Sanders the Socialist

Sanders the Socialist
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

While chatting recently with a friendly technician who was repairing my copy machine, I got a taste of a very big problem facing our country. The man knew everything about the bulky machine. But he displayed a woeful lack of awareness about our nation’s fundamental principles. And he volunteered a political preference I fear is shared by millions.

Sanders is a proud socialist who wants to establish government compulsion over everyone (Image from Flickr).

Sanders is a proud socialist who wants to establish government compulsion over everyone (Image from Flickr by Gage Skidmore).

The technician, a patriotic U.S. Air Force veteran, volunteered that he didn’t vote in the 2016 presidential election. He had nothing good to say about either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. But he boasted that, if Bernie Sanders had won the Democratic Party’s nomination, he would have gladly voted for him. He added that Bernie would probably have swamped Trump. He might be correct about that.

When I suggested that Bernie Sanders would admit to being a socialist, he gave no response. Evidently being a socialist is OK with my technician acquaintance, not because he knows what being a socialist means and how un-American such a view really is, but because he doesn’t know what it means. Had I an opportunity to explain what socialism truly connotes, I might have cited an excellent warning given in 1974 by economist Percy Greaves. In his book Mises Made Easier, Professor Greaves wrote:

Following the Bolshevist Revolution of 1917, the Bolshevist leader Lenin chose the name Communist Party for all those dedicated to the use of violence, revolution, and civil war to attain their final goal, and to distinguish his followers from the socialists, or social democrats, who sought the same final goal by democratic processes.

In other words, a convinced socialist is at least as dangerous as a Communist, maybe more so because his ultimate goal isn’t well known. My technician acquaintance surely has no awareness that Marx’s Communist Manifesto is the blueprint for both Communists and Socialists.

During the televised debates between the Vermont senator and Mrs. Clinton, I saw Sanders come across as genuinely honest and sincere. But he is a proud socialist, a man who has spent a lifetime favoring the same total government scheme, though not the same route to achieving it, as did the murdering tyrant Lenin. The man fixing my copy machine wouldn’t have supported Lenin, or Stalin, or any of their successors who murdered millions and enslaved those they permitted to live. But he would willingly back Sanders. And therein lies the big problem facing America today.

Bernie Sanders doesn’t advocate killing anybody; he just wants to establish government compulsion over everyone. But he never summarizes it that way. He will soak the rich, make health care and college education free, put government in charge of supplying everyone’s needs, and more. It all sounds so very good to anyone who has no awareness of either America’s fundamentals or the Marxian program. Yet, millions of young Americans flocked to his rallies and cheered him with great gusto. Lots of older Americans did likewise.

The socialism advocated by Sanders is a huge threat to freedom. The problem is that so few Americans understand the value of limited government or the worth of the Constitution, which is socialism’s polar opposite. America grew from a veritable wasteland to becoming the envy of the world, not because of government action but because of the Constitutional requirement for inaction. Millions of college-educated people today have never heard that view and, consequently, are ripe fruit for socialists to pluck. They see problems, most of which have been created by government, and expect government to solve them. The American way would be to get government out of the way and let enlightened self-interest do the solving.

Currently, there are 74 House members who hold membership in its socialist wing called the Progressive Caucus. Sanders is the only Senate member of this Caucus.

All of this presents a huge problem for America. The copy machine technician I encountered doesn’t want the socialism goal advocated by Sanders; he just wants the nice-sounding program the Vermont maverick offers. But it’s only nice-sounding, something even my acquaintance will discover if this nation doesn’t get back to the fundamentals that made it so appealing in the first place. Learn more about socialism’s impact around the globe.

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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.


Sneaking in the Tunnels

Sneaking in the Tunnels
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall between the United States and Mexico has excited many Americans. It’s no secret that there are somewhere between 11 and 20 million individuals who have crossed our southern border illegally.

Photo of elaborate cross-border drug smuggling tunnel discovered inside a warehouse near San Diego. (Photo by DVIDSHUB [Otay Mesa Drug Tunnel, Image 4 of 4] [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Among the illegal entrants are many who want to work hard and build a better life for their families. If they entered the U.S. legally and started on a path to assimilation, they would find a welcome mat. But within the millions already here are a sizable number of criminals, agents of drug kings, and even murderers. Many have been deported, some several times, only to return and continue their crime sprees. And the cost of welfare, education, housing, and medical cares for untold numbers of these lawbreakers is another serious problem.

In the face of all of this, along comes an unorthodox candidate for President who wants to put a stop to the invasion by erecting a wall. He wasn’t supposed to win the GOP’s nomination, but he did. Elitists in the media and political world insisted he shouldn’t be taken seriously, but many Americans have ignored those self-important pundits.

Yet, one problem that only very few have ever discussed is that a wall will keep only some wannabe illegals out. But tunnels under the border continue to be a significant problem. In late August 2016, Border Patrol agents found a sophisticated tunnel whose beginning point was found in a cemetery in Nogales, Mexico. Similarly named Nogales, Arizona, sits across the border and a fence separates the two communities. But a fence isn’t enough to keep illegals from entering through the tunnels they built.

Border Patrol tunnel expert Kevin Hecht notes that these underground passageways are used to transport drugs into the United States. He says: “They know we’ll eventually find them. But even if one load [of drugs] gets through before we find it, they consider it a success.”

In the San Diego area, some U.S. citizens alerted the Border Patrol when they noticed suspicious activity in an area 500 yards from the border. Agents then found a tunnel 800 yards long. What they found were 2,200 pounds of cocaine and 14,000 pounds of marijuana. The cost of building that underground passage is easily covered by the sale of those drugs.

More than 70 tunnels were discovered along the border during a five-year period ending in 2013. Some had their own railways, lighting, and ventilation. The notorious Sinaloa cartel finances many of these, even knowing that construction of each will take as much as a year and cost as much as $1 million for labor and materials. Joseph DiMeglio, a 13-year veteran with the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), calls such an expenditure “pocket change.” A small cache of 25 methamphetamine packages has a street value of $700,000. Deadly cocaine brings even more monetary reward.

Isn’t there any way to detect these tunnels while they’re being built or after they’re being used?  The answer is a resounding no. Using a ground-radar machine doesn’t work because it isn’t capable of reporting anything deeper than ten feet. Homeland Security investigator David Shaw admits, “We’ve never found a tunnel using them.”

This problem won’t be solved easily. It will become less worrisome if the federal government quits winking at illegal immigration and forcing states and local communities to care for the invaders. A complete turnaround in the way illegals have been treated by the federal government and its courts is needed. If it ever comes, however, the digging of tunnels will still be a problem.

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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.


Let the States Decide! Say Yes to ID for Voters

Let the States Decide! Say Yes to ID for Voters
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Elections are important. Will the elected individual perform according to the oath of office? Or will he or she avoid constitutional restraints and hope voters won’t realize the betrayal?

Our nation’s founders strongly believed that voting in any election for a federal post should be limited. Not everyone should vote, and limitations about who will cast a ballot should be set, not by the national government but by each state. With a few exceptions, states would decide not only who would vote but also when voting day would occur. For many years, Maine’s voters cast their ballots in September, a practice later changed to conform with the rest of the country. Over the years, several amendments to the Constitution removed many other original restrictions.

Amendment XV (1913) banned denying the privilege of voting because of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Amendment XIX (1920) gave women the right to vote. Amendment XXIV (1964) said no eligible voter could be denied a ballot for not paying a poll tax. And Amendment XXVI (1971) lowered the voting age to 18.

These changes were properly enacted via amendments to the Constitution, not by any law or presidential executive order. In recent years, however, the federal government has broadened its dominance over the setting of voter qualifications without relying on the amendment process. Judicial power has also been used to set new rules, even cancelling voter requirements that are logical and, in this writer’s view, very much needed.

Some require would-be voters to produce photo identification before being given a ballot. Objections arose over this rather simple and sensible test because, it has been claimed, requiring a photo ID is costly for some and an inconvenience for others. As in many other instances, the charge of racism was used to foster change. It helped to convince a Texas judge and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that the Texas requirement for a photo ID must be abolished because it violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The Texas law and similar laws in other states seeking to protect the voting process from fraud were erased. Yet, a person has to show a photo ID to board an airplane or cash a check. Shouldn’t there be that kind of requirement for voting?

Is there any recourse to reverse this decision? The Constitution contains the answer in Article III, Section 2, Clause 2. It says Congress can limit the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court whenever it decides that the high court or lesser federal courts have gone too far. Such a little used and little known provision of the Constitution could be employed to rein in federal judges, even up to the Supreme Court level. This constitutional power possessed by Congress is an obvious extension of the desire of the Founders to create a system possessed of “checks and balances.”

Shortly after the 1787 Constitution had been written and was being considered by the states for ratification, John Marshall (who became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1801 to 1835) addressed the potential for judicial abuse during the Virginia’s ratifying discussions. He explained, “Congress is empowered to make exceptions to the appellate jurisdiction, as to law and fact, of the Supreme Court. These exceptions certainly go as far as the legislature may think proper for the interest and liberty of the people.” Marshall obviously believed that Congress would, when necessary, use its constitutionally authorized power to keep the Supreme Court and any lower federal courts from overreaching.

Congress should use its Article III power to stop judicial meddling. Let the states decide via the Tenth Amendment what a would-be voter must provide before being given a ballot.

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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.


Clinton’s ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Card Unfortunately Worked

Clinton’s ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Card Unfortunately Worked
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Shame on FBI Director James Comey! He supplied numerous reasons why Hillary Clinton’s reckless handling of her emails should have led to a recommendation that she be indicted. But, in parlance that has become common, the head of the FBI punted. Clinton magic, enjoyed repeatedly in the past by husband Bill, seems to have prevailed once more.

In unambiguous terms, Director Comey stated that the former Secretary of State had been “extremely careless” when she used a private computer to send and receive sensitive information. He pointed to the “top secret” classification of numerous emails Mrs. Clinton had wrongly sent and received on unprotected instruments. He said the FBI had found “several thousand” emails that were not in the material she was required to turn over to the bureau. About whether hostile foreign governments could have accessed what she was sending and receiving, he said it was “possible.”

Comey revealed that Mrs. Clinton had improperly used “several different servers and administrators.” But she has repeatedly admitted to using only one such instrument, even joked about employing a type of email that erases itself shortly after being sent.

Comey pointed to 110 Clinton emails that contained varying degrees of classification, even some as high as top secret. But she claimed on numerous occasions that anything marked classified or top secret had been so marked after being sent by her, a complete fabrication.

Comey said “any reasonable person” in the Secretary of State post should have known not to send or receive sensitive information on an unsecured personal computer. And he stated his opinion that “hostile actors gained access” to what she was sending and receiving. It is hardly a stretch to claim that the head of the FBI has in fact questioned her ability to reason.

Mrs. Clinton has often excused herself with the claim that she had “no intention” of doing anything wrong. Yet, Comey indicated that a violation of federal law (in this case a felony) occurs when classified information is mishandled “either intentionally or in a negligent way.” Having signed her name to the non-disclosure agreement required of anyone holding such a high post, she knew that she could be prosecuted for what that document states is “negligent handling of Sensitive Compartmented Information.”

With all of this, and more, Comey still recommended against an indictment. If she’s not guilty of any crime and not liable for prosecution, what’s left?  Shouldn’t Comey have concluded that she’s not a reasonable person, not incompetent, and not worthy of being our nation’s president?  Instead, he left open a path for her to win the White House.

The known facts indicate she broke laws, repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, endangered fellow Americans, destroyed government records, and lied to the American people and government investigators. Question: If elected to be our nation’s president, should she be given a security clearance? If the answer to that question is either “No” or “Possibly No,” she should quit the race for 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.