A Return to the Republic: A Game Plan for Donald Trump

A Return to the Republic: A Game Plan for Donald Trump
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

The following statement was solicited and then aired, along with the thoughts of others, via the nationwide “Connecting the Dots” radio program on November 22, 2016. We were asked what advice would we give to incoming President of the United States Donald Trump.

Donald Trump speaking to supporters at an immigration policy speech at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona (photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr, some rights reserved).

Mr. Trump, I suggest that you add to your goal of making America great again the following statement: “America became great, not because of what government did, but because of what government was prevented from doing by the U.S. Constitution.”

You should consider that, were the Constitution fully adhered to, the federal government would shrink to 20 percent its size and 20 percent its cost.

To questions asking what you intend to do after your inauguration, you should say, “I am not going to do as much as people might expect. Instead I shall use all the proper powers of the presidency to undo much of what government now does. And what I intend to undo, to abolish, are all agencies, departments, and bureaucratic monstrosities that are not authorized by the Constitution.”

Among the federal agencies that should be abolished are the Departments of Education, Energy, Interior, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and many of those issuing handouts of various kinds. You should arrange to have the U.S. military and the U.S. Border Patrol take on whatever responsibilities have been assumed by the Department of Homeland Security.

One by one, all agencies of the federal government that have been created and empowered by presidential Executive Orders should be abolished. The most egregious of these is the federal Environmental Protection Agency, a monster created via an Executive Order written by President Nixon in 1970. The EPA was never voted into existence by Congress.

America has not won a war since 1945 when victory was achieved in World War II. No victory in Korea, in Vietnam, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Why? Because our nation submits to rules and regulations mandated by the United Nations and its controlled stepchild NATO. For this reason and many more, the United States should withdraw from the United Nations at the earliest possible time. A measure to accomplish this goal, H.R. 1205, has been introduced in the House of Representatives and it should receive presidential support.

Proper attention should be given to the very first sentence in the Constitution that states, “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States….” That means no law making is proper if made by presidential Executive Order or by a Supreme Court decision. Any law enacted outside of the legislative branch must be declared null. One good example needing termination is the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade that has legalized the taking of 60 million lives since 1973.

Presidential power must be employed to have a thorough audit of the Federal Reserve, something that hasn’t been done in the Fed’s more than 100 years of existence. Congress would welcome the help of the President to get this done. Once audited honestly and thoroughly, moves should be undertaken toward abolishing this unconstitutional engine of inflation. The path toward creating precious metal backed currency should be laid out and followed.

Various job-destroying entanglements in which our government has placed the nation should be terminated. This means exiting NAFTA, CAFTA, the World Trade Organization, and others.

Let me say again: “America became great not because of what government did, but because of what government was prevented from doing by the Constitution.”

Mr. Trump, I will continue to pray that you accomplish all your legitimate goals, only some of which I have listed in this brief statement.

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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 Complex Syrian War

The Complex Syrian War
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

The struggle in Syria has lasted more than five years. Its cost, just to Syria alone, is 500,000 dead and four times that number uprooted from their homes. Many of the displaced have become refugees seeking asylum in Turkey, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere. These refugees have become a serious problem where they have settled – especially in Germany.

Azaz, Syria during the Syrian civil war. August 16, 2012, Azaz residents pick up after aerial bombings. (Photo by Voice of America News: Scott Bob report from Azaz, Syria. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons).

But what is this conflict in Syria all about? It started with the so-called Arab Spring in 2011. That uprising quickly spread throughout the Middle East wreaking its havoc in Egypt until a military coup overturned a Muslim Brotherhood takeover. It led to chaos in Libya and elsewhere enabling forces loyal to Al Qaeda to prevail. In Syria, the Arab Spring emboldened opponents of the government led by Bashar al-Assad. They took up arms and sought to oust him.

Soon, the Kurds who populate eastern Syria, northern Iraq, and a portion of southern Turkey had their own reasons for opposing Assad. Long seeking a country of their own, they sent forces against the Assad government with marginal success. Then, out of the spreading chaos, Muslim militants who opposed Assad formed ISIS and seized control of portions of Syria and Iraq. All of this was bad enough but the conflict worsened when Russia and Iran entered the fray on the side of Assad.

The rebels seeking to topple Assad began receiving arms and financial aid from the United States and Saudi Arabia. Sunni Muslims who dominate Saudi Arabia and most of the Arab world always opposed any moves by the numerically inferior Shiites who dominate Iran. Yet Assad and his government favor the Shiite rather than the Sunni type of Islam.

If you’ve decided this whole conflagration is impossible to figure out, or too confusing to understand, you’re not alone. If you wonder why the U.S. has become involved, you are in a league with millions of fellow Americans. But consider this: The United States supplies arms and air power on the side of the anti-Assad rebels and Russia favors the Assad regime by sending military supplies and engaging in some forms of military intervention. Could the chaos in Syria expand to a greater war outside of Syria? That possibility cannot be ignored.

Over the years while this ongoing conflict has continued, U.S. aid to anti-Assad rebels has ended up in the hands of ISIS. Some of the promised aid led to the attack in Benghazi where our nation’s ambassador and three other Americans perished. Other U.S. aid went to Kurdish forces whose loyalty to the U.S. is highly questionable.

One policy that few have voiced is that our nation ought to stay out of this mess and similar messes. But those who believe it is America’s duty to create an American-led empire – the neoconservatives in both major political parties – continue to advocate involvement in this costly and seemingly endless struggle. Isn’t it time for America to mind its own business?

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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.


No Punishment Acceptable for Those Who Served in Good Faith

No Punishment Acceptable for Those Who Served in Good Faith
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Ten to fifteen years ago, the U.S. military found itself in need of more personnel. In California, an overly ambitious recruiter started giving bonuses and arranging forgiveness of student loans to those who would enlist or extend their time in service. Members of the state’s National Guard, upwards of 2,000 in number, accepted the payments in good faith and stayed in uniform. Many were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

CHANGI NAVAL BASE, Singapore (Dec. 12, 2011) Marines serving with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (11th MEU) prepare to depart the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) to begin a training exercise. (Photo via Official U.S. Navy Page Flickr by Cpl. Gene Allen Ainsworth III/Released).

Approximately ten years later, these individuals began receiving notices telling them the money they had been given was a mistake and they should return it to the government. In 2012, the overly eager master sergeant who doled out the cash and benefits pleaded guilty to approving the more than $15 million handed out to recipients. Our nation’s military, already suffering near exhaustion from more than 15 years of combat in Afghanistan and on the verge of more missions in Iraq and elsewhere, emerged from this mess with a brand new black eye.

Former Army Captain Christopher Van Meter received one of the bonuses and then fulfilled his commitment. He even came home with a Purple Heart that he earned in battle. After being notified that he owed the government what he had received, he told a reporter: “I spent years of my life deployed, missed out on birthdays and deaths in the family, got blown up … and now I’m told I haven’t fulfilled my contract.” Others caught in this foul up obviously shared his disgust, even outrage. Some were told to repay as much as $20,000. There have been cases where wages were taken from the paychecks earned in civilian jobs after service commitments had been fulfilled. Some have even been assessed penalties over and above the amount they accepted ten or more years ago.

Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), a Marine veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, labeled the repayment demands “disgraceful and insulting.” After complaints by veterans groups and some publicity appearing in the Los Angeles Times, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter called off the attempts to retrieve the funds. There are now demands coming from veterans groups to have the military reimburse any recipients who may have been frightened into paying back what they had received. The Pentagon plans to set up a team to review each of the cases.

Mistakes in the military and elsewhere will always be made and this was an unusual one. Anyone who has served in the military knows that snafus and unnecessary mix-ups will occur. Proper handling of this one is surely called for. And it looks as though the good faith soldiers who accepted the bonuses will get to keep them.

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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.


Afghan War Now 15 Years Old

Afghan War Now 15 Years Old 

by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

In a recent posting by the Ron Paul Institute, Dr. Paul pointed out that 15 years have now passed since American forces were first sent to Afghanistan. The operation has become “the longest war in U.S. history,” the former Texas congressman noted. He concluded that there were no victory parades because there is no victory.

American troops were first sent to Afghanistan after the devastating 9/11 attacks. Why has this mission become so lengthy? (image from Flickr)

American troops were first sent to Afghanistan after the devastating 9/11 attacks. Why has this mission become so lengthy? (Photo by Program Executive Office Soldier Flickr, some rights reserved).

Troops were first sent to Afghanistan a few weeks after the devastating 9/11 attacks on our nation. Their original mission called for apprehending Osama bin Laden. Thought to be hiding in Afghanistan, bin Laden was discovered years later in Pakistan where he was killed during a Navy Seal team raid. The main target of the U.S. forces from the beginning, however, was the Taliban, the militant Islamic group that had actually been supplied by the U.S. during the 1979-1989 Soviet invasion of the war-torn nation.

Once in Afghanistan, U.S. troops found themselves battling against an enemy using left over U.S.-supplied weaponry. The casualty totals show that our nation has suffered the loss of more than 2,300 killed and almost 23,000 wounded in the 15-year struggle. And the Taliban now controls more of the country than it did when the U.S. forces arrived in 2001 under the label “Operation Enduring Freedom.”

The U.S. media never discusses the little-publicized influence of the United Nations in this ongoing debacle. That is key to understanding the disappointing results of this lengthy mission. In December 2001, the UN Security Council created the International Security Assistance Force to aid the Afghan government. The U.S. supplied most of the troops to carry out this mission. So, from the very beginning of the operation, the UN has had a major role in the effort. Fewer than two years later (September 2003), the task of aiding the Afghan government was formally turned over to NATO. But NATO is a UN “Regional Alliance” formed under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. America’s participation in this skirmish has been directed by the UN throughout the entire 15 years.

The Taliban now controls more of Afghanistan than it did when U.S. forces entered the country 15 years ago. The various tasks given to U.S. troops have included destroying the country’s opium production, engaging in reconstruction of war-torn infrastructure, and training local forces. Some of those local forces have turned their guns on their U.S. trainers with deadly consequences.

If the UN’s NATO weren’t managing this curious war, America’s forces would likely have cleared the country of Taliban dominance years ago. Obviously that’s not what the UN wants. Governments, even the UN, always grow and become more influential during a war. America’s leaders, both political and military, who put up with this are betraying their oaths and putting good men (and some good women) in impossible circumstances.

There are many solid reasons why the U.S. should withdraw completely from the United Nations. The experience already suffered in Afghanistan certainly provides one. Members of Congress should be proclaiming loudly and clearly the slogan, “Get US out! of the United Nations.” Members of the House should be persuaded to co-sponsor H.R. 1205, the bill calling for U.S. withdrawal from the world body. U.S. forces should never be sent into a battle without victory being the goal. Anything less is a betrayal of the troops and even of the nation.

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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.


Digging Into Turkey’s Attempted Coup

Digging Into Turkey’s Attempted Coup
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

On July 15th, the government Turkey survived a coup attempt that sought to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As a member of both the United Nations and NATO, an ally in the conflict seeking to defeat ISIS, and with a bid for acceptance into the European Union on the table, faraway Turkey became an instant concern to the West. The unrest especially drew attention because of Turkey’s proximity to the land currently possessed by the Islamic caliphate ISIS.

The government Turkey survived a coup attempt that sought to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, pictured above. (Image by Government of Chile [CC BY 3.0 cl or CC BY 3.0 cl], via Wikimedia Commons).

What happened in Turkey clearly stems from its early 20th century moves away from militant Islamism. For 600 years, the Islamic Ottoman Empire ruled the region from which it launched several attempts to conquer Europe. Perhaps the most famous of these was the naval battle at Lepanto in 1571 when an outnumbered fleet of Europeans defeated the Islamic foe. Other forays by Islamic forces met defeat at Vienna and Belgrade. This series of setbacks led to several centuries of a most welcome live-and-let-live policy by the Islamic world.

After World War I, in which Turkey participated, a more modernized nation began to take shape. Determined Islamists bristled under the leadership of Mustafa Kamal Ataturk, who became Turkey’s leader in 1923. The term “Ataturk,” meaning father of Turkey, is an addition to the name of the country’s leader who is greatly revered by more secular Turkish Islamists. A Muslim himself, Ataturk relaxed but didn’t destroy the Islamic hold on the nation. His rule had always angered some who resented the acceptance of numerous Western ideas and values for their country.

In 2014, a more determined follower of Islam, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, won election as the nation’s president. The July 15th coup, led by those who preferred Ataturk’s ways, sought to erase numerous trends and revisions in Turkish life. But quick action by Erdogan and his followers overwhelmed the less militant Muslims in the military and many other posts within the nation. In a matter of days, Erdogan’s followers accomplished firing 9,000 police officers and 21,000 educators. They suspended 21,000 schoolteachers and either detained or suspended 10,000 soldiers, 2,700 judges and lawyers, 1,500 university deans, and 1,500 of the government’s finance officials. Added to this upheaval, the government shut down more than 100 electronic and print media outlets and instituted censorship over other suspected adversaries of the government. President Erdogan had quickly demonstrated his determination to reemphasize Islamic practices as he put an emphatic stop to the modernization of the past century.

Turkish officials blamed the attempted coup on Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Islamic cleric who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States for the past 15 years. The Erdogan government calls his followers in Turkey the Gulenist Terror Organization (FETO). Gulen has emphatically denied having any role in the failed coup, but the Erdogan government has demanded his extradition from America. He remains – for now – at his home in Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, the Turkish government has enraged secular Turks by canceling some celebrations honoring Ataturk while commemorating past Ottoman victories and celebrating the birthday of Mohammed.

It seems completely correct to believe that Turkish Islamists led by President Erdogan have gained more power because of the incident and their success in quashing it. Erdogan has reached out to some of his adversaries in hopes of calming fears, but Turks who wanted modernization – and they include freedom from some of the Islamic-style strictures seen in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere – are the losers. Will there be more unrest generated by those who want a return to Ataturk’s ways? Only, time will tell. But Turkey is now in the hands of a more regimented government that has gained more power by severely putting down the forces behind the failed coup.

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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.


Iran Payoff Earns More Disrespect

Iran Payoff Earns More Disrespect
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Last January, the Obama administration quietly airlifted $400 million in foreign currency to Iran. An unmarked cargo plane delivered the funds and the completion of the deal just happened to occur on the same day the Tehran regime released four Americans previously imprisoned for a variety of charges. The suspiciously unmarked plane also delivered part of a $1.3 billion payment for Iranian funds held in the U.S. ever since the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979-1981. The transaction certainly smelled like a ransom payment, something President Obama and his press corps have vociferously denied. But the incident brought back memories of the 1979-1981 hostage crisis when America suffered unneeded indignity and unnecessary loss of life.

Two American hostages being detained in Iran after the siege of the American embassy, 1979 (image by an unknown author [public domain or CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons). The CIA organized and directed a coup that helped to keep the pro-American Shah Reza Pahlavi in power in 1953, an entangling alliance that our founders warned us about. Yet, American and British policymakers turned on him in the mid-1970s.

On November 4, 1979, 66 American diplomats and embassy workers were captured when a mob of student demonstrators stormed the U.S. embassy. Hoping to show their solidarity for “oppressed minorities” and Islam’s “special treatment of women,” the leaders of the assault immediately freed 13 women and African-Americans. Another male embassy worker with health problems was released. The remaining 52 were held hostage for 444 days. The Iranian students were egged on by anti-American fervor in the wake of Iran’s ouster of pro-American Shah Reza Pahlavi and the return to the country of anti-American Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The students then turned over their captives to Iranian authorities while celebrating their success. Many of these hostages endured beatings, solitary confinement and threats of execution. The detainment for most was ghastly.

President Carter meekly denounced the seizure of our embassy and the confinement of U.S. citizens, appealing for their release on humanitarian grounds. Initially, the Iranians intended to hold the embassy and its occupants for only a short time. But Khomeini, now the de facto political leader of his country, found the insult given to the United States a source of pride and a blow at the “Great Satan.” He proclaimed, “This has united our people. Our opponents do not dare act against us.” The response of the Carter administration to the outrage was pitiful.

Something else happened during the early days of this crisis that few recall or wish to mention. Approximately two weeks after the seizure of the embassy, Khomeini announced his intention to withdraw Iran’s millions from New York banks. Only then, not when our embassy was seized and our people imprisoned, did President Carter declare a state of emergency and freeze Iranian assets. The taking of our embassy and the treatment accorded its personnel weren’t reasons enough to merit an emergency declaration. But the threat of sizable withdrawals from the big banks had to be countered.

On April 24, 1980, President Carter sent a pair of helicopters on an ill-fated rescue mission. Flying off U.S. Navy carriers in the Persian Gulf, the copter mission proved to be a complete disaster. The helicopters ran into sand storms and were destroyed. Eight American servicemen and one Iranian civilian died during the botched attempt. And Jimmy Carter’s reelection effort suffered a huge setback. On January 20, 1981, the 52 hostages came home to be greeted by a defeated Jimmy Carter during his last day in office. Though not alone as a reason for his not being reelected, the weakness of America during the hostage crisis certainly figured in the choice of many voters that previous November.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) has angrily stated that the delivery of cash to Iran amounted to an Obama cave-in, a ransom payment that America has sworn never to deliver. “Hundreds of millions in the pockets of a terrorist regime means a more dangerous region,” he said while adding, “The Iran nuclear deal was a historic mistake.” He wondered, “What else is the Obama administration hiding?”

Good question. America’s foreign policy has largely remained hidden from its citizens, interfering time and again in the governing of other countries for its own gain. It’s time our foreign policy return to the advice of our founders to regain its former level of prominence and respect around the globe.

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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.


Benghazi Victim Mother’s Side of the Story

Benghazi Victim Mother’s Side of the Story 
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Attendees of the Democratic Party’s National Convention, plus the millions of viewers who watched its proceedings via television, didn’t hear from Patricia Smith. She certainly wasn’t invited to tell of her meeting with Hillary Clinton at the Andrews Air Force base ceremony when the bodies of her son Sean and three others arrived home from Benghazi. They had perished during an Islamic attack on the U.S. compound that took the lives of four Americans: Sean Smith, U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, and former Navy Seals Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.

American lives lost followed by lies. Isn’t it a right for Patricia Smith to expose the truth about Hillary? (Photo by The National Guard Flickr [CC BY 2.0 or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons).

Secretary of State Clinton, President Obama and other government officials were present at the brief ceremony on September 14, 2012. Mrs. Clinton assured Mrs. Smith that her son and three others died because of the reaction to a crudely created anti-Muslim video made by an American and shown on YouTube. Her message to the grieving mother made no mention of any other reason for the killings. But Mrs. Smith found out later that Hillary Clinton had lied, that she knew the privately made video had nothing to do with her son’s death.

The four Benghazi victims perished on September 11, 2012. Within hours of the attack, it is now known that Hillary Clinton emailed to her daughter Chelsea that the incident was the work of terrorists. The House Select Committee on Benghazi found out later that then-Secretary of State Clinton told the Egypt’s prime minister on September 13: “We know that the attacks in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack – not a protest.” But, on September 14th, Hillary Clinton told the grieving mother a bald-faced lie about why her son had died.

During the recent Republican National Convention, Mrs. Smith supplied graphic details about her encounter with Hillary Clinton. “She looked me squarely in the eye and lied to me,” said Patti Smith. “She told me a video was responsible.” Then the mother of the deceased State Department specialist stated, “To this day, I don’t even know why a computer guy like Sean was sent to Benghazi.” There had to be a reason for the ambassador and his computer technician to be in Benghazi, but Mrs. Smith’s repeated inquiries to the State Department never got her any answer. We offer a possible explanation.

In September 2012, various anti-Assad factions were gathering weapons needed to attack and possibly unseat the government in Syria. Some of these factions seem to have learned that the American ambassador in Libya was working out details about how to get weapons sent from nearby Turkey to a U.S.-favored anti-Assad group in Syria. Other militants seeking to oust Assad learned of the plan and sought to prevent its completion by attacking Ambassador Stevens. Computer specialist Smith was with Stevens to provide technical assistance to assure that messages to and from the favored faction were successfully transmitted.

Admittedly, that’s only a guess as to why the deadly incident occurred. And while we engage in speculation about the reason for the tragic deaths of four Americans, the now-verified story is that Hillary Clinton – who wants to be president of the United States – blatantly lied to Mrs. Smith. It is unfortunately true that Mrs. Clinton has also lied on numerous other occasions about other matters. Patricia Smith doesn’t think Americans should elect a liar to be president. Which is certainly one reason why she wasn’t invited to speak at the Democrat’s convention.

Congratulations to the Republicans for giving her time to tell her revealing story to the GOP’s convention and to the nation.

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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.