Nothing New about Fake News

Nothing New about Fake News
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Would anyone deliberately plant and then spread false information on the Internet and elsewhere?  The answer is so obvious that it’s akin to asking if tomorrow’s sun will rise in the East. Of course it will happen. And, of course, deliberate issuance of what is known to be false has lately become a relatively common occurrence.

(Photo by Public Domain Pictures, CC0 Public Domain).

Hillary Clinton recently broke the silence that has been her fate since losing the recent election. She spoke at a farewell party for retiring Nevada Senator Harry Reid. Intoning solemnly about an “epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda,” she obviously hoped that her own use of the tactic wouldn’t be recalled. But she is an expert at issuing falsehoods.

In 1996, she visited Bosnia as America’s First Lady to salute U.S. forces in the region. More than ten years later, she claimed that her plane had landed amidst “sniper fire,” even adding that there “was supposed to be some kind of greeting ceremony at the airport, but we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.” Several news sources eventually debunked the story, some citing Major General William Nash, the U.S. commander in Bosnia who said there was no such “sniper fire.” The fake news she issued was surely delivered to advance her desire to be known as courageous.

Mrs. Clinton would later tell news sources that her daughter Chelsea narrowly managed to flee the vicinity of the Twin Towers in 2001 as those buildings crashed to the earth. Supposedly, Chelsea was fortunate to run away from all of the destructiveness. But Chelsea was nowhere near the site of the 9/11 destruction on that fateful day.

As Secretary of State in 2012, Mrs. Clinton blamed  an inconsequential anti-Islam video made in in Los Angeles for the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi. The U.S. ambassador and three others died in that skirmish. But the privately made video wasn’t the reason for the attack at all. Her planting of that bit of fake news went so far as to tell the mother of one of the deceased Americans that the video alone led to the four deaths. She sought to cover up her own inadequacies with that bit of false news.

Fake news has sometimes spawned enormous consequences. In August 1964, President Lyndon Johnson pointed to an attack on U.S. warships by North Vietnamese torpedo boats. The supposed attack spawned congressional passage of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that led to a huge escalation of the war in Vietnam. But there was no such attack by enemy torpedo boats according to U.S. pilots flying over the area at the time. The mythical Tonkin incident was fake news used by those anxious to expand the war in Vietnam.

In 1963, Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren placed blame for the assassination of President Kennedy on the right wing. There was no evidence to back up that assertion but it did result in a few bricks being thrown through the windows of The John Birch Society headquarters in Massachusetts. Fake news does lead to real action.

Hillary Clinton had nothing to do with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution or with the brick throwing. But her use of fake news for her own purposes makes her a leader in the fake news field. In her speech honoring Harry Reid, she called for congressional hearings and eventual legislation to deal with the “epidemic” of fake news that places “lives of ordinary people at risk.” She places herself as a leader in efforts to cancel the right to – rightly or wrongly – discuss political issues.

She knows what can happen when falsehoods are spread, especially when spread by people who are supposed to be reliable. Her newly outspoken concern about falsehoods may indicate her desire for government control of the Internet where false news has found a home.

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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.


Various Ways to “Rig” an Election

Various Ways to “Rig” an Election
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Whenever Donald Trump claims that the election is “rigged” in favor of his opponent, many pundits and Democrat loyalists get apoplexy – or worse. Their standard response isn’t denial; it’s ridicule.

Image by unknown author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Trump’s rigging charge is usually aimed at the networks, the newspapers and magazines, and the voting process. But there are other devious ways to sway voters and these deserve mention as well.

It is now known, for instance, that the interim chairwoman (Donna Brazile) of the Democratic National Committee leaked some questions to Hillary Clinton as she prepared for debates. Having the questions beforehand, of course, enables a debater to bone up on the topic and seem extra competent.

Brazile is a longtime ally of Hillary Clinton. She held down a post at CNN until the network (caustically labeled “Clinton News Network” by some) accepted her resignation in mid-October. Releases from WikiLeaks showed that she alerted Clinton staffers about a question regarding capital punishment prior to it being asked of Hillary during one debate. Another release produced by WikiLeaks contained information about advanced warnings regarding the health consequences felt by a Flint, Michigan, family in the wake of the city’s contaminated water problem. Her quick response to that fairly difficult question led some viewers to wonder if she had knowledge of what would be asked beforehand. She did have knowledge of the question before it was asked.

Boston College political science professor Dennis Hale commented: “Trump has stressed over and over again that the press is not just biased, but that parts of it have become adjuncts of the Democratic Party. This [revelations about Brazile] certainly feeds that story.”

There are numerous other ways to shape voter attitudes and rig elections. Project Veritas, the organization run by the doggedly determined James O’Keefe, videotaped conversations he had with veteran Democratic Party activist Scott Foval. A longtime employee of the Democratic Party, Foval bragged about busing people across state lines to voting halls where they could cast votes illegally. He told of carefully arranging for skirmishes at GOP rallies to make the Trump candidacy look bad. O’Keefe was ready to air his revealing tapes when several news outlets refused to use them after they learned of their contents.

Throughout the 2016 election cycle, there has been strident opposition to requiring voters to show a valid ID before being given a ballot. Isn’t showing identification reasonable? Opponents of such a measure must have skulduggery in mind. Further, it’s downright frightening to think about what electronic wizards can do by tinkering with voting machines. Most of the computer-savvy gurus are boastful Clinton supporters.

As for the mainstream media, why do they allow Mrs. Clinton to claim a mere “mistake” when she placed sensitive material on her private server? Or when she destroyed thousands of emails so they couldn’t be read? She broke some laws and calling her actions “mistakes” wouldn’t hold up for others. Why is she not hounded for her horrendously harmful decisions regarding Iraq, Libya, Benghazi, Egypt, and elsewhere? Why is she given a pass when her ineptitude led to the creation of ISIS, the strengthening of Iran, and the need to place thousands of “boots on the ground” in Iraq when that campaign was supposed to be over? Why is there so little mention by the media of the Clinton Foundation’s acceptance of huge payoffs from the Saudis and Qataris who have supported the Islamic State terrorists? Why aren’t the contents of her 2015 speech before the United Nations publicized? She actually insisted that religions have to change their attitudes about abortion, same-sex marriage, and more.

The media attacked Trump for understanding enough about tax law to avoid paying federal taxes. He committed no crime in doing so. They blamed him for disturbances at his rallies when Democrat operatives deliberately caused them. They took as unimpeachable fact various claims by some women that Trump has abused them. But Bill Clinton and his enabling wife haven’t been targeted for their provable outrages.

There are many ways to influence voters and cause an election to be “rigged.” We have pointed out only a few and hope that the rigging doesn’t lead to success on Election Day.

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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.


After A Century, Planned Parenthood Needs to be Shut Down

After A Century, Planned Parenthood Needs to be Shut Down
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

On the 100th anniversary of Planned Parenthood, one of its greatest cheerleaders sent five separate messages to celebrate the significant milestone. Interrupting her election campaign, Hillary Clinton sent out several tweets that either praised or defended the organization that has slaughtered 59 million babies in the womb since 1973.

The trend of murdering innocent babies in the womb will continue to grow worse if the very prominent cheerleader for Planned Parenthood, Hillary Clinton, becomes America's next president. Photo from Wikipedia.

The trend of murdering innocent babies in the womb will continue to grow worse if the very prominent cheerleader for Planned Parenthood, Hillary Clinton, becomes America’s next president. (Photo by Lorie Shaull (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons).

One of those messages sent via her computer (a non-secured instrument this time!) stated as follows: “I’m proud to stand with Planned Parenthood. I’ll never stop fighting to protect the ability of every woman in this country to make her own health decisions.” She conveniently avoided the fact that half of the victims of abortion are females needing only time and nourishment to be able to reach womanhood in a few years. They won’t enjoy the protection she mentioned. Mrs. Clinton also equated terminating life in the womb with otherwise normal health decisions. Abortion surely doesn’t allow the victim a choice, and it surely isn’t good for his or her health.

Started a century ago as the American Birth Control League, Planned Parenthood is the legacy of Margaret Sanger (1879-1966). A prominent eugenicist (the word comes from the Greek meaning “wellborn”), she sought to rid the nation of the “unfit” by which she initially meant Negroes, Hispanics, and Jews. Her goal would be achieved by forcing down the birth rate of the unwanted classes. One of her tactics included the use of deception. She told a financial supporter of her plan to recruit “colored minsters” to do her work. Explaining, she stated, “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out the idea if it ever occurs….” (See Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right, a 1974 book by rabid pro-abortionist Linda Gordon.)

As late as November 1939 (two months after Germany launched World War II and several years after its campaign against Jews had begun, Sanger’s Birth Control Review was still commending the Nazi campaign. Almost simultaneously, the Sanger campaign began to target Catholic immigrants to the United States, another group deemed “unfit.”

Beginning in 1970, Planned Parenthood started receiving federal grants, now totaling more than $500 million per year. The organization claims that none of the taxpayer dollars it receives are used to perform abortions. Even if that claim is accurate, the government funding it receives makes easier the use of other funding to kill babes in the womb. In 2015, some determined anti-abortion crusaders videotaped admissions by Planned Parenthood officials that they were selling the body parts of recently aborted babies. An uproar over that grisly practice led to a congressional attempt to defund the organization, a failed effort due to President Obama’s veto and the congressional inability to override it. Similar congressional moves to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that opened the floodgates for abortion have also failed.

Over its history, besides being pro-Nazi, Planned Parenthood has shown itself to be anti-black, anti-Hispanic, anti-Catholic, and anti-Jewish. Yet within these groups of Americans are millions who support the Clinton candidacy. Meanwhile, the mass media that refuses to report the truth about Planned Parenthood and its Sanger-inspired efforts chooses to paint her opponent with unsavory labels, many of which are unfounded.

One reason why the murder of innocent babes in the womb continues is that the practice has now involved millions of women and men. There is a wide lessening of disgust for a practice that, prior to 1973, was almost universally deemed abhorrent in America. This trend will only grow worse if the very prominent cheerleader for Planned Parenthood, Hillary Clinton, becomes America’s next president.

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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 Downside of White Privilege

The Downside of White Privilege
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

In Michael Scheuer’s “Why I’m eager to see the end of my ‘white privilege’ post, he lists why he is sick and tired of being told he was a beneficiary of “white privilege.” So, knowing full well that there are many exceptions to the scenarios he experienced, he listed what the so-called privilege has often meant to him.

“White Privilege” vandalism at the Jefferson Davis monument in Mid-City, (Photo by Bart Everson Flickr, some rights reserved).

Many Americans can identify with what he has stated. But those who do so face being charged with selfishness, racism, xenophobia, and more. The truth is that government-enforced policies have made people far more race-conscious than they might ever have been if government wasn’t forcing its ill-conceived and dangerous policies on everyone.

To the various complaints listed can be added similar favorable treatment accorded to illegal immigrants. And the seething outrage felt by many Americans isn’t waning; it grows and festers. If not addressed properly, destruction of the American dream will continue until the dream turns into a full-fledged nightmare.

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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.


Missed Opportunities by Trump

Missed Opportunities by Trump 
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

The October 4th vice presidential debate showed that Democrat Tim Kaine ought to be awarded a prize for the most obnoxious performance in recent memory. He interrupted his opponent and the debate moderator 72 times during the 90-minute encounter. His oily smugness and lack of decorum was so bad it may well have turned some viewers away from supporting Hillary Clinton. Even Clinton-favoring headliners in the media scolded Kaine and declared Republican Mike Pence the winner. But that was the debate between the candidates for vice president.

Photo by Krassotkin (derivative), Gage Skidmore (Donald Trump), Gage Skidmore (Hillary Clinton) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

As expected during the October 9th Town Hall presidential faceoff, Hillary cited the lewd comments made by Trump in his 2005 appearance on “Access Hollywood.” She then attacked her opponent for having stated that Judge Gonzalo Curiel was unfit to preside over any case involving Trump University because he had Mexican parents. But Curiel has a past association with the radical Mexican-American group LaRaza (“the Race”) that seeks to transfer several southwestern U.S. states to Mexico. That kind of connection should bar him from serving on any bench in the United States. But this point wasn’t made by Trump.

In April 2015, Hillary spoke at UN headquarters to an adoring crowd of gays, transgender advocates, and abortion partisans. In her speech, she left herself wide open for condemnation by insisting, “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.” That’s an attack not only on our nation’s fundamental moral and religious foundations, but also on the bedrock of Western civilization. She could hardly have expressed a more revolutionary urging. But Trump never mentioned it.

During this encounter, Trump focused attention on Hillary’s cavalier and dangerous abuse of email transmissions. She admitted having made a “mistake” as if that should settle the issue, and then relied on FBI Director Comey’s refusal to recommend prosecution. Lost in the discussion is the simple fact that anyone who had been so “reckless” with classified information could never gain employment in any sensitive government position, including the office of President of the United States. Trump ignored that easily understood fact and indicated instead that, if elected, he would arrange for a special prosecutor to deal with what she characterized as a mere “mistake.”

The Trump candidacy has won much of its support because he is perceived as an “outsider,” not another behind-the-scenes elitist ruling our nation. He doesn’t hold membership in the power-laden clique at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the organization whose long-range goal was neatly summed up by one of its key members as performing “an end run around national sovereignty eroding it piece by piece.”

While serving as Secretary of State in 2013, Hillary spoke at the opening of a new CFR branch office in Washington. After noting her good fortune in having frequently been welcomed at the CFR’s “mother ship” in New York, she revealingly stated:

It’s good to have an outpost of the Council right here down the street from the State Department. We get a lot of advice from the Council, so this will mean I won’t have as far to go to be told what we should be doing and how we should think about the future.

If Donald Trump fails to make an issue of what Hillary Clinton stated at the CFR’s Washington office on July 15, 2013, he will severely disappoint his followers. He will also convince many fed-up Americans that he is no “outsider,” but instead another elitist claiming to be an opponent of the decades-long stranglehold the CFR has had on our 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.


The Flimsy Stance of FBI Director Comey

The Flimsy Stance of FBI Director Comey
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of private servers for transmitting official State Department business came to light in May 2015. Since then, much has been said and written about her “carelessness,” even to the point of claims being raised that her loose handling of sensitive information endangered the lives and well-being of U.S. military personnel and members of the diplomatic corps.

FBI Director James Comey recommended no criminal charges be issued against the Democrat candidate for President, Hillary Clinton (Image from flickr.com).

FBI Director James Comey recommended no criminal charges be issued against the Democrat candidate for President, Hillary Clinton (Photo by Rich Girard Flickr, some rights reserved).

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) spent a year investigating Clinton’s email activity and made several damning conclusions. But on July 5, 2016, FBI Director James Comey recommended that no criminal charges be issued against the Democrat candidate for President. In his remarks announcing the decision reached by his bureau, Comey said Mrs. Clinton was “extremely careless.”

Other comments made by Comey, during that highly anticipated press conference, included his finding that her judgment was questionable; she had contradicted statements previously made about her use of email; the possibility existed that hostile foreign governments had gained access to her transmissions; and had she still been a government employee, she could have faced disciplinary action. His recommendation that no charges be filed also included a similar refusal to issue charges against Clinton’s top aides who had been granted immunity.

Comey then explained his controversial recommendation saying that there needed to be evidence that Mrs. Clinton’s cavalier use of unsecured computers was intentional, or that she had willfully broken State Department rules. A drunk driver who causes injuries to others doesn’t intend the harm that he causes. But his carelessness still earns him prosecution. Former Army General and CIA Director David Petraeus was charged and punished for his misuse of classified material that was far less serious an offense than the former Secretary of State admitted to.

In his July 5, 2016 press conference, the FBI Director agreed that more than 100 emails containing classified markings had been sent via non-secure methods; that Mrs. Clinton had not turned over all of the requested emails; that potentially hostile foreign governments had possibly gained access to her transmissions; and that she had used several private servers at her home in addition to those she used while travelling on official business.

Prior to the FBI Director’s announcement of an unwillingness to recommend charges, Mrs. Clinton faced questioning from a congressional panel examining the Benghazi debacle that cost the lives of four Americans. She survived grueling questioning, but skepticism about her casual use of unsecured computers has remained.

On September 28, 2016, the House Judiciary Committee listened to Director Comey as he continued to defend his decision not to recommend charges against Mrs. Clinton. Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) insisted that his unwillingness to recommend charges “defies [both] logic and the law that she faces no consequences for jeopardizing national security.” Committee members also questioned the grant of immunity to five Clinton aides. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) claimed a fix to exonerate Mrs. Clinton was in from the start.

But Comey remained adamant while continuing to defend his recommendation of no charges being made against the Democrat nominee. For his stand, members of the congressional panel called him and his underlings “weasels.” Defending himself and his FBI subordinates, he responded with: “You can call us wrong. You can call me a fool. You cannot call us weasels.” The congressmen before him wondered, “Why not?”

Mrs. Clinton casually admits to having made a “mistake,” something she pledged she would never do again. The drunk driver who injured several innocent people with his recklessness would love to plead that he, too, made a mistake and wouldn’t drive drunk again. He went to prison. Why is that not the case with Hillary Clinton?

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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.


Do Words Have Consequences?

Do Words Have Consequences?
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

In the closing days of the 2008 race for the Democratic Party nomination, then Senator Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) refused to concede when the primary season had already shown to have lost the race to Barack Obama. Undaunted by the will of the voters, she hung on – at least for a while. Asked on May 23, 2008, why she wouldn’t concede her loss to the upstart young senator from Illinois, she told an interviewer: “My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California.”

Image by Donald Trump August 19, 2015 (cropped).jpg: BU Rob13 Hillary Clinton by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg: Gage [GFDL  or CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

That she would use the word “assassinated” in the context in which she delivered it remains an amazing bit of political history. We bring it up because it has largely been deposited in a memory hole. In 2008, was she suggesting that someone might (or should?) attack candidate Obama? Was she hoping that her use of that word might stimulate some crazy to duplicate what had happened to Senator Kennedy sixteen years earlier? Mere mentioning the possibility of an assassination during a political campaign constitutes a dramatic departure from legitimate political discourse. And the reporters who heard her comment, or heard about it later, should have emblazoned it on the minds of all. But most didn’t.

Hoping that no one remembers her 2008 use of such an inflammatory word, Mrs. Clinton has chosen to imply that Donald Trump’s recent comment about her selection of possible candidates for the Supreme Court invited violence, the very tactic she had employed in 2008.

What did Trump say that Clinton seized upon? He stated during a rally: “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don’t know.” Asked later what he meant, Trump explained, “The media is desperate to distract [voters] from Clinton’s Second Amendment stance. I said that pro-Second Amendment citizens must organize and get out the vote to save our Constitution.”

But Mrs. Clinton speedily accused Trump of what she should have been accused of in 2008. She pontificated, “Words matter, my friends. And if you are running to be president, or you are president of the United States, words can have tremendous consequences.” Correct! Which is precisely why the media should have excoriated her in 2008, and why her recent attack on Trump for something that had no mention of the kind of possibly deadly suggestion contained in the word “assassinated” is mountainous hypocrisy. In 2008, she not only wasn’t held accountable for possibly inciting a monstrous crime, she repeated her remarks a few weeks later.

Only days after her first use of the word “assassinated,” Richard Stengel, the managing editor of TIME, interviewed Hillary. Having had no repercussions from her first use of the explosive word, she repeated it: “I think people have short memories. Primary contests used to last a lot longer. We all remember the great tragedy of Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June in Los Angeles.” Was that another attempt to plant the idea of assassination in the minds of some potential killer? It certainly seems so. Did the main stream media hold her accountable? With rare exceptions, its supposedly hard-nosed reporters and commentators ignored her second outrageous use of the term.

All during their rise to prominence, the two Clintons have benefited from a standard that few have ever enjoyed. Others have to submit to strict rules and temperate conduct while Hillary and Bill are given a pass. Hillary obviously knows that explosive words can lead to explosive actions, which is why she attacked Trump’s statement. If she were held to the standard she has set for Donald Trump, she would long ago have become a political has-been.

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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.