Robert A. Caro (1990 [2006]) The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 2, Means of Ascent.

On page 402, towards the end of this second volume of the rise and rise of Lyndon Johnson, Robert A.Caro offers an insight into the former President’s personality.

For a President to preserve as a personal memento a photograph showing the notorious Box 13 in the possession of his political allies—a photograph which by implication provides that someone was indeed in a positon to stuff it—is startling in itself. For him to display the photograph to a hostile journalist is evidence of a psychological need so deep that its demands could not be resisted. It is continuing evidence of the fact that even his possession of the presidency had eased the insecurities of his youth.

In a week that the moron’s moron starts his impeachment trial by the Senate this is perhaps a good book to study.

There is little doubt that President Trump is guilty of all charges levelled against him from #Me too to crook too. He’s an abomination, but that didn’t stop him from becoming President. In fact, it was regarded as an asset. He would be telling others how it is.  What the Trump team did was very much like LBJ did they used the new technology of their age to target voters.

LBJ used helicopters and control of the media, primarily radio stations. He also used slush funds to generate more cash than had ever been spent in the history of Texas to buy political power.

The moron’s moron’s team, ironically, used the Obama tactics of weaponising social media. Fake Facebook accounts were targeted at key states as they are now being for the next election. Russian influence played its part, but LBJ was one of the first to realise it didn’t matter what you said, as long as you repeated it enough it had the patina of truth and then the other guy became the liar.

In a world of right and wrong and moral order LBJ would have been as screwed as any one of the moron moron’s servants. Both Presidents shared the capacity to demand total loyalty.

Caro juxtaposes LBJ’s fight for a senate seat with ‘Mr Texas’ Coke Stevenson. Think Atticus Finch here from To Kill a Mocking Bird and fling in a bit of John Wayne.  A man that built his own house by hand and dug his own fence posts and could pretty much do anything from building bridges to representing plaintiffs in court and winning the case. He never took a case where he thought the client was guilty. Prices for his services were written on chalk for all to see. He could not be bought. He had integrity. He had core beliefs where LBJ and the moron’s moron had a for-hire sign.

LBJ was an incredibly adapt creature of the political wrangling class, a lion among wolves. The moron’s moron is a child in a man’s body that nobody has said boo too—and there lies the danger. His stupidity could lead literally to the next world war. It has already helped diminished the chance of saving our planet without a massive loss of human life and biodiversity.  

Nobody much is interested in Box 13, or that old stuff called history. The guys in the photograph LBJ showed a hostile reporter are Texans that stole enough votes and stuffed them into Box 13 so that LBJ could become a Senator in the 1948 race. The equivalent would be the moron’s moron showing a New York Times reporter Trump standing in a Moscow hotel room with Putin, while Russia prostitutes piss on his bed. Or the moron’s moron standing with his hand on the shoulder of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and a speech bubble coming from the American President’s mouth asking him to dig up dirt on Joe Biden—or else.

LBJ knew that’s not the way power works. Senators might swear to be impartial, but we know that’s the kind of horseshit Coke Stevenson would have smartly wiped from his cowboy boots. 20 Republicans need to side the Democratic block vote to win the three-quarter majority to find the moron’s moron guilty. And like LBJ, the moron’s moron is always keen to leave a paperless trail. Admit to nothing, let the minions take the hits and then damn them for being crass liars, interested only in themselves and the next pay-packet. Accuse them of being greedy, of being bought.   Loyalty to self is the only thing worth preserving. Everyone else, everything else, expendable.

The greatest irony of all is that impeachment works in the moron moron’s favour. It provides proof to his followers that he’s stirred up the hornet’s nest. With no Hillary Clinton to bait, it’s the next best thing. Power follows the money. I hate to say it about the next election, but the moron’s moron—

#End of Days, Podcast on BBC5Live, presented by Chris Warburton, produced by Ciaran Tracey and music by Hex from the album, Earth.

end of days.jpg

https://www.bbc.co.uk/search?filter=programmes&q=End%20Of%20Days&suggid=urn%3Abbc%3Aprogrammes%3Ap06qc33m

I asked my girlfriend if she’d heard of Waco. No, she hadn’t. That shocked me a bit. But I’m the reader that sometimes writes stuff in the family, nobody ever reads. And, of course, I’d heard of David Koresh, but I didn’t know that wasn’t his real name, he’d picked it for the biblical resonance in the same way Shirley Crabtree called himself Big Daddy and John Wayne called himself John Wayne. I’ve got my own beliefs about the four horsemen of the apocalypse coming here soon induced by global warming, but hopefully I’ll be dead by then, but I’ve no great belief in the great hear-ever-after. If it’s any consolation I know the dates the world never ended. 1874, 1914, 1918, 1925 and 1975. The Messianic Kingdom didn’t happen and the view from the Watchtower was they’d gotten it wrong, but they’d get it right the next time. It’s a blood sport. Us and Them.  I might even have lucked into Koresh’s association with the Seventh-Day Adventists and a splinter group of a splinter group, the Branch Davidians. There’s a kind of meme repeated in the podcast that sums up that general sense of knowing something, the wackos from Waco. That ties in with my worldview of politics in America and the moron’s moron being elected President of the United States, or the disunited States, would be more appropriate tag. Waco is in Texas and is the kind of place revivalist preachers like Burt Lancaster’s Elmer Gantry flourished in real life and where the soft drink Sergeant Pepper was borne for those that didn’t like moonshine whisky.

God’s not alone, with a slew of books and films about the End of Days and Armageddon. Tara Westover’s Educated, for example, begins with Tara, aged seven, ‘in a little patch of Idaho’ with no birth certificate and no schooling, watching her Mormon father burying rifles and preparing for The Day of Abomination and asking God for his help in the coming shoot-out with the Feds who were coming to get them. Someone is always coming to get you at the End of Days.

Thirty people from London, Manchester and Nottingham at Waco, of mainly African-Caribbean origin,  were inside the compound at Mount Carmel. Twenty-six of the seventy-two men, women and children that died came from Britain and had followed David Koresh to their deaths.  He was labelled leader of a death cult and a false prophet by security forces. And the FBI coordinated siege which lasted fifty-one days and ended in tragedy on the 19th April 1993 was called appropriately enough by the authorities ‘Showtime’.

Chris Warburton and producer Ciaran Tracey take a more measured approach than Showtime. Their aim was almost anthropological to find out who these British citizens were, where they lived and what they worked at and how they’d come into contact with David Koresh and decided to give up their lives and follow him back to Waco. I don’t need to tell you anymore. Taste and see.