The Job of Police

The Job of Police
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

The horrific shooting spree in a Florida school has led to widespread discussion about what local police officers did and did not do to impede the killer. Much of the commentary about this incident has revolved around the notion that police officers have a duty to protect the citizens in their community from harm. In numerous cities and towns throughout the U.S., decals appear on the sides of police vehicles announcing that the police exist “To Protect and Serve” the local people. This is an erroneous concept.

Erroneous? Yes. Consider that no police force or any of its members are ever held responsible if someone is killed or harmed within their jurisdiction. You or I can’t sue the local police if some criminal attacks us and causes us harm. If I follow an attack that harmed me with a suit aimed at the police (and the jurisdiction that hires them), it would get me nowhere. Why? Because the job of police is not to protect me or anyone else. The police can’t be held accountable if harm comes to me or to you. Police are never sued for negligence if a criminal harms someone. That fact ought to be drummed into every American’s consciousness.

If the police aren’t responsible for protecting the people, who does bear that responsibility? The answer, very simply, is each person. And how do ordinary persons protect themselves from criminal activity? The quick answer is he or she has to be armed and must know how to use whatever weapon is chosen to fill that need. Another answer, though impractical for most, would have citizens hire bodyguards who would be armed.

John W. Whitehead of the Virginia-based Rutherford Institute has regularly pointed out that the U.S. Supreme Court has more than once ruled (such as in 2005 with the Town of Castle Rock vs. Gonzalez decision) that police have no responsibility to protect members of the public from harm. The men and women who serve as police officers frequently do seek to stop an individual committing criminal activity but they are not required to do so. The responsibility to stop a criminal from attacking you lies with yourself.

Which brings us to the absolute right of a citizen to be armed. If it’s not the job of police officers to see to it that no criminal attacks you, that responsibility is yours. And any impediment to you having the means to protect yourself is absolutely wrong. The Founders of our nation knew this and their awareness that led them to add the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment, wrongly considered by many to apply only to citizens who serve in a militia, applies to virtually everyone.

Should the right to be armed be denied to someone who has already used a weapon for a criminal purpose? Yes. How about the mentally disturbed and those taking medication for suspected mental problems? Yes again. How about children who don’t know how to use a weapon or aren’t aware of the dangers posed by weapons? Parents should be held responsible for their children. And a suitable age must be established for youthful weapon possession.

In the wake of the Florida shooting, clamor for doing away with private ownership of weapons is again being raised. Such demands are incredibly wrong and will, if enacted, lead to more crime, even the governmental crime known as tyranny.

In no way is this author promoting any move toward abolishing local police forces. They have an important role to play in keeping society orderly. But, as must be made abundantly clear, it is not their job to “protect” citizenry from harm. If they do so without cancelling the rights of law-abiding citizens, fine. The most certain way to insure that police do not present a problem is keep jurisdiction over them and their activity in the hands of local authorities.

Should teachers be free to have a weapon while in a school? Of course. Should schools and other places be deemed “gun-free zones”? Absolutely not! Such a labeling of schools as gun-free will invite criminally minded and mentally deranged to go to schools where there are no guns to stop them from creating mayhem.

There should be no restrictions on the ordinary citizen who wishes to protect himself and his family from a criminal. And there should be a reversal of the attitude that has people relying on police for such protection.

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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 Real Meanings of Two Important Words

The Real Meanings of Two Important Words
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

An increasing number of Americans have found themselves confused during discussions only to find out that the cause of the problem stems from distortions in the meaning of key words.

Image from Pixabay, CCO License.

We live in an era when correct definitions have been almost universally lost. Two prime examples come to mind: the words “democracy” and  “inflation.” I contend that getting back to the true meaning of each is long overdue and very much needed. Venal politicians and dull or deceitful economists are deceiving the public and that has to stop.

The word “democracy” entered our language from Greece. It means “the people to rule.” If the people force adoption of something truly beneficial to their nation and its people, consider it a bit of luck. But democracy customarily invites what James Madison, our nation’s fourth president, abhorred. He and other Founders made their feelings known while creating the U.S. Constitution where they chose a republic, the rule of law, to be our nation’s governmental system.

Madison explained his detestation of democracies when he wrote that they “have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they are violent in their deaths.” Instead, he and his colleagues at the 1787 convention established a “rule of law” as the standard for deliberation and action. Its main premise was to have our infant country prosper, not because of what government would do, but because of what government would be prevented from doing by the Constitution.

Today, the Constitution is given lip service and government has greatly ignored the bonds erected to insure that it would not exceed its powers. Consequently, we are victims of democracy in action, a bowing to the demands of the mob, ignoring constitutional restraints and leading the nation toward total government. Politicians are converting our republic into a democracy that will inevitably lead to tyranny. There is great need for understanding the wisdom contained in the slogan, “This is a republic, not a democracy; let’s keep it that way.”

Regarding inflation, the misuse of its correct definition has largely been hidden. Inflation is an increase in the quantity of currency, not the condition of rising prices which is the widely known, but wrong, definition. What appears to be a rise in prices for goods and services is proof that money has become less valuable. Wet streets don’t cause rain. And rising prices are the consequence of putting more money into circulation. What is inflated is the quantity of currency. When money becomes less valuable because of increasing its amount (a common practice engineered by the Federal Reserve), the rising prices for goods and services are simply a refection of the loss in value of existing money.

Early in his career, British economist John Maynard Keynes pointed his finger at would-be rulers and described the process correctly. He wrote: “By a continuous process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens…. The process engages all of the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner that not one man in a million can diagnose.” What Keynes was saying is that filling your car’s gasoline tank may have cost $5 dollars in the early and middle years of the past century. But filling your tank now costs $40 or more. The price of gasoline didn’t change; the value of a dollar changed.

A great deal more can be said about how faulty definitions inevitably lead to more power in government. Combating the harm being done to the American dream has to include correcting the widespread misinformation about democracy and inflation.

Help is needed. If you’re interested in joining the cause, contact your local JBS field coordinator 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.


Explaining the School Shooting

Explaining the School Shooting
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Opinions about why the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School occurred have come in a flood. Even more suggestions and demands have been offered about what needs to be done to keep such a tragedy from ever happening again. Practically all have missed a telling point that appeared in an obscure political cartoon.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Image from Wikimedia Commons by Formulanone, public domain.

The poignant message arrived in what really wasn’t a cartoon. To merit that designation, there would likely be a caricature of the targeted subject, maybe even a photo of the person featured with a wry or compromising smile followed by appropriate commentary. No, what I’m referring to is a very few words published in an obviously solemn type style. Its words follow:

Dear God: Why do you allow so much violence in our schools?  – Concerned Student

Dear Concerned Student: I’m not allowed in your schools.  – God

Whether a daily mention of God in school would have kept Nikolas Cruz from killing 17 people can’t be known. But there are numerous other cultural changes over the past 50 years that should be factored into whether there will be more tragedies like the one just headlined in Florida. These, too, should not be ignored.

I think of broken families, the widespread abandonment of instruction about moral absolutes, violence featured in movies and video games, drugs administered to the young that lead to distorting their reality, and intense focus on the mass shooters that can easily result in copycat crimes. With the general breakdown of moral principles, I sometimes wonder why there aren’t even more splurges of violence.

Of course, there are many who blame the gun used in such a crime. But no gun ever jumped up from a table or escaped from a gun rack to perform by itself. Someone put it to use. The late Bob Lee, my deceased good friend, once wrote, “Blaming guns for crimes is as senseless as blaming pencils for misspelled words.” He was correct.

I’m a great admirer of the Constitution of the United States. Among its Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments that are considered by many as a portion of the original Constitution itself) there is the very sensible and needed Second Amendment. In part, it states, “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Proper authorities and due process should take that right from someone who has abused it. Take it from someone who is mentally sick – yes. Keep it from young people who don’t know how to use it – yes again. But taking guns from law-abiding, sensible people isn’t the answer. Criminals will always find ways to obtain a gun in our free country. And, as the erosion of moral standards continues, there will be more, not fewer, mass shootings.

John Adams served as our nation’s second president. The Bill of Rights had already been added to the Constitution when he held the office. He had no difficulty accepting the full Constitution as the supreme law of our land. But he knew it wasn’t enough, that even it didn’t guarantee the freedom and tranquility decent people desire. He believed, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Because so many Americans are not “moral and religious people,” shootings such the recent tragic event in Florida occur.

No matter how admirable it may be, a Constitution won’t prevent a repeat of the horror just witnessed. It won’t erect a barrier between ordinary citizens and those who are sick, criminally bent, or depraved. John Adams was correct. A return to exposing young people to the need for religion and morality would surely diminish – maybe even terminate – the type of horror just visited on the children and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

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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.


Understanding Donald Trump

Understanding Donald Trump
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

For about ten months in the early days of the Trump-for-President campaign, Sam Nunberg was one of the real estate Mogul’s campaign advisers. Before the November 2016 election however, the candidate and Nunberg had a falling out, not over anything in the political realm but over Trump’s charge that his adviser had violated a confidentiality pledge.

Image from Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Nunberg hasn’t completely disavowed the positive attitude he had about the man who became president. But he does render an opinion about Mr. Trump when asked for one. After the recent flurry of negotiations over the new spending budget, a writer for the New York Times sought him out for perspective about his former boss’s modus operandi. Here’s what Nunberg offered:

The misconception is that the president does not know what he does not know. In my experience, the reality is that the president knows what he does not know and does not think he needs to know it. He’s a C.E.O. The tiny details are for his staff.

That says a lot about the man who now occupies the White House’s Oval Office. He’s not interested in the details. For him, the goal is to make a deal, not to fret over the minutiae. Unfortunately, one of the details within the latest budget deal is its increase in the already enormous national debt.

The deal produced some outspoken dissenters among GOP House members who form the hardline Freedom Caucus. Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said, “The swamp won and the American taxpayer lost.” He added, “This is the second largest spending increase in a decade. It is not what we said we would do and we’re going to have to fight harder to get things back on track.”

Fellow Caucus member Mark Meadows (R-S.C.) criticized his GOP leaders while terming their complicity an example “caving in.” He repeated what his Ohio colleague had stated about the GOP leadership caving, the swamp winning, and the American taxpayer losing. Freedom Caucus members were always willing to steer funds to the military. But adding to the already record-setting $20.5 trillion national debt is something they surely did not want.

Making America great again has long been Donald Trump’s slogan. A respected high-level Trump employee now in retirement did his very best to suggest the way to accomplish the goal contained in the “great again” slogan. At Trump headquarters in New York City, he passed along a suggested follow-up to explain in simple terms how America could indeed be made great again. His suggestion, short and easily understood by anyone, stated, “America became great not because of what government did, but because of what government was prevented from doing by the Constitution.”

You never heard Donald Trump say that either because it never got to him or because he didn’t want to tie himself to its wisdom. Maybe he doesn’t agree with its good sense. Maybe it’s because he never thought he needed what it said to win the election. Maybe he doesn’t know much about the Constitution that he and every member of Congress swears to uphold. Or maybe it’s one of those pesky “details” left for staff members to fret over. The many underlings know that they dare not cross the line by suggesting that the current president of the United States has adopted spending habits worthy of his political opponents.

Whatever the case, the weight of huge indebtedness has grown larger for the American people, including the nations young people who have had no opportunity to disapprove its enormity or the many unconstitutional programs responsible for its growing burden. The debt is not one of those “tiny details” mentioned by Sam Nunberg. It’s a problem that could America its very existence as an independent 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.


Threat of ISIS Still Real

Threat of ISIS Still Real
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

During his 2018 State of the Union speech, President Trump delighted in reporting that Islamic State forces had been defeated in virtually all of the territory they had seized over recent years. But even he admitted, “There is much more work to be done.”

American artillery soldiers respond to a fire mission in Iraq. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. F. Cordoba, public domain.

It is certainly true that ISIS forces no longer dominate portions of Iraq and Syria. But what became of the thousands of fighters who waged bloody warfare remains a concern of realists who comment about developments regarding ISIS. One assessment of what happens next was provided by Otso Iho, a senior analyst at London-based Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center. As noted by the New York Times, this expert reported: “The group is transitioning into an underground organization that places more weight on asymmetric tactics like suicide bombings against soft targets in government-secured areas like Baghdad.”

Iho pointed to a recent suicide attack in Baghdad that killed several dozen and wounded close to 100. The incident occurred at a busy location in the Iraqi capital where laborers gather daily in hopes of being hired by someone.

How many of the thousands of ISIS warriors have discarded their uniforms and are melting into the populations of Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere isn’t known. But anyone who has studied ISIS and its efforts over the past four years knows that the number of dedicated Islamic warriors reaches into the tens of thousands. Some of these who have fled the formerly held caliphate and can be found in Libya, Yemen, Turkey, even the Philippines. Of these, many have joined never-defeated branches of Al Qaeda in those nations.

The number of Americans who traveled to ISIS-held territory in order to become an Islamist warrior number less than one thousand. But, according to Gilles de Kerchove, the European Union’s senior counter terrorism official, more than  5,000 Europeans left their homes and became ISIS fighters. Some perished and a few are still fighting. But 1,500 have returned to their European countries and each can be legitimately by labeled a potential terrorist. America’s vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Paul Selva summarized the situation in grim detail:

The thought that these foreign fighters who have participated in this fight now for over two years will quietly leave Syria and return to their jobs as shopkeepers in Paris, in Brussels, in Copenhagen, and elsewhere is ludicrous. That’s a very compelling problem.

The motivation keeping these men tied to ISIS and its determination to establish a dominant Islamic caliphate surely includes the promise of heavenly bliss for those who perish for Allah. It additionally promises the same glorious afterlife for suicide bombers. In other words, the problem presented when ISIS emerged several years ago hasn’t been solved by routing its military arm.

The West, certainly including the United States, has to expect more terror-inspired attacks.

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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.


National Debt Missing from Trump’s SOTU

National Debt Missing from Trump’s SOTU
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

I dutifully watched Donald Trump deliver his State of the Union speech on January 30. The president did a fine job expressing his thoughts about what his leadership had accomplished during his first year, and what he would like to accomplish in the immediate future.

Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead.

I liked all the introductions of heroes large and small. The female helicopter pilot who rescued many, the Forest Service officer whose bravery saved lives, and Congressman Steve Scalise (R-La.) whose successful recovery from being shot at a baseball field last year was very good news. There were more of these special introductions of remarkable individuals, and each was a good break in what can be termed a tedious bit of oratorical excess.

During another departure from governmental matters, Mr. Trump dwelled briefly on the conduct of good Americans when saluting the flag, and when they “stand for the National Anthem.” Without doubt, he used the opportunity to condemn – without naming any – professional football players who have made a habit of kneeling rather than standing during the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner.” What he said was welcomed by supporters but it didn’t address the nation’s biggest problem.

What is that “biggest problem?” I found the speech terribly disappointing in that the President chose to ignore the enormous national debt, now at $20.6 trillion. He avoided the topic while announcing his intention to spend additional billions for infrastructure, the military, the fight against opioids, continued foreign aid, and more. He delighted in noting that his prodding led Congress to approve a new tax measure that would have the government’s receipts shrink by $1.5 trillion. Where the government’s funds will come from to make up this shortfall, and previously accumulated indebtedness, wasn’t mentioned.

Six years ago, Admiral Mike Mullen who had been Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff summarized this very real problem as it existed six years ago. He stated: “A nation with our current levels of unsustainable debt cannot hope to sustain for very long its superiority from a military perspective, or its influence in world affairs.” Correct! But that was six years ago and the problem has only worsened.

It would be easy to produce a list of scary figures about the debt currently endangering our nation’s very existence. I’ll present only one: U.S. debt held by foreign countries totals $6.4 trillion, one trillion of which is held by Comunist China. Does the United States still possess any clout to deal with China’s clear intention to expand its influence worldwide? Our leaders can pontificate all they want about military might, but reckless spending has produced a situation where China holds more cards in the potentially deadly game of international politics.

The Democrats chose Congressman Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) to offer a rebuttal to President Trump’s speech. In effect, Kennedy told his audience, including large numbers of television viewers, that he would spend even more federal dollars. And he, too, never mentioned the threat posed by indebtedness. As for working together with members of the “other party,” he mentioned a sign held up by one of the marchers cheering the Democratic agenda. It said, “Build a wall and my generation will tear it down.” So much for working together with Republicans. Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies remarked, about the Trump speech, “The Democrats are going to be even less disposed to do anything the President suggests, even if it’s in their interest.”

The share of the enormous debt per American is $63,000; per each American family $170,000. Our nation’s partners in crime, the Federal Reserve and the federal government, allow more dollars to be created out of thin air. Those freshly made dollars derive their worth by stealing the value of all existing dollars. That why prices go up for food, rent, fuel, and everything else. Not only is debt robbing our nation’s ability to act in its own interests; it is subjecting all Americans to domination by our central government.

Ignoring the consequences of national indebtedness isn’t good leadership. Refusing to tell the American people they are being victimized by it is unconscionable.

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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.


DACA and DREAMERS Affecting Immigration

DACA and DREAMERS Affecting Immigration 
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Relocating from one country to another is not a right. Any country has inherent power to establish an immigration policy that squares with the interest and culture of its citizens. Without such power, no country can continue to exist.

Rally/Protest in response to the rescission of Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Image from Wikimedia Commons by Rhododendrites, CC BY-SA 4.0.

In the United States as far back as 1924, a duly enacted Immigration Act established a “national origins quota” system to deal with immigration into our country. If ten percent of the existing population were Italian, said the Act, then ten percent of the total number of immigrants seeking entry could be from Italy. So, too, would the number of Irish, German, Polish, etc. conform to the percentage of the population already legally resident in America.

This same system of determining who might be eligible for legal entry in the United States then became the basis of the Immigration Act of 1952 written by Senator McCarran (D-Nev.) and Representative Walter (D-Penna.). Passed overwhelmingly by Congress, the Act was immediately vetoed by President Truman. It went back to Congress where the veto was speedily overridden with great support from Democrats. It was replaced in 1966 by an immigration law crafted by Senator Ted Kenned that completely reversed the existing McCarran-Walter policy. Kennedy and other liberal Democrats had discovered that they could swell the rolls of future Democrat voters via immigration.

No longer would maintaining the culture of the nation be a prime consideration. Newer legal immigration policy, not tied to the existing national origins of the American people, have opened the gates to people who have little or no knowledge of America’s governmental system. Most don’t even want to know about it. Overwhelmingly, they ignorantly prefer the socialism championed by the Democratic Party – and also by renegade Republicans who should be known as neoconservatives.

After 1966 as a result of the Kennedy immigration measure, amnesty for illegal immigrants became policy. Several million were soon welcomed via amnesty when President Reagan signed a Democrat-favoring measure in the 1980s. Mr. Reagan insisted that his granting residency to several million who came here illegally wouldn’t be duplicated. But it has been more than duplicated by other Democrat/neoconservative legislation. More millions of illegals have been amnestied after the Reagan cave-in.

In 2012, even while acknowledging that he had no power to do so, President Obama created a program providing temporary amnesty for huge numbers of young people who had entered America illegally. Called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama action granted legal status to 800,000 young people. They were converted from illegal to legal for a period lasting two years (and were able to seek an extension after those two years). They also received assurance that they wouldn’t be hunted down for possible deportation, and they were declared eligible for a work permit. In addition, they were permitted to bring family members into our country in what has been termed “chain migration.”

In many ways, DACA replaces the so-called DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors). First introduced in the Senate in 2001, and reintroduced several times in subsequent years, it has never been approved by Congress. DACA has never won congressional approval either. But DACA gained legitimacy via Barack Obama’s totally unconstitutional executive order in June 2012. President Trump has countered with his own executive order rescinding DACA but his order keeps all of DACA in place for six months.

Liberals of both political parties, expecting that most DACA beneficiaries and DREAMERS will vote Democratic, are noisily cheering for keeping DACA alive and for passage of the DREAM Act. Columnist Michelle Malkin, a native-born American whose parents are legal immigrants from the Philippines, disagrees emphatically with demands from the many leftists cheering for congressional approval of what she terms “a self-perpetuating political marketing machine.”

Liberal clergymen and politicians are now crusading for DACA  and the Dream Act to become official law. They insist doing so is the ”compassionate” route to follow. They forget that laws were broken by illegal entrants. If nothing is done to uphold law, more laws will be broken.

“There is no such thing as a deserving DREAMER,” says Malkin. She adds, “They broke our nation’s law to get here and should never be rewarded with a sure path to citizenship.” If that sensible attitude doesn’t prevail, we can expect more, not fewer, illegals entering America.

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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.