Birch Society hasn’t changed its stripes
Newsday published two letters decrying an opinion piece that “smeared” the John Birch Society [“Birch Society stands for proper ideals,” Opinion, Sept. 20].
One reader asked, “What stands did JBS take to earn such epithets as fascists, screwballs and, of course, extremists?” Ironically, he answered his question, stating that JBS’ opposition to civil rights legislation was justified by tying the movement to “No more individual rights, no property rights or freedom of association.”
During the civil rights movement, the JBS warned it was attempting to set up a “Soviet Negro Republic” in the southern United States.
The other letter answers the “screwball” question, stating that “America was not intended to be a democracy, which is where fascism springs from.” That letter quotes JBS founder Robert Welch, who once wrote that Dwight D. Eisenhower was a “dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy.”
Commentator William F. Buckley derided such paranoid and unpatriotic drivel. Conspiracy theorists? Water fluoridation was a communist plot. The right to an abortion was a plot by insiders to weaken America by shrinking its population. It was “people control,” just like “gun control.”
If we give “reconsideration” of the JBS now, can a “reconsideration” of Adolf Hitler be far behind?
— H. Mitchell Schuman, Brightwaters
I’m responding to the two readers who replied to the opinion piece “Echoes of extremism” [Sept. 20] regarding the John Birch Society.
One reader expressed that JBS members are constitutionalists. May I point out that the Constitution is not set in stone. It is a living document designed to be revised periodically.
In 1816, Thomas Jefferson recommended a periodic revision. Each generation shall have the “solemn opportunity” to revise the Constitution “every 19 to 20 years,” thus allowing it to “be handed on with periodical repairs from generation to generation.”
We have at present 27 such revisions called amendments. These include the 13th Amendment and 19th Amendment — civil rights and women’s rights — and, hopefully, one day will include a revision of the 2nd Amendment, which the JBS cherishes so dearly.
— Karen Varricchio Goldman, East Meadow
The John Birch Society was and is a purely fascist, anti-democratic cabal rooted in antisemitism and racism.
Those who would write in support of the political gloss that the JBS used to try to cloak its hate risk being accused of harboring similar feelings.
— Eric Cashdan, Sands Point
We own Trump’s docs, not the ex-president
Lawyers must advocate for their clients, but they had better be able to justify what they say. I have been a lawyer for 37 years. I have steeped myself in constitutional law since my undergraduate studies.
Regarding former President Donald Trump’s removal of documents from the White House to Mar-a-Lago, his lawyer told the court, “In the case of someone who has been president of the United States, they have unfettered access along with unfettered declassification authority” [“Arbiter’s Trump docs plan,” News, Sept. 21]. I nearly fell off my chair.
Anyone with any knowledge about this subject knows that the Presidential Records Act of 1978, as amended, clearly makes all presidential documents that remain upon the completion of the president’s term the property of the people of the United States.
The Archivist of the United States assumes responsibility for legal custody and control of all such documents. The requirement is automatic upon leaving office and not negotiable. The former president does not have the right to take any of those documents, and certainly not any documents that are marked classified, secret or top-secret.
— Joseph A. Bollhofer, St. James
Disbar James for her five-year crusade
So, New York State Attorney Letitia James fulfilled her campaign and other public pledges to sue former President Donald Trump [“Fraud suit against Trump,” News, Sept. 22]. I guess there are no more important things to do with her time, staff and budget.
Does anybody think if this situation didn’t involve Trump that James would even know about it, much less waste time prosecuting him? This is another political stunt. In my opinion, she should be disbarred for furthering her political motives that she has openly discussed for five years.
— Bob Louis, Stony Brook
Trump out of bounds with latest photo
Did I read that correctly? Former President Donald Trump reposted a picture of himself wearing a QAnon pin, overlaid with the words “The Storm is Coming” [“Trump embraces QAnon theories,” Nation, Sept. 17]. This man is promoting the idea that if he regains the presidency in 2024, he wants his opponents to be executed on live TV. Really?
— Tiffanie Kempf, Remsenburg
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