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.


Government Worker Total Grows

Government Worker Total Grows
by JBS President John F. McManus

By almost two to one, government employees in the United States exceed those in the manufacturing sector. Numbers supplied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and reported by blogger Terence Jeffrey show that federal, state, and local governments employ 21.9 million versus 12.3 million employed in manufacturing. Is it any wonder that America is slowing down?

Manufacturing continues its downward spiral, which will be made even worse with Obama’s trade agreements (Photo by V4711 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons).

Wealth is productivity. A nation is wealthy whose people use the raw materials of the earth to produce goods. Government workers, frequently impeders of wealth producers, do not produce goods and do not create wealth.

BLS data shows that 1989 was the year when the number of government workers first exceeded the number making things. That year has been followed by steady growth in number working for government and a steady decline in the manufacturing field where the things Americans expect to use are made. Over the past 25 years, 4 million more have found jobs for government and 5.6 million have been forced out of manufacturing. Their manufacturing jobs went to Mexico, China, Bangladesh, and plenty of other nations whose wealth is increasing while the wealth of the United States is evaporating.

What does the Obama administration offer to address this problem? More entanglements called trade agreements that will, like NAFTA, result in more manufacturing jobs being lost here and gained elsewhere.

Jeffrey notes that, in 1941, there were 12.8 million workers in the manufacturing sector out of a population totaling 133.4 million – a ratio of 1 person in manufacturing for every 10.6 counted by the census. But in mid-2015, that ratio had shifted from 1 person making things for every 26 people in the nation. The goods Americans want and need are coming from elsewhere.

Nothing is being done to reverse the downward trend that gets worse year after year. If the U.S. doesn’t rebuild its manufacturing sector and shrink the number of government employees, the entire nation will suffer because the few who still produce goods will be taxed to keep the burgeoning rolls of government employees happy. And they will eventually cease producing.

We repeat: Wealth is productivity. Government workers, only some of whom are needed, don’t make things and many of them stand in the way of those want to be manufacturers.

Candidates for high office should take note of these simple facts before there are so many government employees, who are unlikely to vote for anyone wanting to reduce government employment numbers, that a continuance – or even a speeding up – of America’s downward spiral will be our fate.

For more on how money, banking, and the Federal Reserve affect our economy, view Dollars & $ense.

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Mr. 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 now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.


Conservatism: When the Rhetoric Doesn’t Match the Record

Conservatism: When the Rhetoric Doesn’t Match the Record
adapted from the “William F. Buckley, Jr., Pied Piper for the Establishment” book by JBS President John F. McManus

When William F. Buckley, Jr., came onto the scene in the 1950s, the word “conservatism” could have been equated with “Americanism.” Conservatives wanted to preserve those institutions and principles that made America great and good. They cherished both the U.S. Constitution and traditional morality. They wanted government to protect them from evil-doers but not regulate their lives or provide them with handouts.

But over the past half century, the word “conservatism” has lost its former meaning. These days mainstream conservatives want to interject the U.S. government into everything from massively funding the nation’s schools to policing the world. And many conservatives support them.

What happened is that most conservatives were led astray. They were deceived, not by overt liberalism, but by counterfeit conservatism. And the liberal Establishment’s principal pied piper — who hit just enough of the right notes to captivate conservatives — was William F. Buckley.

The book, “William F. Buckley, Jr.: Pied Piper for the Establishment” examines the following details of Buckley’s life:

  • connections to the Council on Foreign Relations, the CIA, and Yale’s Skull & Bones
  • selection of ex-Communists, Trotskyites, and CIA veterans to staff National Review
  • failed attempt to destroy The John Birch Society
  • promotion of liberal causes, including abortion, drugs, homosexuality, and pornography.

Buckley set the stage for younger pied pipers who would lead unwitting conservatives even further astray. But by understanding how Buckley fooled at least two generations, today’s conservatives should be all the wiser. Not only should they learn from the past to avoid being fooled again, but they should begin the process of undoing the damage already done. This book provides vital information on both scores. Purchase today to learn more of the foundations of the neo-conservative movement!

If the record doesn’t match the rhetoric, or if the meaning of words need to evolve to match the actions of today’s conservatives, then a critical eye must be cast to those leaders and to their intent.

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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 now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.


White House Lit Up To Look Like a Rainbow Flag

White House Lit Up To Look Like a Rainbow Flag
by JBS President John F. McManus

The Supreme Court handed down its same-sex marriage decision by a vote of 5 to 4 on June 26th. President Obama obviously expected the result favored by homosexual activists because he had the White House electricians pre-arrange a light show that created a rainbow colored edifice.

The White House is lit with the colors of the rainbow in celebration of the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, June 26, 2015. By White House Photographer (White House Press Office) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Social media immediately erupted into two opposing camps: for and against. Let us register in the “against” camp. We start by noting that the White House doesn’t belong to Mr. Obama; it belongs to the people of the United States, a property owned technically by the peoples’ National Park Service. It should not be used by any occupant to force a revolutionary view on the American people.

How did Mr. Obama respond when asked about the unusual lighting? He told a press conference “I did not have a chance to comment on how good the White House looked in rainbow colors.” He added: “That made it a good week – to see people gathered in an evening outside on a beautiful summer night, and to feel whole and feel accepted and to feel that they had a right to love – that was pretty cool.”

Partisans for same-sex marriage will surely rebel at any protest over making the White House look like their flag. I can hear them now likening what was done by a succession of presidents with a Christmas tree or, in days gone by, a crèche. I respond: The White House wasn’t made to look like a Christmas Tree or a crèche. Those reminders of Christ’s birth were displayed on the White House grounds or inside the building while 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue stayed white. Celebrating homosexual activity in such a flagrant manner brings to mind what occurred more than two millennia ago, when fire and brimstone rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah.

John Adams was the first president to occupy the White House. During his second day as its resident in 1800, he wrote to his wife, “I pray Heaven will bestow the best of blessings on this House, and all that shall hereafter inhabit it.” Franklin Roosevelt had the Adams prayer carved into the State Dining Room’s mantel. Blessings have indeed been granted America. But heaven might answer the Adams plea quite differently today.

The 5-4 decision favoring marriages of man-with-man or woman-with-woman was wrong and our country will pay for it in a manner that only God will decide. Two justices who had previously presided over homosexual “marriages” should never have heard the case. Many legal scholars claim that Justices Ginsburg and Kagan should have acted honorably and recused themselves. But they didn’t.

The United States of America is hurtling headlong down the slippery slope of immorality. The late Judge Robert Bork asked in his book “Slouching Towards Gomorrah,” “Are there enough who disagree with that undeniable development and are willing to register a protest sufficient to reverse this national descent?”

We hope so.

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Mr. 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 now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.


Supreme Court Overturns Thomas Jefferson. Time to Nullify!

Supreme Court Overturns Thomas Jefferson. Time to Nullify!
by JBS President John F. McManus

There is no mention in the Constitution of federal power to start a medical care program. Likewise, there is no place in the Constitution authorizing any branch of the federal government to redefine marriage away from its millennia-old assertion that a union is of one man and one woman. But the Supreme Court has just sanctioned these federal power grabs adding both to an already frightening accumulation of federal dominance.

Thomas Jefferson commented on this kind of possibility when he wrote:

When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government [branch] upon another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.

It is hardly an excess to conclude that these two power grabs are not alone, and that all government is being “drawn to Washington.”

Our nation’s third President looked ahead and worried about such an accumulation of power by the federal courts. In 1821, twelve years after he left the Presidency, Jefferson wrote:

It has long been my opinion … that the germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of the federal judiciary … working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped from the States, and the government of all be consolidated into one.

When Congress wrote the Affordable Care Act (that’s the official name for ObamaCare), its text stated that tax credit subsidies were to be given to people living where a marketplace for the insurance, called an exchange, had been “established by the state.” Some sharp eyes noted that the federal government, not the states, was already operating the sites where people could sign up. In other words, the feds were breaking the law that clearly said these exchanges were to be state-run. A suit, known as King v. Burwell, went all the way to the Supreme Court. Legal scholars felt correctly that a victory for the plaintiffs would wreck ObamaCare. Fans of federal involvement in the medical industry knew that something had to be done.

And it was done – in a way that even Mr. Jefferson himself would likely not have ever imagined. The Court ruled 6 to 3 in an opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts that those who created the law didn’t mean what they had stated, and that “established by the state” didn’t mean that the exchanges (the insurance marketplaces) had to be under state jurisdiction.

What happened here is a continuation of revolutionary court action: the Supreme Court actually re-wrote the law. Justice Scalia’s dissent noted that the words “by the state” were removed from the law “seven times.” The Supreme Court has no authorization to make law because the Constitution’s very first sentence states, “All legislative powers … shall be vested in Congress….” In effect, the current Supreme Court has changed the Constitution’s word “all” to mean “some, if we think it’s necessary.” It has no authority to do so.

So what should be done? States should continue to nullify this clearly unconstitutional law. More and more Americans are clamoring for the states to stand up to the feds. State legislators should oblige them. Our newest video on nullification demonstrates how nullification works and why it works well.

Also, the Constitution, that still stands and to which each Supreme Court justice and each member of Congress still swears a solemn oath to honor, deals with a potentially rogue court in Article III, Section 2. It states: “… the supreme court shall have appellate jurisdiction … with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.”

In other words, the Congress that has just been insulted by the Supreme Court’s arrogance in rewriting its law can pass a measure barring the Supreme Court from having anything to say about the matter. If it followed this path, Thomas Jefferson would rest more easily. And so would all Americans who don’t want the federal government to control the medical profession via ObamaCare.

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Mr. 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 now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.


Leftists and UN Supporters Cheer Pope’s Message

Leftists and UN Supporters Cheer Pope’s Message
by JBS President John F. McManus

England’s National Weather Service reported several years ago that the phenomenon known as global warming ceased in 1997 and has not returned. Germany’s Dr. Hans Von Storch, a contributor to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is on record disputing any claims made by the UN about the supposed increase in global temperatures.

Pope Francis, (Korea.net / Korean Culture and Information Service (Photographer name) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons).

Other global warming skeptics noted by William Jasper of The New American include former Georgia Institute of Technology professor Judith Curry. Once known as the “high priestess of global warming,” she is now cautioning anyone to reject alarmist claims about the earth heating up. New Zealand’s Dr. Jim Renwick, a former ally of the global warming alarmists, has backed away from his previous comments and now says, “The weather is not predictable beyond a week or two.”

University of Pennsylvania weather forecasting expert Dr. J. Scott Armstrong now says, “no one has provided evidence to refute our claim that there are no scientific forecasts to support global warming.” Climate scientists Richard Lindzen, Timothy Ball, William Happer, Freeman Dyson, John Christy, Roy Spencer, Vincent Gray, Christopher Essex, Fred Singer, and many other atmospheric and climatology scientists have been challenging global warming claims for years. They are especially critical of the increasingly discredited climate models cited by alarmists as absolute proof of a warmer earth. All of these scientists are joined by hundreds of others who are telling the public to calm down because the earth is not heating up. Many are converts from their formerly held beliefs about a warming cataclysm. Conclusions now reached by many contend that there has been no warming over the past 18 years.

But, into this discussion comes Pope Francis and his 184-page encyclical “Laudato Si” devoted in large part to blaming the human race for causing climate change (the new name for global warming). “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods,” says the Pope. Global warming believer Barack Obama cheered. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was ecstatic. The UN’s climate change experts who are busily preparing for the world body’s December convocation in Paris to address supposed climate change, gleefully welcomed the pontiff’s message while they ignored his condemnations of abortion and population control practices.

Catholics aren’t alone in wondering why the Pope relied for advice on a German self-professed atheist who believes in Mother Earth (Gaia). Microbiologist Hans Schellnhuber of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research supplied perspective for the Pope’s encyclical. Another adviser chosen by Francis is Veerabhadran Ramanathan who practices Hinduism and contributed thoughts for the Pope about population control. Strange collaborators for the head of the Catholic Church? Indeed they are.

In September, Pope Francis will visit the United States where he is expected to bring his apocalyptic global warming and population control messages to the United Nations on one day and then to the U.S. Congress on another. Also during October, the Vatican will host a worldwide synod of bishops where some of the issues raised in “Laudato Si” will surely be discussed. The Pope is expected to continue crusading against the burning of fossil fuels even while he attacks industrialization that depends on energy created by burning fossil fuels.

It’s fairly easy to conclude that Pope Francis, who is not a scientist, needs new advisers. Sad to say, what the Pope has issued in “Laudato Si” is far from helpful according to the growing number of scientists who can be labeled global warming skeptics.

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Mr. 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 now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.


Export-Import Bank: Let it Die!

Export-Import Bank: Let it Die!
by JBS President John F. McManus

Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) is leading the campaign to let the Export-Import Bank expire. If Congress doesn’t formally reauthorize its existence by June 30, it will no longer be providing loans to foreign firms and governments who buy products from Boeing, General Electric, John Deere, and numerous other establishment-favored U.S. firms. Hensarling chairs the House Financial Services Committee where he has become a determined foe of the Bank.


Watch House Financial Services Committee Chairman Hensarling deliver the opening statement on whether or not the Export-Import Bank is necessary (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROpfJuQg-Ss).

The Ex-Im Bank began courtesy of an executive order signed by President Roosevelt in 1934. (Unconstitutionally making law with the stroke of a pen isn’t something new!) Originally, its chief beneficiary was the murderous cabal running the Soviet Union. During the emergence of Communist China as an economic powerhouse in the 1980s, the Bank provided millions to the Beijing regime. Example: In September 1982, the Reagan administration approved a loan of $68.4 million to finance the building of a steel mill in the People’s Republic. Mr. Reagan approved the deal by signing a document stating that the transaction was “in the national interest of the United States.”

Similar deals had already been approved by the Nixon administration for Communist Russia, by the Ford administration for Communist Yugoslavia, Romania, and Poland, and by the Reagan administration for these same Communist tyrannies. Simply put, the Ex-Im Bank has been one of communism’s best friends.

Supporters of the Bank claim that it actually earns money for the U.S. Treasury when loans are repaid with interest. If these deals are profitable, why is a government-run bank needed? Wouldn’t private megabanks be willing to provide the cash if a profit were available?

Three years ago, Congressman Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) made good sense when he opposed reauthorization of the Banks: “The Export-Import Bank dragoons American taxpayers into subsidizing loans to foreign companies making it cheaper for them to buy products from politically favored American companies.” He noted that past beneficiaries included “such upstanding enterprises as Solyndra and Enron,” both of which turned out to be expensive failures paid for by U.S. taxpayers.

Beyond the benefits reaped by U.S. mega corporations, Ex-Im has helped to fuel the transfer of numerous industrial enterprises from the United States to foreign nations. The jobs of many Americans have been lost and American manufacturing leadership has continued to fade away, partly due to the work of the Ex-Im Bank.

Hardly anyone wants to ask where in the U.S. Constitution an entity such as the Ex-Im Bank derives its authorization. As is the case with so many other federal agencies and departments, there is none. This year may see the end of Ex-Im making new loans as it winds down existing outstanding business and soon closes its doors. No congressional action is needed. It should be allowed to die.

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Mr. 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 now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.