The Lynch Filibuster That Never Happened

The Lynch Filibuster That Never Happened
by JBS President John F. McManus

The appointment of Loretta Lynch to be the nation’s Attorney General won Senate confirmation on April 23, 2015. She is now the successor of Eric Holder who had held the office during all the previous years of the Obama presidency.

During hearings leading up to her confirmation, Ms. Lynch was asked about possible use of executive orders by the President to create law, especially law regarding illegal immigrants. Making law with the stroke of a pen has, of course, always been a violation of the Constitution’s very first sentence: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” Anyone who understands the meaning of the word “all” would know that no President can make law. The President’s job is to see that laws are “faithfully executed.”

But Ms. Lynch never committed herself regarding the matter, dancing around it like so many federal officials have done over many years. That alone should have been enough reason for senators to refuse confirmation. But she survived thanks to the efforts of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and a number of go-along senators.

The Senate’s procedural rules contain the possible use of the procedure known as filibuster. It allows continued debate about an issue, even drag on indefinitely, until an objectionable measure is withdrawn. While a filibuster in underway, no other Senate business can be conducted. Use of the filibuster, therefore, is a fairly powerful tactic. Senate rules state that breaking one needs the votes of 60 senators. This means that a mere 40 can start a filibuster and continue it for as long as it may take in order to have an objectionable measure or confirmation withdrawn.

Top Republican Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky wanted the Lynch nomination approved. Some Republican senators indicated that they would approve the nomination. Others sought to create a filibuster. But breaking one had to be accomplished first. So he convinced 10 senators who were opposed to the nomination to vote to break any possible use of the filibuster. More than 60 votes were needed to do so and ten senators who would later vote against confirmation of Ms. Lynch dutifully went along with the McConnell plan. With all 46 Democrats and several additional Republicans supporting cloture (the breaking of any possible filibuster), that hurdle was overcome.

The ten who sided with McConnell in the cloture vote went on to vote against her confirmation in the final vote. So they are able to say to constituents that they were opposed to approving Ms. Lynch, thereby seeming to uphold condemnation of the president’s expressed desire to usurp congressional law-making power. But had they not lined up with McConnell in the cloture vote, Ms. Lynch would never have been confirmed. It was a very slippery move. The ten slippery Republican senators who voted to cut off debate on the nomination (the cloture vote) are: Alexander (Tenn.), Corker (Tenn.) Burr (N.C.), Tillis (N.C.),Capito (W.Va.), Gardner (Colo.), Roberts (Kan.), Cornyn (Texas). Rounds (S.D.), and Thune (S.D.).

Constituents might care to let these senators know that they key role they played in confirming Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General will not be forgotten. Ten other senators who voted with the Democrats to approve the nomination of Ms. Lynch were wrong to do so, but they weren’t so devious. Their vote deserves some condemnation as well. The ten GOP senators who voted for confirmation after the filibuster threat had been defeated are: Ayotte (N.H.), Cochran (Miss.), Collins (Maine), Flake (Ariz.), Graham (S.C.), Hatch (Utah), Johnson (Wis.), Kirk (Ill.), McConnell (Ky.), and Portman (Ohio). Now our nation has another Attorney General willing to thumb her nose at the Constitution.

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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.


No Longer Dependent on OPEC!

No Longer Dependent on OPEC!
by JBS President John F. McManus

New procedures for extracting oil and natural gas from the earth have skyrocketed the United States to now producing as much as comes out of Saudi Arabia. And the U.S. could soon easily eclipse the Saudis. North Dakota’s Bakken shale field is only one region where hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has made tremendous resources available. Other known locations where fracking can lead to production have yet to be tapped.

For decades, our nation has been yanked around by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Our nation’s need for energy continued to grow and our dependence on OPEC members to sell it to us has always placed the U.S. in a bind, financially and diplomatically. OPEC surely took advantage of our dependence, both in the prices Americans had to pay and in the conduct of our nation’s foreign policy. But all of that is changing.

Oil prices have been halved over the past year, much to the delight of America’s industrial sector and the millions who drive an automobile and use oil to heat their homes. Natural gas prices have likewise come down – or not risen as expected. And there seems now to be a virtually limitless supply of both types of energy within our borders.

As reported by the New York Times, Jason Bordoff, former energy adviser to President Obama and now director of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, has noted that “with a global glut and prices cratering, the United States is in the driver’s seat.” All aspects of energy production have not completely changed however. The hurdle known as environmentalism remains. There are areas within the U.S. where fracking has been prohibited. Construction of the Keystone pipeline that would transport Canadian oil from its tar sands to refineries in the U.S. is still being blocked by the Obama administration due to environmental claims.

With much of the Middle East in turmoil, with U.S. supplier and OPEC member Venezuela unpredictable, and with needs for energy rising not falling, it behooves the U.S. to continue on its current path toward complete energy independence. Being independent of others for critical energy will strengthen our nation’s position financially and diplomatically. What remains to be seen is whether U.S. leaders will take advantage of this remarkable development to reassert political independence as well.

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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.


Keeping Track of Militant Islamic Groups

Keeping Track of Militant Islamic Groups
by JBS President John F. McManus

Almost daily, mass media reports contain newer outrages committed by one or more of the militant Islamic groups spreading their particular brand of terror. Keeping track of these murdering terrorists brings to mind going to a sporting event and needing a scorecard. Here’s a brief glimpse at the leading perpetrators of carnage currently spreading murder and mayhem wherever they are able.

Al Qaeda: The oldest of these groups, Al Qaeda, began in late 1988-early 1989 as the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was winding down. Led by Osama bin Laden (now deceased), its new leader is Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri. Al Qaeda is responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. that killed several thousand, the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that produced hundreds of fatalities, the 2002 bombings in Bali, and more. This terrorist group has incited sectarian violence among Muslims in several countries. Al Qaeda’s success in these and other attacks has encouraged other militant groups to rise up and begin slaughtering innocent people.

Boko Haram: Based in northeast Nigeria, Boko Haram initially allied with Al Qaeda but recently announced its desire to become part of ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). Led by Abubakar Shekau, its adherents made worldwide headlines in 2014 when they kidnapped 276 females (mostly schoolgirls and several teachers) from their school in Chibok. None of the schoolgirls has been seen again. More than 1.5 million have fled the conflict zone that has spread into neighboring Chad. Shekau has boasted of his hope to die in “the garden of eternal bliss.”

Houthis: Named after founder Badreddin al-Houthi (now deceased), this militant Islamic group operates in Yemen where it has gained control of the country’s capital city Sana’a and its parliament. Founded in response to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and linked to Al Qaeda, it is now led by Abdul-Malik al-Houthi. Pronounced admirers of Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini who led the ousting of the Shah in 1979, the Houthis receive military aid from Iran.

Al-Shabaab: Based in Somalia, Al Qaeda affiliated Al-Shabaab (meaning “Movement of Striving Youth”) has launched attacks against parts of neighboring Kenya as well as in Somalia. One of its recent forays led to the murder of 148 students and a few college officials at Kenya’s Garissa College. In that raid, warriors identified Muslims from Christians then spared the former and killed those who could not recite a Muslim prayer. Shebaab forces have conducted numerous bombings in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, continue to promise more mayhem in their native country and in Kenya.

ISIS: The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIL, the Islamic State of the Levant that looks for territorial conquests beyond Syria and Iraq, has gained control of portions of Syria, Iraq, Nigeria and Libya. Led by self-proclaimed caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, its origins stem from Al Qaeda in Iraq. It has established a caliphate over large portions of western Iraq and eastern Syria, enforced Sharia law, and conducted sensational beheadings of victims, and slavery for many. Sunni Muslims, ISIS leaders contend that Shiite Muslims are also their enemy. Insurgents in Libya pledged their allegiance to ISIS (ISIL) in 2014.

Of course, no one should ignore that weapons and other categories of aid from America have worked their way into the possession of these groups. U.S. foreign policy that unconstitutionally entangled our forces in several regions where Americans didn’t belong actually spurred the rise of widespread militancy.  Yes, it would be wrong to ignore the determination of these groups to establish Muslim domination and Sharia law.  But an even larger mistake would be refusal to recognize that current and recent U.S. leaders and policies must be reformed or changed. In the long run, that is more important than monitoring any number of militant Islamic groups.

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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.


Women Don’t Belong in Combat

Women Don’t Belong in Combat
by JBS President John F. McManus

Two years ago, the Obama administration announced plans to force the nation’s military to place women in direct combat units beginning in January 2016. This would mean that women would be assigned to the Army’s Rangers, the Navy Seals, elite units of the Marine Corps, and even physically demanding assignments in the Air Force. Opponents of the plan believe that lowering physical standards in such units would unfavorably impact them. Lowered standards (push-ups, pull-ups, endurance runs, etc.) have already shown that women can’t do what a man can routinely perform.

The push for women in the military scored one of its first victories in 1976 when the service academies were forced to admit women in 1976. Forgotten was the very purpose of having military academies at West Point, Annapolis, and Colorado Springs. That purpose involved training leaders to meet the enemy on the field of battle – which is no place for women. As the various moves to overturn the 200-year-old practice of barring women from a military man’s job continued, Retired Brigadier General Andrew Gatsis stated in 1987:

No woman, even as a volunteer, should have the right to go into combat simply because she desires to do so. It is not a question of what she wants or is her right. It is a matter of jeopardizing the soldiers who depend on all members of the team to do their full share, and the right of every American citizen to have the strongest national defense posture to protect his and her freedom.

As far back as 25 years ago, columnist Phyllis Schlafly agreed with many opponents of the near-suicidal policy of opening up all segments of the military to women. In 1989, she wrote: “Dying for your country isn’t the purpose of the armed forces. Their mission is to make enemy troops die for their country. Men are demonstrably better at that task than women.”

As has been their custom, high-level Obama administration personnel are blocking access to already compiled reports of female performance in simulated combat situations. What is already known must evidently be shielded from scrutiny to keep the announced plan from being implemented.

The Obama team has refused to produce copies of its plans even after receiving formal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Thus, lawyers with the Michigan-based Thomas More Law Center have sued appropriate federal agencies to obtain such information. Among other documents, they are seeking results already known about the physical deficiencies of women in general. Military leaders already know the results of strength tests conducted on approximately 400 men and women Marines. These show 80 percent of males successfully lifted 115 pounds while only 8.7 percent of women succeeded. Other tests demonstrated that a significantly high proportion of females cannot load a tank, carry a comrade on a stretcher for a reasonable distance, and perform several other tasks expected of combat-ready warriors.

There’s a lot at stake here. The well-being of females who might be sent into combat would be placed in jeopardy. And because we know how male prisoners have been treated by some adversaries, no woman should ever be made vulnerable to capture. The safety of males who would be forced to rely on physically deficient female comrades has to be considered. And, lastly, our nation itself would become more vulnerable if some who are sent to defend it are physically unable to do the job. Wearing a military uniform of our nation isn’t a right; it’s a privilege that should be made available only to those can be expected to perform at the highest level.

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A former Marine officer, 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 Dangerous Trade Pacts

Say No to Dangerous Trade Pacts
by JBS President John F. McManus

A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center sought the public’s attitude about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) intending to greatly link the U.S. with 12 Pacific nations and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that would deeply tie our nation with the bloc of nations known as the European Union. Both pacts will soon be considered by Congress. To say the least, the Center’s findings were mixed.

Two-thirds of those polled favored trade in general, while fewer than 25 percent believed that trade pacts created jobs and boosted wages. Yet, asked about the TPP and TTIP specifically, about half of the respondents expressed approval and half were skeptical.

Facts are more important than the attitudes of the public, however, especially when the public has little awareness about the loss of jobs because of previous trade pacts. Most Americans know that jobs have indeed been lost but few know that a 20-year-old trade pact largely led to the losses. The 1995 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) paved the way for saying good-bye to approximately 5 million jobs. It also established judicial tribunals whose rulings now supersede decisions handed down by American courts, a development that has shocked even some of NAFTA’s previous supporters. A hard look at both TPP and TTIP shows that they threaten to worsen both of these problems.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is an admitted socialist. Yet he is cautioning colleagues about the TPP because he sees in it a great deal more than just tariffs on goods. The liberal Washington Post correctly claims that the agreement deals with “a broad range of regulatory and legal issues,” that can impact foreign policy and even domestic lawmaking. Sanders rightly insists that TPP “is much more than a free trade agreement.” If he understands this, other senators and congressmen can see it as well. But most think only in terms of increased trade, which is what the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce stress. Numerous labor unions, environmental groups, and global health organizations have also registered opposition because the pact deals with matters of concern to them.

A further complicating factor regarding these pacts is President Obama’s desire to be awarded “fast-track authority” for speedy approval of both. Such a grant of power would bar Congress from debating and amending the pacts, allowing only a “Yes” or “No” vote on each. Sanders reminds colleagues that the Constitution grants Congress sole authority “to regulate commerce with foreign nations,” not the Executive branch.

The Socialist from Vermont might be dead wrong on some issues but he’s correct in this instance. And the high and mighty so-called capitalists at the Business Roundtable and Chamber of Commerce are wrong. Congress should never cede its constitutional prerogatives by granting “fast-track authority” to the President. And both the job-threatening and foreign-entangling TPP and TTIP should be rejected. Let Congress know today!

 


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.


Lower Gasoline Prices Provide Motivation for Taxing Carbon Emissions

Lower Gasoline Prices Provide Motivation for Taxing Carbon Emissions 
by JBS President John F. McManus

Lawrence Summers is a past university professor who rose to become President of Harvard University. He served as the Secretary of the Treasury in the George W. Bush administration, then as a top economic advisor to Barack Obama for the first two years of his presidency. A veteran member of the world-government-promoting Council on Foreign Relations, his personal credentials place him at the top among our nation’s liberals, progressives, and internationalists – all of whom love taxes and consider the productive middle class their opponent. His allies in the Washington Post were only too pleased to publish his thoughts in an op-ed on January 5th.

Still speaking out about economic matters even though he no longer has an academic or government perch, he proposed that the decline in the price of each barrel of oil greatly improves chances for imposing a carbon tax on the nation. In other words, don’t let the people who consume increasingly available energy resources enjoy the benefits. He even mentions the real beneficiaries – those who use gasoline for their vehicles and heating oil for their homes – as some sort of culprit. The benefits to be derived from lower energy prices should go to government, not the people, says Summers. And he never even mentioned the other beneficiaries of tumbling oil prices, the factory owners and farmers who produce our goods and harvest our food.

A carbon tax is a must according to this spokesman for bigger government. It must be imposed because energy use is creating global climate change and polluting the air we breathe. He allows no mention of the increasing number who dispute the claims of those insisting that the earth is warming because of human activity, especially those ordinary people who burn fossil fuels. He pontificates that a carbon tax enacted here in the U.S. would be “compatible with World Trade Organization rules.” And enacting one “would be a hugely important symbolic step ahead of the global climate summit in Paris later this year.” That confab is certain to produce recommendations that Lawrence Summers will applaud.

In the lead article of The New American for August 25, 2014, Alex Newman pointed to hard evidence that climate doomsayers are wrong, that the polar ice isn’t melting catastrophically, that sea levels aren’t about to flood coastal areas, and that there is nothing unusual about a warmer summer from time to time. And William Jasper followed Newman’s treatise with statements from several renowned former global warming alarmists who have changed their tune and now reject what they were once stimulated to believe. In other words, the truth is getting out: Global warming or climate change caused by human activity is a myth.

No amount of good sense will deter the likes of Lawrence Summers, Al Gore, Barack Obama, the EPA, or the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The fact is that their unproved theories and assertions are wrong. The two authors named above joined in asserting that “there has been no global warming for the past 17 to 18 years.” This is the conclusion that should be brought before the U.S. Congress to keep its members from acting to correct the nonsense offered by Lawrence Summers and many other believers in a supreme falsehood. In the end, truth will prevail, but only if pains are taken to bring it to light.


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.


Ignoring the Full Truth About the Castro Brothers

Ignoring the Full Truth About the Castro Brothers 
by JBS President John F. McManus

Press coverage of President Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba avoided any mention of the fact that Fidel Castro and his companions were helped to take control of the island nation by the U.S. government and elements of the American mass media. Had not pro-communist personnel in Washington and elsewhere assisted in the takeover, Cuba would not have become a bastion of communism only 90 miles from portions of Florida. And while many thousands of Cubans succeeded in fleeing their native land for Southern Florida, untold numbers didn’t make it in waves of rickety boats and rafts.

Fidel Castro, 1978. Photo by Marcelo Montecino, CCBY-SA 2.0.

Castro didn’t just become a communist after he took control of the island nation. As far back as April 1948, Fidel participated in a communist-led uprising in Bogota, Colombia that left thousands dead or wounded and a huge portion of the city in ashes. Arrested for murder, Fidel boasted, “I did a good day’s work today; I killed a priest.” Incarcerated for a time, he won release and then led a band of his followers into Cuba in July 1956 where he was arrested, tried, and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Given amnesty by the government of Fulgencio Batista, he went to Mexico where he studied guerilla warfare under communist Alberto Bayo. Back into Cuba in early 1958, the bearded revolutionary seized control of the nation on January 1, 1959.

Plenty of competent people knew of Castro’s history and were ignored. Arthur Gardner served as U.S. Ambassador to Cuba in 1957. He came upon information about Castro’s background, reported what he’d learned, and was forced to resign on June 16, 1957. His replacement, Earl E.T. Smith, likewise made the same discovery but State Department officials ignored his warnings and he resigned in June 1959. Veteran Latin America diplomat Spruille Braden, a former ambassador to Cuba, released a statement in the summer of 1958 in which he called Fidel “a pawn in the Kremlin’s international intrigue.” He termed Cuban leader Batista “America’s best friend in Cuba.”

In the September 1958 issue of American Opinion magazine, publisher and soon-to-be founder of The John Birch Society, Robert Welch wrote that “the evidence from Castro’s whole past, that he is a Communist agent carrying out Communist orders and plans, is overwhelming.” On November 4, 1958, the Communist Party of Cuba stated its allegiance to Castro and an English translation of that declaration appeared in the next issue of Political Affairs, the official publication of the U.S. Communist Party. And in the February 1959 issue of American Opinion, J.B. Matthews filled several pages with of evidence that Castro was a Red.

All of this amounted to nothing at the State Department. On March 14, 1958, State Department officials imposed an embargo on arms shipments to the legitimate Cuban government. Batista fled the island nation and the communist forces led by Castro took control, as noted previously, on January 1, 1959. Had Castro not received diplomatic aid and hugely favorable press coverage in the United States, he would never have succeeded. He came to America where he was feted as a glorious revolutionary, praised on popular television programming, and promised substantial aid. Less than two years later, he admitted that he’d been a communist all his adult life. Some U.S. officials and Castro lovers in the mass media said, “Don’t believe him!” But Fidel and his comrades started a reign of terror in Cuba that has claimed an untold number of victims.

In April 1961, 1,400 brave anti-Castro Cubans conducted an amphibious assault at the Bay of Pigs in hopes of ousting the communist regime that had seized their homeland. They were betrayed when promised U.S. air support for their venture never arrived. In October 1962, the American people were frightened during what was termed the Cuban Missile Crisis. Though no Cuban missiles (whatever they had was supplied by the USSR) were ever fired at the United States, the episode strengthened the hand of the Castro government, then considered a formidable foe backed in numerous ways by the Soviet Union.

The recent change in the official U.S. attitude toward Cuba amounts to a huge victory for the Castro government now led by Fidel’s brother Raul. Accompanied by a prisoner swap in which the Cubans were given five while only one American was released and sent home, the diplomatic maneuvering has amounted to another victory for the Castro regime. And both the U.S. government and the mass media have never mentioned the above summary you have just read.


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.