Self-Exclusion Not a Good Answer

Self-Exclusion Not a Good Answer
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

You don’t have to be a doddering senior citizen to remember the explosive period known as the Civil Rights Movement. If you’ve not yet reached six decades of age, you should be able to recall the not-unreasonable demands for equal treatment among America’s blacks. They wanted to be included; they wanted to be looked upon as full citizens; they wanted to be judged by themselves, not by the color of their skin.

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. (Image by Rowland Scherman from Wikimedia Commons by the National Archives and Records Administration, public domain).

In many cases, their reasonable desires were taken over by militants seeking to tear the nation apart. Cities like Detroit, Los Angeles, Chicago, and many more were torched. The victims were almost always the very people supposedly being helped. Subversive planning behind much of the chaos wasn’t supposed to be shown, even suggested. But it was the correctly identified spark leading to those fiery and frequently bloody days.

Some said the destruction and death were necessary. There had to be an end to treating one class of people differently. “Integration” was one leading cry of protesters. But radical bomb throwers who wanted more turmoil, not less, seemed to be almost everywhere. “Burn baby burn” was heard from coast to coast.

Then, the politicians and educators took some of these issues to the legislative halls and the courts. One result was forced busing where grade and high school kids were being put on buses and transported all over the area to satisfy some arbitrary quota based on race. At this point, black mothers joined with white mothers to protest the use of their children as pawns in an increasingly dangerous game. Did busing bring the various ethnic groups together? Not at all. In most instances, it made matters much worse. Some of the scars, mostly mental, still exist.

Race relations that were improving 50 years ago are still improving. But now, a new and upgraded form of race consciousness has set in. Recently, one of the more prominent places to find it was at Harvard University during graduation week. There, black graduate students – obviously with university permission – staged a graduation ceremony for themselves. They didn’t get their diplomas at this event – they would be passed out later with all the graduates – but they sought to make a point and it wasn’t built around cries for diversity. No whites, yellows, or Hispanics were invited to participate. And none of these highly educated and high IQ possessors carried a placard calling for an end to judging fellow man by skin color.

Ward Connerly is the President of the America Civil Rights Institute. As a former University of California Regent, he campaigned against racial preference in admissions to college. A man of mixed racial ethnicity, his skin is black, and he is considered to be  “black” by others. About separate black commencement ceremonies, he told the New York Times that showed a photo of the black Harvard grads parading in caps and gowns in their separate and unequal ceremony:

College is the place where we should be teaching and preaching the view that you’re an individual, and [you should] choose your associates based on other factors rather than skin color. Think about it. These kids went to Harvard and they less than anyone in our society should worry about feeling unwelcome and finding comfort zones. They don’t need that.

In other words, Connerly doesn’t like the idea of separating people by color. Nor, as shown by his years of crusading against affirmative action, does he have a good word for judging people by gender. So it’s safe to say that he’s an opponent of this whole idea of alternative graduation ceremonies with their unofficial diplomas and awards. The Times didn’t ask him, but it’s likely he opposes similar alternative ceremonies for LGBT grads springing up throughout the nation.

America became a better place when race consciousness and separating people started fading. Let’s keep it fading, not finding new ways to perpetuate all of it.

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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.


Tiananmen Square Massacre Remembered

Tiananmen Square Massacre Remembered
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Details about the June 4, 1989, crackdown on student protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square remain hidden. The massacre, overshadowed to a degree by the televised confrontation of a single man facing a row of tanks, is nevertheless still commemorated throughout China. In semi-autonomous Hong Kong (the former British colony transferred to Mainland China in 1997), the date of June 4 has become an occasion for annual protests of tens of thousands.

Image from flickr by David Holt, some rights reserved.

The Chinese Communist government has never published the number of the pro-democracy victims of its bloody clampdown 28 years ago. Estimates place the number killed somewhere around many thousands. These were idealistic students who met death at the hands of soldiers sent to cancel the peaceful demonstration. Government mention of what happened at Tiananmen Square admits only to “turmoil” created by the demonstrators.

The million who gathered in Tiananmen Square in 1989 weren’t the only Chinese protesting their government’s dictatorial rule. Demonstrators had gathered in scores (some say hundreds) of cities throughout China. In Shanghai, whose population exceeds Beijing’s, demonstrations grew even larger after news of the 1989 killings in Beijing had spread. Suppression of the protesters there did not face the bloody put-down occurring at the nation’s capital city.

Over many years, Tiananmen Square has been the scene of other noteworthy events. A 1919 student protest in “the heart of the Middle Kingdom” is a fairly well remembered bit of history. Even more widely known is the choice of the Square by Mao Tse Tung to proclaim the People’s Republic in 1949. Since then, the Square has been the site of parades featuring troops with their weapons and an assortment of military vehicles.

This year, a small bottle of liquor carrying the date 6/4/89 became a symbol for millions who want China to be a country where free speech and other basic rights are the norm. One bottle of the symbolically labeled liquor made its way throughout China and ended up in Hong Kong where it will likely be added to other reminders of the 1989 carnage.

Unwilling to let even small protests go unpunished, Chinese authorities have arrested four men in Chengdu for their role in producing and labeling the small bottles of liquor. The four have already been accused of “inciting subversion of state power.” A court decree ruling against them claimed that they were “dissatisfied with our country’s socialist system.” The court got that right.

The New York Times recently contacted parents of two victims of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown. Recalling his son’s death and the annual commemoration of the blood-drenched incident, Xiao Zongyou, a resident of Chengdu, said of his wife and himself,  “If remembering June 4 is a crime, then the Chengdu Public Security Bureau should arrest us. Like my son, I want this country to get better.”

But freedom isn’t getting better in China. Free speech is prohibited and subject to monitoring by two million government censors most of whom diligently monitor the Internet. Attempts to obtain detailed information about what occurred at Tiananmen Square in 1989 by entering the word “Tiananmen” on a computer produces nothing. That word and others used to commemorate what happened 28 years ago have been erased.

China remains a totalitarian state ruled by the descendants of Mao Tse Tung. A hero to Communist Chinese, Mao and his Communist horde made it into the Guinness Book of Records as history’s greatest mass murderers. During recent years with vital help from the U.S., China has emerged as an economic powerhouse making and exporting millions of products for the West. But basic freedoms to speak, write, publish, practice religion, etc., are barred. And China’s leaders have never renounced their intention to defeat the United States. Credit Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and a lengthy parade of others for helping to empower one of America’s greatest enemies.

While understanding what those in China have to go through, Americans must realize that they still can prevent this extreme government overreach in the U.S. Join with the organization at the forefront of this battle, The John Birch Society.

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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.


Brzezinski’s Un-American History

Brzezinski’s Un-American History
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Zbigniew Brzezinski, the geopolitical favorite of a bevy of liberals and internationalists, passed away at 89 on May 26th. The son of a Polish diplomat, he was born in Poland and lived with his family in France and Germany before they emigrated to Canada in the late 1930s. There, the aspiring future diplomat earned ascending political science degrees at McGill University in Montreal. Off to Harvard University, he then won doctorate status in 1953 and a post as one of its instructors. When Harvard chose Henry Kissinger over him as its newest associate professor, Brzezinski moved to Columbia University in New York. He became a U.S. citizen in 1958.

Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin engages U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski in a game of chess at Camp David. What other games has he played? (Image from Wikimedia Commons, public domain).

The author of numerous books and opinion pieces, he should be remembered mostly for Between Two Ages (BTA) published by Viking Press in 1970. Having become well-known as a foe of Communism, he demonstrated in BTA both his preference for Marxism and his less-than-positive view of the country he had chosen as his home. In addition, he promoted the cause of world government at the expense of national sovereignty. But he earned some anti-Communist credentials as a critic of expanding U.S. military involvement in Vietnam. How a man could be an anti-Communist but still a Marxist has never been fully explained. And his preference for world government prevented him from being regularly classified by many as a staunch American.

In BTA, his Marxism showed when he termed the destructive philosophy of Karl Marx “a further vital and creative stage in the maturing of man’s universal vision [and] a victory of reason over belief” (page 72). He added that it “represented a major advance in man’s ability to conceptualize his relationship to the world” (page 83). And, “Marxist theory [is] this century’s most influential system of thought” (page 123).

About his adopted nation, he wrote, “America is undergoing a new revolution … which unmasks its obsolescence” (page 198). Instead of lauding free enterprise that helped the U.S. to become the envy of the world, he promoted “deliberate management of America’s future, with the planner … as the key social legislator and manipulator” (page 260).

Yearning for world government, he called for a “community of developed nations [brought about] through a variety of indirect ties and already developing limitations on national sovereignty. The first of these [ties] would involve the forging of community links among the United States, Western Europe and Japan. The second phase would include the extension of these links to more advanced communist countries” (page 296). His “more advanced Communist countries” were those that had renounced bloody revolution and practiced a more humane Marxism.

What Brzezinski wrote about became the Trilateral Commission, a world government in infant stages financed from its inception by David Rockefeller. The New York multimillionaire banker formed it exactly as Brzezinski had suggested; the two enlisted the formerly obscure Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter as one of its founding members; and they not only promoted his rise to U.S. President in 1976, they filled his most important cabinet posts with other Trilateralists: Walter Mondale, Cyrus Vance, W. Michael Blumenthal, Harold Brown, and more. Carter, who elevated Brzezinski to become the nation’s National Security Advisor with an office in the White House, would later state of his Trilateral credential, “Membership on this Commission has provided me with a splendid learning opportunity and many of the members have helped me in my study of foreign affairs.”

As for where all of this was intended to go, Brzezinski explained his desire for “the goal of world government.” For him to swear an oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution amounted to a bold-faced lie. He was not an American committed to undiluted national independence and no-nonsense economic freedom.

Join with The John Birch Society to prevent this world government that Brzezinski played such a role in promoting and building.

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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.


Rod Rosenstein’s Unwanted Prominence

Rod Rosenstein’s Unwanted Prominence
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

From a long and distinguished career in Maryland where he was never known as a national figure, the nation’s second highest law enforcement official has suddenly risen to high prominence.

Rod Rosenstein U.S. Attorney (photo from Wikimedia Commons by the United States Department of Justice, public domain).

Rod Rosenstein served as a U.S. attorney in Maryland under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Selected to be second-in-command at the Justice Department by Trump appointee Jeff Sessions, Rosenstein found himself catapulted into unwanted attention when President Trump asked him for a letter providing his opinion of James Comey’s performance as Director of the FBI. His response, forthrightly criticizing the now-deposed head of the FBI, contains important perspective about Mr. Trump’s sudden decision to oust the FBI leader.

Rosenstein’s letter stated rather bluntly that Comey’s handling of the Bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s careless transmissions of sensitive email had compromised the Bureau’s “reputation and credibility.” It was wrong and without precedent for the FBI Director to announce his personal conclusion after the investigation and to further claim that “the case should be closed without prosecution.” What the FBI Director should have said, claimed Rosenstein, was that “the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors.” It was only their job either to proceed or close down the case.

Additional damaging perspective from the Deputy Attorney General stated that Comey “ignored another longstanding principle: we do not hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation.” He then termed as a serious mistake Comey’s late October letter to Congress announcing discovery of even more transmissions of classified material on the former Secretary of State’s unsecured computer. Comey sent a letter to Congress about this new discovery less than two weeks before Election Day 2016. Hillary Clinton has claimed that the letter and publicity about it cost her the election. “Silence,” said Rosenstein in his letter, would not have been concealment; it would have been following “long-standing policy that we refrain from publicizing non-public information.”

In short, claimed Rosenstein, it was not Comey’s role to publicly state that Mrs. Clinton had been “extremely careless.” And the FBI leader violated long-standing FBI policy to refrain from issuing conclusions about a matter under investigation.

During his career, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein has always been known as a completely apolitical public servant. He neither knew nor wanted to know whether individuals he dealt with were conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat. When directed by a President – his ultimate superior – to produce a letter citing his opinion of Comey’s performance, he did so. That the letter became President Trump’s ammunition in his decision to oust the FBI Director was not Rosenstein’s intention.

A completely separate question now remains. Was the firing of James Comey, whom Mr. Trump had previously praised for his competence, done to deflect attention away from the ongoing investigation of possible Russian influence in the 2016 presidential contest? Mr. Trump’s extremely brief letter firing James Comey contained the seemingly extraneous assertion: “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation….” That comment in the middle of the letter ousting James Comey may have done exactly what it was intended not to do: add fuel to the fire about possible Russian collusion in the election. That matter is no longer on the front pages or dominating news broadcasts.

We can only hope that time will tell either that there is nothing to the rumors about Russian meddling or that there is plenty of fire that had already generated a considerable amount of smoke, maybe even enough to bring a sitting President down.

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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.


Indonesia’s Strange Kind of Justice

Indonesia’s Strange Kind of Justice
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

He was the Governor of Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital city. In an election held in April, however, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama lost his prestigious and powerful post. Was it because he was incompetent? Was he guilty of some form of corruption, a common finding in some other Asian nations? Was he afflicted with ill health or advancing age? No, none of those reasons led to his defeat.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama was Governor of Jakarta (photo from Wikimedia Commons by Cyrilobrien CC BY-SA 4.0).

Mr. Basuki’s downfall resulted from a statement he made about the Koran in the nation, which has the largest Muslim population on earth. What happened is that Basuki’s opponents claimed that the Koran, the Muslim holy book, forbids Muslims to vote for a non-Muslim. Basuki is a Christian and his response to that attack included a claim that the Koran issued no such directive. Immediately, he was charged with blasphemy for insulting the Koran, a serious crime in this predominantly Muslim nation.

Whether the Koran does or doesn’t forbid Muslims from choosing a non-Muslim in a political race isn’t this writer’s place to determine. What is of interest is that Basuki had been leading in the polls and was expected to win over Anies Baswedan, a former minister of education who is a Muslim.

One month after being defeated, an Indonesian court found Basuki guilty of blasphemy for his claim. Quickly sentenced to two years in prison in a unanimous decision by the court’s five judges, the former governor of Jakarta now languishes in a prison housing drug dealers, rapists, and other convicts. Indonesian law allows for him to appeal, but not to remain free while his plea is considered. Prosecutors in the case had recommended probation but even they were overruled.

The incident provides a good reminder of the way any similar slur or contrary interpretation aimed at religion is handled in America. Insulting or misinterpreting someone’s religious view is fairly common here, even growing more common. Doing so may properly lead to voter rejection of a candidate seeking office. But immediate prison is impossible thanks to the Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

Human Rights Watch’s Andreas Harsono, an Indonesian researcher, called the verdict and sentence given Basuki “a sad day, even a frightening day.” He added: “If the governor of Indonesia’s largest and most complex city, who is an ally of the Indonesian president, can be brought down and humiliated in this way, what will happen to ordinary Indonesian citizens?” Good question.

The incident in Indonesia should help all Americans appreciate what they have in the U.S. Constitution. Here, slurring or misinterpreting another’s religious views (deliberately or mistakenly) may hurt or boost a candidacy. But it won’t result in being sent to prison.

To help ensure the Constitution is being followed, join the John Birch Society today!

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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.


Erdogan A Dictator?

Erdogan A Dictator?
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Recep Tayyip Erdogan won the election as Turkey’s president in 2014. His time in office has amounted to travelling down a rocky road. The relaxation of strict Islamic rules accomplished by Mustafa Kamal Ataturk after World War I won plenty of applause. But Erdogan, a stricter Muslim, has set out to reverse the nation’s course, and he has done so with what resembles severe dictatorial power.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has brought Turkey down a rocky road (Photo from Wikimedia Commons by http://www.kremlin.ru CC BY 4.0).

Turning back the cultural clock back to Ataturk days seemed to be the goal of an attempted coup only a year ago. In a matter of days after it was quashed, 9,000 police officers and 21,000 teachers were fired. Thousands more soldiers, judges, lawyers, university deans, and government officials lost their posts. Many were jailed. In addition, the Erdogan government closed several dozen television, radio, and print outlets. And more than 60 newspapers, a score of magazines, two dozen publishing houses, and several news agencies have been shut down. Censorship became the new rule.

Erdogan has blamed the continuing unrest on the followers of Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric living in the United States for the past 16 years. But he denies having any role in the opposition to Erdogan. Still, the ferment among the people hasn’t faded. Erdogan more recently arranged for a nationwide referendum so the people could either choose his style of rule or revert back to the pre-2014 modern style of governing attributed to Ataturk. The result of the mid-April plebiscite had Erdogan winning by the slimmest of margins (51.4 percent) amid widespread belief that the vote count wasn’t accurate.

Nevertheless, with new powers available to him as a result of the referendum, Erdogan initiated a new round of arrests, firings, and suspensions. Close to 4,000 additional civil servants have been fired and 45 civil society groups and health clinics have been shut down. The government even shut down Wikipedia.

In just the past year, therefore, approximately 140,000 individuals have lost their jobs, free press has been scuttled, and more than 200 journalists remain imprisoned. Erdogan insists that his reforms don’t merit calling him a dictator. But international election monitors released a negative report on the conduct of the recent referendum. Many in Turkey believe the election was rigged.

Turkey is one of the 50 original members of the United Nations (there are now 193 members). The nation won acceptance in NATO in 1952, three years after the alliance’s launching. Long seeking approval for membership in the European Union, Turkey’s hopes to be part of the Brussels-based super government have never been realized. Perhaps the fact that 97 percent of Turkey’s land area is in Asia with the remaining three percent at its western tip considered part of Europe keeps the EU from conferring membership. Turkey has long been considered a “bridge to Europe” for many nations in Asia Minor.

But Turkey needs to understand that entangling alliances come with a price detrimental to independence, just as Brexit has demonstrated. From an American standpoint, let’s work to untangle ourselves from our UN and NATO alliances to preserve American liberty and independence. Inform yourself and others on the dangers of foreign entanglements.

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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.


Saudi Arabia on UN’s Status of Women Panel

Saudi Arabia on UN’s Status of Women Panel
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Guess who won a seat on the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women? This is the Commission dedicated exclusively “to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.” Does the answer leap out at you when you find that the new appointee ranks 141st of the 144 nations rated by the World Economic Forum in its 2016 Global Gender Gap report? OK, quiz over. The answer is Saudi Arabia.).

A Saudi woman wearing a traditional niqab (photo from Wikimedia Commons by Walter Callens CC BY 2.0).

The Saudi Kingdom is so dismissive of the rights of women that it’s the only country worldwide where woman can’t drive an automobile. In addition, every woman must have a male guardian who alone can approve her schooling, career, and travel, even to obtain health care. Her guardian is typically her father or her husband, but it could even be her underage son.

Only last month, a 24-year-old Saudi woman sought to flee a forced marriage by going to the Philippines in hopes of getting to Australia. She was held and then turned over to two male relatives for the trip back to Saudi Arabia where she will be dealt with. In the recent past, a Saudi princess won asylum in England when a British court granted her immigration status because she had produced a child with a man outside the reach of Saudi detectives. She was very fortunate.

UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer commented, “Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist the town fire chief.” He called the election “a black day for women’s rights and for all human rights.” Add to all of this the fact that the vote to welcome the Saudi Kingdom for a seat on this UN panel was done in secrecy. Few know who approved such an appointment. Saudi Arabia will begin its four-year membership on the Commission in 2018.

One has to wonder what’s going on here. Has the UN lost its collective sanity? Why choose a country so obviously at odds with the stated purpose of the Commission?

We don’t know the answers to these questions. But consider the UN’s steady growth in power over all nations and all humans. None of this buildup toward world government is affected by the appointment. It may even cause many to dismiss the UN as a major global power that is not to be taken seriously. Critics of the world body’s powerful commissions, departments, offices, and missions will easily be led to believe that this appointment of an obvious abuser of women’s rights shows how inept the entire UN truly is.

If that’s why Saudi Arabia will get a place on this UN Commission, the UN has won by painting itself as a bumbling entity that threatens no one. Meanwhile, UN progress toward its goal of unchallenged rule over all of mankind continues.

Sensible lovers of freedom in America and elsewhere must continue to call for breaking the UN’s tightening grip on the planet. Americans who want the U.S. out of the UN are encouraged to continue spreading the whole truth about the world body. Let the cry to Get US out! grow louder and reach many more. Let an abuser of women’s rights proceed to have a seat on the Women’s Rights Commission. But don’t anyone forget what else must become more widely known about the United Nations itself. Educational tools telling the whole truth about the UN are available at shopjbs.org or call 1-800-342-6491.

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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.