George Soros vs. the Almighty Dollar

[CORRECTION  —   Former Montana State Representative Matthew Monforton did not write, or adopt as his own, the  views expressed by Erick Erickson in the article “Let’s Consider Secession”.  This error on my part has been corrected, and I apologize to Matthew for it,]

George Soros is famous as “The Man who Broke the Bank of England”.  He made a $10 billion bet against the pound sterling in 1992, and broke not only the bank but the Conservative government of Great Britain, which had staked its reputation on defending the pound’s value.  Labour won the next election in 1997, and ruled for thirteen years.

If Soros is no friend to the British, he’s a deadly and determined enemy of our country.  He hates it, and us, so much that it may be clouding his investment judgement.  I did read somewhere that he did lose some money in an investment that was predicated on American weakness.  He’d love to bet against the dollar, as he did against the pound.

I hope he’s already made that bet, and that’s why he and his various organizations are fighting the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force, and will fight any use of Article V.  If Congress were forced to gradually balance its budget, over the course of a ten or even fifteen year time span, the dollar would be as mighty as it’s ever been.

National wealth is a strategic asset in a wild and woolly world.  Our national currency is a stand in for the country itself.  Defending the dollar is a patriotic duty of every American.   Passing a balanced budget amendment, through the use of Article V, would restore the republic.

This must be the work of the state legislators next year in Wisconsin, South Carolina, Idaho, Montana, Virginia, Kentucky and Minnesota.  We were hoping to get Wisconsin this year, but the opposition, mainly the John Birch Society, was too much.  The Senate is a problem that must be dealt with.

Voting on an Article V Resolution is different than any other vote a state legislator can make.  They only vote on issues within their state’s jurisdiction.  Nationally, they have no power, except that granted by Article V.

The power potential of Article V is so great that some are afraid to ever use it.  This is why we’re having a Convention of State in sunny Phoenix, Arizona.  I know it’s 120 degrees there, and planes can’t fly, but it’s a dry heat, and I’m sure it will cool off by September.

The weather doesn’t matter.  This is not some pleasure junket to Disneyland.  This is serious business, and Arizona and its Speaker, J. D. Mesnard, stepped forward and took leadership when it was needed, and the entire Task Force is indebted to them.

Rather than fear the abuse the power of Article V,  legislators need to show themselves capable of exercising some of it.  And because they have the power, they bear the responsibility.  That’s what everyone in attendance in Phoenix needs to understand.

Understand, and then communicate that understanding to their colleagues back at their own State Capitol.  They all swore an oath to respect, defend, and honor the Constitution.  They all ran for office with the intention of keeping that oath.  By serving in a state legislature, each individual member can only defend the Constitution, as they swore to do, in one positive way.

And that’s through the use of Article V.

One last word on secession.  It can only be done, constitutionally, through an Act of Congress.  Anything else is unconstitutional, unlawful, and treasonous.

If California wants to secede, it needs to ask Congress and the President.  Maybe there’s a deal out there that only Donald Trump could make.  Maybe there are terms of separation for the San Francisco Bay Area and greater L. A.

Barry Goldwater got in trouble for fantasizing about sawing off the northeast and letting it drift into the Atlantic.  I wouldn’t mind sawing off San Francisco and letting it float into the Pacific.

And a San Francisco Democrat is going to lead the Democrats to a House Majority next year?  Who’s crazy enough to believe that?

 

Secession? Hell no. Federalism.

In the four years I’ve been back in politics, the best part has been the friends I’ve made.  In the spring of 2014, on behalf of and funded by the National Tax Limitation Committee, I sent letters to all the Republican candidates for the Montana Legislature.  I  told them about the campaign for a balanced budget amendment through Article V, and asked them to sign a pledge to support it.

I got one response, from Matthew Monforton, a lawyer making his first run at the State House.  That summer I had breakfast with Matthew in Bozeman, along with my son Darren and half a dozen of his friends and business associates.  I’m UCLA Law, class of ’74.  Matthew is UCLA Law, class of ’94.  After he got out of law school he worked as a D.A. in southern California, and blew the whistle on some prosecutorial abuses.  He’s got guts.  Plus, he’s smart as a whip and a good guy.

Now Matthew writes occasionally at Erick Erickson’s web site, The Resurgent.  He’s posted on his Facebook account out  a piece by Erickson called Let’s Consider Secession.  Erickson is so disgusted with the Scalise shooting, and all the rest of it, that he thinks he might want a divorce.  Instead, let’s try a separation agreement.

Secession is a very bad idea.  It’s been threatened any number of times, but only tried once.  It was, and is, the worst idea in American history.  I won’t play with fire, and I won’t discuss secession.  Let’s keep our country, the greatest gift of our forefathers .  Let’s save it.

A separation agreement would have to be negotiated at a future Convention of States.  If 2/3 of the states can agree on the terms of separation, they would recommend the passage of 34 State legislative resolves.  These resolutions would set forth the terms of the separation agreement from the Convention of States in the form of a proposed amendment to the Constitution.  If ratified by 3/4 of the states, a peaceful and orderly separation will have been achieved.

None of this will happen at the Phoenix Convention.  It was called for one purpose, to plan for a Balanced Budget Amendment Convention, and it would be inappropriate to take up any other subject.  If anything else is even discussed, it would feed the big lie of runaway conventions.

But once the Phoenix Convention adjourns, the assembled state leaders could discuss the possibility of another Convention of States, to be held early in 2018, at a state Capitol to be determined.  If there is enough interest, the main subject of discussion would be, what shall the second Article V constitutional amendment be?

Term limits, or any other of Mark Levin’s amendments could be considered.  Alternatively the Republicans and Democrats present could discuss the terms of the legal separation that both sides seem to want.  Until these two sides meet and try to come to an agreement, any talk of secession is bad medicine.

Rather than post articles on secession, I’m going to try to convince Matthew to give the BBA another shot in Montana.  He worked his tail off after he was elected, trying to get our Resolution passed.  We’ve never had a sponsor, in any state, work harder.  But we got our butt kicked, bad.

Matthew had the eminent good sense not to seek reelection.  He’s wise beyond his years.  He’s a patriot, and a constitutional conservative.  And he’s got a lot to contribute.

 

As good as it gets

In 1975 the campaign to adopt a Balanced Budget through Article V was started by Democratic state legislators in Maryland and Mississippi.  Until 1983, when Alaska became the 32nd state, it was truly bipartisan.   The Alaska Senate, where I served, was controlled by Democrats, and the sponsor of the BBA Resolution was Democrat Bob Ziegler of Ketchikan.  There was no debate.

As the specter of an Article V convention loomed, the Democratic Party national leadership decided to kill it.  In an unholy alliance with Phyllis Schlafy and the John Birch Society, the national Democrats and their union allies were able to rescind the resolutions in 16 states.  Since that time, no chamber of any legislature under Democratic control has passed a BBA resolution.

The BBA campaign lay dormant for almost 30 years, until Bill Fruth and Dave Biddulph formed the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force in 2011.  At the time they expected to get some support from middle of the road Democrats, who had complete control of 27 state legislatures.  But their only successes have been in Republican controlled bodies.

There are 32 such legislatures today.  In 2011 there were fourteen.  It is because of the turning of the political tides in 2013 that the Task Force has had the success it has.  But the election of Trump the Improbable seems, at the moment, to be the peak of the tide, and it may turn back next year.

Earlier this year, Democratic majorities in New Mexico, Nevada and Maryland rescinded their BBA resolutions, which had passed in the late 1970’s.  None of the 27 remaining resolutions are from states under Democratic control.  The seven states needed to reach the magic number of 34 are all Republican controlled.

There are currently 32 legislatures controlled by Republicans.  Maine, Washington, Alaska and Colorado are split control.  If the Democrats get control of either Alaska or Colorado after the 2018 elections, (and they could), their existing BBA resolutions would almost certainly be rescinded.

It’s been a hundred years since Republicans have controlled so many legislatures, and it’s not likely to last.  The Republicans in Washington, from Trump down, are hurting the Republican brand.  Even though Democrats have no real agenda other than resistance, it would be foolhardy not to expect a Republican retreat in 2018.

I won’t go so far as to say it’s 2018 or bust for the BBA, but that’s where the smart money is.  The Phoenix Convention of States, if it’s as successful as we hope, could give us the boost we need to get to 34 next year.  We’re running out of ideas, and need help.  Maybe Phoenix will convince people we’re for real.

Actually, I don’t think the Alaska Senate will lose its Republican majority.  The politics of the Alaska legislature are complicated by a history of bipartisan coalitions.  The current chairman of the Senate Finance Committee is Democrat Lyman Hoffman of Bethel.  He is helping to lead the Senate majority in fighting reinstatement of the state income tax.

It looks as though Lyman and his colleagues will prevail, and, in my opinion, that will assure that they maintain control of the Senate.

Lyman and I served together in the Alaska House for four years, from 1986-90.  We weren’t pals, as he was a tight lipped member of the majority, and I was raising hell as the minority leader.  But the Alaska legislature was collegial in those days, and we played each other in the cribbage tournament in the legislative lounge.

Once the dust settles in Juneau I’ll be giving Lyman a call.  We haven’t spoken in 27 years.  I’ll ask him to join me in attending the Phoenix Convention.  We could play a game of crib for old times sake.

 

 

Greg Gianforte, and escaping a typecast

As soon-to-be Representative Greg Gianforte heads to Washington and his swearing in, his hometown newspaper, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle leads its front page with this headline:  “Gianforte calls for civil politics after assaulting a reporter.”  Another front page story describes his lawyers seeking to avoid having a mug shot taken of him.

They won’t let this go.  This body slammer label will stick to him until he finds a way to change the subject.  How can he do that?

He’ll have lower seniority than anyone in Congress.  He represents a small and politically insignificant state.  As a politician, he hasn’t demonstrated much skill.  He lost a very winnable Governor’s race last year, while Trump was winning a landslide.

Most people think he wants to run for Governor in 2020.  He’s a self made multi-millionaire who loves his life in Montana.  He’as not going to put up with being a Congressman for long.

So what can he do in the next three years that will convince Republican voters to nominate him for Governor a second time?

Babbie and I are driving to Bozeman in six weeks, just as Congress goes into its August recess.  Gianforte will spend much of that recess at his home in Bozeman.  I hope to meet him.  What better for a new political identity than the Balanced Budget Amendment?  Instead of body slamming Gianforte, let’s have Balanced Budget Gianforte.

Bill Fruth gave his weekly report today on the Phoenix Convention.  The committee of legislators appointed to plan it is starting to come together, and make some decisions.  A lot’s going to be riding on Phoenix.

The Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force, thanks to the generosity of Dave and Suzie Biddulph, will be sponsoring a breakfast at the ALEC annual meeting in Denver.  On the last day of the meeting, Friday, July 21st, Rep. Ken Buck will be addressing the 500 or so state legislators in attendance on behalf of the Task Force.  After the breakfast is over, Rep. Buck will stay and be available to sign books and answer questions.

Ken Buck represents the most rural part of Colorado.  It’s a lot like Montana.  He and Greg Gianforte would probably hit it off.  It would sure be nice if Buck could explain Article V to his new colleague.