Ending Funding of Planned Parenthood
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
At a posh dinner gathering on May 16th, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights presented its annual Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award to Planned Parenthood (PP) President Cecile Richards. In the numerous flattering comments extolling Richards’ accomplishments, Leadership Conference bigwigs said the PP mogul was “a nationally respected leader in women’s health and reproductive rights.” That’s a bit like designating Mao Tse-tung, history’s greatest mass murderer, as a premier guardian of life and liberty. PP terminates the life of many thousands each year.
What was the Leadership Conference praising? In its annual report for fiscal 2016, Planned Parenthood indicated it had performed 321,384 abortions in the United States. For this achievement, claimed the conference leaders, PP deserves thanks and congratulations for creating “a healthier and safer world for women….” Of course, half of the infants slaughtered in the womb by the Cecile Richards-led “health care providers” were females. PP didn’t create a “healthier and safer world” for them. The horrifying truth is that roughly 160,000 live female fetuses needed only to be left alone for a matter of weeks in order to become citizens of our free country.
The criminal act of terminating life in the womb costs money. Much of PP’s funding to continue its grisly practice comes from the federal government. During fiscal 2016 ending on June 30, 2017, PP’s annual report noted receiving $543,700,000 from federal “reimbursements and grants.” Which means that a singularly important financier of killing American human beings in the womb is the U.S. government. And all taxpayers, including a large number of anti-abortion citizens, are compelled to finance slaughtering unborn babes. There is no greater outrage being forced on the American people.
The Leadership Conference that chose to honor Cecile Richards is a coalition of liberal and left wing groups born in 1950 with 30 organizations as initial members. Its current list of 200 groups includes the following generally known organizations: AARP, ACLU, AFL-CIO, American Federation of Teachers, B’nai B’rith International, United Auto Workers, League of Woman Voters, NAACP, National Education Association, National Organization for Women, People For the American Way, and YWCA. The complete list of its 200 member organizations appears on the conference’s web site. Undoubtedly, there are opponents of slaughtering in the womb within many of the 200 Leadership Conference groups. Letting these people know that an organization to which they belong is heaping praise on PP’s leader and its featured despicable practice is recommended.
Insisting that abortion is a highly condemnable practice soiling the image of our nation ought to be “shouted from the housetops.” And compelling America’s taxpayers to finance the practice through taxation deserves to be labeled a “criminal act.” A realistic assessment of abortion should unabashedly term it “murder.” And compelling people to finance what they truly abhor is a cardinal practice of tyrannical governing.
During her acceptance speech at the Leadership Conference ceremony, Cecile Richards sought confirmation for what she has been doing by pointing to herself and PP and stating, “Nobody’s free until everyone’s free.” She and all Americans need to understand that babes in the womb slain by Planned Parenthood aren’t free to remain alive until they are born. Therefore, according to her own assessment, nobody else is free. At very least, or until legalized abortion is again deemed a high crime, the federal government should cease funding the murderous organization known as Planned Parenthood.
Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and 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.
Ending Blue Slip Power a Good Start
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
In 1913, the United States Senate’s role in governing our nation suffered a dramatic and unfortunate alteration. Until adoption of the 17th Amendment in that year, the two senators sent to Washington by each state were chosen by state legislatures. The main task of all senators, a widely understood mission, was to protect the state and its people from possible domination by the federal government.
The obvious intention of the Founders, known to all who were aware of the attitude of the Constitution’s authors and ratifiers, upheld the authority and prerogatives of the states. The national (federal) government was given few powers and states were left alone to govern within their own borders. One result of this system saw competition arise among the states to be the least domineering, the state where people would want to live, raise families, establish businesses, etc. As always occurs where competition exists, the states vied with each other to be the best state.
After 1913, the U.S. Senate became a virtual duplicate of the House of Representatives. The branch of the federal government supposed to be the guardian of the rights of the states speedily distanced itself from the intention of the Founders. Accordingly, various governmental powers, many of which trample on the rights of the individual states and are clearly unconstitutional, have become unquestioned federal duties. No longer is there a branch of the federal government to keep Washington-style domination away from welfare payments, housing, transportation, workplace safety, medical care, and a host of other areas. Federal power has mushroomed and now formerly independent states have lost their independence.
The Constitution also wisely granted power to the Senate to approve or disapprove nominees for judgeships at the Supreme Court and lower federal courts. Beginning in 1917, a procedure known as “blue slip acquiescence” enabled a senator to indicate acceptance of a presidential nominee from his or her home state for a place on a federal appeals court or a lower federal court. Refusal to send approval of an appointee on the blue-colored form torpedoed a presidential nomination.
With the Senate now controlled the Republican Party, even though “barely” in control, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) have ignored the wishes of Democrat senators by downplaying the blue slip approval process. Oregon’s two Democrat senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, refused blue slip approval for a nominee to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. But the Republican leaders in the Senate have abandoned the blue slip process. Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin likewise refused to send the coveted blue slip approval for the nomination of a fellow Wisconsinite. In this remarkable turnabout, the desire of the Democrat senators to block GOP nominees has not been fulfilled.
During the Obama administration when Democrats ruled the Senate and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) chaired the Judiciary Committee, the blue slip procedure was scrupulously followed. Before he left the Senate in late 2017, for example, Minnesota Democrat Al Franken refused to issue blue slip approval for a conservative nominated by President Trump to take a seat on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Now, blue-slip approval is no longer necessary.
Asked about this turning away from a century-old practice, Senator McConnell said: “The blue slip is meant to encourage consultation between the White House and home-state senators. It’s not a way for senators to have veto power over nominees for their political and ideological reasons.” Senator Grassley agreed with his GOP colleague.
So, nominees for federal judgeships will not face rejection by a single senator’s use of this arcane procedure. This is a welcome development. But reversing the 17th Amendment, a far more important step toward honoring the intent of America’s Founders, awaits overdue consideration.
Abortion Decision Should Be Reversed
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
Taking the life of an innocent infant in the womb didn’t become a so-call “right” in the United States with the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Several state governments had already passed legislation conferring legality on the grisly practice. New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller eagerly promoted the killing of unborn infants whose life in the womb had not yet reached the sixth-month plateau known by medical professionals as the time when an infant fetus could survive early delivery. The Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, Planned Parenthood, and others helped to assure America’s abandonment of the centuries-old prohibition against taking the life of an unborn child.
Since 1973, some states have sought to impede the practice of deliberately snuffing out life in the womb. In 2013, for instance, North Dakota legislators passed a law banning abortions if an unborn infant’s heartbeat is detected. This reasonable attempt to curtail murder by abortion was struck down by a federal court and the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal. During 2016, a strong anti-abortion Texas law won passage at that state’s level, but the Supreme Court voided portions of it. Just recently in Mississippi the legislature enacted a prohibition on abortion once an unborn infant had progressed 15 weeks in the womb. This law is being appealed by the usual pro-abortion organizations led by federally funded Planned Parenthood.
More remarkably, Iowa has just passed and its governor has signed a measure banning abortion if an infant’s heartbeat can be detected. Medical experts contend that such an indication of life can be assured six weeks after conception. The Iowa law requires a woman seeking an abortion to submit to ultrasound inspection. If an infant’s heartbeat is detected, the Iowa law bars abortionists from carrying out the woman’s wishes.
Iowa’s Governor Kim Reynolds not only expects opponents to challenge her state’s recent action, she welcomes it. She expects a challenge to be adjudicated after a change in the personnel on the Supreme Court, enough of a change to reverse Roe v. Wade. Her hopes are based on the near certainty that at least one of the liberal justices will soon retire and be replaced by an anti-abortion judge who would, she expects, side with four justices already committed to overturning 45 years of “legal” abortion.
America, for the rest of mankind, should never have allowed the willful termination of innocent life. But our nation has already allowed the destruction of the lives of 60 million unborn babes. The doctors who have participated in this grisly practice have all ignored a simple rule of their profession that states “Do no harm.” The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (who lived from 460 to 380 B.C.) is known as the Father of Medicine. His writings including the famous Hippocratic Oath condemned giving “a woman a pessary to produce an abortion.” (A pessary is a device inserted into the uterus that was known in ancient times to impede growth of a fetus and terminate its life.)
Graduating medical school students had always recited the 300 words of the Hippocratic Oath. Since Roe v. Wade however, some medical schools such as Tufts University in Massachusetts and North Carolina’s Duke University, have changed what Hippocrates had written in order to remove the medical profession’s long-standing prohibition against abortion penned by the ancient Greek. Their revised oath contains a condemnation of any “operation for a criminal purpose.” According to numerous university medical schools, when high-ranking justices remove abortion from the list of criminal acts, then terminating life in the womb becomes acceptable.
The United States began with the Declaration of Independence’s clear assertion that all are “endowed by their Creator” with rights. Among such rights one can find “Life.” Hence, the willful taking of that God-given right is condemnable. Roe v. Wade destroyed this for tens of millions and it has sullied the image of our nation for 45 years. We agree with the lawmakers in Iowa whose challenge to overturn that gruesome 1973 decision deserves the support and prayers of all thinking Americans.
What Are Your Election Forecasts?
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
Not a day passes without some political commentator providing an opinion about the congressional elections in November or the presidential election in 2020. So, if so many others are offering their expert prognostication, why shouldn’t I?
Here it goes. Regarding the fall of 2018 and what the House or Senate will look like after the votes are counted, I don’t know. And as to what will happen when President Trump seeks reelection or decides to step down, I don’t know that either.
Most of the pundits were embarrassingly wrong regarding the results in 2016 – both for the White House and for Congress. Currently, they are concluding that large numbers of voters – not only Democrats but also a healthy number of Republicans who don’t like Donald Trump’s performance to date – will elect a Democrat challenger. These are the commentators and professional polls who were certain that Hillary Clinton would drub Donald Trump in 2016. For them, the result was a huge blow that should have kept them quiet for the future.
Here’s what I do know. In the 2000 presidential race, Al Gore was eventually determined to be the loser only when Florida’s 25 electoral votes were awarded to George W. Bush. In that state, 97,488 voted for Ralph Nader. Had Nader not been on the ballot as a candidate of a minor party, most choosing him would surely have opted for Gore. With the result that Gore would have won the White House, not Bush. The possibilities that something like this could happen in 2020 are increasingly real.
In 2020, no matter who the Democrats chose as their candidate to oust Trump, our nation’s growing Progressive movement is likely to field a candidate under some banner other than Democrat. If the chosen Democrat candidate isn’t a Sanders-style Progressive, large numbers of these socialists will either stay home and not vote or turn to some other far-left candidate. Keep in mind that in 2000, there were a total of 16 candidates for president (all were not on the ballot in every state) plus write-ins.
It is quite likely Progressives will field a candidate. If this happens, the Democratic Party will likely suffer the same type defeat – in several states – that Gore suffered in Florida in 2000 because he didn’t get the Nader votes needed to win that state.
For the 2018 congressional races, the 435 House seats are held by 239 Republicans and 191 Democrats (there are a few independents and vacancies). Should the Republicans lose 22 House seats, they would lose their leadership in that body. If they lose two Senate seats, their leadership of that body would also revert to the Democrats.
Establishment favoring pundits expect that Donald Trump’s unpopularity will cause Republican losses in both Houses of Congress. But they overlook the huge unpopularity of California Democrat Nancy Pelosi. The Democratic Party’s leader in the House can be a significant drag on Democrat candidates from coast to coast. Republicans defending their seat against Democrats Party candidates need only tell voters that a vote for their opponent amounts to a vote to put Pelosi back in the hugely powerful Speaker position.
And Trump’s popularity has been rising – helped along by suggestions that he win the Nobel Peace Prize for getting the leaders of the two Koreas to talk instead of use nuclear weapons.
Any pundit who doesn’t factor in the above considerations will likely be as embarrassed in 2018 and 2020 as most were in 2016.
The Weapon Called Nerve Gas
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
On March 4, former Russian military intelligence specialist Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with nerve gas while in the midst of normal activity in the English city of Salisbury. Both were rushed to a hospital where they were found to be gravely ill. The incident led to widespread condemnations of Russia and its president Vladimir Putin. Both victims of the attack eventually recovered after weeks of care in a British hospital.
Two weeks after the attack, England’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson concluded that Putin himself had ordered the attempted murder. He relied on knowledge of past acts of retribution delivered to former Russian officials who had become critics of Russian policies and leaders. In rather blunt terms, Johnson stated: “Our quarrel is with Putin’s Kremlin and with his decision – and we think it overwhelmingly likely that it was his decision – to direct the use of nerve gas on the streets of the UK, on the streets of Europe for the first time since the Second World War.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov immediately countered Johnson’s condemnation of Russia and its president as “a shocking, unforgivable breach of diplomatic proprieties.”
At the United Nations, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley joined in the condemnations of Russia with a statement delivered to the Security Council: “If we don’t take concrete measures to address this now, Salisbury will not be the last place we see chemical weapons used. They could be used here in New York, or in cities of any country that sits on this Council. This is a defining moment.”
Britain expelled numerous Russian diplomats and so did the United States. Russia responded by expelling American and British officials. The incident clearly interrupted a recent trend marked by peaceful, even friendly, exchanges between Russia and the West. But it also brought back memories of the 2006 assassination of Alexander Litvinenko in Britain. A former Russian intelligence expert, he had defected to the West and was living in Great Britain when he became ill and died soon after ingesting tea laden with radioactive polonium. Other defectors from Russia have suffered and died as a result of similarly suspicious events.
Skripal had served Russia for years as a military intelligence colonel. Convicted in 2006 of selling secret information to British authorities, he spent several years in a Russian prison but was then sent to Britain in 2010 as part of an exchange of spies. He chose to live in Salisbury where he seemed to have steered clear of any further government intrigue.
In Russia, commentator Kirill Kleimenov issued a blunt warning over government-controlled Channel One television. He calmly stated: “Being a traitor is one of the dangerous professions in the world. Alcoholism, drugs, stress, nervous breakdowns, and depression are inevitable illnesses of a traitor. As a consequence, heart attacks, strokes, traffic accidents, or suicide ultimately follow.” Statements such as his issued by Russia’s prominent media figures have the undeniable aura of government policy.
While no hard proof of Russia’s attack on the Skripals has emerged, the likelihood that President Putin or his close underlings are responsible is widely believed. Putin, it should be recalled, was the head of the dreaded KGB before succeeding in becoming his nation’s leader. He would know how to respond to critics who are deemed traitors.
Western leaders, certainly including U.S. President Donald Trump, should keep the Russian leader’s past, as well as his present, in mind when dealing with him. Leopards don’t change their spots and expecting former KGB bosses to become honorable is likely expecting what can’t be reality.
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
There are approximately 150 federal district and appeals court vacancies in the nation. Although President Trump has appointed and gained Senate approval for more than two dozen justices, the number of vacancies has risen. A few weeks ago, Mr. Trump made note of the many holes in the judicial branch while promising speedy action to deal with the problem.
In mid-March, Mr. Trump discussed his opportunity to reshape U.S. courts when he told a gathering of Ohio supporters of his intention to make good appointments. “We’re going all out,” he said. He described his opportunity to fill many vacant federal judicial posts as a “gift from heaven [that is] world-changing, country-changing, USA-changing.”
Especially needing attention are vacancies that have arisen in the San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Notorious for its damaging leftist rulings, the Ninth Circuit has jurisdiction over nine states: Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, and California. Numerous Ninth Circuit rulings have bedeviled not only the nine states where this court holds sway but the entire nation has been affected. One of this court’s leading leftists, Judge Stephen Reinhardt, passed away on March 29. His vacant seat and seven more vacancies in the 29-member Ninth Circuit, present Mr. Trump with a golden opportunity to move the nation’s most activist and leftist court toward a more conservative and constitutional stance.
Nominating federal judges is, of course, only the first of two steps to have a new judge seated. The Senate must approve a nominee. In the past, senators could block a nomination via a filibuster that would take 60 votes to overcome – a difficult hurdle. But, during the Obama administration, the Senate weakened and effectively killed the filibuster process. Now only a majority will be needed to gain approval.
The Senate has also cancelled a process known as “blue slip” blockage of a judicial nominee. It allowed a senator to block approval of an appointee who resides in his or her state. A simple placing of a nominee’s name on a “blue slip” and presenting it to the Judiciary Committee Chairman was sufficient to kill nomination. But current Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has announced that he will not honor the use of this practice by any senator who might wish to block approval of a particular nominee. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) had already stated her intention to issue a blue slip for any Trump nominee she finds objectionable. But the Grassley move will likely terminate permanently the issuance of the infamous blue slips.
Prospects for Mr. Trump to dramatically alter the stance of the notoriously leftist Ninth Circuit and other federal courts have raised concerns among California liberals. Dean Erwin Chemerinsky who leads the University of California (Berkeley) School of Law considered deceased Justice Reinhardt his ideological equal. He now sees future setbacks for liberal judicial dominance, especially in the Ninth Circuit. Chemerinsky has stated, “With a Republican Senate and no possibility of a filibuster, [Donald Trump] can have whoever he wants on the circuit court.” He expects a “dramatic change in the Ninth Circuit.”
President Trump has an opportunity to markedly improve adherence to the rule of law throughout the nation. He should be encouraged by many Americans to do so.
Martin Luther King Doesn’t Deserve Adulation
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
Earlier this month, a flood of reminders about the death of Martin Luther King (shown on right) 50 years ago arrived, as all elements of the mass media told Americans about the anniversary of a gunman killing this paragon of virtue and bravery on April 4, 1968. The reports insisted that King was the nation’s most eminent apostle of nonviolence, a heroic advocate of peace in our nation’s racially turbulent era, and an exponent of all virtues. The truth is that King was a highly flawed individual whose actual strategy for change wasn’t peace. The strategy he relied on consisted mainly of a process he had learned from known communists, whose indisputable goal was the destruction of our nation.
Mrs. Julia Brown, who went undercover for the FBI for more than nine years as a member of the Communist Party in Cleveland, Ohio, gives a testament to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s connection to the Communist Party:
I learned many surprising things while I served in the Communist Party for the FBI. Communist leaders told us about the demonstrations that would be started, the protest marches, the demands that would be made for massive federal intervention.
… Wherever we went and whatever we did, we were to promote race consciousness and resentment, because the Communists know that the technique of divide and conquer really works.
We were also told to promote Martin Luther King, to unite Negroes and whites behind him, and to turn him into some sort of national hero.
Because there were individuals who didn’t want their community disturbed by parades, demonstrations, and confrontations, they were easy to provoke, and King’s people did provoke them. As history has shown, King’s on-the-scene allies — often nonresidents of the targeted area — would frequently gather local individuals and provoke fistfights, head cracking, and other forms of violent behavior. In numerous instances, the King-led team supplied trained agitators to stir up the mayhem. (This, of course, does not excuse any violent behavior — whether provoked by MLK’s recruits or caused by genuine racists.) The goal of the manufactured turmoil was federal legislation imposing increasing amounts of government control over the entire nation.
With the help of dishonest media reporters who failed to report King’s strategy, new laws enhancing federal power were indeed enacted. King’s effectiveness in building socialistic government won him plaudits from left-wing politicians and lazy or complicit media stalwarts.
Soon, however, to stave off trouble, courageous black Americans began to arrive in targeted cities prior to the marches and demonstrations planned by King. They would explain King’s strategy to blacks and whites so well that the sought-after violence never materialized. Several communities in Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia benefited greatly after the King strategy had been explained and the planned confrontations were called off. Julia Brown, Leonard Patterson, Lolabelle Holmes, and other patriotic black Americans told worried residents of the King-targeted regions — both black and white — what to expect and how to avoid violent protests that would ruin their communities and harm their residents. Their extremely effective warnings led to the cancellation of King’s plans in many areas.
King was no pacifist, rather he had received training from communist leaders at the subversive Highlander Folk School in Tennessee to sow discord. He accepted funding from several communist leaders and organizations, and no less a government official than Attorney General Robert Kennedy directed the FBI to create wiretaps and other forms of surveillance over King and his fellow agitators. Therefore, the federal government knew that King was being used by known and secret communists. But a 1977 court order sealed all that evidence of treachery in the National Archives.
When King’s plan to create civil rights riots was no longer working, he turned his attention to the Vietnam War, accusing our nation’s forces of wantonly killing “a million South Vietnamese civilians, mostly children.” He likened the efforts of America’s men in arms to what Hitler’s forces had done to innocent people before and during World War II. One made-up charge after another, no matter how ghastly, came out of the mouth of this supposed man of peace and honor.
He seemed dishonest to the core: Researchers of the early King years showed that he had earned his degree from Boston University via widespread plagiarism, and some who have examined his career have indicated that, far from being a man of God, he was a consistent philanderer who should have been scorned, not awarded an angelic reputation.
The truth about this man and his career will eventually be known. Even without unsealing the documents, enough is known about King to conclude that those who established a national holiday to honor him should themselves be scorned. Martin Luther King, an enemy of freedom and a seriously flawed individual, should never be lauded by anyone who understands the importance of truth.