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Articles

From the South and Midwest

By Dan Sexson, Regional Field Director

From the “out of the ordinary” activity area, Coordinator Jim Sandman reports that an Alabama member came up with a novel idea to get the word out. He began regularly calling in to a local radio talk show in order to espouse JBS views on subjects and then learned of a local promotion where he was able to meet the host, give him a copy of The Shadows of Power, and even offer to pay the host if he would read it. The member noted in later broadcasts that the host would, from time to time, refer to subjects covered in the book, e.g. the CFR, Federal Reserve and the world conspiracy. One morning, this newly awakened radio host actually read from the book over the air. Listeners started calling to ask what he was reading from. He told them and related the history of his relationship with the member.

Jim is keeping tabs on Con-Con activity in Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia, and it appears that the situation is under control in those states. Jim has been assured by state legislators that there is no way a call would pass in either Tennessee or Alabama. There are no calls for a Con-Con in Georgia.

Coordinator Mitch Shaw reports that several members waged an effective war against the four Con-Con calls in Virginia, even one submitted to the legislature by the governor. They successfully stopped all the calls, as the legislature adjourned before any were passed. No calls have been located in South Carolina; there are four calls pending in North Carolina, but they are being held in check.

Coordinator Ken Hoover reports that members are fighting a total of eight calls for a Con-Con in Texas. He believes that only one has a slim chance of being approved. Support for other bills to prohibit full body scans and intrusive “pat downs” by TSA is needed.

Members in Kansas have been working hard to get a Con-Con rescission resolution passed.

In Missouri, members have successfully stopped one Con-Con call, and at this writing, a second effort is not moving. Members are now working to convince their state reps and senators to support SCR 9, a Con-Con rescission resolution.

There do not appear to be any calls for a convention in either Minnesota or Wisconsin.

In Nebraska, a call for a Con-Con has been indefinitely postponed.

In Iowa, members are faced with two Con-Con calls, HJR 4 and HJR 15.

From the North

by Robert Brown, Regional Field Director

Based on the success already achieved via the single-district plan in Montana and Wyoming, we have recently hired single-district Coordinators for North and South Dakota. We are seeing great response to a locally produced presentation entitled “The Power of 500.” It shows very clearly that 500 well-trained, well-informed, and properly coordinated activists can influence an entire congressional district. This plan works, however, only when put into action by members of well-run JBS chapters. (Join us for the June Council Dinner and Seminar in Bozeman, Montana, to see this presentation.)

The battle over the Con-Con underscores the need for JBS chapters to gain influence in their communities. It takes time and patience to bring our perspective to a level that influences, even changes, the mindset of citizens and legislators. For instance, in North Dakota, our previous warnings against a Con-Con were largely ignored. However, since we posted a Coordinator in the state in September 2010, our influence there has been growing. Perhaps based on this, a resolution has been introduced in the legislature declaring:

… experience has shown that the safeguards in the United States Constitution, as currently interpreted, may not be sufficiently clear to limit a Constitutional Convention to the specific subject for which that convention was called and thereby avoid a “runaway convention” where other matters may be considered….

Ironically, this resolution then proceeded to propose an amendment through a constitutional convention to eliminate this risk. We clearly have more work to do!

In Montana, four Con-Con resolutions had been drafted for consideration during the current legislative session. However, because the JBS single-district program has been underway in this state for more than one and one-half years, the story is very different from North Dakota’s. During this time, Birchers have been educating patriots and legislators across the state. Nearly every freedom group in the state joined with our JBS chapters to voice opposition to the Con-Con calls in messages, calls, etc. to their state legislators. At the combined hearings for the first two calls, testimony given by a dozen Birch members along with distribution of our Con-Con information packets convinced the committee to block the Con-Con calls. One of the legislators serving in the committee, a sponsor of the third call, was so impressed by our testimonies that he informed us he was reconsidering his Con-Con call. Neither the third nor the fourth resolutions were ever brought up for discussion in the committee. Victory was gained through hard work and sound information.

The kind of influence JBS now has cannot be built overnight. The JBS plan requires persistence and long-term focus. Our Society provides excellent tools for educating our friends and neighbors. It is up to each of us to use these tools to influence the leaders in our local communities.

From the Midwest and Northeast

by Lionel Terzi, Regional Field Director

Continuing with our plan to place a Coordinator in states with one U.S. Representative (those known as “Single District” states), Mr. Henry Lampman has been assigned as JBS Coordinator for the state of Vermont. He began working in the Green Mountain State in early February.

The Con-Con fever has spread all across the country. In the Midwest and Northeast, Iowa, Indiana, New Jersey, and New Hampshire have had Con-Con resolutions introduced. Our Iowa members have distributed the new State Legislator packet to fifty selected state assembly members and plan to follow up and enlist others in their grassroots effort.

We scored a victory in Indiana, after a long effort by our members to distribute the Beware of Article V DVD, along with many calls, letters, visits, and emails to educate the state assembly on the dangers of a Con-Con. Nine of our members testified at committ

ee hearings on Feb. 8-9. Their efforts led to one Con-Con resolution dying in committee, another passed and may be sent to the House floor for a vote, and a Senate Con-Con resolution was withdrawn when it came up for a floor vote. The feedback from some of our state Senators contained congratulations for the effort and support our members gave. One Senator emailed a member to tell her that he used her statement during his time within the floor debate. Our Indiana members are monitoring the progress of the last still-alive resolution. They hope to help defeat it on the floor, if it ever gets that far.

After these successes, it’s on to rescinding any Con-Con calls in other states. The most important part of this process has always been personal visits to the members’ state Senator and Representative. This was always the difference in states where we have had success. Something else learned is that some state legislators are impressed by “experts.” They failed to understand that our members had expert witnesses too — the Founding Fathers — whom our members cited and quoted. Can you beat them for “experts” on the Constitution?  No one should forget to use their statements in any Con-Con battle.  

 

From the West

by Bliss Tew, Regional Field Director

The challenge to Birchers in Utah and Arizona came early this year in their state legislative session where a number of bills were sponsored to trigger calls on Congress for an Article V Convention, a Con-Con. On February 10, a joint resolution applying for an “Article V Amendments Convention,” HJR 14, failed in a House committee. The sponsoring Representative brought an Arizona lawyer from the Goldwater Institute to present a power-point presentation in support of calling a Constitutional Convention, but testimony from JBS volunteer members and allies ended the attempt. HJR 2 likewise was “held” in committee the same day. One JBS Section Leader quoted the late James A. Michener’s 1979 eye-witness report on the Pennsylvania state Constitutional Convention and his observations on how difficult it was to contain such a convention to one subject. The quote was powerful in its acceptance.

While the Goldwater Institute claims that an Article V Convention is not a “Constitutional Convention,” but rather an “Amendments Convention,” even Utah’s sponsor of a Con-Con bill called the Article V Convention a “Constitutional Convention” (http://le.utah.gov/~2011/htmdoc/hbillhtm/hjr002.htm). JBS members were forced to point out contradictions.  Members’ preparations leading up to the legislative sessions were extremely important.  Both in Utah and Arizona, the Goldwater Institute broke its own Charter rules to lobby for particular bills calling for a Con-Con. If Birchers had not been prepared, they would have been overwhelmed by the Institute’s preparations.

In Arizona’s legislature the same battle raged as the Goldwater Institute provided legislators with their 40-page Policy Report to promote the calling of an Article V convention. A Goldwater Institute lawyer spoke to Arizona legislators. JBS members found themselves scurrying to testify in committees and to communicate with State Senators and Representatives.  Several bills, including SCR1206, JCR2015, and HCR2022 were sponsored to call on Congress for a constitutional convention. Birchers used the “No Con-Con” packet and our reprints to combat the Goldwater Institute.

Idaho Birchers led the way on a nullification bill that won in the Idaho House, but ultimately was defeated in a Senate committee, even though over 60 citizens were on hand to testify in favor of the bill.

Recruiting

by Jim Fitzgerald, Director of Field Activities

In the January, 2011 Bulletin I outlined a recruiting program that had been used very successfully in the late 1960s in many areas of the Northeast. This program should have greater success in today’s climate notably because of a clarion call for less government and reduced spending. The first step in this effort was to distribute information, including a DVD, on ObamaCare along with a survey and then follow up for prospecting. The program for this month will be on the economy using the Dollars and Sense DVD by Jack McManus. Members should follow the same steps outlined in January, led by a Coordinator or a volunteer leader.

1. Select a community that has little or no Society membership within a reasonable distance from an active chapter.

2. Put together a packet on material on the economy including the Dollar and Sense DVD, a new reprint “America Under Attack From Within” by John McManus (coming soon), and a survey with questions on the economy. (Download “Survey on the Economy” by going to JBS.org, and clicking on “Downloads” under the “Action” menu item; then click on “Freedom Campaign Downloads” and see “Survey on the Economy.”)

3. Start on a Saturday morning. Members should be assigned to different streets. Members need to knock on doors, offer the packet of material free, ask each homeowner to review the material and fill out the survey, then tell them that you will return the following week to pick it up.

4. Keep a record of the areas and homes where the distribution has taken place. When you return the following week, engage the homeowner in a discussion of the material and the survey. If they express an interest, ask if they would host a meeting at their home. If they agree to do so, encourage other homeowners in the area to attend. Several meetings of this kind can be achieved in the same community with the goal of starting new chapters.

5. This program can be replicated in most communities, and if organized properly can have a number of positive results. It activates members, uncovers new prospects, and leads to new activity and ultimately new chapters.

6. Feel free to innovate. For example, the survey can be changed to suit the type of material being distributed. Just be sure to keep the questions reasonably simple. Do not argue or engage in debate with those who disagree.

Action Summary

Chapter and Section leaders should begin organizing their members for this recruiting project:

  • Select a community, pick a date and a start time to begin your distribution so that it will conclude at a specific time.
  • Members can then meet over coffee after the distribution, discuss how the event worked out, and select a time for the follow-up a week later.
  • Order enough Dollars and Sense DVDs and “America Under Attack from Within” reprints (coming soon) for a sufficient distribution.
  • Download the “Survey on the Economy” at JBS.org.
  • Report your activity on this project to your Coordinator.
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