From the Annals of the War Presidents – In 1966, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson met with South Vietnamese Premier Nguyen Cao Ky in Honolulu. At the time, American involvement in the Vietnam War was already spiraling out of control and the motivation for the talks may have been to address growing public opinion against the war. The talks resulted in the issuance of a joint declaration in which the United States promised to help South Vietnam “prevent aggression” and establish “the principles of self-determination of peoples and government by the consent of the governed.” As part of his public relations campaign for continuing the war, Johnson declared: “We are determined to win not only military victory but victory over hunger, disease, and despair.” Johnson referred to this as “The Other War” meaning the supposed effort to improve the lives of the South Vietnamese through increased security, and economic and social programs to win the so-called “hearts and minds.” Red does not need to point out the utter failure of all of this.
Early voting turnout in the most populous Texas counties has been remarkable. Apparently both sides are motivated to turn out the voting. In the 30 counties that comprise about 78% of Texas voters, early turnout has already surpassed the total votes cast in the 2014 midterm elections. Early turnout in these counties has been about 4.8 million votes case as compared to just over 2 million early votes in 2014.
The rule has always been that bigger turnout favors Democratic candidates. But Red suspects that the surprisingly exciting Senate race pitting Beto v. Lyin’ Ted has a lot to do with this surge in turnout. Red will be a winner either way in this race. If the charismatic Beto wins then Texas will be represented by someone who actually cares about the state – rather than the current occupant whose agenda basically consists of the greater glorification of all things Ted Cruz coupled with the most naked ambition witnessed in several decades of watching Texas politics (LBJ can hardly hold a candle to Lyin’ Ted). But if LT wins, then Red still has someone to kick around for another 6 years – and kicking Ted is like shooting alligators in swimming pool.
Texas voters are likely also casting their ballots in a referendum on the first two years of the Reality TV Show Joke of a Presidency aka the Trump Administration. Those who really like reality TV and disfavor actual reality (or “fake news” in Trumph parlance) are coming out to support Trumph. On the other side, those who have been horrified by the continual onslaught of daily falsehoods, fabrications and duplicity, and the racist fear-mongering, hatred, maniacal egotism and rampant nepotism and profiteering that are the hallmarks of the current White House occupant are also out in force to be heard – even in deep red Texas.
So regardless of your particular stripe, Red urges you to go and vote if you have not exercised the franchise already. The people get the government they deserve and in Texas we have been getting a lot of it for a long time. All Red knows is that Tuesday will either be exciting and down to the wire or same old story of one-party dominance in his beloved Texas. So go out and vote – or cease complaining.
From the Annals of the Libraries – In 1971, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library was dedicated on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. LBJ was in attendance along with President Richard M. Nixon and many notable Texas politicians.
The LBJ Library is one of 13 Presidential Libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. The LBJL contains over 45 million pages of documents – including LBJ’s papers as well as those of his staff and many of his close associates. The Library building has been described as a ten-story unadorned travertine monolith. The architectural design was not critically acclaimed and described by some as a structure that would have pleased Mussolini. Red for one has always more or less liked the massive structure which is accompanied by an impressive fountain and a genteel garden as a tribute to Lady Bird. The Library archives are open to researchers and there are numerous exhibits for the general public.
From the Annals of the U.S. Wars of Choice – In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson sent a Marine Corps Hawk air defense missile battalion to Da Nang, South Vietnam. The troops were deployed to provide protection for the key U.S. airbase there. This was the first deployment of U.S. combat troops to South Vietnam. The move provoked strong reactions to an apparent new level of involvement in the Vietnamese conflict. Communist China and the Soviet Union threatened to intervene if the U.S. continued military support of the South Vietnamese regime. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow was attacked by demonstrators (including Vietnamese and Chinese students) in a move orchestrated by the Kremlin. Britain and Australia supported the U.S. action, but France called for negotiations.
LBJ had little appreciation of the horrors of war as he had avoided any real combat action in WWII and he was known throughout his life as being an intense physical coward. He showed no hesitation in sending others off to die in his foolish war. The escalation of U.S. involvement in what had been essentially a civil war was now official and the mistaken judgment of LBJ in blundering into the Vietnam War would not end until more than 58,000 U.S. servicemen and women had lost their lives in the futile struggle.
From the Annals of the Undeclared Wars – In 1964, Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson first began to come under pressure for his plan to escalate the undeclared war in Vietnam. Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-Wisconsin) began to speak out against preparation for additional troops in Vietnam. Nelson claimed that Congress did not intend the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution to endorse escalation into a full scale war in Vietnam.
The GOTR had been passed on August 7 in response to North Vietnamese patrol boats allegedly firing on U.S. warships in the waters off North Vietnam on August 2 and 4. Whether there was an attack and if so, whether it was provoked has been much debated, but the incident prompted Congress to pass the GOTR with only two dissenting votes in the Senate. The GOTR gave Johnson power to “take all necessary measures to repel an armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.” Johnson apparently viewed the resolution as giving him a free hand and began a major escalation of the conflict which ultimately cost the U.S. 58,220 lives and achieved nothing.
From the Annals of the Authors – In 1964, J. Frank Dobie received the Medal of Freedom from President Lyndon B. Johnson. Dobie is most famous for his retelling of Texas folklore and vignettes of Texas history. Born in Live Oak County on a ranch, Dobie went to school in Alice and later studied at Southwestern University in Georgetown and Columbia in New York. He worked as a reporter, school teacher, professor and ranch manager. While at the University of Texas, he joined the Texas Folklore Society which became a lifelong calling. In 1929, JFD published his first book A Vaquero of the Brush Country – based on his work on his uncle’s ranch in South Texas. The book established him as a spokesman for Texas folklore and culture of the no-longer open range. His other books focused on similar Texas and Native American themes and included On the Open Range (1931), Tales of the Mustang (1936), The Flavor of Texas (1936), Apache Gold and Yaqui Silver (1939), and Tongues of the Monte (1947). He is remembered mostly today for the Dobie Paisano Ranch on Barton Creek near Austin (owned by UT) which provides authors with a fellowship and a place to write. Dobie died 4 days after receiving the award. Sadly, his books are read by almost no one anymore.
From the Annals of the Halls of Congress – In 1913, Sam Rayburn of Windom took the oath of office as a member of the United States House of Representatives. Mr. Sam, as he was known, was to serve in Congress from the presidency of Woodrow Wilson until that of John F. Kennedy. Rayburn rose to majority leader in 1937 and was elected Speaker of the House in 1940. He remained Speaker until his death in 1961. Rayburn was a master politician who helped negotiate the Roosevelt-Garner ticket in 1932 backing his friend John Nance Garner for Vice-President. He worked tirelessly to pass New Deal legislation and as chairman of the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee in the 1930s he oversaw legislation that established the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. He worked closely with Senate majority leader Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1950s and Texas benefitted greatly from have the two pillars of power working in D.C. Rayburn was married only briefly and said that his greatest regret was not have a tow-haired son to take fishing. The Sam Rayburn Reservoir and several schools in East Texas are name after Mr. Sam. He was the longest serving Speaker in U.S. history.
From the Annals of Warmongering – In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson sent a Marine Corps Hawk air defense missile battalion to Da Nang, South Vietnam. The troops were deployed to provide protection for the key U.S. airbase there. This was the first deployment of U.S. combat troops to South Vietnam. The move provoked strong reactions to an apparent new level of involvement in the Vietnamese conflict. Communist China and the Soviet Union threatened to intervene if the U.S. continued military support of the South Vietnamese regime. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow was attacked by demonstrators (including Vietnamese and Chinese students) in a move orchestrated by the Kremlin. Britain and Australia supported the U.S. action, but France called for negotiations. But the escalation of U.S. involvement in what was essentially a civil war had begun and would not end until more than 58,000 U.S. servicemen and women had lost their lives in the futile struggle.
From the Annals of All the Way with LBJ – In 1964, Lyndon B. Johnson was nominated to as the Democratic candidate for president at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, NJ. LBJ had of course been elevated to the presidency upon the assassination of John F. Kennedy the previous November. Shortly before his nomination, the seeds of trouble had been planted when LBJ began the escalation of the Vietnam War based on the now discredited Gulf of Tonkin incident. Vietnam and the domestic unrest that it unleashed would be the undoing of Johnson’s presidency and he would decline to run again in 1968.
From the Annals of Mr. Texas – In 1941, Lt. Gov. Coke Stevenson was sworn in as Governor of Texas when Pappy O’Daniel resigned to take office as a United States senator. Stevenson’s story is rather remarkable. He grew up in hard scrabble land of the western Hill Country and had almost no formal education. He began work in his teens running mule teams that hauled freight between Junction and Brady. He educated himself on the trail studying history and bookkeeping at night. He worked his way up from janitor to bank cashier and continued to study – this time tackling law under the tutelage of Judge Marvin Blackburn. He passed the bar exam in 1913 and continued his banking career while practicing law. Stevenson organized and became president of the First National Bank in Junction and also aspired to politics. He was elected Kimble County Attorney and County Judge. He later was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1928 and became Speaker of the House in a remarkable short five years. In 1939, he was elected lieutenant governor. After succeeding Daniel he was elected governor on his own in 1942 and served until 1947. Unfortunately, he may be most famous for his loss to Lyndon Johnson in the 1948 Democratic Primary. It was a race filled with controversy and scandal and revealed LBJ as a politician who would stop at nothing to win. The race and Stevenson’s own remarkable rise to power is brilliantly chronicled in Robert Caro’s Path to Power volume of his series on LBJ.