By Chuck Muth
Get this: George Zimmerman isn’t the real bad guy in the shooting of Trayvon Martin; it’s Ronald McDonald. Let me explain.
Rahm Emanuel, President Barack Obama’s foul-mouthed (“The Republicans can go f- themselves!”) former chief-of-staff (now mayor of Chicago), once famously said: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” And boy, oh boy, is the Left ever following that advice when it comes to Trayvon Martin.
First, this column has less to do with Trayvon’s shooting than how race-hustlers and other assorted liberal attack dogs are exploiting the young man’s death in an effort to advance their leftist agenda.
But frankly, I couldn’t care less about long-in-the-tooth race-hustlers like Al Sharpton using the Trayvon shooting to sow racial tension. After all, that’s what these publicity hounds do. It’s all about them. That’s their agenda. That’s their reason for living.
But then there’s the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).
CMD is an IRS-approved non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated, they claim, to “exposing corporate spin and government propaganda.” They do that, of course, with organized labor spin and liberal propaganda.
CMD claims its funding comes from “donations from individuals and philanthropic foundations” and accepts “no funding from for-profit corporations or grants from the government.” Which is fine.
But as a 501(c)(3), CMD doesn’t have to disclose the identity of the “individuals” who provide funding. For all we know, millionaire liberals such as George Soros, Barbra Streisand, Oprah and George “Looney” Clooney could be bankrolling them.
But really, who cares? The media gets itself worked up into a hyperventilated conniption over “secret” funding of non-profit organizations, but what’s really important is what those organizations do, not who/what provides the funding allowing them to do what they do.
So what’s all this have to do with Trayvon Martin and Ronald McDonald? Don’t worry; I’m getting to that. But first, we have to take a look at another organization; the American Legislative Exchange Council, better known as ALEC.
While CMD clearly operates from the left, ALEC decidedly comes from the right.
Founded in 1973, ALEC is a “nonpartisan membership association for conservative state lawmakers who share a common belief in limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty.” It believes “that government closest to the people (is) fundamentally more effective, more just, and a better guarantor of freedom than the distant, bloated federal government in Washington, D.C.”
Or as the Left would put it….right-wing radicals!
Essentially, here’s what ALEC does: It looks at problems, primarily at the state level, and develops “model” legislation to fix them. Model legislation is like a “template” that state legislators can use to draft and introduce bills which are customized as appropriate for individual states.
And while ALEC clearly supports Jeffersonian free-market principles, it has established “Task Forces” to address a wide variety of issues, including education, communications & technology, economic development, energy, health care, international relations, public safety, taxes and elections.
These task forces are made up of, generally speaking, conservative state legislators, conservative public policy activists and experts, and private sector businesses. Just as many liberal organizations are made up of liberal state legislators, liberal public policy activists and experts, and organized labor unions.
Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with either. They are associations of like-minded individuals and entities working collaboratively to petition and change their government. I mean, it’s as American as Chevrolet and apple pie.
But while ALEC’s mission is to help take public policy ideas and convert them into legislative bill templates for state legislators to introduce, discuss, debate and vote on, CMD’s mission is to…kill ALEC.
You see, over the last 40 years, ALEC has been extremely successful in accomplishing its mission. It has successfully advocated for greater school choice, including school vouchers for lower- and middle-class families. It has advocated for lower taxation, less government regulation and spending controls.
It has even promoted, get this, election integrity bills requiring folks to show an ID before voting – you know, like how you have to show your ID before renting a movie at Blockbuster.
Obviously, ALEC’s success poses an extremely dangerous threat to liberal Great Society programs and European economics. As such, last summer CMD launched a well-publicized effort to destroy ALEC – pretty much by any means necessary, but primarily by drying up its funding.
As Morton Blackwell of the Leadership Institute (another organization of right-wing radicals!) says, “You can’t save the world if you can’t pay the rent.” So CMD has been on a jihad for the last several months, deploying what ALEC described this week as a “coordinated and well-funded intimidation campaign against corporate members of the organization.”
After all, you can’t draft free-market, conservative model legislation if you can’t pay the rent and the staff, right?
Anyway, CMD wasn’t having much luck with their anti-ALEC campaign of corporate coercion and intimidation…until the Trayvon Martin shooting. Now here’s where things get interesting…and how Ronald McDonald got dragged into the controversy.
Defenders of the Hispanic guy, George Zimmerman, who shot Trayvon, have cited Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law as justification for the shooting. That law says, in part, that “a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if: (1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.”
Now, whether or not that law is applicable to the Trayvon Martin shooting or a defense for George Zimmerman is of little to no consequence to CMD. No; what they see here is a Rahm-like opportunity to not let a serious crisis go to waste. But first, another little twist.
“Talking Points Memo (TPM),” explains Wikipedia, “is a web-based political journalism organization… covering issues from a ‘politically left perspective.’” Keep that in mind. Politically left.
And in a story published by Talking Points Memo on March 22, Ryan J. Reilly essentially blamed ALEC for the law that enabled George Zimmerman to allegedly stand his ground and defend himself in his confrontation with Trayvon Martin. Here’s what Reilly wrote:
“Florida was the first state in the country to pass such a (Stand Your Ground) bill (in 2005), but they weren’t the last. And like many legislative trends, this one has its roots in the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
“Minutes documenting a 2005 meeting from an old ALEC website provided to TPM by the Center for Media and Democracy and Common Cause show that Marion Hammer of the National Rifle Association (NRA) pitched model legislation to ALEC’s Criminal Justice Task Force. An old NRA update also documented the meeting. ‘Her talk was well-received, and the task force subsequently adopted the measure unanimously,’ the NRA wrote in an Aug. 12, 2005 post on the NRA website.
“As Matt Gertz writes over at Media Matters, Florida’s law is ‘virtually identical’ to the so-called ‘Castle Doctrine Act’ proposed by ALEC and the NRA’s suggestion.”
Media Matters, by the way, is a liberal propaganda organization dedicated to taking down conservative media personalities, including Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Dr. Laura Schlesinger, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and News Corps’ Rupert Murdoch.
Media Matters, according to Wikipedia, “started with the help of $2 million in donations from liberal philanthropists connected to the Democratic party,” eventually including George Soros who, in 2010, announced he was coughing up $1 million to the organization.
As for Common Cause, since it was also mentioned in Reilly’s TPM story, it’s a old, well-known liberal operation currently run by former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich – a bona fide, card-carrying liberal from way back.
This is the essence of what ALEC has described as the “coordinated and well-funded” attack. CMD, TPM, Media Matters and Common Cause joining forces to make a tragic incident resulting in a young man’s death a political issue and exploiting it as a weapon against a conservative adversary.
Which finally brings me to Ronald McDonald.
Having no success for some nine months in getting corporations to sever its ties and financial support with ALEC, CMD latched onto the Trayvon Martin shooting to ratchet up its campaign. Here’s what the group has shamelessly posted on its website:
“The tragic Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida has once again drawn attention to the role of the American Legisltive Exchange Council (ALEC) in spreading terrible public policy in the form of ‘model’ bills across the nation. We are sending letters to the corporate leadership of ALEC, which includes…McDonalds, to demand that they withdraw their membership from ALEC and do what’s right for our democracy.”
Apparently in order to “do what’s right for our democracy” one must kill free speech, free association and petitioning our government! Makes perfect (leftist) sense.
Anyway, here’s an excerpt from the letter CMD is urging folks to send to McDonalds and other corporate members of ALEC:
“Why is your firm participating in an organization that has been instrumental in spreading ‘Stand Your Ground’ gun laws of the type implicated in the Trayvon Martin shooting to dozens of states across the country? … This partnership you have with ALEC is unhealthy for our democracy and unhealthy for the consumers who purchase your products. Please sever all ties with ALEC and stop underwriting their agenda.”
If you can’t beat the message, shoot the funder of the messenger, right?
Enter a new race-pimp.
Rashad Robinson is executive director of an online organization called ColorofChange.org – which was co-founded by enviro-wacko Van Jones.
You remember Van Jones, don’t you? He’s that 911 Truther and defender of cop-killer Mumia Abul-Jamal who was forced to resign as Obama’s “Green Jobs Czar” after he was caught on a YouTube video calling Congressional Republicans a bunch of “a**holes.”
Anyway, back to Robinson. This former senior director of the liberal Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) wasn’t about to let this serious crisis over Trayvon Martin’s shooting go to waste. So he hooked up with CMD in its war against ALEC and on April 10 joined the Axis of Liberals in pressuring McDonalds and other corporations to dump ALEC.
“The tragedy of Trayvon Martin’s death – and the law that has prevented his killer from being arrested – is another example of how ALEC’s agenda is dangerous for people of color,” the race-baiter wrote in a press release. “The NRA (National Rifle Association) and ALEC exported Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ law to more than 20 states across the country, jeopardizing the safety of Americans nationwide.”
Unfortunately, the unrelenting corporate pressure campaign and threats of boycotts have apparently worked. Ronald McDonald surrendered.
“Within hours of receiving phone calls from Color of Change members and allies,” Robinson proclaimed that McDonalds announced it had “cut ties with (the) right-wing group.”
“We first began communications with McDonald’s in December. Now we know that the concerns we shared with them about ALEC’s role in pushing…Kill at Will bills nationwide made the company’s decision-makers think deeply about whether supporting ALEC is a good use of their dollars and appropriate for their brand.”
“Kill at Will”? Talk about left-wing propaganda.
Also note that Color of Change says it’d been pressuring McDonalds since last December, but it was only after the Trayvon Martin shooting that they got anywhere. A textbook example of not letting a serious crisis go to waste.
Even more unfortunately, though, is that McDonalds reportedly isn’t the only corporate sponsor of ALEC that has been bludgeoned into withdrawing its financial support.
CMD is claiming that Pepsi, Intuit, Kraft Foods and Wendy’s have now all severed their ties to ALEC. In addition, CMD reports that Color of Change “announced a public boycott of Coca-Cola” this week and that Coke “published (a) statement backing out of ALEC within eight hours.”
Now the race-baiting extortionists are ratcheting up the pressure – particularly on State Farm and Johnson & Johnson – by launching “a new set of petitions to all the corporations remaining on ALEC’s corporate board in the wake of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin.”
Yes, Trayvon’s death was tragic. But the Left’s sickening exploitation of that tragedy – including the threats and intimidation against corporations in an effort to choke off a conservative, free-market voice – is tragic as well.
And every other conservative organization out there better take note of what’s going on here and immediately come to ALEC’s defense…or they very well could be the next victim.
(Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grassroots advocacy organization promoting limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty. Uh-oh…)