Comments by ernie1241

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Posted on May 31 at 6:42 p.m.

EZK: If YOU think that the JBS claimed to have 100,000 members by the early 1960's -- then please cite what source you think substantiates that.

The JBS never made that claim. First of all, JBS officials always refused to discuss specific membership numbers.

My larger point remains the same: the Birch Society did not have 100,000 members in the early 1960's. Based upon private internal documents and financial reports which reveal income received from member dues, it could be speculated that they may have had 75,000 members in 1965 or 1966.

On John Birch Society

Posted on May 23 at 10:54 a.m.

I forgot to mention in my previous message that the Birch Society's 1962 dues income was $296,326.

Consequently, using an $18 average, there were approximately 16,462 JBS members by the end of 1962.

The JBS did not approximate 100,000 members until sometime after the 1964 election.

This 105-page report explains why J. Edgar Hoover and senior FBI officials within the Bureau’s Domestic Intelligence Division concluded in FBI memos that the JBS was “extremist”, “irrational” and “irresponsible”

On John Birch Society

Posted on May 23 at 10:48 a.m.

The claim in this article that by "the early 1960's" the JBS had 100,000 members is an utter falsehood. In reality, the JBS had approximately 13,250 members.

In September 1960, Robert Welch told his National Council that the JBS had 324 chapters and 5300 members.

In the December 1960 JBS Bulletin, page 4, Robert Welch declared that "we have been doubling in size approximately once every four months" (i.e. 25% per month).

If one uses the formula stated by Welch (i.e. 100% every 4 months), then actual JBS membership would be approximately as follows starting from the baseline specified by Welch in September 1960:


Thus, the JBS was increasing its membership by about 1325 per month between September 1960 and January 1961 -- which would produce the following membership numbers:


Interestingly, the 1960 financial statement of the JBS declares that it received $198,719 in member dues during all of 1960. At that time, annual dues were $24 for men and $12 for women. If one uses an average of $18 that would mean there should be about 11,039 members by the end of December 1960 -- which is very close to the 10,600 extrapolation shown above for 1/61.

On John Birch Society

Posted on February 22 at 7:07 p.m.


Your comment is so typical of ignorant ideologues.

First, the "proof" was NOT published back in 1961. I presume you are referring to the Hans Engh series of articles? No specific JBS members were ever identified.

Second, for the sake of argument, let's assume that some overzealous Birchers were responsible. How does that convert into a conclusion that JBS "local leaders" either knew about or condoned such actions?

Third, let's briefly discuss your opening slur about the KKK and the JBS being somehow linked.

Rev. Delmar Dennis was a JBS member when he infiltrated the Klan in Mississippi for the FBI and later testified against Klan members. He subsequently became a paid speaker for the Birch Society and he travelled the country exposing the Klan as a subversive hate organization.

So what "lessons" did Birchers supposedly "learn from the Klan" in your scheme of things??

Furthermore, FYI, the Birch Society's Mississippi Coordinator (J. Vernon Pace) contacted the Jackson FBI field office on several occasions to report upon Klan attempts to infiltrate and/or use local JBS chapters for their own purposes. The Coordinator was responsible for the disbanding of one JBS chapter that refused to terminate the membership of a Klan sympathizer.

Another JBS member wrote a book about the experiences of Rev. Delmar Dennis in his fight against the Klan and his role as an informant for the FBI.

Every time a Klan member or sympathizer became known to the JBS --- it immediately terminated his membership in the JBS.

For you to INSINUATE (the lowest form of intellectual dishonesty) a connection or association between the JBS and the Klan only reveals your own maliciousness and total disregard for facts.

There are many legitimate reasons to oppose the Birch Society but fabricating falsehoods about them is not helpful.

On Paul Veblen, Former <em>News-Press</em> Editor, Dies

Posted on February 22 at 7:56 a.m.

There you go again!

You FALSELY and maliciously claim that ... "In the early 1960s, Storke and Veblen found that local leaders of the John Birch Society were operating in the shadows, making anonymous threats by letter and phone against local residents."

But you never NAME the specific Birch Society "local leaders of the JBS" who made "anonymous threats by letter and phone against local residents."

The reason you cannot name them is because you have NO PROOF WHATSOEVER that JBS members were responsible. So, in the best fictional yellow journalism tradition, you just FABRICATE a villain and present your personal vituperations as factual.

Shame on you!

On Paul Veblen, Former <em>News-Press</em> Editor, Dies

Posted on April 27 at 8 p.m.

OK, Barney, your explanation is pretty much what I expected and is typical of what is presented by JBS critics.

1. Your original article clearly and boldly stated that...

"Outraged that a John Birch chapter was operating in the shadows here in Santa Barbara, carrying out cowardly attacks via telephone and letter, led by an area physician, Storke ordered what a principled newspaper should do: honest, hard-hitting news coverage to expose who and what was behind the secret attacks on Santa Barbara leaders."

Now, however, you state that "Although Dr. Knight was a leader of the organization at no time was he accused of actually making the calls." --and-- there is NOT ONE IOTA OF EVIDENCE PRESENTED to establish that Dr. Knight even knew about (much less condoned such alleged "cowardly attacks" OR that the persons who made the alleged "cowardly attacks" were members of the JBS.

Furthermore, you quote Mr. Veblen as stating that:

"We started seeing a surge of extreme right-wing political activity but had no idea who was behind it." Did Hans Engh reveal the identitiy of specific JBS members who were behind the "cowardly attacks"? And what was the official JBS reaction to whatever Hans Engh "revealed"?

2. Every organization attracts weirdos and wackos who sometimes let their zeal or personal demons overcome their reason or their manners. But what does that have to do with the official position of the organization?

3. Your article is reminiscent of the attacks made against the NAACP by racists during the 1950's and 1960's. They, too, published "exposes". Senior NAACP leaders were said to ahve "affiliations" and "associations" with "Communists" or "Communist-front" organizations. The NAACP was never mentioned without using the occasion to sully the reputation of the organization and its supporters by associating them with communism. This technique was used to discredit not just the organization and it leaders but the very concept of existence of legitimate grievances within the African-American community.

Incidentally, what is the difference between a "cowardly attack" versus a principled critic who just thinks you (a) have your head screwed on wrong and (b) you have repeatedly exercised extremely poor judgment? Wouldn't the tone and substance of the rhetoric of the principled critic be susceptible to mis-characterization by anyone seeking to discredit ALL criticism?

4. YES---Birchers were highly critical of our national leadership for what they perceived as inexcusable and relentless errors of judgment --- and Birchers were NOT shy about naming names and offering their evidence. But why is that a "cowardly attack"? And what does Dr. Knight have to do with this entire episode?

On Campaigns of Vilification

Posted on April 26 at 6:59 p.m.

A considerable amount of unfair, inaccurate, or grossly exaggerated information has been written over the years about the John Birch Society.

Fairness requires that when highly derogatory charges are made about a person or organization, they should be carefully documented with verifiable factual data.

Mr. Brantingham asserts that:
"Outraged that a John Birch chapter was operating in the shadows here in Santa Barbara, carrying out cowardly attacks via telephone and letter, led by an area physician, Storke ordered what a principled newspaper should do: honest, hard-hitting news coverage to expose who and what was behind the secret attacks on Santa Barbara leaders. Reporter Hans Engh did the reporting. I had a hand in editing the series."

This characterization begs the following questions:

1. What specific "cowardly attacks" is Mr. B. referring to?
2. What verifiable factual evidence does Mr. B. have which connects the Birch Society as an organization to those "cowardly attacks" -- as opposed to other explanations?
3. The reference to an "area physician" who "led" the "attacks" probably refers to Dr. Granville Knight, a Birch Society National Council member who lived in Santa Barbara. What specific evidence does Mr. B. have to connect Dr. Knight with the "cowardly attacks"?

FBI files pertaining to the JBS (and many of its arguments) have been released as a result of my FOIA requests and they offer a unique perspective.

Senior FBI officials (including J. Edgar Hoover) routinely referred to the JBS in FBI internal memos as "extremist", "irrational",
"irresponsible", "fanatics" and "lunatic fringe".

For a 65-page report based, primarily, upon first-time released FBI documents and files, see the following:

or contact me at:

On Campaigns of Vilification

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