JFK & JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY
Recently a reader asked me to critique an essay entitled THE HELL OF NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR, by Malcolm Pittock, a professor at Oxford. Its basic premise is that in 1984 Orwell was more pro-capitalist than anti-communist. This, of course, is a ludicrous allegation, seeing as how Orwell is just as anti-capitalist as he is anti-communist, anti-fascist, anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist and anti-any political system that isn't "democratic socialism*".
To support his argument that 1984 was pro-capitalist, the author offered as proof the fact that the Washington branch of the John Birch Society had adopted "1984" as the last four digits of its telephone number. That's as absurd as saying Orwell would approve of the JBS because it advertises his books in its magazine, New American. In reality, the far-right and the far-left hate Orwell in equal measure. For proof of that, go to my essay ORWELL'S PUBLISHING PROBLEMS**, which describes the difficulties he encountered with both groups.
But now that the subject of the John Birch Society has come up, people may find the following information interesting. It describes the full-page ad that was placed in the Dallas Morning News on the morning of President Kennedy's visit to Dallas and JFK's reaction to it and what people thought about the John Birch Society, the ones responsible for placing the ad. ~ Jackie Jura
"...The entire page 14 of the Dallas Morning News, November 22nd, 1963, was devoted to an advertisement, ominously bordered in black like an announcement of mourning. Under the sardonic heading, "WELCOME MR KENNEDY TO DALLAS," an organization styling itself as "The American Fact-Finding Committee" -- a local coordinator of the John Birch Society and Nelson Bunker Hunt, the son of H. L. Hunt, it later developed, were the committee's most prominent members -- asked the President twelve rhetorical questions. He was accused of responsiblity for the imprisonment, starvation, and persecution of 'thousands of Cubans.' The ad declared that he was selling food to the Communist party, and asked, among other things, 'Why have you ordered or permitted your brother Bobby, the Attorney General, to go soft on Communists, fellow-travelers, and ultra-leftists in America, while permitting him to persecute loyal Americans who criticize you, your administration, and your leadership?'
"It was another 'Wanted for Treason' broadside. But there were two differences. This denunciation was reaching a vast audience through the pages of a respected newspaper. And it was appearing within hours of the President's arrival.
"'Mr Kennedy', the ad concluded, 'we DEMAND answers to these questions, and we want them NOW.'
"...In 1963 the Dallas Morning News was published by a man named Ted Dealey [as in Dealey Plaza]. When criticized for it later, Dealey said that before agreeing to print the JBS ad, he'd read it meticulously and approved it, arguing that it 'represented what the Dallas Morning News have been saying editorially'.
"Actually, in agreeing to go to Texas, JFK knew he was heading into extremely hostile territory. Joe Pool - the Democratic Congressman from Dallas - was heavily backed by big money . He told "Big D" constituents that the Kennedy administration had "turned my stomach". The mayor of Dallas - Earle Cabell - was a friend and associate of Robert Welch, the founder of the John Birch Society. The mayor and his wealthy cronies hated JFK. Some of them affixed bumper-stickers to their cars saying "K.O. the Kennedys". Their wives played a game called "Which Kennedy do you hate the most?".... Prosperous, well educated young marrieds gathered over jumbo highballs in the trendy suburbs to swap jokes about assassination and lewd gossip about the First Family.
"When JFK woke up that morning in Fort Worth, Texas the Dallas Morning News was delivered with his coffee. At first he was too busy to read it and it wasn't until after the breakfast banquet, when he was back in his hotel room, that one of his aides - Kenny O'Donnell - opened the paper to the appropriate page and showed it to him. His face turned grim and he shook his head, commenting that it was unimaginable that a paper could do such a thing.
"He handed it to Jackie saying, 'We're heading into nut country today'. O'Donnell took the paper to a window and reread it. The President prowled the floor. Abrubtly he paused in front of his wife. 'You know, last night would have been a hell of a night to assassinate a President', he murmured. He said it casually, and she took it lightly; it was his way of shaking off the ad... 'I mean it,' he said now, building the daydream. 'There was the rain, and the night, and we were all getting jostled. Suppose a man had a pistol in a briefcase.' He gestured vividly, pointing his rigid index finger at the wall and jerking his thumb twice to show the action of the hammer. 'Then he could have dropped the gun and the briefcase--' in pantomime he dropped them and whirled in a tense crouch-- 'and melted away in the crowd.' Lyndon Johnson came in immediately after this 007 caper... Jacqueline Kennedy examined the still uncertain sky. She hoped it would darken. It would be ridiculous to spend all that time getting ready and then ruin everything in a forty-five-minute ride in an open car. 'Oh, I want the bubbletop,' she said wistfully.
"...The President and Mrs Kennedy mounted the ramp onto Air Force One at 11:23. Evelyn Lincoln photographed them with a new Polaroid and followed... O'Brien, from his limousine, watched the President's embarkation. 'Flying to Dallas?' asked the driver. Larry nodded. With Forth Worth chauvinism the man commented, 'That's the hell hole of the world.'
"During the 13 minute flight from Fort Worth to Dallas, JFK was in the tail-end compartment talking about the Texas press to the men who where gathered there. "'It's bad', he said, holding one newspaper aloft to Kellerman, Hill, and McHugh. 'What's worse, it's inaccurate.' Godfrey came in and said, 'If you think that's bad, Mr President, wait till you see the Dallas News.' 'I have seen it,' Kennedy said heavily. He paced forward along the corridor outside his bedroom and paused in the doorway. On a narow bench outside, O'Donnell was sitting with Connally... Kennedy didn't enter the discussion. He had left that to his lieutenants. Besides, his mind was still on the morning papers. 'What kind of journalism do you call the Dallas Morning News?' he fumed at Ken. 'You know who's responsible for that ad? Dealey. Remember him? After that exhibition he put on in the White House I did a little checking on him. He runs around calling himself a war correspondent, and everybody in Dallas believes him.' The President added a highly derogatory statement about the publisher.
"He saw Thomas approaching and motioned him into the bedroom, saying ... 'What can I do for you this morning, Congressman?' and Thomas answered, 'Mr President, it's the other way round. If I can't win after what you did for me in Houston, I don't deserve to get elected.' There was a tap on the door. Dave Powers handed Kennedy his Trade Mart speech. Thomas added gravely, 'But if I were you, I'd be careful what I said in Dallas. It's a tough town.' Kennedy let it pass. Nothing he had seen this morning had encouraged him to soften a word. The Washington correspondent of the Dallas Times Herald, who had seen the advance copy of the speech, had warned his office that it was 'a withering blast at his right-wing critics.' The President intended it to be just that. 'Why don't you give Kenny a hand?' Kennedy said, glancing at the door. 'That's why I'm here,' said the Congressman, and went out.
"When the news first broke that JFK had been shot, people all over the world prayed that he had just been wounded.
"Prayers continued. The nation's suspense continued. So did mute phone lines, official fears of a plot, and, through the Joint Chiefs' global alert, the quick knotting of the Pentagon's awesome fist. Erratic reactions also continued, triggered by unsuspected inner quirks. The pathetic refusals to accept the facts persisted, though they were being defeated as each passing minute eroded individual defenses of denial and misunderstanding. Those who needed solitude paced their lonely rooms and streets, those who required company forged intimate friendships with strangers they would never encounter again, and those capable of speculation wondered about the source of the shots. Nearly all the conjecture led in the same direction. There was little doubt about the political convictions of the sniper. It was assumed that he and his accomplices, whose existence was also assumed, were agents of the Radical Right. This was true even of the surmises of members of the John Birch Society...
"...Cardinal Cushing greeted his naval visitor with five hoarse words: 'Jack Kennedy has been assassinated...' He couldn't go on. His lips were working furiously, but there was no sound, and the admiral hastily withdrew. Ted Sorensen had been the rhetorician of the New Frontier, and at 2:35 he was also the most prestigious aide at the White House. Sitting across from Behn in McNally's office he felt that he should assume some responsibility, yet he couldn't. He felt shackled; if he had been standing in the middle of a stadium, he could have done nothing. At length he stirred a little and said with slow bitterness, 'They wouldn't even give him three years,' and left the East Wing for the West... In the West Wing Reardon shouted at Sorensen, 'I'd like to take a fucking bomb and blow the fucking State of Texas off the fucking map!' ... In Phoenix, Arizona, a thirty-three-year-old man fired two shots through the window of the local John Birch Society office.
"...Not all shared his wrath, however. An Oklahoma City physician beamed at a grief-stricken visitor and said, 'Good, I hope they get Jackie.' In a small Connecticut city a doctor called ecstatically across Main Street -- to an internist who worshipped Kennedy -- 'The joy ride is over. This is one deal Papa Joe can't fix.' A woman visiting Amarillo, the second most radical city in Texas, was lunching in the restaurant adjacent to her motel when a score of rejoicing students burst in from a high school directly across the street. 'Hey, great, JFK's croaked!' one shouted with flagrant delight, and the woman, leaving as rapidly as she could, noticed that several diners were smiling back at the boy. In Dallas itself a man whooped and tossed his expensive Stetson in the air. In the private, rich, racially segregated suburban schools -- where Big D's big money is -- the school day continued to the final bell. The pupils of a fourth-grade class, told that the President of the United States had been murdered in their city, burst into spontaneous applause.
"...Once the identity of the assassin had been established elaborate attempts were made to sponge away the memory of these incidents. The Radical Right wasn't contrite. Its initial glee was confirmed and reconfirmed; during a meeting in the Cosmos Club which was brought to the attention of the FBI in Washington six months after the tragedy, a retired Marine Corps general told an admiring group of retired military officers that 'It was the hand of God that pulled the trigger that killed Kennedy.' But the radicals were content to leave the guilt in Oswald's grave. Their goal had been achieved, and they were anxious to avoid the undertow of public disapproval.
"...The swift solution of the riddle of who had fired the shots was to have the effect of dissipating early reactions. This was lucky for the gloaters. Had the assassin been identified, say, as an agent of the John Birch Society, Birchers everywhere would have been in for an awkward afternoon. It was also fortunate for domestic tranquility. Almost as soon as conclusions had been drawn, they were to be confounded, and instead of hysteria the national attitude became one of pervasive sadness."
~ end quoting Manchester's Death of a President ~
DALLAS HATE-JFK AD
JFK ASSASSINATION PREMONITION
JFK & RFK ASSASSINATION DETAILS, by buffs & theorists
**ORWELL'S PUBLISHING PROBLEMS
*ORWELL'S UTOPIA DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM
JFK TRUTH & UNTRUTH and CORPORATE COMMUNISM
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~