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