read: "Unmuzzle the  Military," "Clean Up the State Department," "Veto Tito," "Disarmament is Suicide," and "CommUNism is Our Enemy." The marchers sporadically chanted "Test the Bomb," and, "No Aid to Tito." They sang, among other things, "God Bless America" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

New York Times, November 19, 1961, page 1
Attacks Birch Society and 'Minutemen' at a Party Dinner in Los Angeles
Spread of Fear Scored
President Says Real Threat Comes From Without, Not Within
by Tom Wicker
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 18-- President Kennedy spoke out tonight against the right-wing John Birch Society and the so-called Minutemen in a speech at a Democratic Party dinner here.
The President mentioned neither group by name but left no doubt whom he meant.
[In Atlanta, Senator Barry Goldwater, Arizona Republican, attacked the "radicals in the White House." At a news conference, he called President Kennedy the "wagon master" who is "riding on the left wheel all the time."]
The President, in his talk at the Hollywood Palladium, also made his first public response to Edward M. Dealey, publisher of the Dallas Morning News. Mr. Dealey attacked the President at a White House luncheon for "riding Caroline's tricycle" instead of being "a man on horseback."
Some 'Escape Responsibility'
"There have always been those fringes of our society who have sought to escape their own responsibility by finding a simple solution, an appealing slogan or a convenient scapegoat," Mr. Kennedy said.
Now, he continued, "men who are unwilling to face up to the danger from without are convinced that the real danger comes from within."
"They look suspiciously at their neighbors and their leaders," he declared. "They call for a 'man on horseback' because they do not trust the people. They find treason in our finest churches, in our highest court, and even in the treatment of our water."
"They equate the Democratic Party with the welfare state, the welfare state with socialism, and socialism with communism. They object quite rightly to politics' intruding on the military -- but they are anxious for the military to engage in politics." ...

Mr. Kennedy chose a region in which the John Birch Society has some of its strongest support to make his third and sharpest attack on what he called tonight "the discordant voices of extremism."
In the first two speeches, at Chapel Hill, N. C., and Seattle, he also warned against left-wing and pacifist extremists. His remarks tonight were directed to far-right groups and individuals.
The reference to "armed bands of civilian guerillas" appeared to be directed at the Minutemen, individual groups of which are being organized and armed in some parts of the country. The organization is reputed to be particularly strong in California.
Los Angeles is regarded as almost the heartland of the Birch Society. Two Republican Representatives from its urban districts, John H. Rousselot and Edgar W. Hiestland, are avowed members. ...

New York Times, November 19, 1961, page 54
3,000 Parade in Los Angeles in Orderly Demonstration
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 18-- Raucous picketing took place outside the Hollywood Palladium where President Kennedy spoke. For nearly an hour, 3,000 persons paraded, carrying signs and chanting and singing their protests over a variety of issues. The demonstration, which started rather mildly five hours before the President spoke, was suddenly stepped up by an apparent influx of rightists. Some of the signs carried by men and women wearing red, white, and blue paper hats, read: "Unmuzzle the Military," "Clean Up the State Department," "Veto Tito," "Disarmament is Suicide," and "CommUNism is Our Enemy." The marchers sporadically chanted "Test the Bomb," and, "No Aid to Tito." They sang, among other things, "God Bless America" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." A much smaller contingent of pacifist marchers was elbowed out. Most of these carried signs urging the end of all atomic testing...

12/4/1961 Newsweek's cover story is "Thunder on the Right" with a photo of  Maj. Gen. Edwin Walker. The story quoted Texas historian and author J. Evetts Haley saying of Earl Warren, "I'm for hanging him."

12/13/1961 Retired Marine Colonel Mitchell Paige told an audience of right-wingers in Los Angeles that Earl Warren "seemed to stand with our enemies" and deserved to be hanged. The National Indignation Convention is held in Dallas. Mayor Cabell honors Gen. Edwin Walker.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2013, 03:45:18 PM by TLR »


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Re: Kennedy and the Radical Right
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2013, 09:36:22 AM »
According to Fred Cook, in The Warfare State (MacMillan 1962):
      It is a curious phenomenon--and it can hardly be a coincidence--that the election of this Democratic President, sponsoring a mildly liberal program that included aid to education and medical care for the aged, whipped up all the latent forces of reaction in America. The Radical Right had been propagandizing for years, it had had its converts on the lunatic fringe; but, since the wave of McCarthyism receded in 1954, it had shown few signs of becoming a national menace. With the election of Kennedy, all this changed. The Radical Right acquired a new lease on life; millions of dollars, much of it contributed by some of the largest corporations in America, came flying into the coffers of wild-eyed promoters...

3/21/1962 Billy James Hargis called to order a carefully selected group in Washington, D.C. "Dear Fellow Country-Savers," Hargis's invitation had begun.  It went on to describe plans for regular briefings "by great conservative statesmen from both political parties on what must be done in the field of education and otherwise to help save our country from internal communism."
No press representatives were allowed at the founding session of the Anti-Communist Liaison, which brought together about one hundred delegates representing some seventy-five right-wing groups at the Washington Hotel.  Named as its chairman and operating head was Edward Hunter, a National
Advisory Board member of Young Americans for Freedom, and the self-professed "brainwashing" expert mentioned earlier. A foreign correspondent since the 1920s for various newspapers, Hunter had
taken a two-year "sabbatical" to serve as an OSS "propaganda specialist" in World War II.  He remained under contract with the newly established CIA, and worked undercover across Asia as a roving journalist after the war.  His September, 1950 article in the Miami News, "Brainwashing Tactics Force Chinese into Ranks of Communist Party" was the first printed use of the term "brainwashing." Gen. Willoughby attended the Washington meetings, of course, and was appointed a member of the Anti-Communist Liaison's five-person Committee of Correspondence.  Joining him on the Committee was retired brigadier general Bonner Fellers.  Starting out as a military attache in Franco's Spain, Fellers became a member of William Donovan's original OSS "planning group." Joining MacArthur's staff in 1943, Fellers ended up as the general's military secretary through the first year of the occupation of Japan.  An advocate of strong air power, like Willoughby he called for a rollback of communism and disdained the CIA, which in Fellers' view harbored "a group of Marxist-Socialist pro-Communists."  The Liaison's insider in the U.S. Congress was John Rousselot of California, a John Birch Society spokesman and a Christian Crusade board member.

4/4/1962 Gen. Walker testified before a special Senate sub-committee on the "muzzling" of military officers; Walker claimed that the US government was collaborating with communists, and singled out for blame Eisenhower and Eleanor Roosevelt.

5/2/1962 Gen. Walker gave a speech before the National Indignation Convention in Dallas: "The destruction of our national sovereignty - which continues by United Nations design, with Washington support - must be accomplished from within the United States. It can happen only through dictatorial power, as it did in Russia and Cuba - implemented, as it was done there, by military forces turned upon the people. Now I will tell you of the instructions which have been issued by Kennedy's Defense Department to the Military Forces. The "Octagon," a paper of the Eighth Corps Headquarters at Austin, reports that all  Army Reserve Units will receive counterinsurgency training. These orders were issued to Reserve units in every state by the Commanding General of the Army Field Forces, who is responsible for all training of troops in the United States. He defined "counterinsurgency" as - and I quote now- "an action including all military, political, economic, psychological and sociological activities directed toward preventing and suppressing resistance groups whose actions range in degrees of violence and scope from subversive political activity to violent actions by large querilla elements to overthrow duly established governments. This clearly implies and substantiates the Administration's intent to prepare troops in every state to put down opposition in any area-social, political, or economic-to the Administration's intent to prepare troops in every state to put down opposition in any area-social, political, or economic-to the Administration's policies. This is the pattern-and a necessity in the development of a police state. This is preparing the Army for its job under UN program 7277, issued September 1961, and as presented to the United nations conference at Geneva by Ambassador Arther Dean in April 1962, which provides-and I quote: "States would retain only those forces for the purpose of maintaining internal order. Some may imagine that "counterinsurgency" is intended to put down Communism as an internal threat. But never forget that the Kennedy Administration has repeatedly declared that Communism is NOT an internal threat. Therefore "counterinsurgency" must be against something else. The use of the term "resistance groups" shows that what it is against. Resistance forces are always native to a country, and try to preserve its independence. In our country it means native Americans opposed to Communism. When the Army is trained to put down resistance groups, it is trained to crack down on anti-communists in the United States, just as our forces are already cracking down on anti-communists in Katanga. Such an anti-pro blue position reveals why it was necessary for the Administration to get me out of the command in the Army. Not only was it necessary that I be relieved of my command of the 24th Division, but it was also necessary that orders be canceled which would have assigned me to the command of the VIII Reserve Corps Headquarters in Austion-the very same headquarters from which comes the news to put down counter insurgency."

6/1/1962 In the Weekly Crusader, Billy James Hargis wrote that "This nation today is in the hands of a group of Harvard radicals who have long ago been "hooked" by the insidious dope of socialism and view human life from the international standpoint - They are a dangerous scourge - and they are so deeply entrenched in power that they can be removed only by a nationwide upsurge of conservatism - which, please God, will come in the elections of next November. It makes no difference that these Harvard eggheads call themselves Democrats or Republicans. This had now become a distinction without a difference. They are liberals; liberals are socialists; and Khrushchev himself said that socialism is 'the first phase of communism.'"

8/10/1962 Sen. Thurmond said, "the Soviets never accept our initial offers of appeasement. They know we will be back again, with hat in hand, making further concessions toward their position."

9/14/1962 Fort Worth Star-Telegram quotes Gen. Walker saying that the US Army should use Castro's Cuba for holding maneuvers, not Texas farm and ranch land. This afternoon, the Dallas Times-Herald reports, "Walker charged both the Kennedy and Eisenhower administrations with "selling out" to Communism - Walker claimed that it was "no secret" that the US armed forces are to be placed under United Nations control."

9/30/1962 A Dallas police car stopped a vehicle driven by 22-year-old Ashland F. Burchwell of Roseville, Michigan for a routine traffic violation. The car contained a .357 Magnum pistol, three .22 rifles, a larger rifle, three thousand rounds of ammo, blankets, change of clothes, two or three hundred file cards, and a switchblade knife. Burchwell was a protege of Gen. Walker, had served in the 'special warfare' section of the 24th Division in Germany, and was helping Walker with his political activities. He denied being en route to Oxford to join the general. He was placed in jail for a week until he raised bail. (10/2/1962 Dallas Morning News)

10/1/1962 Gen. Edwin Walker is arrested in Mississippi and charged with insurrection. The arresting officer states, "I didn't feel like I was talking to a rational man - There was a wild, dazed look in his eyes. He was unable really to speak too well." (NYT 10/2)

10/7/1962 Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Gen. Walker's legal staff had freed him from Springfield under stipulation that he will submit to a psychiatric evaluation in Dallas. He arrived at Love Field this afternoon and was greeted by 200 well-wishers.

10/17/1962 GOP Congressman James B. Utt (Calif.) called JFK a "compulsive liar, at least a pathological liar." This was in response to a speech JFK had made claiming that the Cuban economy was collapsing.

11/22/1962 Press reports that Gen. Walker has been found mentally competent to stand trial. Dr. Stubblefield found that Walker had a "superior level of intelligence."
« Last Edit: November 06, 2013, 09:36:45 PM by TLR »


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Re: Kennedy and the Radical Right
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2013, 09:51:47 AM »
1/14/1963 George Wallace is sworn in as governor of Alabama, pledging: "I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever!"

2/14/1963 Dallas papers report that Gen. Walker will join Billy James Hargis on Operation Midnight Ride, a multi-city speaking tour. It will start with an appearance in Miami 2/27 and end in Los Angeles 4/3.

2/27/1963 Congressman James B. Utt (R-Calif.) mailed a newsletter to his constituents and friends: "Now hear this and listen well! By the time this Washington Report reaches you, there will be under way one of the most fantastic and, to me, truly frightening military maneuvers ever to be held in the United States. It is called 'Exercise Water Moccasin III,' and is just as deadly - We do not know whether African troops will be involved or not, but we do know there is a large contingent of bare-foot Africans that have been moved into Cuba for training." 

3/15/1963 From today's issue of ON TARGET, the newsletter of the Minutemen: "UNITED NATIONS TROOPS AGAIN IN UNITED STATES: Nearly two years ago, in a bulletin to our members we predicted how the communist take-over would occur. According to our prediction, the first evidence would be a casual notice in the news media of joint US-UN troops maneuvers. The next step will be to let a few UN troops be seen casually around airports, bus and railway stations. US troops with US uniforms but with United Nations insignia. When some occasional alarmed citizen complains, the government officials will say, "Oh, didn't you know about that? We've had some US troops assigned to the UN command for years. Nothing to get exited about." This is keeping with the communist strategy of moving very slowly so as not to alarm the people as to the ultimate trend of these events." Also from this issue of On Target: "...We have studied your Communist Smersh, Mao, Che, Bucharin.  We have learned our lessons well, and have added a few home-grown Yankee tricks of our own.  Before you start your next smear campaign, before you murder again, before you railroad another patriot into a mental institution...better think it over. See the old man at the corner where you buy your paper?  He may have a silencer equipped pistol under his coat.  That extra fountain pen in the pocket of the insurance salesman that calls on you might be a cyanide-gas gun.  What about your milkman?  Arsenic works slow but sure.  Your auto mechanic may stay up nights studying booby traps. These patriots are not going to let you take their freedom away from them. They have learned the silent knife, the strangler's cord, the target rifle that hits sparrows at 200 yards.  Only their leaders restrain them. Traitors beware!  Even now the cross hairs are on the back of your necks!"

3/29/1963 UPI story quotes Gen. Walker as saying that the press has thrown an "iron curtain over America" because "we are not allowed to show opposition to the present Administration."

5/2/1963 Sen. Thomas H. Kuchel (R-Calif.) spoke to the Senate about the hazards of ultra-rightist organizations: "How hysterical and idiotic can one get? I am afraid to answer, until I have seen tomorrow's mail. Leaflets, of course, are not the only cause for hysteria. Lunatic columnists, apostles of hate and fear on radio and television, and even loony letters to the editor provoke their share of fright mail. The curious fact is that the fright peddlers, from the simpletons to the wretched racists, all claim to be conservatives. They defile the honorable philosophy of conservatism with that claim as thoroughly as the Communists defile the honorable philosophy of liberalism."

5/11/1963 The United Klans of America held a large rally outside Birmingham. A reporter from WRVR managed to tape-record the speeches. They revealed a desperate and fearful group of people. Grand Dragons from Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina came to promise undying support for the decent white folks of Birmingham against "that nigger" MLK and his "œnigger-loving friends in the White House." Calvin Craig announced that "Martin Luther King and the Attorney General has done more to create unrest in this country than Castro has in Cuba. We need to go back to the old-time religion, and to the old-time Klan religion. Twenty years ago, Martin Luther King couldn't have got across this state alive preaching integration." The audience responded with cheers and applause. The Grand Dragon of South Carolina assured the Alabamans of his support, and said that it "cuts deep to know the Federal Government urged this Communistic tie" with the blacks. (The Fiery Cross p321)

8/15/1963 Meyer Feldman memo to JFK: "Hunt is a frank champion of plutocracy, and reputed to be the richest or second richest man in America...In a Houston, Texas, speech he said, 'It is just as well that the Cuban invasion failed, because it was just one Communist government trying to overthrow another...Life Line is often sponsored by the Hunt Food Company and the cost is taken as a business deduction by the company...Contributions to the [Life Line] Foundation are tax-exempt, even though the Foundation uses the funds for purely right-wing propaganda purposes." (The Man Who Knew Too Much 789)

In October 1963 a reporter for the Catholic newspaper Oklahoma Courier wrote a first-hand report about his experiences when he attended the fifth annual convention of the Christian Crusade against Communism, headed by Rev. Billy James Hargis.  What he saw left him profoundly disturbed.
For three days recently the citizens of Oklahoma "were treated to a bizarre performance by the leadership of America's religious, political, social, and economic right-wing extremists....  The cast of characters included such bright stars in the extremist firmament as Robert Welch, founder and director of the John Birch Society; former Army Major General Edwin A. Walker, who "specializes in accusing the nation's highest officials of "treason"; and former Major George Racey Jordan, a wizard of Alice-in-Wonderland economics.  Billy James Hargis and the one-time preacher Dr. Charles Poling were on hand to expose "apostasy" among the American clergy, especially those in what was characterized as the "Communist-dominated" National Council of Churches.
According to the reporter, his exposure to the "Crusade" crowd confirmed his notion that the extremist appeal was clearly succeeding with those who found the complexities of modern life and the dangers of the nuclear age too fearful and frustrating to live with.  They were "genuinely alarmed by real and imaginary threats to America" and saw the Kennedy Administration's failure to get rid of Castro as "proof" that the United States was "soft on Communism."  The reporter said he was convinced that their "concern, frustration, and fear of a Communist take-over of the United States, which they are assured by their leaders is now being engineered by traitors in the highest levels of government, are shamelessly exploited by profiteers, hucksters of hate, and political charlatans."
When the proceedings were over, the reporter left convinced that the "Crusade" had unleashed a flood of hatred and suspicion whose corroding effect on society can be regarded only as a major triumph for Communism.  It was the most vicious mass assault on the President and former presidents, the Congress of the United States, the U.S. Supreme Court, the American press, and civic, religious, and educational Institutions ever made in this part of the country.  It seemed clear...that the extremists were attempting to pave the way for ruthless action designed to uproot what they regard as 'treason' in our midst without bothering with such niceties as facts or due process of law.
With the John Birch Society clearly emerging as a unifying force among right-wing extremists, the reporter took the opportunity to take a close look at many Birchers, including their leader, Robert Welch.  Welch certainly received the most thunderous ovation of the "Crusade"; the mere mention of his name brought many Crusaders to the verge of hysteria.  Welch had high praise for all the "patriotic" organizations, but he left an unmistakable impression that of all the brands of anti-Communism, his was the best.

10/10/1963 Marquis Childs syndicated column "Washington Calling" quoted JFK as criticizing the Hunt family for having "paid small amounts in federal income tax last year" and used "various forms of tax exemption and special tax allowances to subsidize the ultraright on television, radio and in print."

10/17/1963 Sheldon Emry's letter to The Wanderer dated Oct 17 commenting on the extensive protection that JFK had around him on his trip to Duluth in early October. The Rev. Sheldon Emry was the founder of America's Promise Radio and Lord's Covenant Church. His Church was of the "Christian Identity" variety. I don't know if Emry knew William Gale circa 1963 but they had a falling out in the early 1970's.

10/18/1963 The Delaware State News editorialized, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. His name right now happens to be Kennedy - let's shoot him, literally, before Christmas."

10/18-19 or 20 Constitution Party national convention in Indianapolis. This meeting of right-wing extremists was attended by Joseph Milteer and Willie Somersett. Col. William Gale was one of the speakers.

10/24/1963 UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson, in a visit to Dallas, was jeered, jostled and spit on by angry right-wing protestors outside the Dallas Memorial Auditorium Theater.
Washington Post 12/9/1963: "It now appears that Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin, attended not only a rally addressed by Gen. Edwin Walker Oct. 23, but also one addressed by United Nations Ambassador Adlai Stevenson Oct. 24.  A Dallas woman who sat near Oswald at an Oct. 25 meeting of the Dallas Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says that when the Stevenson meeting of the night before was being discussed, Oswald nodded his head and said, "I was there."  Oswald said this in an aside to Michael Paine, who had brought him to the meeting, the woman clearly recalled...Larrie Schmidt, Dallas insurance salesman was also at the Stevenson meeting, leading a group of pickets against Stevenson. Yesterday Bernard Weissman, who placed an anti-Kennedy advertisement in the Dallas News on the morning of the assassination, told a newsman in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., that Schmidt telephoned him after the meeting at which Stevenson was spat upon, and asked Weissman to come to Dallas to help out in the aftermath.  Schmidt acknowledges that, in advance of the Stevenson speech, he telephoned "a friend of mine in a local university" and asked if he could help find people to demonstrate against the United Nations.  The friend arrived with 14 young pickets, and a "peaceful picketing" was organized, Schmidt said. The persons who spat on Stevenson and struck him with a picket sign had nothing to do with his well-dressed and orderly group, Schmidt said today. "We deplore and certainly do not condone the actions of those people," Schmidt says.  At the A.C.L.U. meeting on Oct. 25, Oswald rose during the open discussion and remarked that he had attended the Walker speech two nights before and had observed anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic symptoms there.  A man who attended the A.C.L.U. meeting and who sat beside Oswald, has been located and corroborates other recollections about Oswald's remarks there.  This source confirms that Oswald said in the aside that he had attended the Stevenson rally.  A Dallas businesswoman, who refused to be identified, said she believes she saw Oswald picketing at the scene of the Stevenson speech. "He was the only one who did a military type turn.  This called my attention to him," she said.  She believed Oswald's group picketed and left before the disturbance broke out against Stevenson. A second Dallas woman, a housewife, said: "I believe he was there, and he was carrying a picket sign in the lobby." Neither the businesswoman nor the housewife remembered what kinds of signs were carried by the group led by the man they now believe was Oswald."   
« Last Edit: November 06, 2013, 09:41:34 PM by TLR »


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Re: Kennedy and the Radical Right
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2013, 09:54:00 AM »
10/31/1963 Conservative romance novelist Taylor Caldwell wrote an editorial in the The Wanderer (St. Paul, Minnesota), warning that JFK might be assassinated by Communists or other leftists who were angry that he had not governed as they had hoped he would.
The following appears in the October 31, 1963 issue of THE WANDERER, p. 6. THE WANDERER had a fairly small audience of right-wingers. The Taylor Caldwell that wrote the following letter is the well-known author and Bircher. TC is replying to Sheldon Emry's letter dated Oct 17 commenting on the extensive protection that JFK had around him on his trip to Duluth in early October.

              President Kennedy in Danger? Taylor Caldwell
I was deeply interested in Sheldon Emrey's [sic] account [Wanderer Forum, October 17th] of Air Force men, soldiers with rifles at the ready, Highway Patrol officers, helicopters, guards, etc., being out in full force day and night when President Kennedy visited DULUTH. This account is most extraordinary, but even more alarming, and not for the reasons Mr. Emery [sic] gives: "Mr. Kennedy is now showing a visible power in the soldiers that he had not openly displayed before."

Personally, and for many other reasons, I do not think Mr. Kennedy "is now showing a visible power...." Only a few months ago Mr. Kennedy mingled affably with crowds, shaking hands, moving among them, shrugging off Secret Service men and leaving them behind. Why, then, this sudden change?

In the first place, the world is becoming more and more turbulent daily, even hourly. This fact appears only in small items in the newspapers; apparently the press is being cautious about the terrible situation, and this is alarming in itself. Despite that test-ban treaty it is most obvious that Mr. Kennedy is quite aware that peace is not at hand and that, on the contrary, the international situation with respect to Communism is growing increasingly ominous. I receive hundreds of letters a year from behind the Iron Curtain, from fans of mine. Lately the letters are full of disquiet, a sense of disaster near at hand. Letters from my relatives in England and Ireland express great uneasiness. It is as if free men everywhere now "feel" a monster threat, even though a few months ago they were somewhat amused, as they wrote me, at America's "attitude towards Russia." Human beings have instincts as well as lower animals, and it is obvious, to me at least, that human instinct is stirring in fear everywhere. We all know that there is not a spot on earth which is not now in a state of suppressed chaos or open danger or marching with soldiers or war or intense uneasiness.

The enemies of freedom and God are everywhere in every country of the West. It is possible that Mr. Kennedy is in personal jeopardy from them, a matter which is not being mentioned in the newspapers. Indeed, it is very probable. Presidents have been murdered before in our history, and in less dreadful times. Among our enemies there are many madmen. I receive quite a number of pro-Communist and "liberal" periodicals, and some are quite inflammatory against Mr. Kennedy. The tone of the "liberal" periodicals--some of our big monthly magazines for instance--are wrathful against our President. It seems that they had expected him to overthrow the Constitution and set-up a sort of crypto-Communist dictatorship. (They call it "progress.") He has disappointed them, and there is no canard too mean for them to print and no sneer too ugly for some of their pages. His parents, his wife, his children, his brothers and sisters, are held to ridicule in a lot of the "liberal" and pro-Communist press. This may come as a surprise to many of my Conservative brothers and sisters. As that part of our national press is influenced from Moscow it is easy to see the temper of many of them. And that temper can easily inflame madmen. The very fact that Mr. Kennedy is apparently now being so closely guarded should alarm all of us very deeply, whether or not we agree with the President on political matters. The mere though of Mr. Kennedy being assassinated should make all of us shudder
for the repercussions in America would be most terrible and disorder would result at the very least.

Then there are the "agents provocateur" who would just love such an "incident." I know. I read some of their literature. It would delight them--and serve their evil purpose--if harm came to Mr. Kennedy. I have already sent a sample to the Department of Justice; it actually suggested that the President be lynched!

Rather than being alarmed, perhaps we should feel relief that our President is being guarded as Mr. Emrey relates, whether we are Democrats or Republicans. I, for one, am relieved.

According to her FBI file, Caldwell was an outspoken conservative and for a time wrote for the John Birch Society's monthly journal American Opinion and even associated with the anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby.

11/1/1963 This is the date of an FBI airtel that FBI agent James P. Hosty, Jr. receives from San Antonio, to which he will respond fourteen days from now. (Right-wing subversives are Hosty's FBI specialty. The subject of the exchange of airtels is "John Thomas Masen, IS [Internal Security] - Cuba."

11/20/1963 Rev. J. Sidlow Baxter tells the Baptist General Convention of Texas that the American people had made "one of the greatest blunders in its history when it put a Roman Catholic President in the White House."

11/21/1963 The "Wanted for Treason" anti-JFK leaflets were distributed in Dallas this morning. The SS originally thought Oswald had ordered these leaflets, since the order had Oswald's typical spelling errors, and the person who ordered them around 11/14 resembled Oswald (except for his hair) (H 25 657). Dallas FBI agent Hosty visited SS headquarters and brought some of the leaflets with him. He didn't yet know there was to be a presidential motorcade. (H 4 460)   
« Last Edit: November 06, 2013, 09:32:02 PM by TLR »