Conservatives should be on the front line of the battle to raise the minimum wage. Work is supposed to make one independent, but with the inflation-adjusted federal minimum down by a third from its peak, low-wage workers depend on billions of dollars in public assistance just to make ends meet. Just this week, Rachel West and Michael Reich released a study conducted for the Center for American Progress that found raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would save taxpayers $4.6 billion in spending on food stamps.
Please review and comment.
Shawn M. Lynch, Ph.d.
Voting for federal office shall take place on the first Monday in June in an election year, beginning with the second regularly scheduled election following the enactment of this amendment.
All those in elective office upon enactment of this amendment shall have their current terms of office shortened if necessary to conform to this new date.
The states must conform to this change in date.
All provisions of this amendment must be enacted within four years of its passage.
Persons holding elective office for less than three years at the time of the enactment of this amendment shall not have those years counted towards term limits imposed by this amendment.
The first Monday in June in an election year is hereby set as both a federal and state holiday. Any date on which an election is held under the provision of this amendment shall be designated both a state and federal holiday. All employers are required to provide paid time off for employees to vote in both federal and state elections when a person’s office or position requires work on a state and federal holiday.
Any state or federal agency, or any employer, are forbidden from making any effort to influence the votes of employees by the threat of the loss of income or position, or threat of life and limb, or in any way reasonably considered intimidation. An offending employer shall be charged with a felony in the federal courts.
All federal and state elections shall be conducted using the Alternative (or instant-run off) vote beginning at the second regularly scheduled election following the enactment of this amendment. The state and federal governments are required to conduct public education campaigns on the procedures of an election using the alternative vote system. Congress may designate an different voting system, but must choose a proportional system.
A newly elected Congress shall convene at noon on the fourth Monday in June. A newly elected President shall take office at noon on July 4th.
Election campaigns for federal offices shall be limited to the months of November and December in the year prior to an election year, and January, February, March April, and May of an election year.
Political party primary elections for all federal elective offices shall be conducted in either January, February or March of an election year as outlined in this amendment.
Presidential and congressional campaigns of properly nominated candidates for federal office shall be limited to the period of May 1st of an election year until the Sunday immediately prior to election day on the first Monday in June. No electioneering of any sort may take place forty-eight hours before the election. Violation of this provision shall result in a candidate being taken off the ballot.
States are required to provide early voting hours beginning three weeks before election day.
The states shall be divided into five regions with as close to equal population as is reasonable and practical by the Federal Elections Commission. The Commission shall take into account geography, regional ties, and shared history in determination of these districts, which must be contiguous with the exceptions of Alaska and Hawaii and other overseas territories. Said regions shall conduct their primary elections campaigns in the following manner: Regions 1 and 2 shall vote on the last Monday in January; region 3 shall vote on the last Monday in February; and regions 4 and 5 shall vote on the last Monday in March. At all subsequent elections, the regions shall be rotated in order through the voting months in a 2-1-2 pattern.
Congress and the state legislatures shall enact all appropriate legislation to conform with this amendment within two years of its enactment.
All states must award its Electoral Votes in the following manner. Two Electoral Votes shall be awarded to the winner of the popular state-wide vote. The remaining Electoral Votes shall be awarded to the winner of the popular vote in each of the state’s Congressional Districts.
The winner of the popular vote nation-wide shall be awarded twenty-five additional Electoral Votes.
In the event that the House of Representatives must elect the President, or the Senate must elect the Vice President, each member of said house shall have one vote.
The members of each state’s congressional delegation are required to cast their votes as proportionately matched to the voter intent of their state as closely as is possible and practical, on the first ballot only.
In the event that no candidate is elected President by noon on the third Monday in June, the Speaker of the House shall become Acting President for no more than sixty days. A new president must be elected within that time either by popular vote or by Congress.
In the event that no candidate is elected Vice President by noon on the third Monday in June, the president pro tem of the Senate shall become Acting Vice President for no more than sixty days. A new vice president must be elected in that time either by popular vote or by Congress.
The term of office of the President of the United States is hereby set at six years. No person may serve more than two terms in any twenty-four year period.
The term of office of the members of the United States House of Representatives is hereby set at four years. No person may serve more than four terms.
The term of office of the members of the United States Senate is hereby set at eight years. No person may serve more than three terms.
If a person completes less than half of a predecessor’s term, that service shall not be counted in the term limit provision.
In the event that Congress cannot enact a federal budget by the start of the new fiscal year, Congress shall have sixty days to enact a budget. If no budget is enacted within sixty days, both houses of Congress are automatically dissolved, with new elections held on the third, forth, fifth or sixth Monday following dissolution, at the direction of Congress. That date shall be designated a federal and state holiday. Those elected at the subsequent election shall complete the unexpired terms of their predecessor.
Either house of Congress may dissolve itself, on a vote of two-thirds of its members, in preparation for a new election. Said election must be held on the fourth, fifth, or sixth week following dissolution. Those elected shall fulfill the unexpired term of their predecessor.
The states may adopt electronic voting devices, but any devices must produce a paper receipt for the voter and must institute the most powerful encryption and security software available.
The Federal Election Commission is hereby empowered to recommend to the states the most secure electronic voting devices, and to publicize the security flaws in other devices.
Congress shall expand said commission as necessary to conform to this and other provisions.
No state may require the purchase of a voter identification card. Any such identification must be issued to voters free of charge at the time of registration, or subsequently when necessary. Any such card must be funded by a consumption tax enacted by the state legislature. Congress may issue federal voter identification cards, funded by a consumption tax.
All states and territories must provide equal, free and fair access to the polling places in local, state, and federal elections.
Any community or electoral district which proves to the satisfaction of a federal court that voters were denied equal, free or fair access to polling places in a local, state or federal election, shall have the right to a second election. Any state which discriminates against any community in these terms shall lose representation in the House of Representatives and Electoral College votes equal to the number of districts affected, as directed by the federal court, until such circumstances are remedied.
The term of office of any person appointed to the federal judiciary shall expire upon reaching the age of seventy years.
The states shall be awarded a number of United States Senators in the following manner.
The states with the largest populations that together comprise fifty percent of the whole population of the United States shall elect four Senators each.
The states with the next largest populations that together comprise thirty-five percent of the remaining fifty percent of the population shall elect three Senators each.
The remaining states shall elect two Senators each.
In consultation with tribal governments and appropriate federal agencies, Congress must provide for representation in both house of Congress for residents of Native American, Hawaii ‘an and Alaskan reservations in some manner within four years of the enactment of this amendment. Seats awarded to the native peoples shall not count towards the totals for each of house of Congress set by other sections of this amendment. Representatives elected shall have the full power of office. This provision does not alter any other part of the relationship between the federal and tribal governments.
Voting is compulsory in all federal and state elections for all eligible voters aged from twenty-five to fifty-five years. Congress and/or the state legislatures shall designate a reasonable fine for failure to vote, with necessary exceptions for mental or physical incapacity.
The number of regular seats in the House of Representatives is hereby raised to six hundred and thirty-five, beginning at the second regularly scheduled Congressional election following the adoption of this amendment.
The federal and state governments must conduct a new census within two years following the adoption of this amendment, in order to reapportion the seats in the House of Representatives.
When in the best interests of the nation and the people, Congress is hereby empowered to grant Special Constitutional Status to United States territories that are not states. Special Constitutional Status allows the residents of the territories who already bear United States citizenship to elect one member of the House of Representatives, and one member of the Senate, beginning at the second regularly scheduled Congressional elections following the enactment of this amendment. These seats do not count toward the total number of seats set by this amendment.
The District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico are hereby granted Special Constitutional Status.
The process commonly labeled “Gerrymandering” is hereby outlawed.
The power to design congressional electoral districts in each state is hereby granted to the supreme court of each state.
The state supreme courts shall create the new electoral districts on completion of the census required by this amendment, and all subsequent decennial censuses.
Said districts must cover roughly the same population size, and must be of regular shape and contiguous, taking into account state and natural borders. The courts may not consider race, religion, income, or prior voting patterns in creation of the new districts. Districts must be non-partisan and rational.
Exceptions to these guidelines made in order to conform most closely to the intent of equal, fair, and proportional representation must receive the approval of the United States Supreme Court.
Voters of an individual district, or of the state as a whole, may petition the state legislature for redress if said districts do not conform to this amendment. The state legislatures are empowered to compel the state supreme court to redraw such districts if warranted.
If the state fails to offer redress, the voters may petition the Supreme Court of the United States.
State legislatures may alternately designate a non-partisan body of experts to act as an Electoral Boundary Commission.
The voters may dissolve either or both houses of Congress by referendum, in preparation for new elections.
Dissolution of one or both houses shall occur forty-eight hours following the passage of the referendum.
All members shall face re-election in the event of dissolution.
Subsequent elections shall be conducted on the sixth Monday following the enactment of dissolution. That day shall be designated a federal and state holiday. Those elected shall fill the remainder of their predecessor’s term. The new Congress shall convene forty-eight hours after the election.
The voters may recall the President, the Vice President, or any member of the United States Supreme Court in similar fashion.
Recall elections for President or Vice President shall include the election of a new President or Vice President. The person or persons elected shall complete the unexpired term of their predecessor.
The President or Vice President shall remain in office until the recall election is conducted. If either the President or Vice President is removed from office by referendum, the term of office shall expire twenty-four hours from the certification of election results.
The voters may compel the President of the United States as Commander-in-Chief to withdraw the military forces of the United States from any conflict through referendum.
A conference of Congress and the state legislatures shall create a formula for the introduction and passage of such referenda, so that all states adopt the same formula. Said conference shall determine the specifics necessary to carry out this provision. Said formula must balance the rights and interests of the voters with issues of political stability. Proper legislation must be enacted by each state within three years of the adoption of this amendment.
The United States Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), is hereby repealed.
No corporation may be granted the same rights as a human being.
Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex or sexual orientation, except to protect the reasonable health, safety and wellbeing of all citizens. Matters related to sexual orientation are restricted to relationships between consenting adults. The state and federal governments are empowered to limit marriage to two persons. Both Congress and the state legislatures are required to enact appropriate legislation to conform with this amendment within two years of its adoption.
The state and federal governments shall fund the political campaigns for elective offices.
Congress shall determine the amount of funding granted to candidates for federal office. The amount dispersed must be the same for all candidates for a single office. Monies dispersed shall be dispensed under the supervision of the Federal Elections Commission or other non-partisan body designated by Congress.
No candidate or party whose platform advocates violence or racial, sexual or other form of discrimination in violation of United States law or statute, or state law or statute, shall be eligible for federal or state election funds.
Neither state nor federal funds may be used for advertisements commonly labeled “negative.”
The state legislatures shall set the amount of funding available for candidates for state office. The amount must be the same for all candidates for a single office. Any political party with more than 100 dues-paying members is eligible for state funds.
No corporation, political action committee, public or private organization or foreign entity may donate any funds or grant any emolument or gift to any candidate for any federal or state political office. None of the preceding may be awarded state or federal electoral vouchers.
Each voter shall be granted an equal number of vouchers worth a certain amount of campaign funding, which they may donate to properly-nominated candidates in state or federal elections. Voters may only give vouchers to candidates in the electoral district in which they are a full-time resident. The value of the vouchers shall be awarded to said candidate by the state or federal treasury, above the standard amount granted to each candidate equally. The states and the federal government must each issue such vouchers to be used in state and federal elections.
Vouchers may not be sold or traded in any way. Vouchers may only be transferred from the original voter to a properly-nominated candidate for state or federal elective office. Any voter convicted of trading, selling or purchasing vouchers to or from another voter, or of transferring any number of coupons to a candidate outside of the electoral district in which the voter is a full-time resident, or to a candidate not properly nominated, shall be unable to vote for five years, nor receive campaign vouchers, and face a fine imposed by the state or federal government. Any candidate convicted of purchasing election vouchers, or trading for the same, or accepting coupons from residents outside of the electoral district shall be disbarred from elective office for ten years.
Congress shall require that broadcast and cable channels offer free airtime to candidates for federal office, with each duly nominated candidate receiving equal time.
Candidates may not air campaign commercials or videos that attack an opposing candidate using free airtime.
Once a person leaves federal elective or appointive office, that person may not engage in lobbying for a period of fifteen years. Congress is empowered to lengthen this ban, but not shorten it.
The cultivation and sale of marijuana is hereby legal in all states and territories.
A citizen must have attained the age of twenty-one to produce, purchase or sell marijuana.
Congress and the state legislatures may tax the production and sale of marijuana.
The production and sale of marijuana shall be regulated by the appropriate agencies of the state and federal governments.
Congress shall enforce “net neutrality” and the Federal Communications Commission shall immediately restore the Equal Time doctrine. The Equal Time Doctrine may not be repealed.
All tax-paying citizens shall be empowered to allocate 50% of their total tax payments to both the federal and state governments.
Tax forms shall allow the taxpayer to choose to allocate up to 50% of their tax collected to one or more of the following categories: defense; education; infrastructure; foreign aid; social safety net; healthcare; and up to two more categories designated by Congress.
Congress and the state legislatures must allocate these funds as determined by the taxpayers as closely as is reasonable and practical. These allocations may be postponed during times of war or national emergency.
Congress and the state legislatures are hereby empowered to enact all legislation necessary to conform to the provisions of this amendment.
Congress is empowered to enact legislation to correct technical, systemic, or logical faults in this amendment by a vote of two-thirds of both houses and the signature of the President.
Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (retired), the executive vice president of the conservative Family Research Council, was caught on a “hot mic” on Thursday joking that “the Jews are the problem” to an Israeli reporter and pitching his theory about President Barack Obama using “subliminal messages” to signal support for al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, in audio posted by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on Friday.
“If you understand anything about Islam, there are subliminal messages,” Boykin can be heard saying. “His message, really, I believe was, ‘I understand you, and I support you.’”
With the rise of new Democratic leaders like Elizabeth Warren and Bill de Blasio, among others, one word keeps dominating the conversation on the left. I refer, of course, to the word liberal. Dreaded by centrist Democrats who consider it an epithet and recipe for disaster, it’s nonetheless time for the left to no longer shy from this label — and, indeed, reclaim it.
While Hillary Clinton commands a 6-to-1 lead over her potential rivals in the Democratic presidential primary race, there are murmurs about a challenge to her candidacy from the left. Even if unsuccessful, such a contest would pressure the former secretary of state to position herself as a left-liberal. After three decades of excommunication at the hands of centrist Democrats (including Bill Clinton) and conservatives of all parties, liberalism is finally returning to the mainstream American conversation. Its reemergence should be welcomed with open arms on the left, and today’s “moderates,” “centrists” and “leftists” (short of socialists) should champion the term, make it theirs once again and return to their roots on the left.
“Liberal” became a dirty word in American politics for two reasons. First, a combination of Democratic leaders perceived as ineffectual — George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis — helped tarnish the term. However, these individuals alone did not cause liberalism’s disappearance; after all, one does not see a similar aversion to conservatism because of Nixon, Bush and other Republican failures. The second and more important reason was that conservatives successfully conducted a campaign against the term, transfiguring it from a philosophy of freedom and social mobility into a bureaucracy-loving, freedom-depriving, taxation-and-entitlement ideology of largesse. Conservatives linked liberalism with the turmoil of the ’60s and stagflation of the ’70s, as well as the various foreign policy crises of that decade, and liberals themselves disowned the term. In vulgarizing the word liberal and polluting its definition, Republicans put Democrats on the permanent defensive. It was an act of staggering political genius.
SANTA BARBARA, Ca. — Let’s review. Just a few years ago California was a punching bag for conservative scolds — a failed state, profligate with its spending and promiscuous with its ambition. Ungovernable. And everybody’s leaving.
Mitt Romney compared California to bankrupt Greece. Texas Governor Rick Perry said it was anti-business. (Howdy, Google and Facebook, say hello to Amarillo.) And Fox News, well, take the above and add a series of bluster blasts that will not withstand fact checking.
Now some recent headlines: “California Projects $4.6 Billion Surplus.” “California Among the National Leaders in Job Creation.” And “San Francisco Wins Super Bowl.” O.K., I threw in the last one as a dig at the Niners, but you get the point.
It’s unfair to give all credit for the Golden State revival to Jerry Brown. But the man, who will be 76 next month and was both the youngest and oldest governor of California, and who just announced a plan to run for a fourth term with an approval rating approaching 60 percent, deserves the lion’s share.
MOSCOW — Russia signaled for the first time on Friday that it was prepared to annex Ukraine’s Crimea region, significantly intensifying its confrontation with the West over the political crisis in Ukraine and threatening to undermine a system of respect for national boundaries that has helped keep the peace in Europe and elsewhere for decades.
Leaders of both houses of Russia’s Parliament said that they would support a vote by Crimeans to break away from Ukraine and become a region of the Russian Federation, ignoring sanction threats and warnings, from the United States and other countries, that a vote for secession would violate Ukraine’s Constitution and international law. The Russian message was yet another in a series of political and military actions undertaken over the past week that outraged the West, even while the Kremlin’s final intentions remained unclear.
As fresh tensions flared between Russian and Ukrainian forces in Crimea, the moves by Russia raised the specter of a protracted conflict over the status of the region, which Russian forces occupied last weekend, calling into question not only Russia’s relations with the West but also post-Cold War agreements on the sovereignty of the nations that emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union.
While most of us enjoy a good dictator joke (tee hee, Mao Zedong), we’re way more likely to do so over a foamy latte than right in the dictator’s face, surrounded by armed members of his stormtroopers. Not because we’re cowards or anything, we swear — we just don’t run into too many dictators in our day-to-day lives. Besides, we still need to talk to our downstairs neighbor about how loud he plays his music, and we’re waiting for the right time.
And then there are these folks, who stared right into the eyes of heavily armed evil and slowly, purposefully, without ever breaking eye contact, raised both middle fingers.