President Obama’s Speech at a Mosque

President Obama’s Speech at a Mosque
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

On February 3rd, President Barack Obama left the nation’s capital to deliver a speech at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, his first address delivered at an Islamic Mosque. What he said on that occasion was noteworthy for several distortions of truth, but also for leaving out important history.

The President stated, “For more than a thousand years, people have been drawn to Islam’s message of peace. And the very word itself, Islam, comes from salaam – peace.” Not so; it doesn’t mean peace. A decent dictionary will confirm that the word “Islam” means submission.

Mr. Obama then told his Muslim audience, “Jefferson and John Adams had their own copies of the Koran.” That’s correct but they obtained them, not because of any affection for what Islam’s foundational book states, but in order to know why American vessels were being attacked and their crewmembers imprisoned by North Africa’s Muslim pirates operating out of Tripoli. Any U.S. Marine would confirm that “from the shores of Tripoli” in the Marine Corps Hymn refers to Marines of the early 19th century taking action to put a stop to such treachery.

The President insisted that Muslim scholars of today “know Islam has a tradition of respect for other faiths.” Again, not so. Wherever Islam dominates, people of other faiths are classified as second-class citizens who must pay a tax and, in some cases, face execution.

More of what Mr. Obama said during his remarks in Baltimore can be shown to be similarly deficient. But the history of Islam’s determined forays westward over many centuries should be included in a discussion of the movement begun by Mohammed. Before the end of the 7th century, Muslims had subdued and occupied large areas of Asia, Northern Africa, some Mediterranean islands, and portions of Europe.

From a base they secured in Spain, a Mohammedan army stormed across the Pyrenees into France where they were defeated at the historic 732 Battle of Tours by a smaller Christian force led by Charles Martel. In his famous “History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” British historian Edward Gibbon stated that had the Muslims triumphed on that occasion, “the Koran would have been taught at Oxford and Cambridge Universities instead of the Bible.”

After Islamists captured Constantinople in 1453, they moved into Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary. At the famous Battle of Belgrade, another smaller Christian army led by Hungary’s King John Hunyadi defeated Muslim forces led by Mehmet II. In 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain triumphed over Islam’s followers known as Moors. The next attempt of Mohammed’s followers to gain dominance in Europe occurred in a 1571 naval battle at Lepanto off the Greek coast where an outnumbered Christian naval force led by Don Juan of Austria defeated the forces of Islam led by Ali Pasha. Then in 1683, 200,000 Muslims led by Mustafa surrounded Vienna and prepared to conquer that strategic city but were met and defeated by Poland’s King John Sobieski and his outnumbered 80,000 troops.

Mr. Obama mentioned none of this. Nor did he refer to the current flood of Muslim immigrants into Western Europe or the threat posed by those who intend to take control of the West, not by force of arms, but by sheer numbers and the weapon known as terrorism.

The President’s speech was deficient in many ways, a deficiency shared by practically all of American media who would have the people of our country believe that Islam stands for peace and poses no threat to America and the West. Honest history tells a far different story.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Which is Worse: Abortion or a Fake Driver’s License?

Which is Worse: Abortion or a Fake Driver’s License?
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Over the past few months, videos of Planned Parenthood personnel agreeing to sell body parts of aborted fetuses commanded the nation’s attention. There is no doubt in the mind of most who saw the interviews of these Planned Parenthood employees that they were marketing the hearts, kidneys, and other organs of recently alive infants.

Following the showing of those interviews, protests from abortion partisans pointed out that the interviews were “secretly” recorded as if that were the real issue. True enough that secrecy was employed, but that was to be expected. Journalists regularly use such a tactic to get the “drop” on people with whom they disagree – as Mitt Romney found out prior to being defeated in 2012. Planned Parenthood employees would never admit to a known journalist that they were harvesting and selling the parts of babies. The videographers posed as customers and their taping had to be done secretly.

When members of the U.S. House of Representatives saw some of the tapings, they voted 240-181 to cease sending any taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood, a justifiable move. Planned Parenthood actually received $553 million from the federal government in 2014, a large portion of which, despite claims to the contrary, enabled the organization to provide abortions. There is no doubt that if the House measure ever reaches President Obama, he will promptly veto it. The number of outraged members of Congress isn’t lopsided enough to override such a veto.

Nevertheless, Congress has considered the matter serious enough to create its own investigation. A special House committee has been formed to look into abortion and related practices, including the marketing of infant body parts by Planned Parenthood. Headed by Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), the panel’s spokesman has announced that investigations are underway, but there will be no conclusions reached until December, after the November elections.

A Texas grand jury looking into the matter concluded surprisingly that Planned Parenthood had done no wrong and, instead, indicted the two videographers, David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. They were charged with a felony, the tampering of a driver’s license. And Daleiden was further charged with seeking to purchase fetal tissue. Yes, he created a phony license and yes, he admitted telling Planned Parenthood personnel of his desire to purchase what they were selling. He didn’t really want some body parts of infants torn from a woman’s womb. And he felt it necessary to hide his real identity with the marked-up license. He got what he set out to obtain and people throughout the nation saw televised evidence of Planned Parenthood personnel negotiating such deals.

Planned Parenthood officials now say they will no longer take money for marketing body parts, though they will still supply them for “research.” Defending themselves from the bad publicity generated by what has been shown of the secretly taped interviews, they have labeled Daleiden and Merritt “extreme” anti-abortion activists. In their view, abortion and marketing body parts taken from aborted fetuses isn’t extreme, nor is abortion itself worthy of such an adjective. But anyone who is opposed to abortion can expect to be so labeled.

Planned Parenthood has long been the nation’s largest abortion provider. Since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision opening the floodgates of the grisly practice, the lives of more than 50 million babies have been terminated in the so-called “land of the free.” Planned Parenthood’s abortion business does operate within the law established by that decision. The mentality driving the nation’s chief abortion provider contends that whatever the Supreme Court says is okay. That’s all they’ve ever needed. So the real issue here is the Roe v. Wade decision that ought to be overturned because life begins at conception and the taking of a life once conceived is nothing else but murder. Although murdering a child in the womb has been granted legality, it surely fails the test of morality.

Unless the charges against Daleiden and Merritt are dropped, they could end up being the only criminals associated with the horrifying practice they exposed. Abortion and the side practice of sharing body parts of infants will be granted additional legality. And should the current thinking hold, doctoring a driver’s license in order to expose what Planned Parenthood does with funding that it obtains from the American people surely will be considered the greater crime.

What’s happening here is akin to focusing on a mass murderer’s parking ticket and letting him go free because of a technicality in the filming of his taking a handicapped space for which he had no permit.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


The Flawed Balanced Budget Amendment

The Flawed Balanced Budget Amendment
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Texas Governor Greg Abbott favors creation of a Constitutional Convention in order ”to fix the cracks in our broken Constitution.” He is not alone in wanting such a gathering. But our nation’s problems don’t stem from a broken Constitution. They stem from legislation approved by leaders who have broken their solemn oath to abide by the Constitution’s limits on government.

What’s lost in all of this discussion is that an amendment should be considered if the Constitution is found deficient or in error. But the U.S. Constitution isn’t at fault; the fault lies with government officials who ignore the Constitution’s existing limitations.

Governor Abbott’s claims include his belief that the Constitution grants power to conduct a “convention of the states.” Such terminology does not appear in the Constitution’s Article V. If two-thirds of the states petition Congress to create a convention, it must indeed be created. And Congress, not the states, will have power granted in the Constitution’s Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 to decide where it will be held, who and how many will be the delegates from each state, who will pay them, and more. To call a constitution convention a “convention of the states” displays ignorance of the Constitution itself.

Further, like most advocates of a constitutional convention, Governor Abbott, who proposes nine different amendments, wants to add a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) to the Constitution. Balancing the budget is a good idea and the nation would be better off if the federal budget were balanced each year. But the numerous BBAs proposed are so full of loopholes that they make these proposals virtually meaningless. Each BBA proposal has one or more of the following flaws:

1. Expecting government officials to honor an amendment – however well intentioned such an expectation might be – when they currently refuse to honor the existing Constitution is an absurdity.
2. Some BBAs allow 60 percent in Congress to override the requirement for balancing the budget. Getting 60 percent for other outrageous measures is a regular occurrence.
3. Various BBAs make no mention of the growing problem resulting from declaring some huge expenditures “off budget.” Use of this tactic makes a joke of a balanced budget mandate.
4. Some BBAs call for increasing taxes as a way to balance the budget, even steering taxing authority to the Executive branch.
5. Proponents of some BBAs want a stipulation that the budget need not be balanced if there’s a war, or a real or cleverly contrived national emergency.
6. Various proponents say that a BBA won’t have to take effect for five years or more – thereby sanctioning the addition of more trillions to the nation’s already enormous indebtedness.
7. Finally, balancing the budget ignores already accumulated indebtedness requiring billions annually for interest payments.

There are likely other flaws in the various proposals calling for a Balanced Budget Amendment. What’s lost in all of this discussion is that an amendment should be considered if the Constitution is found deficient or in error. But the U.S. Constitution isn’t at fault; the fault lies with government officials who ignore the Constitution’s existing limitations.

If the Constitution as it exists today were honored by our nation’s officials, the federal government would shrink to 20 percent its size and 20 percent its cost. Gone would be foreign aid, and the Departments of Education, Housing, Transportation, Energy, Health and Human Services, and more. These government programs and agencies are not and never have been constitutionally authorized.

We have made no mention of the danger involved in the creation of a constitutional convention. Let’s simply say that, just as occurred in 1787 when a convention met simply to revise the Articles of Confederation, the delegates tossed the Articles away and came up with a whole new Constitution. Such an eventuality could occur in these times, and we could lose the Constitution we have. A Con-Con is a dangerous route that should not be followed.

Be sure to contact your state legislators to ask them to oppose a Constitutional Convention.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


United Nations Wants Taxing Power

United Nations Wants Taxing Power
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

An independent panel created by the United Nations has reported that the world body faces a multiplicity of crises and a dearth of funds to deal with them. One crisis is the flood of refugees descending on Europe. But there are plenty more needing the kind of urgent attention the UN claims it supplies.

Let your congressmen know to sign onto the bill to withdraw the US from the UN.

So the nine-member panel, made up of representatives of donor nations, some corporations, and some international bureaucracies, suggests that the UN be allowed to place a small tax on international sporting events such as the soccer’s World Cup, concerts where famous artists perform, and more. They even included as a potential source of revenue a tax on Uber taxi fares. And the recommendations include a preference for cash, not for blankets and food. Bulgaria’s Kristalina Georgieva, the current European Commission’s vice president for budget served as a member of this panel. She is being considered as a successor to current UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

Dues and donations from member nations cover the UN’s growing costs. This, of course, is something many UN officials would like to change. The behind the scenes desire is that if the UN is to meet its responsibilities, the organization should be able to gather its funds as a nation does – through an ability to levy taxes. So, we surmise, a small tax that hardly anyone would notice embedded in the exorbitant price to attend the famous soccer match or a rock concert might become a precedent for other taxes and eventual financial independence for the world body. How about the Super Bowl, the World Series, and the NBA and NHL finals? Once a taxing precedent is set, why not other taxes to fund the world body? What would such taxes pay for?

In 2010, the U.S supplied $26 billion for the UN’s peacekeeping operations, $1.5 billion for the UN’s World Food Program, and $0.7 billion for the refugee program. Each of these expenditures was beyond regular dues payments.

Right now, the United States pays the UN about $8 billion in dues and voluntary payments, far more than any other country. We pay 22 percent of the UN’s operating budget and 28 percent of the peacekeeping budget. As one observer noted, that’s more than the combined total supplied to the UN by 176 of its member nations. (There are 193 member nations in the UN.)

A Heritage Foundation examination of the UN’s efforts in combating humanitarian crises found: 1) the UN’s aid efforts ranked among the worst in efficiency; 2) mismanagement, fraud and corruption are common in peacekeeping operations; and 3) UN personnel have been accused of sexual abuses in at least a dozen nations where they were sent.

In 2006, a Procurement Task Force established to investigate UN operations uncovered fraud, waste and shoddy management that led to firings and convictions of some UN officials. But the Procurement Task Force was abolished two years later. Nobody else is watching the UN’s operations with the result that no more incidents of such corruption have been discovered.

As discouraging as all of this truly is, the possibility of the UN having its own taxing ability is frightening. What should be done before the UN gains such power becomes more obvious every day. Withdrawal from the UN is the answer, just as it has been the answer for decades.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Compulsory Union Funding Threatened

Compulsory Union Funding Threatened
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

In 26 states, individuals employed in what are termed “public sector” jobs (teachers, firefighters, etc.) are compelled to pay the equivalent of union membership fees even if they decline to join the union. This arrangement is now being challenged in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. The Supreme Court has accepted the case and is expected to deliver a ruling before its mid-2016 break.

Plantiff Rebecca Friedrichs, a veteran teacher in a California public school, speaks at a supporting rally. Image from Center for Individual Rights Facebook page.

The plaintiff in this case is Rebecca Friedrichs, a veteran teacher in a California public school. She is joined in the suit by nine others who also believe they are being treated unjustly when forced to pay for something they don’t want. Ms. Friedrichs argues, “I never asked the union to represent me.” Speaking for herself and the other plaintiffs who resent the taking by their union of approximately $1,000 per year, she adds, “We’re asking that teachers be able to decide for ourselves, without fear or coercion, whether or not to join a union. It’s that simple.” The amounts obtained by a union from these non-union workers totals hundreds of millions in revenue.

Union representatives claim that their negotiation skills for salary, benefits, and working conditions help all workers (union member or not) and, therefore, all should pay for such a service. Terming the non-union workers “free riders,” they point to a check-off box on the union membership form given to all employees where each can indicate an unwillingness to join the union. Doing so, however, lowers the amount of salary taken by the union each year by a mere $20, the amount the union says is devoted to its political agenda. Estimates place the number of so-called “free riding” teachers who decline to join the union at 34 percent.

Part of the complaint claimed by Ms. Friedrichs and others points to union political activity that favors candidates and issues with which they disagree. The power possessed by well-funded labor unions in the political arena is no secret. It enables unions to flex their muscles with the war chests they obtain from members and non-members alike. In this particular case, the union is even using funds taken in member dues to fund their court battle. Ms. Friedrichs and her fellow plaintiffs are receiving help from the Center for Individual Rights, a private libertarian-minded group that obtains funding from non-government sources.

The very matter in question came before the high court nearly four decades ago. In 1977, the Supreme Court ruled in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education that states could indeed require employees to pay dues to a public-sector union even if the employee doesn’t join. Should the Friedrichs challenge prevail, the Abood decision would be overturned.

Approximately two centuries ago, Thomas Jefferson offered his opinion about a similar matter. He stated: “To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” Substitute the word “dues” for taxes in his statement and the decision the Supreme Court should reach seems obvious.

One of our nation’s highly touted fundamental freedoms, guaranteed to all, is being tested in this case. The verdict should favor Ms. Friedrichs and her colleagues.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


What Altered Reality is President Obama In?

What Altered Reality is President Obama In?
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

In his final State of the Union address, President Obama managed repeatedly to avoid reality. Simply stated, his performance as chief executive has harmed America. He ended his speech with the claim that “the State of our Union is strong.” Many Americans disagree. One clear measure of that disagreement is the powerful showing of a candidate seeking to succeed him who employs the slogan, “Make America Great Again.” Americans who support this candidate, and others as well, believe that our nation’s greatness isn’t strong.

In his speech, the President pointed to the nation’s “broken immigration system.” He has had seven years to fix it but, as he himself admitted, it’s still broken.

He called again for a raising the minimum wage, as if such a task fits within his job description. Sound thinking economists insist that arbitrarily forcing employers to pay higher wages discourages hiring, especially among the youth.

He took credit creating “14 million new jobs.” But whatever wealth-creating jobs have opened up aren’t the product of any government magic. Real jobs get created despite the taxes, regulations and bureaucratic control government creates.

He patted himself on the back for cutting the rate of unemployment when the figures regularly given by government don’t count the many would-be workers who have given up looking for a job.

He claimed the “No Child Left Behind” educational program had improved education. Reality shows it to be another failed scheme forced on the schools by the federal government.

The president’s cheers for solar and wind power failed to mention the tax breaks and subsidies the government provides for such industries. Even more, he skirted the fact that the combined product of both of these energy sources adds up to a mere one percent of what is needed to power our nation.

He took credit for cutting imports of foreign oil when those cuts really resulted from discovery by private enterprise of new domestic sources and new methods of obtaining previously unavailable oil and natural gas.

He insisted that our nation’s “standing around the world” has improved in the years he’s been in office, and he termed any disagreement with such a boast “political hot air.” The reality is that respect for America has declined substantially with him at the helm.

He claimed it is a “lie” to believe that radical Islamists spring from a reading of Islam’s holy books. While it surely is true that most Muslims don’t seek to implement some of the directives appearing in their basic creed, a minority does take what they find literally. And they act accordingly.

He urged acceptance of the dangerous Trans-Pacific Partnership, a new form of entanglement that will surely lead to surrendering hard-won independence just as European nations have surrendered theirs to the European Union.

He congratulated himself for steering the nation into climate change agreements. Yet the number of competent scientists who strongly disagree with the need for such action continues to grow.

Near the beginning of his speech, Mr. Obama praised America’s “commitment to the rule of law.” But, like numerous predecessors, he employs executive orders to make law, a horrendous flouting of the rule of law. He also sanctions sending our military into war without a constitutionally required congressional declaration of war. And he does nothing to abolish unconstitutional departments of energy, education, medicine, housing, and more. The rule of law has virtually disappeared.

Missing completely from his address, however, was any mention of the enormous national debt that will almost double during his presidency ($10.9 billion in 2009 to $20 billion when he leaves in 2017). Indebtedness that grows daily can alone destroy this nation.

The state of the union isn’t “strong.” It is weak and getting weaker. And much of the blame for this growing weakness can be laid on Barack Hussein Obama.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Standoff in Oregon Centers on Land Ownership and Control

Standoff in Oregon Centers on Land Ownership and Control
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Understanding the resistance to federal agencies currently shown in headlines and newscasts nationwide should begin with a reading of the U.S. Constitution. A good look at the venerable document will lead to the conclusion that the federal government’s numerous bureaus and agencies are illicitly controlling vast parcels of land, mostly in the 12 western states. They are doing so without constitutional authority. The amount of federal land holdings in 12 western states adds up to 47 percent of their total area. Federal control over parcels of land in the eastern states exists as well, although ownership in the east is not nearly as widespread. In states east of the Mississippi River, the federal government possesses only four percent of the land.

Image of the Bundy Ranch, Nevada, from their blog.

Today, vast swaths of western land are under the control of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the National Park Service, the Forest Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service. In these federally dominated areas, ranchers have traditionally been permitted, after paying a fee, to lead their cattle to grazing areas. But permission to do so has always been arbitrary and subject to suspension at any time. After many years of sending their cattle to graze on federal lands, Nevada’s Bundy family faced not only cancellation of grazing permission but also the taking of their cattle by federal authorities. This led to a headline-grabbing confrontation in 2014. BLM personnel eventually backed off and Bundy-owned cattle are again grazing on the BLM land.

Currently, the situation in Oregon involves the Hammond family ranchers who claim BLM agents are unjustly harassing them. Their problems began in 2005 when they set what is called a “backfire” to protect their home and buildings from an advancing out-of-control blaze started by lightning. Their action succeeded when the two fires met and each petered out for lack of burnable material. Two members of the Hammond family were nevertheless prosecuted and convicted of eco-terrorism and sent to prison.

The new Oregon confrontation includes local individuals plus similarly fed up ranchers, loggers and farmers from surrounding states. Nevadan Ammon Bundy traveled to Oregon to support to the Hammonds and has become the spokesman for the previously unorganized group. The protesters have seized control of a structure owned by the federal government in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, close to the Hammond property. They intend to stay there until the BLM leaves and lets the people use the land as they once did. How this confrontation will end isn’t known.

Ammon Bundy has told reporters that the region, like others in surrounding states, suffers from economic decline because of federal control of valuable land. In a widely quoted statement, he claimed: “It is our goal to get the logger back to logging, to get the rancher back to ranching, to get the miner back to mining, and the farmer back to farming.” All of the protesters rely on a reading of the U.S. Constitution.

The Constitution’s Article I, Section 8, states that the federal government is awarded jurisdiction over the District of Columbia, and over other lands “for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings.” That’s all! Whenever the federal government has a need to take land for such purposes, the Constitution further requires that it be “purchased by the consent of the legislature in which the same shall be.” Huge parcels of western land haven’t been purchased and no consent for their taking has ever been given by the state legislatures.

The confrontation in Oregon has potential for stimulating similar action throughout the west. There are many increasingly irate citizens whose main issue isn’t grazing on federally owned lands or wisely setting a fire to protect property. Their issue is control and ownership of land, one of the fundamental rights enjoyed by a free people.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


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