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The ALPF Quarterly Update
Dear Friend,

A few short months ago, I was honored to announce the launch of American Leadership & Policy Foundation's very first quarterly newsletter called, "The ALPF Quarterly Update". The newsletter is a direct way to share the successes, efforts, and happenings of the Foundation, its members, and supporters on a routine basis.

The update is created by a team of citizens and leaders anchored in America's foundation. Each newsletter contains articles, tips, and important news from ALPF's Fellows and other experts on current issues and trends in national security, economic policy, and public law--areas key to a well-informed citizenry. 

I look forward to the continued success of The ALPF Quarterly Update, and I hope it will be a valuable resource for you. If you wish to comment or share your valuable insights with us, please consider submitting your ideas for publication consideration. This is your foundation, this is your update, this is your America! 

Thank you for helping water the Tree of Liberty. 

Warmest regards, 

David Stuckenberg
Chairman & Founder
The American Leadership & Policy Foundation
In This Update:
  • A Note From Chairman Stuckenberg
  • Constitutional Matters
  • ALPF Welcomes Tony Contento, Ph.D.
  • Political Foresight
  • Lincoln Days
  • Misguided Victory of Millennials
The American Leadership & Policy Foundation is America’s only citizen directed research and policy foundation. In a climate where special interest groups and corporations dominate the public policy arena, ALPF provides a critical counterbalance by developing unbiased research.
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The Foundation operates on a completely volunteer basis and never accepts donations from special interest groups. Therefore, the perspective and research generated by ALPF originates with civically concerned thought leaders, experts, and professionals who generate world-class policy analysis from the frontline of their respective fields.
Read Later
Constitutional Matters: The First American, Benjamin Franklin 
By Dean A. Dohrman, Ph.D., ALPF Senior Fellow & Executive Board Member
This is the second in a series of short essays focusing on our constitutional history and constitutional leaders, all of whom had a significant impact.  This series will attempt to relate the unique features that defined their leadership with an eye toward the elucidation of our constitutional system as well as a deeper understanding of our national history.

The first essay of this series considered the contributions of George Washington.  As stated in that essay, it is not an exaggeration to assert that the United States would never have been formed in the absence of his leadership.  However, he could not build a new nation by himself, and it is very doubtful it would have happened without the brilliant dedication of Benjamin Franklin.

Born in 1706 as the tenth son (he also had six sisters) of a soap maker in Boston, young Benjamin’s future did not seem bright at first, in fact, he struggled for years.  At the age of 15, Franklin became an apprentice printer to his brother who published the New England Courant.  Because of personality conflicts, Franklin eventually left and roamed about the colonies, and even England, going in and out of several printing jobs.  Finally, he caught a break in Philadelphia and began down the path as the Founder we know.

Franklin’s life began to take shape rapidly in 1728 with the birth of his son William.  Although the mother of William is not known, Franklin married his old flame Deborah Read in 1730 after her husband ran away from their vows.  The Franklin’s ran several businesses, among them The Pennsylvania Gazette, purchased by Ben in 1729, which would publish the first political cartoon, the famous depiction of the colonies as a divided snake and the warning of “Join or Die” (1754).  In 1733, Franklin began Poor Richard’s Almanack which became widely popular in the colonies.  He also formed franchise printing facilities throughout the colonies, and by the 1740s he had amassed enough business success to retire, but the retirement from business only provided an opportunity to expand into other areas, especially scientific inquiry and public service.

During the 1730s and 1740s, Franklin became involved in several civic activities to improve life in Philadelphia.  Sanitation, fire protection, and a subscription library were all initiatives he helped put in place.  He also began tinkering with electricity, performing his kite experiments, and inventing swim fins, the bifocal lens, and of course, the Franklin stove.  He also mapped and expanded knowledge of the Gulf Stream in the North Atlantic Ocean.  However, as important as this all is, he began to migrate more and more toward a leadership position with an emerging America where he would truly make history.
As Franklin entered the second half of his life, he became the public figure we know as the First American.  He envisioned cooperation among the English colonies long before others.  His Albany Plan proposed that the coordination of efforts among the various Americans would help the British defeat their adversaries in the French and Indian War.  He became a postmaster of the colonies to help Americans communicate.  He became an American ambassador after the French and Indian War when Parliament placed the Stamp Act on the colonists.  Although in 1760s Franklin considered himself a loyal British subject, the recalcitrance of Parliament turned him in the direction of American independence (although his testimony did play a key role in their reversal on the Stamp Act).  As a member of the Second Continental Congress, he signed the Declaration of Independence.  He helped the Congress establish the American postal system, and he helped author the Articles of Confederation.  He also served as the ambassador to France where his storytelling and showmanship enthralled the French court long enough for Washington to gain victories and secure French support.  After the American victory at Yorktown, Franklin negotiated to finally reach the Treaty of Paris in 1783 that gave the United States of America recognition from the British.  Four years later, he would attend the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia where his mere presence helped move the proceedings on a positive path.  When the Convention bogged down, he served on the committee that helped the body overcome its differences: the Great Compromise eventually moved the forces of unity in the new nation.  At this critical juncture, he also called for daily prayer and divine guidance, not officially adopted at the Convention but solidly a practice today in our U.S. Congress.  At the end, Franklin told the delegates he believed the sun was rising in America, and though not perfect, asked all to sign the Constitution which would truly unite the states of America.  He would finish the last three years of his life working against slavery, a cause he championed as a former slave owner.

Although we remember him fondly as a stable figure throughout much of America’s founding period, Franklin did not live without strife in his life.  As noted before, he had his differences with his older brother, and during the Revolutionary War became estranged to his son.  His beloved wife Deborah did not even make it to the Revolution, dying in 1774.  However, through it all, he persevered, always curious, always learning, and steadily moving forward with the idea of liberty in America.  He stands as one of the irreplaceable Founders who helped form the nation we know today.
ALPF Welcomes New Interim Director of Research, Tony Contento, Ph.D.

Tony Contento, Ph.D. is a plant cell physiologist from Central New York. Recently, the ALPF Board of Directors has voted to appoint Dr. Contento as the Interim Director of Research. Dr. Contento is the Interim Director of the State University of New York at Oswego Agricultural Testing and Analysis Laboratory, where he is a member of the Biological Sciences Department.  He is also the Program Coordinator for the General Education curriculum for Colorado State University Global Campus.  He earned his Doctoral Degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Wyoming, working under Randy Lewis on charactering the structural and mechanical properties of spider silk proteins.  While he pursued his studies at UW, he was very active in Student Publications, serving as an assistant Editor for The Branding Iron newspaper and Frontiers magazine.  He also served as Editor for the Owen Wister Review literary journal, creating their first spoken word edition. 

After graduation, Dr. Contento spent ten years as a research scientist and lecturer at Iowa State University, studying plant stress responses and macroautophagy under Diane Bassham.  His research was focused on nutrient, oxidative and osmotic stress in Arabidopsis thaliana.  He also pursued a NASA-funded plant gravitropism project and several projects aimed at improving protein content in agricultural crops.  Dr. Contento is involved in online education and new forms of instructional delivery; sharing his expertise with institutions like CSU-Global, George Washington University, Drake University, Clemson University and Florida State College at Jacksonville. At SUNY Oswego, he works with the Port of Oswego and local farmers to improve agricultural testing standards in New York State.  He teaches cell biology and genetics, and his current laboratory research is focused on improving post-harvest agricultural technology and water security.  He spends his free time with his wife and two children and working with the Boy Scouts of America and the Knights of Columbus. Dr. Contento enjoys hiking, kayaking, cinema, and writing fiction and screenplays.    

We Need Political Foresight
By Dean A. Dohrman, Ph.D., ALPF Senior Fellow & Executive Board Member

Remember when you were young and you wanted sweets? If unsupervised, you ate and ate and ate sweets until you felt satisfied. However, an hour later you became so miserable you couldn’t stand it. Your belly felt like it was swelling and swelling and you became sicker and sicker. Why did this happen? All because you lacked the foresight to understand where a large consumption of sugar was headed. Unfortunately, this seems to be the pattern of an alarming number of our fellow citizens. Recently, we held a vote for president. We followed the same process we’ve had for years. Voters from all 50 states went to the polls to choose electors: they did so and Donald Trump won the majority of those electoral votes, the requirement for being elected president. However, a certain number of people could not accept the results. But I jump ahead. Before we consider this destructive mentality, let’s review the process.
The Electoral College came into existence after a long negotiation process at the Constitutional Convention of 1787. In fact, the presidency almost didn’t happen, but after debate on several different scenarios, the delegates decided that the states, through the Electoral College, would select the chief executive. One of the reasons for having the states vote in this manner is akin to the reasoning for each state having two senators, the Electoral College gives weight to the smaller states. This became a bedrock principle in the formulation of the Constitution because the smaller population states could easily be overwhelmed if all institutions were to be based on population. The bottom line of the Electoral College became that all states could maintain their influence within the executive selection process. So, this brings up the real question for us; does the Electoral College still perform a vital function? So, let’s return to the process.
There are 538 total electoral votes: 435 for the congressional districts, 100 for the senate seats, and three for the District of Columbia (23rd Amendment).  California currently has 11 percent of the U.S. population, but 10 percent of the electoral votes. Therefore, California is weighted slightly less than their actual population when it comes to the Electoral College. However, they still have more votes than states of lesser population. In comparison, California has a population of nearly 39 million, whereas there are several states, such as Missouri has slightly more than 6 million, with considerably fewer people. You don’t need to be a mathematical genius to realize that Missouri would be overwhelmed in an election based on population, but the president of the U.S. is the president of Missouri too, so shouldn’t Missourians have a say in the selection process? As Missouri cannot compete with California in population, it seems that the Electoral College is representing states just as the Founders intended. However, some people are not satisfied with the process.
After Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump on November 8, her supporters seemed stunned, but that did not last for long. Soon a stream of excuses for the loss hit the media. Finally, the dissatisfied seemed to settle on a scenario where the leaking of emails from Democrat operatives had an undue, negative impact on the election. The solution for this proposed problem led the Hillary supporters to call for an overturn of the vote in the Electoral College.
During the weeks leading up to the Dec. 19 registering of electoral votes, protests were held around the country. Celebrities, in their infinite depth of political knowledge, developed a video lecturing us on the role of the electors and how they should do their duty in light of a moral imperative to pick a qualified candidate. How ironic it is that Hollywood, the land of self-indulgence, would lecture the rest of the country on moral imperatives! However, the absurdity of the scenario is not the worst result of the protests.
A system of self-government requires the rule of law. This is a term we often throw around, but seldom take the time to define. In essence, it means that we agree to a set of rules, just as the Pilgrims did with the Mayflower Compact, and we abide by those rules even if they don’t always end in results that fit our personal preferences. This is the problem with the activity of the recent protests.
The protestors across the country, including those of the all-wise celebrities, were asking us to throw aside the rule of law and elect their candidate. They ignore the fact that our system has been in place for over 200 years. It gives all states, big and small, a say in the process. This system has lead to the peaceful transfer of power for more than two centuries. Sadly they ignore that this is a set of rules that has worked for us for so many years.
By seeking instant gratification in the recent election, these extreme Hillary supporters ignore the instability that would result from overturning the results of our constitutional system. They only know that they want what they want. The craving for candy ignores all reasonable evaluation of the consequences. The resulting problem is that when the belly is miserable, the patient will do almost anything to find relief. With just a bit of thought, we realize the real prescription for a cure is the foresight to understand that instant gratification is a road to misery, whereas a renewed respect for moderation and following a proven regimen will allow us to maintain, and pass on, good habits that maintain our heritage of self-government. Sometimes you get the candy, and sometimes you don’t, but as adults, we should recognize that overindulgence is a dangerous path to undesired consequences.

Lincoln Days

The American Leadership & Policy Foundation (ALPF) will attend Missouri State Lincoln Days later this month (February 24-26, 2016) in Springfield! Each year, Missouri hosts a State Lincoln Days, where nearly 1,000 politically and civically engaged individuals gather to collaborate, discuss new ideas, and engage with political leaders at the local, state, and federal level.

In unique political times, leaders asking for unbiased facts and information, it is critical to get involved, engage, and debate, regardless of political affiliation. America’s future hangs in the balance and we believe America’s citizens are the key to restoration!

Misguided Victory of Millennials
By David Liapis, Board of Directors & Director of Communications, American Leadership & Policy Foundation

For thousands of years, victories of almost any kind have been hard-fought and often accompanied or brought about by great struggle and sacrifice, and often the loss of life. Yet, somehow over the course of 100 years, an expectation has been created that people can enjoy the fruits of victory without the labor required to produce it. This has led to a sense of entitlement and an aversion to anything that causes discomfort – even words and ideas.

It seems there are competing paradigms that influence the way someone views sacrifice and struggle as inherent to, and often requisite for, victory; and another that wants victory without the sacrifice and pain. One of these mindsets can inspire someone to jump out of a boat and storm a beachhead in spite of thick enemy fire and the near certainty of death or injury. The other mindset rejects the notion that effort, and especially pain – both physical and emotional – are needed to achieve anything of consequence.

During a recent conversation with my sister about her university experience she lamented that there were no “hard” teachers because they either get forced out for being too demanding of their students, or they softened their approach in order to preserve their jobs and get tenure. Apparently, students have complained to the university if a teacher required coursework to be quality and accomplished on time. Students have essentially taken over the system and found a way to get good grades without actually meeting course objectives that will stretch and challenge them. The next step, which has already been started, is the push for “free” education. Not only do Millennials not want to encounter anything difficult at places of higher education (think “safe spaces” and safety pins), they want the victory of a diploma to be handed to them free of charge.

It’s hard to say what the most tragic element is, but one of the most tragic things is the reality that many in this misguided generation will not know the satisfaction and joy of victory mingled with pain – to know what they have accomplished cost something, making it worth that much more.

There’s no incentive for young people to learn and do hard work and value a cause so much they would give of themselves for it. They are the highest calling. They are their own cause. They are all winners and inherently deserve the spoils of victory.

However, one fact of life is that not everyone is a winner. You cannot have winners without losers. But here’s the upshot: losing motivates us to work harder, reassess our strategies, put forth greater effort, or whatever it is we need to do to become victors … or at least it should.

The other significant tragedy is that the laws of reality require someone out there bear the burden of securing victory. There cannot be victory without struggle, and there cannot be a victor without the defeated. Millennials are so self-absorbed and concerned for their own safety of mind and body, they fail to see their idealized way of life comes at a cost to them, others and society as a whole.

“Nothing in life is free” so the old saying goes, and it remains as true today as it ever has. One cannot have “free” anything. Someone has to pay for thousands of students who want “free” college. It’s simple economics. Unless teachers and school staff are willing to become the largest group of volunteers in history and textbook printers are willing to give away volumes like Gideons gives away Bibles, there will never be such thing as a free education. Not only that, college has long separated those who are willing to sacrifice their time and energy finding ways to pay the bills and keep their grades up from those who don’t, and society has rewarded that effort with better-paying jobs and opportunities. But If everyone has unhindered access to free – and easy – education, then a degree is meaningless and everyone loses.

Welfare and the redistribution of wealth is another area in which many Millennials fail to see the second and third-order effects of their desire for income and class equality and a higher minimum wage. Inequality is a motivator. Giving someone everything they need to survive (and then some) without requiring anything from them dis-incentives them and they are robbed of their drive to be a productive member of society. Both the individual and collective lose.

No, you cannot have true victory without sacrifice. Yes, life is challenging and we can be hurt physically and emotionally, but adversity makes us stronger … if we leverage it for our benefit and not our destruction. Anything worth having in life comes at a cost – relationships, freedom, love, education and even fitness – and that cost is what gives that thing value, and something of true value is worth sacrificing for. Don’t try to achieve victory without paying the price. It robs you, and everyone, of satisfaction that only comes through joy mingled with sorrow.

Contact the Foundation

American Leadership & Policy Foundation – Kansas City, MO
1201 N.W. Briarcliff Parkway
Second Floor, Suite 200
Kansas City, Missouri 64116

American Leadership & Policy Foundation – Washington, D.C.
2200 Pennsylvania Avenue
N.W., 4th Floor East
Washington, D.C., 20037
Until the next Quarterly Update, keep up-to-date with the Foundation at:

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