COOL and the WTO

COOL and the WTO
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Shirts, suits, dresses, undergarments, and numerous other items we purchase carry a little tag that tells where they were produced. “Made in China” appears on many. If not China, then Vietnam, Bangladesh, Japan, Taiwan, Pakistan, or some other foreign nation.

An FDA microbiologist mixes seafood samples with an enrichment broth to test for microorganisms. (Image from US FDA Flickr.)

Clothing, of course, is not the only category of foreign-made products filling our stores. Many of the automobiles, scooters, tools, bicycles, electronics, and more are also foreign made. Sometimes, finding a particular product not imported presents an unsolvable problem, frequently great enough to have many Americans simply give up and settle for foreign-made goods.

What about food? In 2002, Congress enacted a law that came to be known as COOL (Country of Origin Labeling). It required retailers to provide country of origin information for beef, pork, and lamb. In 2008, Congress expanded that requirement to include fresh fruits, nuts, and vegetables. But in late 2015, Congress repealed COOL as part of the omnibus budget bill. There is no longer any requirement for labeling the origin of what we eat.

Five months after the cancellation of COOL, a new report tells us that 47 million pounds of frozen chicken and meat products mixed with vegetables had to be recalled because of worries about listeria monocytogenes. Consuming them could cause listeriosis, an infection that can lead to fever, muscle aches, headaches, confusion, loss of balance, diarrhea and more. The products being recalled carry such brand names as Simmering Samurai, Tai Pei, InnovASIAN, Yakitori, Casa Solano Southwest, etc. They are not made in America.

The recall of these products came out of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It turns out that there’s no need for COOL if these agencies are doing their jobs. In fact, reliance on them and other U.S. safeguards already in place is what led the majority in Congress to repeal COOL as an unnecessary and costly requirement. The vote to repeal was 300 to 131 in the House.

But there’s another reason why Congress voted to cancel COOL. Canadian and Mexican meat producers, both affected by COOL’s past requirements, complained to the World Trade Organization (WTO). That UN agency has four times ruled against the United States and our COOL mandate. Our two neighboring nations were given authority by WTO to impose tariffs totaling several against the U.S.

Here we have the United Nations making decisions about the food we Americans eat. We won’t know if the beef we consume came from Canada, where mad-cow disease had been detected a few years back, or from Mexico whose cleanliness and butchering processes don’t match requirements imposed by USDA and FDA.

But let’s not give these agencies any constitutional legitimacy. Since these powers have not been delegated to the federal government according to the Constitution, the states reserve the power to make these decisions — and definitely not the UN. So having the United Nations making decisions regarding our food supply is a very unsettling development. If the WTO can force its will regarding food, it has gained a truly significant power. This situation brings to mind the attitude of one of the 20th century’s worst tyrants. As leader of the USSR, Joseph Stalin is reputed to have said that controlling the people’s food is the way to gain control of their nation. Enter the Holodomor.

The main point of these comments, therefore, isn’t so much about the food we consume. It’s much more about whether we will always have food to eat. Considering the power already possessed by the WTO presents another excellent reason to break away from the United Nations.

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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.


Suing Obama Over the War Powers Act

Suing Obama Over the War Powers Act
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Army Captain Nathan M. Smith is challenging U.S. involvement in the campaign against ISIS. No conscientious objector, he remains on active duty as an intelligence specialist. He contends that the Obama administration’s military action against ISIS cannot be legally justified by referring to congressional authorization given the president in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Captain Smith has sued President Obama claiming that the military campaign against ISIS is illegal because Congress hasn’t authorized it as required by the War Powers Act of 1973.

Army Captain Nathan Michael Smith. Image from The New American.

The Act requires congressional approval of any presidential assignment of troops to a combat situation that lasts more than 60 days. The president can respond with military force where needed but if the action exceeds 60 days, he must seek congressional authorization to continue it. If Congress refuses to grant its authorization, the troops must be brought home.

This four-decades-old Act sought to control President Nixon’s continuing use of the military during the Vietnam War. Claiming that the proposed law watered down his executive power, Nixon vetoed it. But Congress overrode his veto and the Act became law. Henceforth, according to the War Powers Act, there must be congressional authorization if a president sends troops into any battle and that battle continues beyond 60 days.

Anyone who cares much for the U.S. Constitution knows that the War Powers Act ignores the Constitution’s requirement that Congress declare any war our forces are sent into. There has been no amendment cancelling Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 that clearly states, “Congress shall have power … To declare war.” If military action by U.S. forces is needed to combat ISIS (or any other enemy), the only constitutional way to do so is by referencing this particular portion of the Constitution.

Most of the horrendous casualties suffered during the Vietnam War had occurred during several years prior to 1973. Even at best therefore, the War Powers Act amounted to closing the barn door after the horse had escaped. It amounted to a meaningless and self-serving gesture by Congress intending to show the war-weary American public its toughness. But authorization for deploying forces to Southeast Asia had come from SEATO, a United Nations subsidiary. A succession of Presidents (Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon) ignored the Constitution’s sole grant of war-making power to Congress and the members of Congress sought approval from the American people for what was meaningless bravado. In reality, the War Powers Act was a congressional face-saving measure that accomplished nothing of substance.

Wars declared by Congress, such as WWI and WWII, end in victory. Wars authorized by the UN and its agencies (e.g. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan) aren’t won. Even a war sanctioned by Congress via the War Powers Act would be violating the Constitution’s requirement for a declaration of war. But that’s not the only problem brought on by our leaders refusing to honor their oath to the Constitution. They have steadily and virtually silently cooperated in a piece-by-piece transfer of U.S. sovereignty to the United Nations.

Captain Smith should be made aware that his suing the president for not using the War Powers Act is really a meaningless gesture. A suit aimed at Mr. Obama and at the Congress for violating the solemn oath to the Constitution – especially including Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 – makes a great deal more sense.

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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.


Beware of the Strong Cities Network

Beware of the Strong Cities Network
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

It all sounds so reassuring and reasonable! Acting for the Obama administration, the nation’s Attorney General has placed the United States into an international grouping of cities whose advertised purpose involves combating violent extremism. Some of the cities in the new group will even be in other countries where terrorism has occurred or is surely a threat. All of the members of this new group will share their experiences and planning. Everyone should be most grateful that the Strong Cities Network (SCN) has been created.

But a closer look at this network reveals some problems. The first is that U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch decided to announce U.S. participation in the SCN at the United Nations. Then, in her speech before the world body last September, Lynch noted that SCN would have an International Steering Committee and an International Advisory Board “run by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a leading international think-and-do tank” based in London whose members include veterans of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission.

Representatives of Norway’s Oslo and Canada’s Montreal joyfully announced membership in the new SCN during the world body’s confab. And the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jordan’s Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, added his enthusiasm for the new organization.

Boiled down to its essence, the SCN is actually a new law enforcement body whose laws will govern participating cities, including New York, Atlanta, Denver, and Minneapolis that have already signed on as members. Law enforcement measures for these cities will dovetail with or emanate from the ISD and the United Nations, not from the U.S. Constitution and locally elected officials and the laws governing them. In her remarks at the unveiling of this new organization, Attorney General Lynch claimed that the new arrangement would work toward being “an alliance of nations” and would aspire to be “a global community.”

The Strong Cities Network, therefore, should be known as a nascent global police force controlled by the United Nations. Where central or global authority doesn’t govern police power, it is controlled locally. When it is controlled by a national or international governing body, as it was in the hands of Germany’s Gestapo, the Soviet Union’s KGB, or the ruling body in a communist-led country, tyranny reigns.

In the U.S., attacks against the very concept of local control over police power have been varied with campaigns regularly complaining about treatment of rioters and protesters. This style of lawlessness customarily includes calls for replacing local control with state or even national oversight. Until the unveiling of the SCN and its Institute for Strategic Dialogue, however, there were no calls for global oversight over police.

In her speech at the UN praising the creation of the SCN, Attorney General Lynch used the word “global” five times. She also employed the terms
“international” and “world” while at the podium. Then she closed her remarks by introducing Sasha Havlicek, the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.

Widespread understanding of the slogan “Support Your Local Police and Keep Them Independent” has never been more needed. It reminds all who encounter it that trading the American system of local control over police to any national or international governing body is suicidal. Unfortunately, the Obama administration and its Attorney General seem determined to destroy America’s long-standing police policy and, by doing so, deliver our independent United States of America into the steadily growing power of the United Nations. This is something all decent Americans must oppose. Contact Congress today with our pre-written alert to let them know of your opposition!

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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.


Trump, War, and the Constitution

Trump, War, and the Constitution
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Donald Trump’s recent criticism of NATO includes wanting the pact “rejiggered” and “changed for the better.” He insisted that the U.S. is “spending too much” and “some countries are getting a free ride.” Calling the alliance “obsolete,” he recommended adding “different nations“ because there are “nations that aren’t in NATO and are very much into the world of terror.”

Image from UkraineToday.

Much of what Trump offered deserved the attention he created. But he seems unaware of the pact’s real purpose, something that can be gleaned from a hard look at its history.

Launched as a treaty in 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was sold to the Senate and the American people as a military alliance designed to thwart further conquests by the USSR that had already swallowed up the many nations in eastern and central Europe. There was, however, a hugely important purpose behind creation of the pact. Secretary of State Dean Acheson noted this in a March 19, 1945 speech revealing that NATO was totally “subject to the overriding provisions of the United Nations Charter,” and that it was “an essential measure for strengthening the United Nations.” In fact, NATO’s brief charter containing a preamble and a mere 14 articles mentions the United Nations in five separate places.

Begun with 12 member nations but now including more than two dozen, NATO is actually a UN “regional arrangement” authorized by Articles 52-54 of the UN Charter. Article 53 states that nothing it does can be undertaken “without authorization of the [UN] Security Council” which “shall at all times be kept fully informed of activities undertaken or in contemplation” by members of the alliance.

On June 25, 1950, Communist North Korean forces invaded South Korea. Two days later, the UN Security Council issued a resolution calling on member nations to aid South Korea. President Harry Truman responded in a matter of days by ordering U.S. forces to Korea and, when pressed by several U.S. senators to explain how he could so without the required congressional declaration of war, he said it wasn’t war but “a police action.” He added that if he could send troops to NATO (which he had done), he could send troops to Korea. Thus ended the requirement for a declaration of war before sending our nation’s forces into conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. NATO and the UN have overridden the U.S. Constitution.

All military actions taken or contemplated by NATO and its twin SEATO (Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, created in 1954) had to be authorized and reported to the UN. Victory ceased to be the result of U.S. action – in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Control of U.S. military action was no longer held by Americans but by the anti-American United Nations. Restrictions on military activity became the norm and the actual “rules of engagement” directing the Vietnam conflict were unearthed by Senator Barry Goldwater and published in the Congressional Record during March 1985.

Beginning with NATO in 1949 and continuing during all subsequent years, America lost control of its military. And the U.S. Constitution’s clear requirement for a declaration of war before sending forces into battle has been superseded. Through NATO and its twin SEATO (no longer in existence), the UN now directs our nation’s military arm. Wars aren’t won but are dragged out as in Korea (a conflict never settled with a state of war still in existence) and in Afghanistan where U.S. forces have labored in a restricted manner since 2001.

NATO doesn’t need to be “rejiggered” or changed. What is needed is U.S. withdrawal from it and from its United Nations parent. The United States must again become the sole master of its fate.

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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.


America’s Culture of Death

America’s Culture of Death
by JBS President John F. McManus

LifeNews.com regularly reports on the continuing horror of abortion in the United States. The site’s posting dated November 26, 2014 led off with the headline, “Since Michael Brown Died, 981 Black Babies Have Died in Abortion in Missouri, But There are No Riots.”

Anyone can and should lament the tragedy involving the Missouri teen who was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. But every civilized person should also abhor the rioting and destruction of property occurring in that community and across the nation. And especially abhor the millions who have been killed in abortion mills.

Michael Brown died on August 9th. But aborting babies, a large number of whom are black, continues in the state where he lived, and the silence about their passing deserves mention. Abortion’s partisans frequently comment that abortion doesn’t kill a human being in the womb if the deed is done during the early stages of a pregnancy. Science has proved over and over again, however, that they are wrong because life begins at conception and terminating it at any point before birth amounts to killing an innocent human being.

Missouri’s aborted black babies, of course, are not the only victims of abortion. Snuffing out a tiny but viable life occurs throughout the world whether an infant be black, white, brown, yellow, etc. And the United States is numerically among the leading countries allowing the practice. After 1973 when the Supreme Court legalized killing the unborn, more than a million pregnancies in the U.S. have been terminated year after year. No rioting protested their deaths. True, no one should riot to draw attention to abortion. But many more than already do decry abortion should protest.

Proponents of abortion claim to be “pro choice.” But each abortion terminates a life. Anti-abortion activists are rightly termed the “pro-life” faction. The opposite of their stand isn’t a mere choice; it involves killing a live human being. Its partisans should be labelled “pro death” not the deliberately obfuscating term “pro choice.”

The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision ruled on the termination of the pregnancy of a woman named Norma McCorvey. Her name was shielded at the time but she has publicly admitted not only that it was she whose case was being heard, but that she was tricked into cooperating with the legal team given her. For many years, she has been a spokesperson for the pro-life, anti-abortion cause.

Hillary Clinton, whose determination to become President of the United States is no secret, recently intensified her long-standing pro death stance. While substituting the words “women’s reproductive health” for the onerous practice of abortion, she told an audience at a gathering of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women: “You cannot make progress on gender equality or broader human development without safeguarding women’s reproductive health or rights.” Not satisfied with abortion’s grisly statistics, she wants abortion legalized world2wide, even in countries that now forbid the practice.

The grand jury in the case of Michael Brown has delivered its verdict and federal officials are reviewing their options. All those who wreaked havoc because of his death should also be held accountable. But abortion takes the lives of millions every year without punishment. Abortion needs to be outlawed. And glossing it over with fancy terminology indicts even more the person who advocates such a horror.


Mr. McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966 and 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.


The UN’s Afghanistan Debacle

The UN’s Afghanistan Debacle
by JBS President John F. McManus

On September 11, 2001 (widely known simply as 9/11), hijackers of four commercial airliners attacked the United States. Two of the planes crashed into New York City’s Twin Towers leveling both; one slammed into the Pentagon in Northern Virginia; and one crashed into the ground near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Over 3,000 Americans perished, including the hijackers, passengers, and crews on the ill-fated planes.

The New American was reporting on bin Laden long before 9/11. This cover is from its October 12, 1998 issue.

The New American was reporting on bin Laden long before 9/11. This cover is from its October 12, 1998 issue.

Three days later, on September 14, 2001, the U.S. Congress passed legislation carrying the name “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists.” As have his predecessors for more than sixty years, President George W. Bush chose not to seek a declaration of war and, instead, speedily formed an international coalition of forces from several dozen nations. The targeted enemy was Afghanistan’s Taliban, the Islamist force believed to be harboring Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden who was presumed to have masterminded the attack. President Bush demanded that Afghanistan deliver bin Laden for prosecution and also that the nation expel Al Qaeda even though no proof has ever been supplied that bin Laden and the Al Qaeda group he led were responsible for the attacks on 9/11.

On October 7, 2001, U.S. and British forces launched the invasion into Afghanistan known as Operation Enduring Freedom. As many as 40 other nations sent token forces (28 sent less than 100) while the U.S. total exceeded that of all of the others combined. On December 20, 2001, the United Nations Security Council created the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to serve as the overseer of all the action in Afghanistan. In 2003, the UN’s regional arrangement known as NATO (see Articles 51-54 of the UN Charter) took over leadership of ISAF. Which means that, except for a very few days after 9/11, the United Nations has been in charge of the multi-nation effort against the Taliban.

It is now 13 years later and, although bin Laden was killed in a raid at his hideout in Pakistan, the Taliban has gained control over large portions of Afghanistan. No opposing forces of any kind dare travel one hour away from the nation’s capital city, Kabul, for fear of attack by Taliban forces. The Afghan government’s army, trained by the NATO coalition, refuses to confront the Taliban. And some within this army turn their guns on their trainers. In other words, the Taliban are winning and the entire nation could soon be under their control. What does the Taliban seek? An Islamist caliphate similar to what ISIS seeks over much of Syria and northwestern Iraq.

American forces have lost 2,350 dead during these 13-plus years. The UK suffered 453 killed, and all of the other nations combined have lost a total of 677. The number wounded, many very seriously, amounts to at last five times the number who paid the ultimate price.

What has been gained? Sadly, the answer is nothing, or next to nothing. The Taliban rule large portions of the nation and are poised to establish complete domination when the remaining foreign troops depart. No one doubts that the plotters of the 9/11 tragedy should have been brought to justice. But only Osama bin Laden, whose responsibility for the attacks that cost the lives of 3,000 Americans and more thousands of military personnel is dubious, has been dealt with.

The Afghan operation and the ten-year campaign against Iraq that is now unraveling have one thing in common. It is that the United Nations has been in charge. The Iraq War was authorized by the UN from its inception. Keep in mind that whatever the world body authorizes, it oversees. And the War in Afghanistan has been controlled by the UN subsidiary NATO from its earliest days.

No American soldier, sailor, or marine should ever be sent into war without a declaration of war issued by the U.S. Congress. If Congress won’t issue such a declaration, then troops should not be sent into any battle. But if Congress had taken that step, as the U.S. Constitution grants it sole power to do so, then the outcome of each of these struggles would have been a clearly recognized victory. Until the 1950-1953 conflict in Korea (still not completely settled), the U.S. had never lost a war. Now, with UN oversight, wars aren’t won.

All of this is one more reason why the U.S. should withdraw from the UN. The sooner the better.


Mr. McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966 and 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.


UN Power Grows Like a Thief in the Night

UN Power Grows Like a Thief in the Night
by JBS President John F. McManus

For many years, U.S. leaders have been transferring our nation’s independence to the United Nations. Their goal, and certainly the goal of the UN’s founders and current leaders, is a world government dominating the planet. If the process continues, nations will continue to exist but only on paper. All power will have been ceded to the “House that Hiss built” (Alger Hiss being the traitorous American correctly cited as the most important founder of the world body).

When President Obama decided to unleash American war planes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria (and create a new war for our country), he didn’t ask Congress for a formal declaration of war as called for by the U.S. Constitution. He completely bypassed Congress and pointed to the October 16, 2002 congressional authorization for war against Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. Neither the fact that the Hussein government no longer exists nor the further fact that ISIS and Al Qaeda are not the same seem to matter.

Looking back to 2002 and the run up to the second war against Iraq, we see that one month prior to getting Congress to approve the action, President George W. Bush spoke at UN headquarters and formally requested Security Council authorization for the conflict he was planning.

One day after the 2003 war against Iraq began, U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte informed the president of the UN Security Council via formal letter that the “actions being taken are authorized under existing Security Council Resolutions, including its resolutions 678 (1990) and 687 (1991).” Those resolutions were already more than two decades old.

Summing up: The war against ISIS, newly named “Operation Inherent Resolve” by the U.S. Defense Department, is actually authorized by United Nations Security Council resolutions issued 23 and 24 years ago. Those resolutions targeted Hussein’s Iraq which no longer exists, and the same can be said for Saddam Hussein himself. Evidently, the U.S. can go to war against anyone by referring to older UN resolutions.

There’s an important principle that all Americans should consider. It is that one seeks authorization from a superior, not an inferior. The superior in this instance is the United Nations; the inferior is the United States.

This outrageous transfer of U.S. independence to the UN didn’t begin yesterday. It started when President Harry Truman responded to a UN Security Council resolution in June 1950 and sent U.S. forces to Korea. Knowing that he lacked the required declaration of war, he termed the use of U.S. forces a “police action.” Only a few members of Congress complained that the Constitution was being ignored and our nation’s war power was being transferred to the UN.

Subsequent wars in which U.S. forces have fought and died have always included UN authorization: Vietnam War by the UN subsidiary SEATO, 1991 Iraq War by UN, 2003 Iraq War by UN, and Afghanistan War now directed by UN subsidiary NATO. There have been other lesser remembered conflicts such as those in Bosnia and Libya, each given the go-ahead by the UN’s NATO.

All of this amounts to incremental transfer of the power to make war, a fundamental mark of independence, to the world body. Like a silent but menacing thief in the night, UN power continues to grow. The only sensible solution to this enormously dangerous situation is for the U.S. to withdraw from the United Nations. The sooner , the better. Let Congress know.


Mr. McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966 and 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.