Friday, December 11, 2009

Jack McManus: The William F. Buckley of the JBS -- And No, That's Not a Compliment

JBS Hypocrite-in-Chief John F. McManus

"To put it bluntly, if you betray a man, you have no right to complain that he isn't as nice to you as he used to be. That's the special nature of betrayal; it cancels everything in a friendship."

Joseph Sobran

"I wouldn't trust a man who would sell out his friends."

"Dumkopf -- who else can you sell out? You can't double-cross an enemy." --

Maxwell Smart and his arch-rival Siegfried, discussing the ethics of defection.

On the subject of JackMcManus's hypocrisy -- previously discussed in this space, but a topic that could fill a work the size of Newton's Principia -- I should mention the utterly craven and vicious role he played in the JBS's dismissal of Joseph Sobran from The New American several years ago.

In addition to being the finest political and cultural commentator of our time, Mr. Sobran is a traditional Catholic -- a convert as a teenager, I was surprised to learn -- and one of the most principled men I've ever been blessed to meet. He has suffered a great deal for his commitment to the truth as he's been given wisdom to understand it.

In 1993 the execrable William F. Buckley, seeking to appease the neo-Trotskyites who had taken control of the conservative movement, fired Sobran because of his opposition to the first Gulf War. Sobran had publicly disagreed with his employer on a matter of principle about which he was right, and his employer wrong; this was deemed a firing offense.

As a graduate student, Sobran had once put his academic career in jeopardy to defend Buckley's right to speak on campus. Funny how little that courageous act mattered to Buckley when Sobran needed a friend. Sobran was left without a steady job, a man in failing health consigned to eke out a living as a freelancer.

McManus often referred to that episode to demonstrate how evil William F. Buckley truly was. Of course, in October 2006, McManus participated in a decision to do exactly the same thing to a long-time contributor to The New American -- Yours Truly.

Just a year earlier I had actually resigned my job (temporarily, as it happened) to protest the effort to blackmail McManus using the same collection of anti-Jewish statements that Art Thompson had compiled around 2000. This gesture counted for little when Jack had an opportunity to speak in my defense.

As I've previously explained, I thought the statements being used against Jack were pretty loathsome, but I assumed that we were dealing with an isolated episode. I had no idea about the extent to which McManus had made something of a second career out of propounding such nonsense -- and Art Thompson, who did know, was happy to abet my misunderstanding.

My resignation in October 2005 was a gesture of bone-deep disgust over the prospect of working for an organization in which "leadership" positions could be obtained through criminal means, and blackmail is a crime.

It would take a sophist of exceptional skill to identify a substantive difference between Buckley's treatment of Joseph Sobran in 1993, and the treatment I received at the hands of Jack McManus, Art Thompson, Alan Scholl, and Gary Benoit in October 2006. Where Jack is concerned, however, he was simply being true to form, since he had eagerly participated in a similar purge of Joseph Sobran from the TNA masthead several years before.

After being cast aside by National Review, Sobran continued to write and syndicate his column. Among the outlets that bought Joe's column was The Spotlight (now the American Free Press), which was published by a quasi-offshoot of the JBS called the Liberty Lobby.

Worried that any association with the Spotlight and its sponsor would "taint" the Birch Society, Vance Smith decreed that Sobran would have to stop permitting his work to be published in that weekly journal. The problem here, of course, was that although Sobran's name adorned the masthead of The New American, he was not an employee of the JBS.

Unlike Vance or Jack, Sobran had actually suffered for his principles and desperately needed every dollar he could earn as a writer. He didn't enjoy a corner office and a generous salary and benefits package, as Vance did; he wasn't ensconced in a well-compensated sinecure, as Jack was (and is today). Sobran worked hard for everything he earned. By telling him to stop selling his column to a willing customer, Vance was in effect trying to impose a pay cut on someone whom he did not employ.

To the surprise of nobody who knew him, Gary Benoit -- who invariably goes whither the prevailing suck-up wind carries him -- was willing to collaborate in this outrage. (It was Gary's willingness to countenance the effort to blackmail Jack that actually prompted my resignation in 2005.) What I found surprising was Jack's eagerness to act as Vance's hit-man where Joseph Sobran was concerned.

Sobran considered Jack a friend, and -- like myself and others who made the same mistake -- he soon discovered that dorsal knife wounds are the stigmata of that status. Jack met with Joe several times in an effort to convince him to knuckle under to Vance's presumptuous and unjust demands. But Joe wouldn't budge, any more that I would later be willing to put up with similarly improper and dictatorial demands made by Jack and his cohorts.

So Sobran's name was stripped from TNA's masthead, and another paying outlet was closed off to a brave and principled man who was, by at least an order of magnitude, the finest writer ever published in that journal.

Now, there are many -- including some people whose views I respect and whose friendship I cherish -- who believe that Mr. Sobran is an anti-Semite. I am emphatically not of that opinion. He is a critic of the Israeli government, just as he is a critic of every version of the institutionalized affliction called "government." He is also a critic of the Zionist movement, in both political and theological terms.

Whatever one thinks of his opinions, Joseph Sobran has never endorsed any act of violence, hatred, or bigotry committed against any Jewish individual anytime by anybody, and he never will. He has not called for Jews to be shackled by civic restrictions or subject to punitive government policies. He is consistently opposed to government violations of individual rights irrespective of the race or religion of the victims.

In this respect Sobran is entirely different from Fr. Leonard Feeney, Jack McManus's religious guide and model, who insisted that "the Jews" are always and everywhere the enemies of Christian civilization, and called for government to impose legal "curbs" on Jews because they are Jews.

While Jack McManus was collaborating in the purge of Sobran from The New American, he was speaking and writing on behalf of his little Feeneyite sect. In fact, as I recall the chronology, within a few weeks of Sobran's dismissal, Jack was giving the very speeches that were later used in an attempt to blackmail him.

Even those who disagree with Sobran's views about the Israeli government, the Zionist movement, or the value of historical revisionism cannot deny this: There is something exceptionally nasty about the hypocrisy Jack displayed in his treatment of Sobran.

The most remarkable decorative filigree in this portrait of self-serving duplicity is this:

Before being kicked aside by JBS management, Joseph Sobran had written a typically elegant foreword to Jack's silly little book about William F. Buckley, a project that began sometime in the early 1990s and consumed most of Jack's time until it finally wheezed into life in 2002. Joe did this as a personal favor to Jack, knowing that the foreword -- for which Joe received no compensation -- would enhance the book's market value.

The long-gestating product of an institutional grudge against Buckley, Jack's book fell stillborn from the press: By the time it was available, Buckley was no longer a consequential figure, even among people old enough to remember a time when he was considered the voice of "respectable" conservatism.

Sobran's foreword was the only element of the manuscript that offered fresh insights and elegance of expression. When he was designated an un-person by JBS upper management, however, Sobran's foreword had to go, and with it went the only selling point for Jack's derivative, tedious, thinly researched tome, which was essentially a monograph fed steroids to inflate it to a size justifying a hardcover format.

Jack is either too dim or too arrogant to see that what he did to Sobran was exactly like the treatment Buckley gave to Robert Welch, and later to Sobran as well. I'm sure that point wasn't lost on Sobran.

Writing a few years after being fired by National Review, Joseph Sobran described the Buckley modus operandi in words that apply just as well to McManus and the other invertebrates currently running the JBS:

"[T]he people Bill has broken with have consistently been more principled than he is -- Randians, Birchers, Murray Rothbard, Wilmoore Kendall, Brent Bozell, Gary Wills, and others of lesser renown. His only recourse is to imply that they are fanatical, extreme, obsessive...."

Buckley sold out better men as the price of fame and wealth. McManus, on the other hand, is like the Hobo who puts a knife in a friend's back in order to steal his blanket on a chilly night.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

They Don't Know Jack -- And If They Did, They Wouldn't Admit It (Updated, 12/11)

"I don't expect Will to take this [i.e., being fired for no definable, let alone defensible, reason] lying down.... If he would go quietly and pursue his own interests, I would think better of the man."

Jack McManus e-mail to Art Thompson, October 3, 2006 (mistakenly cc'd to me).

Weeks have passed since Jack McManus's latest -- and by no means only -- constitutional atrocity: Endorsing, in comments published by The Hill, the trial of civilian terrorist suspects before military tribunals as a proper "wartime" measure, despite the fact that Congress has not declared war.

Absent a declaration of war, and with the civilian court system in operation, it is constitutionally impermissible to try civilians before military tribunals.

The best and most concise examination of this issue from a constitutional perspective was offered by former federal Judge Andrew Napolitano in an essay originally published in the Los Angeles Times -- that's right, an organ of the much-derided MSM.

Robert Welch explained that of the original purposes in creating the John Birch Society fifty-one years ago today was to provide patriotic Americans with vital information that wasn't available through the controlled media. Yet on this extremely vital issue -- one on which principled leadership is indispensable, given the eagerness of the talk radio-fueled right wing to tear down the constitutional court system and replace it with lynch mob rule -- the public was better served by a mainstream news organ than by the President of the JBS, the individual who is supposed to be the most reliable arbiter of constitutional and ideological matters.

Yes-suh -- that's leadership!

I am informed that Appleton had an opportunity to publish an essay by another writer that would have corrected Jack's statement without mentioning him by name. That essay was never published, which means that Jack's endorsement of the military tribunals, and his equivocal position regarding the constitutional requirement of a congressional declaration of war, are now de facto positions of the John Birch Society. That will remain the case until somebody -- anybody -- in Appleton compels Jack to overcome his petulant intransigence and admit that he was wrong.

This is what can be expected of an organization presided over by a management caste more concerned about image-making and ego maintenance than defense of principle. If the current JBS upper management were committed to the proposition that "truth is our only weapon," they wouldn't hesitate to retract Jack's statement -- at whatever cost in terms of PR and despite the injury it might do to Jack's ego.

If Art Thompson were actually a leader, rather than a shill, he would demand that Jack do the right thing for the organization. After all, Art is supposed to be Jack's boss, and Art has famously made it a policy to fire people over matters of "nuance." Of course, that policy appears to be a bill of attainder directed at one person -- Yours Truly -- and Jack's error in this instance deals with a basic constitutional principle, not a matter of "nuance."

Duplicity and hypocrisy come as easily as breathing to Art and Jack. It should be remembered that it was Art, many years ago, who first made an issue out of Jack's extra-curricular activism in propagating anti-Semitic notions before gatherings of schismatic Catholic groups. Art went so far as to map out an entire campaign to isolate, neutralize, and expel Jack from his post as JBS president.

A few years later, when it suited his interests to do so, Art allied himself with Jack, dismissing concerns about what he had called Jack's "anti-Semitic dialog." By the time Art had been appointed CEO of the JBS, Jack had been exposed as a liability to the organization by being targeted for blackmail. Those who targeted Jack made use of the very same anti-Jewish statements that Art had assembled years earlier.

More recently, when it appeared likely that Jack's career as a part-time anti-Jewish demagogue would be examined by the New York Times, Art and the JBS PR department enlisted a couple of Jewish JBS members to act as a human shield for Jack.

I suppose this is the current Appleton regime's idea of "putting the members first."

Prior to his "promotion" to the JBS Council several years ago -- an arrangement in which he resigned as president and took a pay cut in order to minimize the damage he was doing to the Society -- Jack had been urged to discontinue his involvement with the Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, New Hampshire, where he (and other speakers) had unbosomed themselves of anti-Jewish sentiments.

What is genuinely amazing here is this: Jack has never stopped attending programs sponsored by that group. In fact, he was a featured speaker at an SBC function just weeks ago. This isn't surprising, once one understands the fact that Jack's religious obligations to the SBC are more important to him than his professional obligations to the JBS. Art Thompson pointed out as much in 2000: This is Jack's religion -- and the anti-Jewish nonsense is a central tenet therein.

It is not my intention to disparage or mock Jack's beliefs as I describe them below. I think he is in grave theological error, and I find much of what his sub-sect of Catholicism teaches to be not only wrong but offensive. I can appreciate and respect his deep and serious commitment to his faith. What I cannot countenance, of course, is hypocrisy, in this case the protracted, ongoing pretense that someone can be as deeply involved in this particular sect as Jack has been without it creating a conflict of interest where the JBS is concerned.

Jack is a "Third Order member" of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which was organized by a controversial excommunicated priest named Leonard Feeney sixty years ago.

Feeney's detractors considered him an heretic, a lunatic, or some combination of the two. His followers regard him as a vessel of truth in a world incurably corrupted by apostasy. To them, Feeney was, quite literally, more Catholic than the Pope.

The "Third Order" to which Jack belongs involves quasi-monastic discipline: Although they are not cloistered or required to take vows of celibacy or poverty, members are under the strict authority of their superiors and required to sustain and carry out the tenets of the Order. Obviously, those who adhere to the Order that Feeney founded are expected to treat his teachings as authoritative.

One of the central pillars of Feeney's teachings -- something that Jack is literally under covenant to believe and promote as truth -- is this:

"Essential to the understanding of our chaotic times is the knowledge that the Jewish race constitutes a united anti-Christian bloc within Christian society, and is working for the overthrow of that society by every means at its disposal."

According to a man esteemed by Jack as at least a quasi-prophetic figure, "the Jews" are a monolithic force for evil. That would include the two exceptionally decent Jewish men whom Jack and Art pressed into service as "character" witnesses for Jack earlier this year.

Here's Feeney, writing in the January 1959 issue of his journal The Point, at his most candid regarding what he considered to be the paramount enemy of Christian civilization (emphases added):

"...[O]ne topic especially has occupied The Point ’s attention during the past seven years: the problem, in its many aspects, of the Jews.

Why this emphasis? Because we think it is imperative that American Catholics wake up to the fact that the Jews, as an organized force, are the implacable, declared enemies of Christianity — of its tenets, its traditions, its moral code, its very culture. We think it is vital, too, for American Catholics to realize that the Church has always known this fact about the Jews, and, to the extent of her influence, has counseled and decreed regulations for curbing their malice. And since American Catholic publications, in general, seem determined to say little about these basic matters, we have tried to make up for their negligence by our own insistence.

Our solution to the Jewish problem, however, is not merely a series of warnings and exposures to let American Catholics know what their enemies are up to. For we will be able to withstand no enemy, however well informed we are, if we are not strong from within. The ultimate point of The Point is therefore to inject American Catholics with a crusading zeal for the truths and traditions of their Faith, and thus to foster in America a strong, militant Catholicism, worthy of a country that is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception."

As I noted above, I vehemently disagree with Jack's theology. This is the most important consideration in an ultimate sense, but it's not the most important objection in an immediate sense. My chief concern here deals with the notion of imposing "curbs" on what Feeney calls the "malice" of Jewish people, and also his endorsement of a "militant Catholicism" in the context of civic affairs.

Feeney was mortified that nominally Christian countries in Europe extended citizenship rights to Jews. In a Catholic polity, Jews would not be granted citizenship, and be subject to various other civic handicaps. The same most likely would be true of non-Catholic Christians.

From my exposure to the literature and rhetoric of this strain of Catholicism, I think it's fair to say that they see Torquemada as a misunderstood humanitarian (he was devoted to purging heresy through pain), the Holy Office of the Inquisition as a good idea that was poorly implemented, and the rack, thumbscrews, and stake as implements of a severe but necessary mercy, rather than instruments of diabolical torment.

If they were in control of the state it's likely that heresy would be considered a capital offense.

One political prescription endorsed by Father Feeney was found in a 1957 pastoral letter issued by Bishop de Castro Meyer of Brazil, which Feeney described as "A Sure Defence Against the Jews."

"We do not know how many Jews there are in the diocese of Campos, nor what Judaic inroads have been made into Catholic life there, but the things Bishop de Castro Mayer says in his Pastoral Letter ... are, pre-eminently, the sort of thing that needs to be said in the U. S.," insisted Feeney.

The most important of those recommendations, at least in my view, was that the Roman Catholic Church be made the state religion (in Brazil, but also in the United States), and that freedom of religion be abolished (emphasis added):

“The Church ... has the right to see her laws and doctrines respected by temporal public powers. The State must declare itself officially Catholic; it must offer all its resources for the preservation and expansion of the Faith. "

Toward the end of creating an authoritarian Catholic state, some limited collaboration with infidels is permissible, albeit as a temporary and most unpleasant expedient (once again, any emphasis is mine):

“Collaboration of the faithful with non-Catholics so as to attain common objectives is only occasionally allowed by the Church ... The Church looks at these associations with apprehension, and bans them. When, under some exceptional circumstances, she feels as if she were forced to tolerate such collaborations, so as to prevent greater evils, she does it fearfully and full of sorrow."

Think of this directive in light of Jack's involvement with non-Catholics, including Jews, in the John Birch Society. At best, according to this perspective (given the unqualified endorsement of Father Feeney), that collaboration is a source of sorrow and apprehension for the Church, and can only be justified as a means of pursuing the eventual creation of a Catholic state.

The Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, New Hampshire is the focal point of Feeneyite efforts to claim the U.S. on behalf of pre-Vatican II Roman Catholicism. Jack lectures at the SBC at least once every year, and that's where he's delivered most of his anti-Semitic harangues. His most recent speech to the SBC took place on October 7 during the group's fall conference.

Once again, Jack's attachment to this organization is a matter of covenant; it's a religious obligation. This explains why Jack wouldn't desist from giving speeches before those groups. Perhaps the assumption that collaboration with non-Catholics is permissible on a limited basis explains why he refuses to admit that Feeneyite teachings and political ambitions are incompatible with the JBS's values and perspective.

What's really disturbing here is that the JBS can't, or at least won't, be rid of him. Jack spent spent years, or perhaps decades, agitating on behalf of his cult on company time, defiantly indifferent to the damage he was doing to the organization. Not even Vance Smith (who wanted to get rid of Jack) was willing to cast him aside completely, despite the fact that he was audio-and video-taped giving speeches to the SBC and related groups while identified by name as JBS President.

At one point, Appleton literally went so far as to pay for Jack to make a bogus "business trip" to Canada to give him a cover story so he could back out of a speech at the St. Benedict Center. That strikes me as a species of fraud and failure to carry out fiduciary responsibilities on behalf of JBS management. This was as much Jack's fault as Vance's, I suppose. In any case it still strikes me as amazing that nobody in Appleton had the dangling anatomy to force Jack to choose between the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and serving as President of the JBS.

I wasn't aware of Jack's irrepressible conflict of interest when I, along with the rest of the editorial staff, was called into a meeting with Jack a couple of years before Appleton threw me under the bus. Jack held forth at length -- probably about two and a half hours or more -- about what he called the "Masonic infiltration" of the Catholic church, as well as sharing faith-promoting fables about nuns who were able to be in two places at once through "miraculous bi-location" or somesuch.

That lecture was interesting, but it struck me as an odd use of company time -- not only Jack's, but of several other people who, like myself, were required to do actual work in order to produce a magazine.

Shortly after I joined the staff of the JBS in October 1993, I asked Jack about Robert Welch's reported deathbed conversion to Catholicism. Jack proudly confirmed that he had supervised that event, describing it in some detail. On the strength of Jack's confirmation, I'll share the late Gary Allen's description of that event from an August 19, 1985 letter (scroll down to the bottom of the page here), which is somewhat less than complimentary:

"About the lowest, most vulgar stunt I've ever heard of was when John McManus slithered into Mrs. Welch's office just two days after Mr. Welch’s death to gloat to her that her husband had converted to Feeneyite Catholicism on his deathbed, after having taken instructions in the faith. This is a damnable lie. During the last months of his life he didn't even recognize his wife most of the time. He couldn't take instructions in anything. You may think this stunt is beneath contempt, but I have a lot of contempt for it.

The Feeneyites believe the Pope, whom the KGB tried to assassinate, is a Communist and that all non-Feeneyites are going to Hell.... [T]his cult virtually runs Belmont [Massachusetts, at the time the site of the JBS home office]. If the general membership ever found out about Feeneyite control of the Belmont bureaucracy, there would be revolt in the ranks. …"

Not all of the traditional Catholics in Appleton are Feeneyites. In fact, I think Jack is the only significant figure on the JBS staff to adhere to that group. So Allen's despairing description of Belmont two decades ago isn't an accurate description of Appleton today.

But Jack's behavior remains at the center of the problems afflicting JBS upper management. And it helps explain why, after he and three other upper management castratti knifed me in the back, Jack was so concerned that I "go quietly."

Friday, November 20, 2009

The "Big Question": Why Did McManus Sell Out the Constitution?

Sellout: McManus joins John Yoo, the Weekly Standard, Michelle Malkin, and other neo-fascists in defending the Regime's illicit terror tribunals.

The management clique in Appleton is just as proud as a mother hen over the fact that Jack McManus is among those chosen by The Hill newspaper to comment on various topics in a blog feature entitled "The Big Question."

According to an Appleton press release, "Readers will gain valuable insight from McManus' Constitutional perspective."

On the basis of the most recent edition of "The Big Question," it appears likely that readers will be fed a casserole of regurgitated Republican talking points.

In the most recent TBQ, McManus recites the neo-con position on 9-11 trials, insisting that "These trials should be held in military courts where no [discovery or due process] rights exist. Their crimes were acts of war (didn't we go to war as a result?), not the acts of ordinary criminals."

As late as early 2006, before Jack and his colleagues turned the JBS over to the short-lived reign of the "Madison Avenue Boys," the JBS and The New American candidly acknowledged that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are unconstitutional and illegitimate. TNA has likewise acknowledged that the terrorism tribunals are illegitimate.

In fact, today's TNA website (November 20) has an incisive and witty article by Becky Akers taking exactly the opposite position from the one set out by Jack in today's "The Big Question." "Attorney General Eric Holder announced last Friday that after 8 years of illegal imprisonment and 183 waterboardings from a government that does not torture, Khalid Sheik Mohammed will stand trial with four other suspected terrorists in New York, scene of their alleged crime on September 11, 2001," writes Akers. "That ignited a fracas. Whether there should be a trial at all and where to hold it, not only geographically but in a civilian or military court, set the usual loudmouths roaring."

As Jack's equivocation demonstrates, that question likewise set the usual suck-ups to sucking.

"Neocons who refuse to call Gitmo’s inmates prisoners of war lest they come under protection of the Geneva Convention now wail that we cannot try soldiers in a civilian court; Democrats doggedly defend their inept and arrogant Administration," she continued. "Were we cynical, we might suspect a conspiracy to distract us from the real issue: why has Leviathan `detained' Khalid et al for years despite the Constitutional requirement of habeas corpus, torturing them in violation of not only the Constitution but basic humanity?"

Akers concluded her terrific piece by imagining some of the useful trouble that might ensue if a "fully-informed jury" were to hear the case against Khalid Sheik Mohammed:

"What would a `fully informed' jury decide regarding Khalid and associates? Would it concur that they acted in a vacuum, murdering Americans because they hate our freedom, as the Feds pretend? Or would it consider 9/11 retribution for the carnage cursing the Middle East after decades of American meddling and skullduggery there? Would it pronounce the accused `guilty,' or would it suggest that terrorists rebelling against the American empire understand the Constitution better than politicians who’ve sworn to uphold it yet `regime-change' worldwide? Would it damn Khalid Sheik Mohammed as the devil incarnate, or would it ask why the Feds ignored warning after warning of the impending attack? Heck, it might even notice that the wrong terrorists are on trial."

This is the kind of perspective that the JBS used to provide, before it was neutered by the Thompson/McManus/Scholl combine. Before Scholl and the highly paid, principle-free PR people he hired decided to have the JBS "ride the Republican wave," TNA would proudly and defiantly denounce tyranny and corruption of the Regime in terms very similar to those used by Akers. Heck, a lot of that material was published on the old Birch Blog, which Appleton quite thoughtfully consigned to cyber-oblivion.

That brings up another point.

The letter of termination sent to me in October 2006 listed my "firing offense" as publicly disagreeing with the Thompson/McManus/Scholl clique in a matter of "nuance." Yet here we see a TNA contributor (Akers' name is listed on the current TNA "tombstone"), in an essay published by TNA, vehemently expressing exactly the opposite view from the one expressed by TNA's Publisher on the same day.

Is this what you had in mind, Jack? Communist-turned Nazi Judge Roland Freisler (center) convenes a session of the Nazi "People's Court," that regime's version of the "terror tribunals" Jack now supports.

So once again, given a choice between taking a lonely stand on behalf of principle or playing to the Red State Fascist lobby, Appleton chooses the latter and applauds itself for displaying "leadership."

This is what "leadership" means to McManus and his fellow geldings in JBS Upper Management (assuming that the term "fellows" applies here): He's using a relatively high profile spot to recite pre-digested neo-con talking points. What good is "influence" if it's used to ratify the designs of the Constitution's enemies?

Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation, which actually promotes individual liberty rather than the warmed-over Feenyite authoritarianism McManus peddles, points out that the obvious and undeniable ancestor of the "Terror Tribunals" McManus supports is the German National Socialist Regime. Given some of Jack's other enthusiasms, that pedigree might not be a deal-breaker for him.

Video Extra: "Raving Roland" Holds Court

Roland Freisler is seen in the full flower of his malignancy in this film clip. Any resemblance to Fox "News" programs such as The O'Reilly Factor is ... just a coincidence. Or not.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Charlie Smith's Long Crusade

My original interest in the JBS came from hearing Charlie Smith on a televised "Meet the Press" interview in Orlando, Fl in the early 1970's. --

Jess D. Roques, current John Birch Society Council member

During the early and mid-1970s, Charlie Smith was easily the John Birch Society's most brilliant, popular, and influential speaker. Robert Welch once told the office and field staff of the JBS that Smith was the only individual in the JBS Speakers Bureau who could speak effectively on any subject of importance.

Charlie recently tracked me down and spent several hours telling me about his experiences as a JBS speaker, his recollections of Robert Welch, and describing in detail his opinion of current JBS management (he wasn't exactly rhapsodizing about their character and competence) and the reasons for that opinion.

Although I was aware of Mr. Smith's noteworthy speaking career, I had never had the chance to talk with him at length until yesterday (October 31). He was in the audience during a speech I gave in 1996 (I seem to recall it was in Florida or Georgia, but that may be a mistake on my part), but we only had time to shake hands and exchange perfunctory pleasantries.

Like countless others who have been through the JBS, Charlie Smith remains committed to the freedom struggle and places a very high value on the people he met through the organization -- while having nothing but contempt for many of the personalities who managed to insinuate themselves into management positions within the hierarchy. He makes no secret of the particular (and, my experience would suggest, well-earned) contempt he feels toward John McManus, and he expressed it in terms a bit more pungent than I would have employed.

Our conversation yesterday included some reflections on the way that the JBS tends to extract as much as it can out of its employees before wadding them up, throwing them away, and then running down their reputation after they've departed.

"I don't know how it was that the Society ended up getting rid of you," Charlie told me, "but it means that you must have been doing something right, you must have displayed independence and an ability to think for yourself. They really don't have much use for people of that kind."

Although they're not directly relevant to our conversation, I thought it would be worthwhile to share a few of relatively recent video clips of Charlie offering some informal, extemporaneous commentary regarding current affairs.



Part II, Part III , Part IV

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Wages of Wave-Riding

Fat guy in a Nazi coat:
Former JBS member J.T. Ready, the "Tommy Boy"/"Black Sheep" of the white supremacist movement, takes part in an October 24 neo-Nazi rally in Riverside, California. Incidentally, Ready wasn't kicked out; he left of his own volition.

People who passively ride a wave shouldn't be surprised to find themselves washing ashore in the unwanted company of some feculent flotsam. That's certainly the case with Appleton's decision, back in 2006, to make opposition to the Brown Peril
-- in the form of illegal immigration from Mexico -- the central focus of its activism and recruitment.

No, that campaign didn't result in a huge windfall of recruits to the JBS, as Alan Scholl insisted that it would. Furthermore, if you visit the JBS website today you'll find that it devotes relatively little attention to the immigration issue. In fact, it doesn't appear at all on the "Advocacy Action" page (as of October 28). Sure, the issue bobs to the surface every once in a while, but it doesn't command the sense of urgency it once did.

Now that the collapse of the credit bubble has reduced demand for cheap labor, immigration from Mexico is sharply down, other matters -- such as the effort to audit and abolish the Fed, to oppose the renewed push for socialized medicine, and combat the ever-metastasizing Homeland Security State -- demand much more attention.

While there's no shortage of immigration-related problems -- most of them either created, abetted, or exploited by the federal government -- it simply isn't the civilization-threatening challenge that the JBS pretended it was in its effort to catch a Republican-aligned "wave."

In 2006, shortly before I was stabbed in the back by the liars and charlatans running the JBS, I wrote a piece describing how the immigration "debate" was a phony exercise, and how the most important threat to freedom was the effort to build and expand the homeland security state. Ironically, the same people who petulantly took offense over that essay -- that is, JBS upper management -- have validated my position by de-emphasizing immigration almost to the point of forgetting about it.

Furthermore, a very potent illustration of my point was made over the weekend in Riverside, California with the help of one of Alan Scholl's prize JBS recruits, Falstaffian neo-Nazi gadabout J.T. Ready.

"Oh, you vicious
brute!" lisps one of Ready's more assertive colleagues after he absorbs a punch from a Chicano radical. Rather than waddling to the defense of his frail, delicate man-friend, Ready was ... well, somewhere in the back. It's pretty clear that these guys aren't representatives of the Master Race.

Ready was one of a handful -- say, a dozen to 20 -- neo-Nazis who staged a provocation (neither "demonstration" nor "protest" seems a suitable term) in Riverside, California.

Several hundred counter-protesters, fronted by a contingent from the Chicano radical group Brown Berets de Aztlan, turned out to confront the Nazis, reciprocate their insults, and
exchange a few ineffective punches.

So the lines were drawn between two groups of ethnic poseurs -- comic-opera radical racist groups (neo-Nazis waving Swastika banners on one side, Brown Berets flying the Mexican flag on the other) -- with a large contingent of heavily armed riot police in the middle.



As Maxwell Smart might say, this was the old "order out of chaos" trick, albeit carried out on a very small scale.

Say, where have we seen this cartoon before?

Well, a little more than a decade ago, back when The New American actually permitted its writers to commit acts of investigative journalism, that publication ran two cover stories (one of which is still available on-line) describing this dialectical strategy at work and getting into the details of specific incidents and personalities used to carry it out.

Ready (the gelatinous mass in the center wearing a Sgt. Schultz helmet) does a quick impression of "Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker" while one of his boyfriends works the bullhorn.

The most recent mini-riot in Riverside offers a splendid opportunity for the JBS and TNA to do what they once took pride in doing: Using current events to educate people about the tactics and strategies -- including the cultivation of racial collectivism -- of those who seek total power.

Giving that incident a little attention would be especially appropriate in light of the enactment of a new federal "hate crimes" measure. It's almost as if the spectacle in Riverside had been staged to coincide with that development -- a piece of street theater intended to dramatize the supposed resurgence of "right-wing hate groups" and the purported need for increased federal scrutiny of "anti-government" radicals on the right.

So a piece on the Riverside incident, if done with the intention of uprooting that one blossom of ugliness and examining its roots, would be both helpful and timely.

It would be difficult for TNA to provide a suitable examination of this case, however.

First of all, the -- ahem -- bold and insightful people running the JBS fired the last guy who attempted to put the immigration issue into a larger strategic context involving the use of that issue to build a domestic police state. There are people in the current TNA writing pool -- beginning with Bill Jasper, the nation's best investigative reporter -- who could do this issue justice.


The high-visibility role played by former Bircher J.T. Ready in the Riverside incident makes it ... let's say, "problematic" for Appleton to give it the proper coverage. This is especially true in light of Appleton's huge and growing vulnerability on account of Jack McManus's dilettante dabblings in anti-Semitism.

I think the last thing Appleton wants is for Ready's activities to provide a news hook on which to hang an examination of Jack's lengthy career propagating what Art Thompson called (circa 2000) Jack's anti-Jewish "religion" (no, by that he did not mean traditional Catholicism). At the time, Art was worried that Jack's anti-Jewish activism might prompt the malign interest of Morris Dees. Well, J.T. Ready has come to the attention of the degenerate Dees and his comrades at the SPLC. So the dreaded "linkage" already exists, thanks to the strategic blindness and ineptitude of the current Appleton junta.

Heckuva job, Artie and Company.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Terror and Remembrance

Editor's note:

The following essay was originally published shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. It is worth noting that the behavior of the government ruling us has lived down to the lowest expectations expressed in this essay; in fact, it has hit bottom and started to dig.

I should also point out that in the years that have passed since this was written, my views have changed somewhat regarding several of the points I made, including the first two items in the suggested action agenda.

Will the Laws Fall Silent?

As America braces for a war of uncertain length against an unspecified enemy, many have embraced the ancient legal maxim inter arma, enim silent leges - "In time of war, the laws fall silent."

In a sense this is an understandable reaction to the depraved lawlessness displayed by the foreign enemies who killed several thousand Americans in the attacks of September 11th. While we certainly must track down and eradicate those directly responsible for that attack, we must also remember that our laws – the Constitution that frames our system of government, and the heritage of Christian laws that inspired our nation’s charter of government – define us as a people. If we allow those laws to become "collateral damage" in the "war on terrorism," we will suffer losses even greater than those we endured on that terrible Tuesday morning.

Under the Constitution, the federal government is allocated a few specific responsibilities, the most important of which is to secure our nation’s borders and protect our citizens from foreign attack. It does not diminish the guilt of the perpetrators of the September 11th assault to observe that the success of that terrorist strike represents a failure on the part of our federal government to carry out its most important role. That failure is now being invoked to justify lifting the constitutional restraints upon the central government’s power. Even more ominously, we are being told that the present crisis can only be dealt with in the framework of "collective security," as administered by the United Nations and its subsidiary bodies.

Following the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing, then-Congressman Charles Schumer told a reporter that new restrictions on freedom would be necessary in order to deal with the threat of terrorism. After all, he insisted, "in wartime, it's different than peacetime. In terrorism time, it's different than peacetime." It’s hardly surprising that those sentiments would be expressed by Schumer, a fervent advocate of "gun control" and federal surveillance of "right wing" domestic dissidents. It might be considered surprising, however, to see even more expansively statist views being expressed by the Deseret News of Salt Lake City, Utah, a reliably pro-Republican newspaper.

"Americans need to rally around President Bush and the federal government," declared a September 14th Deseret News house editorial. "Some Utahns have become almost consumed in recent years with their distrust of Washington and various federal agencies. That must be put aside for now…. Utahns of every stripe ought to be ready to respond to whatever their president asks."

If one assumes that the most important task before us is to punish the guilty, rather than to prevent further assaults upon our country, then it might make sense to embrace a vision of president as war dictator, and to suppress criticism of our central government. But under the Constitution’s mandate to "provide for the common defense," our most urgent task is to take immediate steps to protect the citizenry. Finding and annihilating the foreign enemies who attacked our country, while necessary, will do little to enhance our national security in the long run unless the failed foreign and security policies that led to the disaster of September 11th are changed.

Within hours of the September 11th attack, congressional leaders of both parties emphasized their unanimous and unlimited support for the President. On September 14th the Congress passed – with one single negative vote – a joint resolution to "authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks against the United States." That resolution cited the War Powers Resolution, not the constitutional provision for a congressional declaration of war. Further, Congress chose not to approve a joint resolution introduced by Congressman Bob Barr that contained an explicit declaration of war.

In brief, Congress – as it did in 1965 with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution – ignored its constitutional role, choosing to ratify the President’s decision to commit our nation to war, rather than re-asserting its authority to declare war.

Indeed, the Bush administration has behaved as if congressional approval were a mere formality. On the day following the attack, President Bush told reporters: "Now that war has been declared upon us, we will lead the world to victory." White House correspondent Fred Barnes notes that as the reporters were ushered out of the Oval Office, "Bush was asked if he would seek a declaration of war. Bush didn’t answer, flinch, or look up. He sat stonily."

This is not a trivial matter. University of Pittsburgh law professor Jules Lobel points out that the use of force resolution "is not directed against anybody. For example, if the President believes Libya, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan were involved in harboring these terrorists he could attack all of them." The BBC reported on September 16th that the Bush administration aims "to uproot perceived terrorist networks spanning 60 countries in America’s war against those who carried out Tuesday’s suicide plane attacks in New York and Washington."

So, without a declaration of war, President Bush has announced his intention to "lead the world" in a war that could involve military action in nearly one-third of the world’s existing nations. That undeclared war could last for decades, thereby consuming our wealth, devouring the lives of our young men, and deepening the bonds of our "interdependence" with the UN and its auxiliaries.

These are precisely the dangers that our constitutional provisions for war-making were intended to address. It is through war that the power of the State is most dramatically magnified. That is why the power to declare war was vested in the branch of the federal government most accountable to the people whose wealth, liberties, and lives would be directly affected by war.

Alexander Hamilton, who was a proponent of a strong chief executive, wrote in 1793: "It is the province and duty of the Executive to preserve to the Nation the blessings of peace. The Legislature alone can interrupt those blessings, by placing the Nation in a state of War." Writing a year later, Hamilton emphasized that "war is a question, under our constitution, not of Executive, but of Legislative cognizance. It belongs to Congress to say -- whether the Nation shall of choice dismiss the olive branch and unfurl the banners of War."

Madison’s Notes of the 1787 Convention document that the Framers understood that a President’s duty to "preserve … the blessings of peace" included an ability to "repel sudden attacks" – or, in the words of Roger Sherman, "to repel and not to commence war." September 11th represents the first time in our history that a President has had to deal with a sudden attack upon our homeland (Hawaii, at the time of Pearl Harbor, was not a state).

President Bush was within his constitutional mandate to mobilize military and law enforcement personnel to prevent further attacks. But without a congressional declaration – or, for that matter, a specific enemy – the President, with the support of Congress and the media, committed our nation to what is expected to be a long, costly, and bloody foreign war.

The Uses of War

War swiftly dissolves both the legal and moral restraints upon government power. The American war that began with the Japanese attack upon our naval forces in Pearl Harbor ended with the atomic strikes that vaporized tens of thousands of civilians at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is difficult to imagine that Americans prior to Pearl Harbor would have countenanced such wholesale slaughter of civilians. It is impossible to imagine what measures the public will be willing to support in the wake of a terrorist attack that killed thousands of American civilians in the heart of our most prominent city. But Americans must remember that the powers we are willing to allow our government to exercise against our foreign foes may someday be used against us as well.

It must also be remembered that social revolution is a predictable consequence of war. Indeed, this is why statists of all varieties regard war as something to be exploited (and even encouraged), rather than prevented. Norman Dodd, director of research for the Special Congressional Committee to Investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations (the so-called "Reece Committee"), has described how the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace eagerly supported America’s entry into World War I as a means of bringing about a social revolution.

In an interview with investigative reporter William H. McIlhany, Dodd recounted the findings of Kathryn Casey, who had examined the minutes of Carnegie trustees in the years prior to World War I. In the minutes, the trustees discussed the following question: "`Is there any means known to man more effective than war, assuming you wish to alter the life of an entire people?’ And they discussed this and at the end of a year they came to the conclusion that there was no more effective means to that end known to man. So, then they raised question number two, and the question was, `How do we involve the United States in a war?’"

When the trustees convened a meeting following America’s entry into the war in 1917, Dodd continued, they "had the brashness to congratulate themselves on the wisdom of their original decision because already the impact of war had indicated it would alter life … in this country. They even had the brashness to word and to dispatch a telegram to [President Woodrow] Wilson, cautioning him to see that the war did not end too quickly." Since there is little prospect that the open-ended war on terrorism in which our country has become embroiled will end "too quickly," it stands to reason that the conflict will present unprecedented opportunities for social reconstruction.

The war on terrorism will also be used to preserve and expand the power of globalist institutions, particularly the United Nations, which until September 11th were under sustained political assault. One ominous portent was the decision of Representative Tom DeLay (R-Texas) to withdraw his proposed "American Servicemen’s Protection Act," which was intended to exempt U.S. servicemen from prosecution by the UN’s proposed International Criminal Court. The Bush administration opposed DeLay’s measure as an intrusion upon the President’s power to conduct foreign policy, and the Congressman withdrew the measure following the terrorist attack as a way of expressing support for the President.

In the early years of the Cold War, congressional critics of U.S. involvement in multilateral alliances and institutions found that President Truman and his foreign policy trust could cite the Soviet threat to justify nearly any foreign entanglement or assertion of presidential power. Senator Robert Taft, whose anti-Communist credentials were impeccable, complained in 1947 that he was "more than a bit tired of having the Russian menace invoked as a reason for doing any – and every – thing that might or might not be desirable or necessary on its own merits."

By 1950, as congressional inquiries into subversion documented the extent to which our foreign policy institutions had been infiltrated by Communists and their allies, political opposition was building to American involvement in the United Nations. Writing in the June 1996 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, Benjamin Schwartz of the World Policy Institute observed that Harry Truman’s "secretary of state Dean Acheson put things in proper perspective: describing how Washington overcame domestic opposition to its internationalist policies in 1950, he recalled in 1954 that at that critical moment the crisis in Korea `came along and saved us.’"

Tens of thousands of American servicemen were killed in the Korean conflict. They fought as part of a UN military force, under rules of engagement that denied them victory, and under a UN chain of command in which our battle plans were made transparent to the Soviets and the Communist North Koreans. But from Acheson’s perspective, these losses were necessary in order to "save" the designs of the internationalist Power Elite.

Acheson is in many ways typical of that Power Elite, which is infinitely resourceful in creating or exploiting crises to magnify its power. The most visible element of the Power Elite is the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations, to which Acheson (and nearly every other Secretary of State, including Colin Powell) has belonged. On September 14th the CFR held a televised forum featuring the "U.S. Commission on National Security in the 21st Century," which submitted its report to President Bush earlier this year. The forum featured a frank discussion of the ways in which the September 11th attack and its aftermath can be used to enhance the drive to create a UN-administered new world order.

During a question-and-answer period near the end of the program, a Harvard scholar declared that America is "facing the reality of a new world order" in which we must collaborate with other governments in counter-terrorism efforts. Responding to this statement, Commission co-chair Gary Hart expressed the hope that the Bush administration could "use this disaster to achieve that end, or at least explore the possibility to take some of these countries we have held at arm’s length and challenge them to help us."

James Sasser, a former ambassador to Red China, elaborated upon that point, noting that as a result of this assault, the United States might be led into an anti-terrorism coalition with Russia, Red China, Iran, and similar states. "Can we not use this as a catalyst to reach out and develop intelligence in conjunction with these other regimes?" asked Sasser. This suggestion was warmly embraced by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a member of the CFR-dominated Commission.

So, in the name of "collective security," the United States is to enter into a coalition with the most notorious state sponsors of international terrorism. This Orwellian proposition, which provoked not a single critical comment from the CFR forum’s participants, is typical of the "wisdom" of our foreign policy elite.

NATO’s ruling Council has already invoked Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty, thereby designating a terrorist attack upon any of its members to be an attack upon all of them. And Beijing has already indicated that it would gladly cooperate in an anti-terrorism coalition, as long as it is organized through the United Nations. The logic of "collective security" against terrorism dictates that in exchange for the help of our dubious allies in finding and punishing those who attacked our nation, we must be willing to reciprocate should any of those nations be attacked.

This may mean using U.S. power not only to punish attacks upon our NATO allies, but also to put down any movement that threatens Beijing, Teheran, or any of our other new "allies" in the grand coalition. It may also lead to expanding our intelligence and law enforcement collaboration with Moscow and Beijing. It will almost certainly mean further empowerment of both NATO and the United Nations.

And what will be done once the crisis has passed, assuming that it ever does? Would these new arrangements be dissolved or institutionalized? Will the new powers assumed by the President devolve back to Congress? Will our global crusade against terrorism eradicate that menace, or exacerbate it as we acquire an even larger roster of foreign enemies?

What is to be done?

Since the attack of September 11th, The Powers That Be have recited the mantra that the terrorists responsible for the slaughter hate us for our virtues – our freedom, prosperity, and global influence. Some have insisted that the example of a multi-ethnic, multi-religious society is abhorred by the radical Islamists who are presumed to be behind the assault.

But it’s worth remembering that Switzerland is a free, prosperous, multi-ethnic, multi-religious society as well – and that despite its much greater geographic vulnerability, it has never been a terrorist target. That nation has chosen to exercise its global influence through finance and neutral diplomacy, rather than through military intervention. By refusing to insinuate itself into foreign quarrels, it has eschewed the role of "superpower" – and preserved its own domestic tranquility. Switzerland was admired by our Founding Fathers as much for its resolute independence as for its stable, long-lived institutions of ordered liberty, and its example is now more relevant than ever.

The familiar arguments against "isolationism" should be casualties of the September 11th attack, which was the predictable – and tragic – product of our government’s interventionist foreign policy. For several days after the attack, our country was, to a remarkable extent, isolated from the world, as our airlines were grounded and our borders were sealed. The financial and commercial networks through which Americans conduct business with people abroad were disrupted, or shut down altogether. It’s not clear yet if our sense of normalcy can ever be completely restored.

But there are necessary steps that can be taken immediately to address our most critical national security needs:

  • Rather than pouring tens of billions of dollars into an open-ended foreign war, Congress should radically increase the budget of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and vastly expand the manpower of the Border Patrol.
  • Congress should rescind the counterintelligence guidelines created by Attorney General Edward Levi in 1976, which destroyed the FBI’s ability to collect intelligence on foreign terrorist and subversive groups operating in this country. The Levi guidelines forbid the FBI from investigating a terrorist group unless it has solid evidence of a plan to commit a federal crime within 48 hours. The foolishness of those guidelines is illustrated by this fact: The plot carried out on September 11th took years to plan and carry out.
  • While it is proper for the FBI to investigate crimes, the Constitution specifies that law enforcement is almost exclusively a state and local responsibility. Over the past three decades, as federal funding and control over state and local police agencies have increased, their ability to collect intelligence on subversive and terrorist groups has been all but destroyed. This capacity must be restored immediately, if we are serious about preserving national security without creating a federally dominated garrison state.
  • As the Pentagon was burning, and with (fortunately inaccurate) reports of another hijacked plane en route, one Pentagon staffer cried out: "Where’s our air cover?" Americans might well ask themselves a similar question: With all we spend on our military, why are we so defenseless? Why have we deployed troops to scores of nations around the world, when our homeland is vulnerable to attack? We must end our meddling in the affairs of other nations, bring our troops home, and build a military devoted exclusively to defending our nation. If we can identify the foreign enemy responsible for the attack, Congress should declare war and commit the necessary resources to defeating that enemy. But our first priority should be to defend our homeland.
  • Just days before our nation was attacked, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was communing with Arafat, Castro, and sundry other terrorists at the UN’s "anti-racism" summit in Duban, South Africa. That event was a riotous festival of America-bashing led by regimes that almost certainly were connected to the attack on our country. This illustrates the compelling necessity to get our nation out of the UN, and to invite the world body to relocate to Durban, Damascus, or some similar haven of enlightenment.
  • There is obviously a compelling need to find and destroy the foreign enemies who attacked our nation. If we must make war, we should do so with strict fidelity to the Constitution, and unhindered by entangling alliances with multi-national bodies such as the UN and NATO. In prosecuting such a war we should make it clear to the world that America is willing to extend the hand of peace and honorable commerce to all nations who will reciprocate our goodwill – and that we are just as willing to punish without mercy those who make war upon us.

All of these steps would enhance our national security while preserving the constitutional framework of laws upon which our liberties depend. But it is obvious that for any of these steps to be taken, our government has to undergo some radical changes – not to its constitutional structure, but with regard to the people who are currently occupying positions of trust. We cannot expect sound leadership from the very officials who helped create this catastrophe. But new political leadership devoted to restoring our national security and preserving our independence will not emerge until the American public itself is educated in sound principles and mobilized to hold our leaders accountable.

As the human cost of the September 11th attack becomes clear, the temptation to set aside our laws in order to exact revenge will be almost irresistible. But resist we must, because if our laws fall silent, our freedom and independence will be destroyed – and terror will have its ultimate victory over liberty.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The McManus Cover-Up Continues

Res Ipsa Loquitur

Of all the varieties of dishonesty, disingenuousness -- feigned puzzlement or pretended confusion -- is the worst and usually the most transparent. This is because it necessarily involves an insult to the subject of the deception: He is expected to become an accomplice in deceiving himself.

Obviously, this species of dishonesty has no place in the behavior of those presuming to lead an organization that describes "Truth" as its only weapon. Yet it's clear that disingenuousness is the only weapon left in the arsenal of the current management of the JBS.

In a recent posting in this space I put JBS management in a box from which it cannot escape.

I noted that Robert Welch's reaction to the controversy over his pre-JBS manuscript now called The Politician was to make it available, in book form, to all interested parties.

I then proposed the following: Given the persistent controversy over Jack McManus's non-JBS speeches before Catholic audiences -- speeches plausibly characterized by those who have examined them as anti-Semitic -- the JBS should, and ethically must, make those speeches available for public inspection, as well. That would be the behavior of people committed to the propagation of pure, unalloyed Truth.

The behavior of JBS Upper Management, not surprisingly, is to attempt to change the subject. I was recently given a copy of a letter being quietly disseminated by Appleton in an attempt to reply to the challenge described above. It is a Whitman's Sampler of various kinds of dishonesty, ranging from disingenuousness to outright, brazen mendacity.

Referring to a letter I wrote on October 19, 2005, referring to the blackmail attempt against Jack McManus, the letter observes:

"In 2005, Mr. Grigg claimed that the McManus speech was `barren of any material that can fairly be described as anti-Jewish.' In 2009 ... he is now claiming the completely opposite assessment....

In a June 15, 2009 posting on his blog, Mr. Grigg refers to `Jack McManus, a person who spent years propagating anti-Semitic theological and political theories, which were captured on audio and videotape….' In this same posting, he referred to having been subjected to the aforementioned video clips but he now labeled them (a total of less than three minutes taken completely out of context) as something `I call ‘Jack McManus Sings the Nuremberg Variations’ – that is, conspicuously ugly excerpts from those same anti-Semitic speeches.'

In this same blog posting, Mr. Grigg further referred to the supposedly [sic] anti-Semitism of Mr. McManus as `repulsive' and to Mr. McManus having “a full-time sideline as an anti-Semitic demagogue.'"

All of this, the letter insists, constitutes a "glaring reversal [on my part] about the supposed anti-Semitism of JBS President John McManus...."

Note well that this is not a denial that the speech in question contained anti-Semitic material; instead, the effort here is to focus on the fact that I had changed my opinion about the material.

What the reader of that letter will not be told by the supposed paladins of Truth running the JBS is this: I changed my opinion, in large measure, because of the criticisms of Jack's anti-Semitic presentations offered by Art Thompson, Gary Benoit, and others who now defend him. Those criticisms were not made available to me by Art and the others; instead, they were published on the Web as samizdat by the faction loyal to Vance Smith.

I did have a chance to read the text of one of Jack's speeches in addition to seeing the video excerpts mentioned above; I read that text in Art Thompson's hotel room, in Jack's presence, on the Saturday following the 2005 "coup." Both Art and Jack earnestly insisted that the speech was meant as a "theological" statement.

Neither one of them saw fit to inform me that, years earlier, Art had become sufficiently alarmed over what he described as Jack's anti-Semitic lectures that he, Art, had outlined an entire campaign to get rid of Jack.

This wasn't just a "glaring reversal"; it was a deliberate cover-up laquered with pure hypocrisy.

I've mentioned previously about being shocked when Jack referred to commentator Ben Wattenberg (not my favorite public figure) as "a slimy New York Jew." This was said in the presence of Gary Benoit, who was likewise astonished.

When I saw the film clips mentioned above my reaction was one of weary disgust -- both over Jack's foolishness, and the potentially criminal actions of those who appeared ready to blackmail Jack. Since I consider blackmail more serious than bigotry, I focused most of my criticism on the Smith faction; since I was repeatedly assured by Art and Jack that Jack would never propagate anti-Jewish prejudice, I was willing to extend him the benefit of every doubt.

One ugly remark I could stomach; one ill-considered speech, I could abide; but my views did change when I learned, thanks to Art (by way of his critics) that Jack had been reveling in anti-Semitic nonsense for "years."

The doubt I extended to Jack disintegrated when I heard Art's criticism of Jack's anti-Semitic "religion," and read his detailed plan to oust Jack as a liability. And, to be perfectly blunt, my outrage did come into sharper focus when Jack joined in the decision to kick me and my family to the curb for supposed offenses against tolerance and decorum.

If I had been more faithful to the principles I profess I would have made an issue out of Jack's bigotry sooner. But to be fair, I did have other things to worry about.

So here's where we find ourselves:

*We have a non-denial from Appleton that Jack's material is anti-Semitic.

*We apparently have not one but two "glaring reversal[s]" of opinion regarding Jack's anti-Semitic lectures -- mine, and that of Art Thompson, Gary Benoit, et. al. Mine was a result of being exposed to facts that had been withheld from me by Art and Jack. What explains Art's reversal, assuming that he has reversed his opinion.

*Appleton still won't make Jack's speeches public.

The third point is easily the most important, because it is the one Appleton is trying to avoid. The letter they are circulating offers several greasy insinuations that I lied about the tenor and character of Jack's speeches; they even intimate that what I have written is libelous.

Well, if that's the case -- publish the speeches. Put everything before a candid public, or whatever portion thereof would be interested in the issue. Let there be no ambiguity about the matter.

Or, what would be more or less the same thing, let Jack sue me for libel. The discovery process would churn to the surface all of the material Appleton is desperately trying to hide.

My first defense witness would be Art Thompson, who -- under penalty of perjury -- would have to explain his own "glaring reversal" regarding Jack. My first question: "Why did you say, in 2000, on the basis of the speeches in question, that `This is [Jack's] religion, to be anti-Semitic and anti-Mason'? My second question: If what you describe as Jack's anti-Semitism was patently obvious to you, am I not entitled to draw the same conclusion from the same evidence?"

If they were promoting the truth rather than covering their posterior, Art and Jack would make that evidence available for public inspection. Rather than doing so, they continue to emit piffle and persiflage. Res ipsa loquitur.

Lying By Anachronism

The recent letter from JBS management is fetid with dishonesty; its authors (I discern, once again, the hand of Alan Scholl) lie about literally every matter discussed therein. One of their preferred tactics is to misrepresent the past by "telescoping" events together -- that is, taking one incident and dishonestly compounding it with an unrelated one that took place much earlier.

Here's a specific example of the kind of creative anachronism called "telescoping":

"Shortly after writing his 2005 letter, Mr. Grigg relocated to Idaho and eventually parted company with The John Birch Society and The New American magazine. He continued, however, to issue his commentaries on a variety of topics via his own blog. One of the frequent targets of his commentaries in recent years has been The John Birch Society – including the complete reversal of his attitude about the supposed anti-Semitism of John McManus."

The transparent intent of that paragraph is to prompt the reader to think my criticism of JBS management took place immediately after my family relocated to Idaho in 2005.

In fact, the blog you are presently reading didn't come into existence until 2007, when I created it as a way to reply to lies being disseminated by Alan Scholl and others (such as the story being told to JBS members in some western states that I had been sued for libel, or Alan's charge that "everything" I had written had been "heavily edited," apparently owing to my supposed professional incompetence

As to the "frequency" of my "attacks" on JBS management (I have never attacked the Society itself), here are two critical facts: First, I created this website to deal exclusively with JBS-related subjects, something that wouldn't be known by the otherwise uninformed person who read the paragraph above. Secondly, since being fired in 2006 I have written and published nearly 500 essays. I've mentioned the JBS fewer than twenty times, including the JBS-centered essays published on this blog.

A second example of "telescoping" offers an interesting twist: The authors of this letter retroactively amended a decision I made:

"Of additional interest in Mr. Grigg’s June 15th blog is his characterization of the Smith-Gow campaign waged against Mr. McManus as `blackmail.' He stated that when he arrived at that conclusion, `I resigned from JBS; I simply could not be associated with an organization in which personnel disputes were settled through blackmail.' Mr. Grigg did submit a letter of resignation, a step he temporarily withdrew. He retracted that decision, as he indicated in this blog entry, partly because of being `entreated back on the staff.' He noted that the person “who persuaded me was – Jack McManus.'" (Emphasis added.)

The words in boldface above are a bold-faced lie: There was nothing "temporary" about my return to the JBS staff after Jack begged me back. He didn't say that the arrangement was "temporary," nor did I. In fact, when the new management team assembled the JBS staff the Friday afternoon of the "coup," they made a point of having me stand beside them (in jeans and a casual shirt; I was packing for the move to Idaho) to help assuage concerns on the part of home office employees. Nobody said anything to the effect of, "Will is back as Senior Editor -- on a temporary basis."

The only way the statement from the letter cited above could make any sense is if it is a tardy admission that upper management was tacitly planning, as early as October-November 2005, to be rid of me. I have no evidence that such is the case. Which necessarily means that the statement above is a damned lie.

The same is true of this paragraph:

"In 2006, Mr. Grigg decided that he would not accede to repeated requests that he temper the characterizations of persons he was writing about in his various blog postings. He was advised that, because of his association with The New American magazine (he was listed as a Senior Editor) and his years of functioning as a spokesman for The John Birch Society, liability for his possibly libelous intemperateness was shared by his employer. His refusal to cease the type [sic] writing he employed led to a complete parting of the ways. He insists he was fired. Officials of the Society and the magazine contend that he fired himself."

It's of interest here to note that this is the first time Appleton has ever publicly stated a reason for my firing -- after years of insisting that it was legally prohibited from doing so. Also of interest is the fact that the official letter of termination I received from Art Thompson said nothing about "possibly libelous intemperateness"; no variant of the word "libel" appears anywhere in that letter.

I learned of my then-impending termination from Bill Jasper on October 2, 2005. He didn't mention concerns about "libel." At Bill's suggestion, I called Art Thompson that afternoon. Art was flustered and inarticulate to the point of aphasia, but the term "libel" wasn't found anywhere in the word salad he presented to me.

The termination letter, as I've mentioned before, offered one charge and one specification:

"You do not understand that once you are a public figure everything that you say or do publicly reflects on the organization you work for, particularly when these things are in opposition to the position and principles of The John Birch Society and Robert Welch. Also, you do not understand that once we have rejected an article or nuance, you cannot go around us to post it elsewhere, identifying it as rejected material and publicly criticizing your employer for the rejection."

Art didn't specify what I had written that was "in opposition to the position and principles" of the JBS and Robert Welch, for good reason: He couldn't find a suitable example. So we're left with the apparently grave offense of publishing, on my own blog, "rejected material" in which I differed with JBS management in a matter of "nuance."

Once again: There was nothing about libel in that termination letter, the only legally relevant document in defining the reasons for that action. I was never "advised" that my association with the JBS could possibly leave them open to a counter-party suit in the event I was sued for libel -- a scenario that is equal parts fanciful, paranoid, and (owing to its consequences to me and my family) malicious.

To the best of my knowledge, Alan Scholl invented the "libel" rationale after the fact on October 3 in a communication with a JBS member, of which I have a copy. (It was in that communication, incidentally, that Alan first tried out the line that "Will Grigg fired himself.") And it was rendered entirely moot a few days later when, at the suggestion of a JBS member in the Deep South, I took steps to modify one blog posting about which concerns were raised after I had been fired to nullify any imaginable legal exposure to the JBS.

Here's where we find irrefutable evidence of incorrigible bad faith on the part of Alan and his sorority sisters in JBS management.

My friend called me up in the hope of bringing about a reconciliation. For a couple of hours he conducted telephone "shuttle diplomacy" between myself and Alan, who was acting on behalf of JBS management. It was Alan who expressed concerns about the blog entry in question. So, with my friend watching that space in real time, I made the necessary modifications: Problem solved! -- that is, if the "problem" was something other than a pretext.

My friend then called Alan again to explain that the problem had been fixed. Knowing how that call would turn out, I leaned back at my desk and awaited the inevitable. Sure enough, a few minutes later, my friend called back.

"Well, he's not going for it," he said in a voice laden with puzzled disappointment. "He says that this wasn't the real problem, that there were just too many others to deal with."

So Alan, liar that he's proven himself to be, moved the goalposts, as I knew he would. This is because the real issue was nothing I had written, as such. It was the fact that I wasn't willing to submit to the ultimatum Art gave me on October 2: I was to take down the Pro Libertate blog, apologize in writing for everything published therein, and promise, in writing, never to write or utter a word that wasn't pre-approved by Appleton.

They knew I'd reject that ultimatum. They invented a "problem" that could only be "solved" by firing me.

Is this the best they can do? Are these the best people the JBS can find to run the organization? (Obviously not; I know several others, both on staff and in the executive ranks, who would do a much better job.)

In assessing the question of truthfulness here, Dear Reader, consider this:

*One party to this controversy has never changed his story regarding the events surrounding the firing of Will Grigg (please forgive the lapse into third person); the other has changed their story several times.

*One party to this controversy has been candid about changing his mind regarding McManus's speeches, and specified the reasons why; the other simply pretends as if they have been consistent when the record demonstrates that they have been, at best, hypocritical.

*One party in this matter is calling for full disclosure of the McManus materials; the other has been reduced to the most puerile evasions in an attempt to prolong the cover-up.