A Readable Book About Economics

A Readable Book About Economics
by JBS President John F. McManus

Harry C. Veryser is an unusual individual. A businessman who owned an auto supply company for many years, he also spent many years teaching economics at the college level. Most who teach what is wrongly termed “the dismal science” at that level have no experience in the business world.

“Recommended enthusiastically by former Congressman Ron Paul, this book will help anyone to know and love, not something deserving of the term “dismal,” but of how human beings can be expected to act and how governments should leave them alone in all their moral and legal efforts.”

Now an author, Veryser had written a very readable book entitled “It Didn’t Have to Be This Way.” The book’s jacket entices readers with: “Why Boom and Bust is Unnecessary – and How the Austrian School of Economics Breaks the Cycle.” Unfortunately, many Americans think the “Austrian School” is located in a building somewhere in Austria, probably in Vienna. Not so! The Austrian School isn’t a place; it’s the viewpoint of many economists who derive their attitude from a study of history and of human nature, and from Ludwig von Mises who was born in Austria and lived most of his life in the United States. The author of numerous valuable treatises dealing with economics, Mises always claimed, and backed his claims with clarity and forcefulness, that boom and bust cycles afflicting numerous nations – certainly including ours – are both unnatural and unnecessary.

Veryser explains that mainstream economic thinkers view economics as though it were similar in many ways to physics, a discipline that can be reduced to numbers and mathematical formulas. No, he says, economics is an understanding of human action that “distrusts” the mathematical modeling that brought on the financial collapse in 2007, and many other busts throughout the years. His book presents a clear explanation of what anyone studying economics should know, even including how the Great Depression of the 1930s could have been avoided.

In addition to von Mises, clear thinkers presented by Veryser include Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and recent Mises disciples such as Carl Menger, Friedrich Hayek, and Henry Hazlitt. Along the way, a reader will find explanations of the nature and history of money, condemnations of the different types of inflation, and the harm done by governments when they meddle in matters of economics. One conclusion stated emphatically by Veryser insists: “There is hardly a country in history that has not experimented with debasing its currency.” In each country where the practice of debasement occurred, starting with the sixth century B.C. in a country then known as Lydia, economic ruin followed as it surely has followed here in the twentieth century.

Borrowing a quote from Hayek, “It Didn’t Have to Be This Way” asserts, “It seems to me that if we could prevent governments from meddling with money, we would do more good than any government has ever done in this regard.” What Harry Veryser has produced is essentially a history book, not the usual book about economics where pages are full of charts, graphs and muddled thinking. Recommended enthusiastically by former Congressman Ron Paul, this book will help anyone to know and love, not something deserving of the term “dismal,” but of how human beings can be expected to act and how governments should leave them alone in all their moral and legal efforts.

Download Understanding Economic Principles, a free 5-page PDF explaining money and its role in the free market.


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.


Say No to the North American Union

Say No to the North American Union
by JBS President John F. McManus

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) won congressional approval in late 1993. Signed by then-President Clinton, the pact, has contributed to one million manufacturing jobs lost and many hundreds of closed factories.

AFL-CIO maps out jobs displaced by the trade deficit with Mexico.

But the loss of jobs and factories hasn’t been the only casualty. When NAFTA was being considered, both Henry Kissinger and David Rockefeller, two eager proponents of eventual world government, made clear in their published statements that the pact was only a stepping stone toward the larger goal of uniting Canada, the United States, and Mexico into a North American Union (NAU). And creation of a formal NAU would be a step toward the “new world order” that each desires. Effective work by The John Birch Society and some allies prevented realization of the plan to sacrifice national independence in favor of the NAU.

But the enemies of national independence never sleep. At a recent gathering of the Texas-Chihuahua-New Mexico Regional Economic Competitiveness Forum held in El Paso, Texas, Congressmen Beto O’Rourke, Joaquin Castro and Henry Cuellar – all Democrats from Texas – stated their hopes to create more ties with Mexico. And Congressman Bill Owens (D-N.Y.) who represents a district bordering Canada added his hope that a similar expansion of ties can be made with Canada.

Mr. Cuellar pointed to energy production in the three North American countries. He wants to “put Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. [into a relationship] that will be the new Middle East of the world.” Energy production, of course, can continue and grow without sacrificing the independence of each of the countries. Simply stated, there is no need to give up national sovereignty in order to produce energy.

A report about the El Paso meeting provided by Newspaper Tree stated: “But with regional economies and markets across the planet becoming increasingly competitive in a globalizing and urbanizing world, the notion of building upon a stronger North America in a post-NAFTA hemisphere was clearly on the lawmakers’ minds.”

The American people must be made aware that the NAFTA pact, as costly as it was regarding jobs, also contained in its 1,700 pages numerous additional entanglements such as NAFTA judicial panels whose decisions supersede the rulings of our nation’s state and federal courts. There can be little doubt that the intention of the globalists includes having a newly created North American Union crush independence here in the same manner that it has been crushed for 28 European nations by the European Union. Members of Congress must be told by constituents that keeping our nation away from entanglements such as the proposed NAU is imperative.

For more on the agenda behind free trade agreements, read “International Merger by Foreign Entanglements” by JBS CEO Arthur Thompson. Check out a review of it here.


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.


Auditing the Federal Reserve

Auditing the Federal Reserve
by JBS President John F. McManus

On September 17, 2014, the House of Representatives voted 333 to 92 in favor a measure calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve. Introduced by Representative Paul Broun (R-Ga.), H.R. 24 won the support of 227 Republicans and 106 Democrats – which is well beyond the two-thirds needed for passage. Californian John Campbell was the lone Republican House member who sided with 91 Democrat opponents of the bill. The Senate must now give its two-thirds approval of the companion measure, S. 209, introduced in that body by Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

“The Eccles Building in Washington, D.C., which serves as the Federal Reserve System’s headquarters.” (Wikipedia)

H.R. 24 calls for “a full audit of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the federal reserve banks by the Comptroller General of the United States.” There never has been any such audit in the Fed’s 101 years of existence. The companion Senate measure seeks identical openness. Both measures carry the title, “Federal Reserve Transparency Act,” the word “transparency” being what’s long been needed. And each of the bills requires that the audit be conducted within a year of final passage.

In his discussion about the need for this audit, Senator Paul noted that no “meaningful” audit of the Fed has ever been conducted. Less than honest and transparent scrutiny has been practiced under stifling restrictions, but Senator Paul and his colleagues want openness, not more cover-ups. To indicate how little is known about the Fed’s activities, he stated: “…when the primary auditor and overseer of the Fed was asked about $9 trillion dollars, the Inspector General had no clue what had been purchased.” After noting that the $9 trillion figure is more than half of the nation’s admitted indebtedness, he concluded, “The Federal Reserve is one of the most secretive institutions in our history.”

The Senate measure already has 30 co-sponsors, all Republicans but for Alaska’s Democrat Senator Mark Begich. Gaining 37 more Yes votes for the measure in the Senate (the number needed to reach the two-thirds plateau) will not be easy with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) strongly opposed to the idea.

A thorough audit of the Fed will likely lead to consideration of a subsequent measure calling for terminating the institution. Our nation needs sound money, not fiat currency generated by the secretive Fed that should never have been given the power it possesses. As more Americans realize that the once “almighty” dollar has shrunk in value from a worth of 100 cents in 1913 to a mere 2 cents today because of Fed action, pressure for abolishing it and returning to precious-metal-backed currency continues to grow. All who want openness at the Fed and sound money should be contacting both of the their senators to request support for S. 209.


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.


Does Obama Skirt the Constitution? Ask This Yale Professor

Does Obama Skirt the Constitution? Ask This Yale Professor
by JBS President John F. McManus

Americans across the country are finally awakening to the fact that the federal government does indeed operate outside of its limitations. A case in point is Bruce Ackerman, professor of law and political science at Yale University. Because of President Obama starting a war with ISIS, he finally understands that the President has violated the U.S. Constitution.

“Bruce Ackerman is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale, and the author of fifteen books that have had a broad influence in political philosophy, constitutional law, and public policy.” (Yale Law School)

The Yale professor rightly complains that the President’s decision to make war against ISIS amounts to a unilateral assumption of power. OK, but the professor then says that the President’s unilateral action “marks a decisive break in the American constitutional tradition,” adding that “nothing attempted by his predecessor, George W. Bush, remotely compares in imperial hubris.” Does this mean that Ackerman would go along with Mr. Obama’s decision if he had consulted with and received approval – not a declaration of war – from Congress for military action against the Islamist militants?

Curiously, the Obama team claimed that decision to go to war against ISIS was acceptable because Congress had authorized the use of military force against Al Qaeda after the 9/11 attack, and new approval for such action wasn’t needed. In other words, a past congressional stamp of approval for war that was not a formal declaration of war as required by the Constitution can serve as a legitimate go-ahead for whatever action is desired even a decade later.  And the new target of the military doesn’t even have to be the one named in the previous congressional authorization. If that’s the case, then any real or supposed enemy can be targeted by simply citing this past congressional action.

Let us point out to the professor that the Constitution states in Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 that Congress has the power to “declare war.” Nowhere else in the document is such authority granted to any other portion of the government. Partisans who want the President to have such power point to the Constitution’s naming the occupier of the White House as “commander in chief of the Army and Navy.” This designation should never be considered the equal of the explicit grant of power solely to Congress to declare war. In other words, the nation’s military arm is not the President’s possession to use as he desires. The sole grant of war-making power to Congress completely outweighs the mere designation of who shall be the commander of forces once a war starts. One would think that a law professor would know this.

The last congressional use of its constitutional authority to declare war occurred immediately after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Formal declarations of war were approved by Congress against Japan, Germany, and Italy. And the U.S. won against each of those struggles. No declarations of war were approved regarding subsequent wars in Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and more. Can the U.S. claim victory in those contests, especially if we are still undergoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Numerous Presidents have sent small military detachments to rescue Americans in danger, reply swiftly to some outrage perpetrated against our nation, etc.  And few, if any, disapproved of these moves and insisted that formal congressional declarations were needed. But war is something else and, according to the Constitution, if there is to be one, it must be formally declared.

If prominently placed professors of law and political science, who should already understand the Constitution but don’t, are waking up, then we should use this as an opportunity to further engage them and others on obeying the Constitution, returning the federal government to its constitutional limitations, and stop policing the world with authorization supplied by the United Nations or its NATO subsidiary. A return to the Constitution’s easily understood passages regarding war is long overdue.

Use today (Constitution Day) as a good excuse to learn more about the American system of government in Overview of America.


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.


Senator Coburn’s Call for a Constitutional Convention Invites Dangerous Consequences

Senator Coburn’s Call for a Constitutional Convention Invites Dangerous Consequences
by JBS President John F. McManus

Medical doctor Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has always crusaded against federal spending and the inevitable deficits that follow. Elected to the House of Representatives in 1994, he kept his pledge to serve no more than three terms and went back to doctoring in 2001. But in 2004, he won a Senate seat and pledged to serve no more than two six-year terms. Reelected in 2010, he recently decided he’d had enough and announced his resignation effective at the end of 2014, two years before his second Senate term would have ended.

Still crusading about Washington’s big spending and deficit building, Coburn has now announced that he wants the states to hold a Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) to add a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He would also like to have the Con-Con add an amendment mandating term limits for members of Congress.

Scott Bradley, PhD, Founder and Chairman of The Constitution Commemoration Foundation, Inc., speaks at The John Birch Society Council Dinner, May 4, 2013 in Ohio., regarding opposing a BBA Con-Con.

As much as Dr. Coburn’s numerous efforts to cut spending and deal with the national debt deserve accolades, he seems to have not considered that his new proposals are fraught with dangers. He should consider that term limits for the office of President have been in place since 1951. As a result Bill Clinton served only eight years. He was followed by George W. Bush whose eight years were followed by Barack Obama. There are some Americans who applaud the Clinton to Bush to Obama parade because it brought change. But it surely didn’t lead to less spending and an end to deficits.

The main change when term limits force one President to exit and a new one to enter is the name of the occupant of the White House. Real change would occur if the voting public were better informed and not captive of the phony claim that top Democrats are different from top Republicans. If real change is sought, there’s no alternative to an informed electorate.

Dr. Coburn doesn’t seem to realize that a Con-Con could cancel the entire Constitution, as happened in 1787 when the only Con-Con in our nation’s history exceeded its mandate to revise the Articles of Confederation, scrapped them, and produced the U.S. Constitution. A Con-Con can’t be limited. It could abolish the Bill of Rights, cancel term limits on the presidential office, destroy numerous limitations of federal power, etc.

But the other Coburn proposal for a balanced budget amendment (BBA) invites the question: Why should anyone expect current leaders to obey an amendment when they already cavalierly disobey or ignore many of the provisions already present in the existing Constitution? Even beyond that never-answered question, there are several proposed BBAs that are full of loopholes.

Some BBA proposals would allow a 60 percent vote in Congress to override budget restrictions. Other partisans for a BBA say that the way to balance the budget is to increase taxes. There are some who claim that the budget need not be balanced if there’s a war or a national security threat proclaimed by the President. More state that balancing the budget would not have to be accomplished for five years, meaning more deficits. And the most slippery of all these proposals is the one that would allow some federal expenditures to be declared “off budget.”

Beyond the loopholes in a BBA, creating a Con-Con for any reason should be blocked. One year after he participated in the Con-Con that abolished the Articles of Confederation, James Madison stated his opinion in 1788 that consideration of another would cause him to “tremble.” Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger pointed to the unlimited power of a Con-Con and advised against one. The late Justice Robert Bork insisted that “a federal constitutional convention could not be limited to a single issue.” These voices from the past and the present warn against convening a Con-Con.

So while we applaud Dr. Coburn for his praiseworthy years of service in Congress, we have to disagree with his call for a Con-Con. Term limits don’t bring about real change. A balanced budget amendment would be so full of loopholes that it would be worthless. And a Con-Con would be enormously dangerous.

The path for real change wanted by many Americans begins with an educated electorate. There is no other way. And the only organization doing this since 1958 is The John Birch Society. Join today!

Learn more about a Con-Con at our “Choose Freedom — Stop a Constitutional Convention” action page.


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.


Jimmy Carter Shills for a Questionable Islamic Society

Jimmy Carter Shills for a Questionable Islamic Society
by JBS President John F. McManus

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) held a national convention over the Labor Day weekend at Detroit’s Cobi Center. Formed in 1982, ISNA functions as an umbrella organization for several other Muslim groups, and is the largest Islamist organization in the United States with a sizable multi-million dollar headquarters in Plainfield, Indiana, an Indianapolis suburb.

ISNA has been the subject of several U.S. government investigations. In 2009, Federal District Judge Jorge Solis stated that, in a trial of various Muslim entities, the U.S. government had “produced ample evidence to establish ties between ISNA and other Muslim organizations with the terror group Hamas.

Imam Mohamed Magid (left), President of the Islamic Society of North America, shakes hands with former President Jimmy Carter at a conference in July 2013.

Even though the largest concentration of Muslims in America resides in the Detroit area, ISNA’s annual convention met this year for the first time ever in Michigan. As its custom calls for, the group’s officials invited the governor of the host state to address the gathering. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, accepted the invite and did appear. Even though he heaped praise on the group and on Muslims generally, he managed to cause a furor by simply affirming Israel’s right to exist. ISNA leaders immediately requested its members to send messages of protest to Governor Snyder. Their insistence that theirs is a mainstream association worthy of respect becomes a bit ludicrous once its reaction to a single sentence in the governor’s speech is noted.

The convention’s keynote speaker this year was former President Jimmy Carter. He began the first of his two presentations by urging all to “give generously to ISNA.” Stating that he was “proud to be with you,” Carter spoke mostly of the work of his own Georgia-based Carter Center but closed with praise for the “this great organization” and added that “the principles of Allah will benefit the whole world.” Over 800 convention attendees warmly applauded our nation’s 39th President who seems to have not yet heard of the escalating and very bloody Muslim-led terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, India and elsewhere.

Critics of ISNA claim that the organization is allied to Egypt’s radical Muslim Brotherhood and also to the equally radical Wahhabi strain of Islam emanating from Saudi Arabia. Investigative journalist and Islam watcher Steven Emerson has accused ISNA of links to terrorism. In 2013, Canadian authorities took action against the group known as ISNA-Canada after uncovering evidence of its links to terrorism.

Credible reports note that radical Muslims from the West (from England, France, elsewhere, and even some from the United States) have sped to Iraq and Syria to join the forces of ISIS. Shouldn’t heaping praise and supplying dignity to a Muslim organization whose claims to be peace loving lose credibility when one factors in its history and its severe reaction to Governor Snyder’s single remark about Israel?

Jimmy Carter should know better than to try to seem important by consorting with ISNA. So should Governor Rick Snyder.


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 Mushrooming Trend to Skirt the Constitution

The Mushrooming Trend to Skirt the Constitution
by JBS President John F. McManus

Claims about global warming have been countered so effectively by a growing number of scientific skeptics that promoters of the flawed theory have abandoned use of the global warming term. They now refer only to climate change. But their goal remains the same: propagandize the public with predictions of calamites, and force a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions which they insist are heating the globe, melting polar icecaps, raising sea levels, causing weather-related catastrophes, creating droughts, and even impacting food production.

Above: William Jasper (right), from The New American, interviews Tom Harris, Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition, on climate change realism.

Carbon dioxide emissions, mainly from coal-fired power plants and automobiles, were targeted by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, a United Nations agreement that the United States wisely refused to endorse. At Copenhagen in 2009, environmentalists hoped that the U.S. and other nations would sign on to a similar pact, but that gathering likewise produced nothing. Now, another UN-led try to force drastic cutbacks in carbon emissions will be held in Paris in mid-2015.

Not waiting for the Paris meeting, the Obama administration plans to add new requirements to an already existing 1992 treaty as a way to counter climate change. These will greatly stifle coal-fired energy production. Also, the Obama team will employ what is known as “reflexive law,” which is not a law in the full sense of the term but the use of pressure to force acceptance of some attitude or requirement that could not be gained legally.

Environmentalists have the ear of most journalists. Their impact on the public’s attitude regarding something as questionable as climate change can be considerable. It can lead to achievement of the desired goals by “naming and shaming” opponents, essentially browbeating them into compliance. The result would not be a law in the traditional sense but something called “soft law,” a combination of pressure and inevitability directed at opponents. If resistance persists, far more onerous government-imposed regulations – also unconstitutional – would be forthcoming.

Obama administration personnel plan to add their “soft law” gains to an existing 1992 treaty. Changes in a treaty, of course, should require approval by two-thirds of the Senate. A New York Times article entitled “Obama Pursuing Climate Accord in Lieu of a Treaty” quoted Jake Schmidt, a National Resources Council expert, who noted that promoters of new regulations “are trying to move this as far as possible without having to reach the two-thirds threshold” required by the Senate. Will the senators allow this?

President Obama has already boldly indicated that he will unconstitutionally use his pen to create law by Executive Order. Now, his administration intends to skirt the Constitution via “reflexive law” or “soft law.” He obviously doesn’t like the constitutional restrictions placed on a President. Will Congress allow such conduct to continue? Will the American people continue to elect members of Congress who won’t stop the drive toward total government?

Mr. Obama and his merry band of dictatorship builders have to be stopped. Blocking the plans noted above would be a good way to begin.

Contact your Senators and let them know you’re opposed to reflexive law.


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.


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