Tag Archives: ALEC

Convention of the States Does Not Exist in Article V – Part I

No need to go far to see what’s wrong with our nation, all you need to do is watch how Article V of the Constitution is being implemented. All you need is to read Article V of the U.S. Constitution then refer to those calling for an Article V Convention, Convention of the States and a Constitutional Convention.

We do not need a U.S. Constitutional Convention. There is a push for States to apply for a U.S. Constitutional Convention to either propose Constitutional Amendments or restructure our government. I wish to identify the dangers of such a Convention using only Article V of the Constitution. Hopefully, this will convince you to oppose any type of U.S. Constitutional Convention.

The United States Constitution has endured 226 years of trials and tribulations as the supreme Law of the Land. Our ancestors fought in civil wars, two World Wars, the Great Depression, many recessions, along with many other atrocities to bring our country to where it is today. Even though they endured the ages, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are the foundation of our law system and have propelled all of our lives to new heights. It has produced the highest number of Nobel winners, medical, business and technological advances known to man but there are some who are calling for a convention.

A U.S. Constitutional Convention is being called different names. American Legislative Executive Council (also known as ALEC) advocates for an “Article V Convention” while Mark Levin encourages a “Convention of the States”. No matter what you call it, the basis of these conventions is Article V of the U.S. Constitution.

States are empowered with two powers according to the U.S. Constitution, Article V. They shall apply for a convention and ratify proposed amendments. States cannot control it or call a convention. It’s questionable whether delegates can be controlled as many state legislatures are proposing and by no means can the agenda be controlled. Once the two-thirds of the state apply, Congress calls the convention but no one knows where it will go from there.

Constitutional Amendments proposed for this convention run the gamete. Amendments include a balance budget amendment, term limits, Supreme Court, eminent domain and even “Citizens United.” Whether your issue is with the budget, property rights or corporatism, there’s bound to be an amendment appealing to gain your support in your state applying for a U.S. Constitutional convention.

Hopefully, you, as do I, oppose a U.S. Constitutional Convention but if you are not convinced, attached is further analysis. Professor Tribe, a Harvard Law School professor, explains the justification of the dangers of a Convention.

AFP Defends The American Dream, Highlights Rich States and Poor States

While many  in the political arena are focused on national elections, we can’t forget how local issues also effect the socioeconomic fabric of local communities.  As The Defending The American Dream Summit hosted by Americans for Prosperity begins, one of the sessions focused solely on this issue concerning state policy and how it drives economic growth.  Spoiler Alert: low taxes, labor union reform, and smaller government often lead to more economic growth. 

Jonathan Williams, Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Director for the American Legislative Exchange Council who also co-authors ALEC’s Rich States, Poor States report, detailed how simplicity, transparency, neutrality, and predicability are key areas to look over when assessing a tax code.  He also detailed the dynamics of the Laffer Curve, which often irks the political left.

However, weather also effects a state’s economic vigor.  Hawaii and California, states considered to be paradise, have lost scores of citizens in the last ten years.  Hawaii has lost population in eight of the last ten years.  California has lost over 1.5 million residents over the past decade.  Proof that taxpayers vote with their feet.  Hence the reason why Florida, Texas, Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia, states with low taxes and responsible government, have had the highest rates of in-migration over the past ten years.  While states with (surprise!) high levels of taxation and government spending,  New York, California, Illinois, and New Jersey, are on the top of the out-migration list.

Overall, over the past ten years Ohio, New York, Hawaii, New Jersey, Vermont, California, and Oregon have grown their economies 42.06%, their population has grown 5.36%, and their job growth is an abysmal -1.68%.  Furthermore, total tax receipt growth in those states accounted for a meager 44.80%.  While Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Wyoming, and South Dakota collectively experienced a 58.54% gross state product growth, a 13% increase in population, total tax receipt growth of 81.53% and job growth of way over 5% over the past ten years.  What a shocker…for liberals.

James Sherk, Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics for the Heritage Foundation, reiterated how labor reforms are essential to loosening markets and increasing economic activity.  After all, when you don’t have constraining hiring and firing provisions in a contract with a union, you might have more options as an employer.  As we conservatives know, a union is a legal cartel.  An unsustainable economic model that crumbles once competition is injected into it.  Hence, the reason why merit pay for teachers is so viciously opposed.

Teachers have been pushed front and center in this fight against public sector unions.  Sadly, the most qualified and efficient teachers, the good ones, are the first to go when a budget crunch occurs and the worst of the bunch with seniority are saved.  Is that efficient?

This whole fight over collective bargaining is one fraught with liberal confusion.  An aspect that isn’t all that surprising, but this shift towards collective bargaining as a human right is patently false.  Federal employees aren’t allowed to collectively bargain and the AFL-CIO’s first president, George Meany, is quoted as saying in 1955″ it is impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”  Why?  Because “government collective bargaining means voters do not have the final say on public policy. Instead their elected representatives must negotiate spending and policy decisions with unions. That is not exactly democratic – a fact that unions once recognize.”

Another thing that needs to recognized is that a staggering 35% of all jobs require a license.  Sherk said that in forty-nine states you need documentation to be a barber or a preschool teacher.  In thirteen states, you need a license to be a bartender.  In Maryland, such a document is required to be a fortune teller.  Lastly, three states require papers to operate as an interior designer.   With unemployment rising, people do not have the time or the money to go through years of training to learn a trade that shares little correlation with safety and the ability to perform the job.  It’s out of control.

Sherk reports that the lobbying arm of these professions are directly reposinsible for keeping 35% of all U.S. jobs in license limbo.  It’s hurting the poor and folks with a low-skill set.  Does it really take a year for one to be an efficient barber? No. If he/she cuts hair poorly, the market will remedy that defect.

On a positive note, we don’t need federal ordinances to reform the system.  States are fully capable of fixing this problem.

The Left’s Bleeding of ALEC

ALEC is still under siege

For over a year, the political left has waged a vicious and effective campaign to dissolve the American Legislative Exchange Council.  Twenty-five companies have already cut ties with ALEC and liberal groups are keeping the pressure on the organization through shame campaigns and other forms of extortion.  As reported by CJ Ciaramella of the Washington Free Beacon on July 17, various arms of the institutional left gathered in Arlington, Va last Thursday for a forum about this “shady” organization.  However, the focal point of their strategy can be found in the letter by Color of Change Executive Director Rashad Robinson back in June.

Courtesy of Washington Free Beacon and Color of Change

 

Courtesy of Washington Free Beacon and Color of Change

 

“We have commissioned a series of radio ads to make consumers aware of [your] relationship with ALEC and the policies it supports,” Robinson continues. “We plan to begin running these ads soon on Black radio stations across the country. We will also make the media aware of this ad campaign.”

“If [redacted] is reconsidering its relationship with ALEC, please contact Color of Change’s Director of Strategy, Gabriel Rey-Goodlatte, as soon as possible,” Robinson warns. “We would appreciate a response within one week.”

Obviously, if the client is in retail, they will run for the hills and so this campaign of intimidation in tough economic times is working and conservatives seem to be silent on the matter.  However, Mr. Rey-Goodlatte may have a criminal history. Ciaramella wrote that:

Rey-Goodlatte was arrested in 2001 for buying merchandise with counterfeit $20 bills, according to news reports. The Jones lieutenant, then 18, was charged with three felony counts of first-degree criminal possession of a forged substance and misdemeanor counts of petty larceny, the Poughkeepsie Journal reported at the time.

When reached on his cell phone and asked if the news report was true, Rey-Goodlatte said, “No,” and then announced he was heading into a meeting and hung up. Color of Change did not return numerous requests for comment about its funders or its campaign against ALEC.

In all, the left’s goal is to “to make ALEC toxic to be a part of,” which was stated by “Diallo Brooks, the director of field mobilization for People for the American Way, told the crowd at the town hall-style forum. Brooks was explaining his organization and its allies’ strategy to dismantle the private-public partnership of state legislators and businesses that works to advance free-market legislation.”  Because free markets are so evil, they only brought close to 400 million people into the middle class in China.

Nonetheless, this magical mystery tour included the usual suspects, like the AFL-CIO whose:

 State government-relations director Naomi Walker [stated] ALEC’s goal is no less than to “destroy our democracy.”

[Other] groups represented… included the National Education Association, Common Cause, ProgressVA, and the AFL-CIO. Several former and current progressive Virginia lawmakers also were on hand.

“Anyone who comes to you and says, ‘We have a great new innovative idea,’ stop and question it,” said Kim Anderson, the advocacy director for the National Education Association. “Because I guarantee they’re not interested in equity and equal access for every kid in America.”

“ALEC’s mechanics are second grade arithmetic,” NEA vice-president Lily Eskelsen said at the Netroots Nation panel. “Deregulate, defund, and privatize.” While Color of Change works to harass ALEC’s corporate sponsors, Common Cause has been leading the fight on the legal front.The non-profit group, which presents itself as a strictly non-partisan organization, has filed an IRS whistleblower complaint against ALEC, challenging the group’s tax-exempt status and accusing it of lobbying activities. It has also filed requests with more than 45 state attorneys general to investigate ALEC. Common Cause’s president, Bob Edgar, is a former Democratic congressman. The law firm working with Common Cause in its complaint, Phillips & Cohen, also has a long history of donating generously to Democrats.

With regards to Kim Anderson, teachers unions are interested only in teachers unions so cool it with the rhetoric about your organization’s commitment to students and their education.  In addition, I’m not going to listen to policy prescriptions from socio-economic cartels that inevitably fail in the end.  As the left continues its death by a thousand cuts strategy to destroy ALEC, I feel conservatives could be doing more to save this great organization. However, Ben Howe’s video from May shows that grassroots efforts against ALEC are small, but the media, in driving the narrative, has scared companies into bolting from the council.

Follow me on twitter: @mvespa1

ALEC Still Under Siege

The butcher’s bill keeps growing for the American Economic Exchange Council.  So far, 23 private sector clients have fled the left-wing pressure that is being mounted against the group in a concerted effort to drive them away from the political discussion.  The left hates ALEC for their limited government, free market principles, and formulation of Voter ID legislation.  They also have problems with the group crafting “Stand Your Ground” self-defense legislation.  However, as the Washington Free Beacon reported today, ProgressNow is the largest group on the far left leading the crusade.

ProgressNow is a liberal leviathan.  It was “founded in 2003 in Colorado, the organization has since expanded to include affiliate groups in 21 states. In the 2010 book, The Blueprint: How the Democrats won Colorado, and Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care, ProgressNow was described as the “crown jewel” of progressive donors’ efforts to flip the state. The umbrella organization promotes a variety of liberal causes, such as socialized healthcare and higher taxes on the wealthy. As of May 2012, the organization claims to have more than 2.5 million online members and plans to expand to 25 states. ProgressNow is part of a complex network of philanthropists and foundations that discretely funnel millions of dollars to progressive groups.”

Rob McKay, an Obama donor, and Ted Trimpa are both on the group’s board, as well as Democracy Alliance’s executive leadership, which was created in 2005 to fight the conservative movement after Democrats’ defeat in the 2004 elections.  CJ Ciaramella of the Beacon wrote that “Democracy Alliance members pay annual dues starting at $15,000, which support the organization’s staff as well as its semi-annual conferences and cocktail parties. Members are also required to contribute a minimum $100,000 to non-profit groups vetted and recommended by Democracy Alliance staff. It is unclear which groups receive funding. Meetings are closed to the public, membership is invite-only, and organizations that receive Democracy Alliance donations are asked not to disclose the information. The Free Beacon reported earlier in the year about the Democracy Alliance’s closely guarded and lavish Miami conference.”

So it’s a “shadowy liberal organization” that has also received $460,000 from the Soros backed Tides Foundation.  We must all do our part to curb these leftist who are prepping an all-out assault on the conservative political infrastructure .  Currently, the campaign they’ve waged against ALEC has been successful.  We need to curb this assault on free markets and limited government principles before it’s too late.  ALEC is far from safe and if this siege continues, they will certainly crumble.

Walmart Caves to Far Left Pressure, Leaves ALEC

The War on ALEC

Walmart, the largest retailer in the country, has fled ALEC in the progressive left’s latest victory in its war on the organization.  Jessica Wohl of Daily Finance stated “In April, ALEC said it was abandoning the committee that worked on “public safety and elections” to focus on the economy. Despite the change, Walmart decided it was no longer focused on the same issues as the council.” As I’ve mentioned before in a previous post which was reiterated by Ben Shapiro of Breitbart.com today:

Liberal groups like Media Matters for America and its close associate, the Van Jones-run Color of Change, working in coordination with friends of the Obama Administration, launched secondary boycotts against members in ALEC this year; several major ALEC sponsors have already dropped out, prompting ALEC to announce in April that it was no longer going to focus on “public safety and elections,” and would instead direct its energies toward the economy.

These groups have ALEC targeted due to its past support of model bills related to Stand Your Ground laws and Voter ID legislation. Wohl continued in her piece stating that such legislation is opposed by groups like “ColorOfChange, a liberal advocacy group for black Americans,[that] has said the voting laws put the poor and minorities at a disadvantage.”  This group was co-founded by Van Jones.  The ex-Special Advisor for Green Jobs advisor to the Obama White House  who infamously called Republicans “assholes” that led to his premature departure from the administration.

However, this whole notion that it disadvantages the poor and minorities is absurd in the extreme.  It always amazes me how liberals seem to think people, who are missing identification for voting, are incapable of going to their local DMV and acquiring a photo ID. It’s only $13.50.  Let’s take a look at the process in my home state of Pennsylvania.

 

 

 

 

$13.50! Holy Cow

 

Regardless, Maggie Sans, Walmart Vice President of Public Affairs and Government Relations, wrote this statement addressed to ALEC’s national chairman and executive director.

Previously, we expressed our concerns about ALEC’s decision to weigh in on issues that stray from its core mission ‘to advance the Jeffersonian principles of free markets…We feel that the divide between these activities and our purpose as a business has become too wide. To that end, we are suspending our membership in ALEC. Sans, who is also giving up her role as secretary of ALEC’s private enterprise board, did not specify the issues that caused the split. Walmart has benefited from ALEC campaigns involving taxes, commerce and technology. While we are disappointed in Walmart’s decision, we understand the unique pressures they are under, said spokeswoman Kaitlyn Buss.

I guess we can add Walmart to the list of victims of far left badgering.

RIP

Coca-Cola

Kaplan

Procter & Gamble

Blue Cross/Blue Shield

Pepsi

Kraft

Wendy’s

Walmart

The War on ALEC

I admit that I probably should have written about this long ago, but it remains a highly salient issue. For months the far left has been waging a campaign to destroy the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which has only intensified in the wake of the Trayvon Martin Shooting.  ALEC is a private-public partnership of state legislators and businesses that seek to expand the principles of limited government, free markets, and economic liberty.  Left wing hatred towards the organization for advocating and promoting these principles has been a long standing tradition, but it seems the political left is taking a more aggressive approach against ALEC.    Yesterday, The Washington Free Beacon reported that liberal elements are preparing for war against ALEC.

The participants, including representatives from such far-left groups as Common Cause, Color of Change, and ProgressNow, met for lunch in a conference room at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C. The New Organizing Institute, a group that provides support and technology for political organizers, sponsored the forum. Never relent, never let up pressure, and always increase, said Aniello Alioto of ProgressNow Colorado, summing up the strategy.

One of the groups that attempted to forge a connection between ALEC and the Trayvon Martin shooting is Color of Change, a nonprofit founded by 9/11 Truther and former Obama green jobs czar Van Jones.

Color of Change Director of Strategy,Gabriel Rey-Goodlatte, has already started a phone banking and online petitioning campaign against companies associated with ALEC and companies like Amazon.com, State Farm, Johnson & Johnson, and AT&T are included on their hit list.

With the launch of ALEC Exposed nine months ago, the site has detailed some 800 bills and thousands of internal documents from the organization that includes two years worth of ALEC meetings, their attendee lists and the accompanying minutes due to Common Cause’s successful Freedom of Information Act request from state legislators.  Common Cause is “a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.”  However, as Jason Stverak, President of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, wrote on Breitbart, it’s a progressive organization funded by billionaire lefty George Soros.  Seeing that ALEC was involved in crafting Voter ID legislation, Stand Your Ground Laws, Alabama’s “Papers Please” immigration policy, and Wisconsin’s revamp of collective bargaining rights, it is hardly a surprise why the left wants them gone and think they’re evil.  It’s “the vast right wing conspiracy.”

To no one’s surprise, the liberal media, including far left publications like The Nation and The Huffington re-Post, released hit pieces last summer exposing this “shadowy” organization, but it was really the Trayvon shooting that galavanized this campaign to heavily marginalize ALEC’s agenda and, therefore, our fight for economic freedom and limited government.  So far, the political left has been able to force The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Coca-Cola to drop their support of ALEC and the organization itself states it will double down on “jobs, free markets, and growth” and announced the end of their task force that dealt with non economic issues.  Hence, this means that ALEC has caved to left-wing pressure and, as Kevin Glass wrote on Townhall.com, “they’ll be shutting down pro-second amendment outreach and the pushes for voter ID laws.”  Glass continues by stating that “conservative organizations and conservative activists need to be able to reassure companies targeted by progressive boycotts that the boycotts won’t make a meaningful financial impact. The reason progressives have gone after ALEC isn’t because ALEC is particularly “extreme” or something – it’s because ALEC has been successful in passing legitimate conservative legislation.”  As we gear up to take on Barack Obama’s billion dollar re-elect campaign, we must not forget our friends and allies who are also fighting to expand conservative principles.  We CANNOT allow these people to “Acorn” us in an election year or any year for that matter.

Let’s Play “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader” on Capitol Hill

What the U.S. needs more than anything right now might be an amendment to the laws that determine eligibility of individuals seeking public office. Debbie Wasserman Schultz could be the poster-child for promoting this move. Her failure to grasp her own job description is just simply disgusting. Bret Baier deserves a medal for not laughing out loud at her, or otherwise losing his cool in the face of utter incompetence.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Medill DC (CC)


Schultz was nonplussed during her interview for a very simple reason. The process that she was talking about was obviously unknown to her. Now, her constituents should be thinking long and hard about her continuing to represent them, because if she doesn’t understand the legislative process at this point, then she’s not representing them very well. The other option is that she was taken off-guard when Baier refused to let up on the issue of the Senate Democrats not passing a budget. Schultz did mumble something about November, so maybe she really meant that the Democrats have no intention of doing their jobs as far as the budget is concerned until after the election. Either way, it is at best a matter of failing to do what they were sent to Washington to do.

But beyond Schultz, there is a sincere problem on the left when it comes to understanding the legislative process. The latest craze for the left-wing is to bash the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). According to them, ALEC is responsible for a vast right-wing conspiracy that will leave government at the mercy of business. Well, the reality is that to a certain extent, the government already is in that situation, since businesses are the greatest source of revenue, and they cause citizens to be employed, so they can pay taxes as well. But, this isn’t about economics this time.

These people would have everyone believe that what everyone should have learned in elementary or middle school about the legislative process is a lie. Bills from ALEC miraculously get printed, given to legislatures, and get passed without a single word changed. Sorry, but the only items that sometimes manage to get the nod on the floor of any legislative body in this nation without at least some changes are those cute little resolutions recognizing local people or events in a given lawmaker’s district. Even some of those end up with amendments, too though. So to think that a complex piece of legislation would make it through the “process” Schultz kept talking about without any changes is bluntly insane.

Now, perhaps these left-wing folks might be harping on this because they might have figured out by now that their precious little lawmakers might not actually be reading the bills that they vote on. One can’t blame them for coming up with that one, since their lovely Nancy Pelosi infamously said the Hill had to pass Obamacare to find out what’s in it. But that problem goes back to the left-wing’s apparent inability to understand the legislative process. Arguably, it is their own fault that they keep putting people that put the cart before the horse in Congress. It isn’t ALEC’s fault that some lawmakers apparently don’t find it necessary to actually read a bill before voting on it. There also isn’t a vast right-wing conspiracy out there trying to pass evil laws. But there are probably at least a few Republican lawmakers that already know what’s been said here, and aren’t above exploiting it. That’s why they are in office, after all!