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Featuring the Work and Ideas of the National
Center for Public Policy Research & Project 21

CONSERVATIVEBLOG.ORG

Featuring the Work and Ideas of the National Center for Public Policy Research & Project 21

Corporate America Shows Respect for Free Enterprise Project

Corporate America Shows Respect for Free Enterprise Project

In the recent Fox Business coverage of the successful shareholder season for the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP), writer Joe Williams notes:

With his increased activism, [FEP Director Justin] Danhof and his group are becoming more well-known among corporate America.

As FEP’s presence becomes increasingly recognized, respect has grown. Not only do Justin and other FEP representatives often have a “handler” shadowing them at meetings, but questions can turn into productive discussions with company staff after the meetings end.

Additionally, Williams reports that Justin has even received kudos from the corporate leaders he has challenged:

And while, by and large, the companies advocate for shareholders to vote against Danhof’s proposals, he says the effort still earns the respect of top executives. After the recent Salesforce shareholder meeting, the company’s general counsel and a board member approached Danhof and called his effort “really, really heartening.”

“Political discourse is just so vile and we obviously disagree with you politically, but you were very agreeable in your presentation and very earnest and we appreciate that,” they told him, according to Danhof.

Preventing Classroom Climate Change Indoctrination

Preventing Classroom Climate Change Indoctrination

Although some schoolteachers proudly wear buttons proclaiming, “I teach climate change,” many also don’t feel they actually possess the skills to properly inform their students on the subject. The National Center’s Dr. Bonner Cohen says this could be a slippery slope toward indoctrinating students – advancing political goals over actual learning.

In an article published by The Hechinger Report on how schools “incorporate the study of climate change into the classroom,” it was noted that a 2016 survey of teachers found an “array of obstacles” –including the lack of a clear understanding of the topic — that minimized the topic in classrooms, or kept the topic out altogether. Glenn Branch, deputy director of the National Center for Science Education, said: “Lots of teachers feel they don’t have the content knowledge or pedagogical know-how to teach climate change effectively.”

The article also reports that teachers feel the pressure of political interests to present only part of the story on climate change.

Noting that there are those who insist climate change is a settled issue blaming mankind and business as the culprits, and that even some governments have taken to calling those who say the issue isn’t settled “deniers,” Bonner urged an unbiased approach to the issue to prevent the unfair indoctrination of students. He told American Family Radio’s OneNewsNow:

So we need to make sure that what is taught is a relatively balanced approach to scientific issues that are by nature complicated rather than sheer indoctrination…

As for the teachers, Bonner added:

They are under an enormous amount of pressure through teachers organizations, through the publishers of textbooks, to indoctrinate students.

To read the entire OneNewsNow article – “Teachers Feel the Heat re: Climate Change Indoctrination” – click here.

Levi’s Anti-Gun Politics Puts Brand at Risk

Levi’s Anti-Gun Politics Puts Brand at Risk

The Free Enterprise Project (FEP)’s recent appearance at the Levi Strauss & Co. shareholder meeting is being highlighted by Breitbart News.

At that meeting, FEP presented stunning polling data showing the denim giant risks alienating current and potential customers by throwing its support behind Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety and other anti-gun initiatives.

In the article, National Center Vice President David W. Almasi, who attended the Levi’s meeting on behalf of FEP, described the risk to the company and reiterated FEP’s warning that Levi’s should not dabble in politics that could harm the brand:

Levi’s is all-in with the social justice warriors. In addition to anti-gun activism, they are also lending corporate support for environmental causes and various matters associated with leftism. Levi’s will continue its anti-gun activism and support for anti-gun causes even after the Free Enterprise Project gave them polling data showing it hurts their reputation and can drive customers elsewhere. Taking on this unnecessary risk is an affront to investors of any political alignment. Levi’s owes it to its investors, employees and business partners to remain politically neutral to protect the brand.

To read the entire Breitbart News article – “Levi Strauss Sticking With Gun Control Push Whether Customers Agree or Not” – click here.

Breitbart article about Levi's and Guns

FEP’s Impressive Shareholder Season Profiled by Fox News

FEP’s Impressive Shareholder Season Profiled by Fox News

When the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP) tried to gain passage of its shareholder proposal for “true board diversity” at the Facebook annual investor meeting, FEP’s proposal — along with every other proposal opposed by the social media giant — was assured defeat due to the simple fact that Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally owns a majority of the company’s stock. What he says goes.

But the notion that companies should consider the political views of candidates for boards of directors – to ensure a diversity of thought that no gender or racial set-aside can offer – has fared much better elsewhere. In fact, the proposal has been accepted by a number of businesses.

As reported by Fox News, FEP’s proposal was adopted by Walmart, Pepsi, Gap and CVS Health. This means FEP’s true board diversity recommendations have become company policy without opposition from the current company leadership, and without having to face possible opposition from a liberal institutional investor advisory service that hypocritically came out against FEP’s proposal this year.

This is real impact.

In the Fox News report, writer Joe Williams chronicles how Justin Danhof, Esq., and FEP “have helped turn the traditionally drama-free annual meetings into headline-grabbing affairs. Underscoring his efforts is a broader push among advocates to use the arcane proxy process for political reasons.”

Explaining FEP’s diversity proposal, Williams writes:

Danhof traversed the country this year to attend meetings for top firms like Apple, Disney, Starbucks, Pfizer, AT&T, Netflix and Facebook, hawking, among other things, his ideological board diversity proposal.

The push is in direct response to liberally-aligned groups, who have had success in advocating for measures to require firms to interview women and unrepresented minority candidates for open board seats, ones that Amazon, Facebook and others adopted.

While Danhof says he supports the ultimate goal of eliminating “group think,” he sees the lack of differences in ideology among firm leadership as particularly troubling given how active corporate America is becoming in the national political discourse.

“They are refusing any even concept of adding a conservative to their board, adding someone that thinks differently from them from a political perspective,” he said.

But this isn’t the only way FEP has had an impact at these investor meetings. Justin has also employed a process of reverse-engineering left-wing proposals to achieve free-market results through his knowledge and manipulation of the proposal process:

[Justin] also uses the [Security and Exchange Commission’s] guidelines to his advantage.

Under SEC rules, similar proposals are not allowed on one firm’s proxy statement. By submitting his own measures first, Danhof can effectively block competing proposals from consideration.

Progressive advocates, for example, have long-pushed recommendations to try to force companies to disclose their political donations to trade groups and other entities, a tactic that Danhof says is intended to shame those who fund Republican-leaning organizations, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

To beat the competition, Danhof instead called on the companies to tout their support for “pro-business” groups and educate investors on why those donations are important.

“I get most of my inspiration from the left,” Danhof said. “It’s a deliberative process that involves taking what the left did the prior year, doing a little bit of predictive modeling.”

To read the entire Fox News article – “Amazon, Facebook, Other Top Companies Face Pressure From This Conservative Activist” – click here.

 

Beware of False Facts from Confused Celebrities

Beware of False Facts from Confused Celebrities

In his latest Newsmax commentary, Project 21 member Jerome Hudson assures that “all opinions matter.” That being said, he also counsels: “let us not fail to see the truth as it is and let it trump and persuade the ignorant.”

To make his point, Jerome invokes the opinions of celebrities – and women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe in particular. He notes that she is among the “latest wave” of athletes shunning the national anthem, and writes that there is “no need to bring more ink to this tired way of protesting.” But he does suggest:

[L]et her most ardent supporters (and those of us who like to support those who stand for the flag) remember that not everything that our more famous compatriots do is objectively truthful.

Hence the problem with political celebrity endorsements.

Jerome notes that “[i]t is natural to support a social media post by the famous persons that you agree with.” He explains that “[m]any of us feel as if we are a part of a community with our more celebrated brethren from the music industry or Hollywood when they (if they) share opinions like our own.”

But Jerome nonetheless believes that “the problem seems to come when we accept everything that they… write, post or say as being all truth and nothing but the truth.” Among celebrities, “it seems that it is more about how they feel too many times.” This is a problem.

As Jerome explains:

This kind of echo chamber behavior would never work in an actual court room, but in the court room of public opinion, too many celebrities win without laying out solid evidence for their case. Why would you even need evidence when the jury is basically stacked with your fan club?

Fox News Channel host Laura Ingraham wrote an entire book about this in which she advised entertainers to Shut Up and Sing. She specifically told LeBron James to “shut up and dribble” after the basketball star called President Donald Trump a “bum.”

But it pays to be scrupulous with celebrity statements. Raquel Welch once told Larry King in an interview that there were 52 states. Camille Cosby (Bill’s wife) falsely claimed in a USA Today commentary that blacks would lose their right to vote when the Voting Rights Act expired (prompting a response from the Justice Department). And then there are the current accusations by celebrities such as Alyssa Milano that the Border Patrol operates concentration camps for illegal aliens.

So be vigilant about fact-free tweets and the like!

To read all of Jerome’s commentary for Newsmax – “The Political Opinions of Celebrities Matter But Facts Do Too” – click here.

Trump and ‘The Squad’ Squabble Exposes Love/Hate Views of America

Trump and 'The Squad' Squabble Exposes Love/Hate Views of America

When the radical and racial statements of Representative Ilhan Omar forced the congressional leadership to act, the result – after much agonizing – was a muddled resolution condemning a broad range of “anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism and other forms of bigotry” that did not actually address Omar directly. But these same leaders were quick to push for a vote on a resolution calling out President Donald Trump by name and assigning racism to his criticism of Omar and other arch-left members of Congress for their wide-ranging complaints and intentions to fundamentally change America.

Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper, during a panel discussion on the Fox News Channel program “The Ingraham Angle,” said these members – now referred to as “The Squad” – are considered “too precious for anyone to criticize.” As for what they are saying, Horace declared “[t]here is hatred here” rather than with the President and his tweets.

Horace explained how the radicalism of The Squad – which is comprised of Representatives Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley – is based in a deep antagonism for America, and how President Trump’s comments were a common sense reaction to them:

People have to acknowledge what’s going on here. Their criticisms aren’t about improving America, aren’t about making some moderate changes. They literally do not accept America as it is.

The President called them out because our President loves this country.

In her discussion with Horace and fellow panelists Leo Terrell and Dr. Qanta Ahmed, host Laura Ingraham noted that President Trump is uniformly critical in these situations. She said that criticism of members of The Squad is not necessarily due to their race, suggesting that the President might also tweet something similar about someone who immigrated from France and professed similar complaints. Horace pointed out that President Trump did recently use such language about the British ambassador, who recently resigned in disgrace after leaked memos highlighted his disdain for the Trump Administration.

Horace said that President Trump was reacting to The Squad’s assault on American exceptionalism; it was The Squad’s attack on American ideals and opportunities – and not their races – that motivated his tweets. Horace said:

All the President was saying is: You don’t like this place. This place has been great. This place gives great opportunities. And you hate it. You don’t just dislike it. You don’t have mild criticisms. You hate it. Maybe you might be happier somewhere else. That’s all he was saying…

There’s nothing racist about that at all.

There is something curious about how this country has allowed people from every background to go to Congress, even to enter the White House, to join the Senate or even the mansions in California where the richest are. You can be any background in America – that’s what’s possible.

These people – they hate that.

“Raising the Barr” Seeks Uniform Treatment for Bad Behavior

"Raising the Barr" Seeks Uniform Treatment for Bad Behavior

Roseanne Barr essentially lost her career last year after she made vicious remarks on Twitter against former Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett. Barr claimed her tweets against Jarrett weren’t racist, but she was fired from the television show that she had created and which had jumpstarted her career.

After it was all over, a chastened Barr said, “I made a mistake obviously. It cost me everything, my life’s work. And I paid the price for it.” To Jarrett, she added: “I’m sorry you feel harmed and hurt because I never meant that.”

As they say in Hollywood, she’ll never work in that town again. But it seems different for liberals.

While not condoning Barr’s behavior, Project 21 is pointing out an apparent double standard when it comes to the treatment of bad behavior on the part of liberals and, in the case of Barr, those perceived to be conservative or who are actually conservative.

For instance, why did Megyn Kelly lose her talk show and get fired from her network for simply questioning the outrage over people dressing in blackface, when the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project uncovered that Joy Behar and Jimmy Kimmel never seemed to be in danger at their network (Roseanne’s network) despite having dressed in blackface.

And the same standard usually applies in politics. Days after Florida’s conservative Secretary of State Michael Ertel resigned because photos surfaced of him in blackface during his youth, liberal Virginia Governor Ralph Northam admitted and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring admitted to being involved in similar incidents. Despite calls for their resignations, both stayed in office – with Northam reversing his admission and Herring still intending to run for governor in 2021.

It’s because of this double standard that Project 21 members want to help in “Raising the Barr” of decency.

“Raising the Barr” is a new blog from Project 21 that will call out the bad behavior of celebrities and politicians and the hypocritical reactions of the establishment when it comes to issues that hurt race relations.  It asks: “Shouldn’t all celebrities be held to the same standard of decency as Roseanne Barr?”

As Project 21 member Derryck Green explains:

There’s absolutely no question that political and moral double standards exist between leftists and conservatives. To the point, the left doesn’t acknowledge, nor is capable of living up to, the standards it sets for conservatives.

Take racism, for example. Leftists have rushed to label Donald Trump, Jr. “racist” for retweeting a tweet – from a black man – that questions Senator Kamala Harris’ racial identity. Yet barely a peep was made when, while then-senator Barack Obama was running for president, “60 Minutes,” Time magazine and Stanley Crouch all questioned Obama’s racial identity – inquiring whether he was authentically black enough to garner the black vote.

Further, since the 2016 election, leftists have repeatedly called President Donald Trump a racist. But they haven’t repeatedly called Virginia Governor Ralph Northam a racist, even after he admitted and apologized – and later rescinded both – for being photographed in either blackface or a Ku Klux Klan costume in his medical school yearbook.

These double standards exist because the left refuses to judge itself by the standards to which it holds conservatives.

The first post in “Raising the Barr” talks about the U.S. Women’s National Team that recently won the World Cup. While there are those who see the players as role models, their actions – particularly the behavior of goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris – call into question whether they can appropriately fill that role.

Read the post by clicking here.

Facts Defeat Liberal Agenda of Fear

Facts Defeat Liberal Agenda of Fear

After a campaign of little substance, liberal President Franklin Delano Roosevelt used his inauguration to proclaim to the American people that the “only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” And then he went on to promote a radical agenda that transformed America while prolonging the suffering he vowed to address.

Modern liberals are still using the same sort of fearmongering to promote their agenda. And they promise an FDR-style transformation of America if they get their way. Their means of gaining power is usually through the demonization of President Donald Trump and his allies. But that tactic appears to be failing.

For example, people are recognizing that Trump policies are benefiting black America. Robert Johnson, the black billionaire who created BET, recently said he would give the President an “A+” for his handling of the economy and the effect it has had on black economic prospects.

In a discussion of liberal agendas on the Fox News Channel program “The Ingraham Angle,” Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper made the case that the quest for financial stability and prosperity motivates people more than fear:

Every American – black, white and brown – every American votes their own interests. And guess what? When the March on Washington – the original March on Washington – when Martin Luther King spoke – it was originally as a jobs rally because people want to have control over their lives and their destinies and improve the lives of their families.

This is what happened over the last two years of the Trump Administration. And they like it and they know it.

And it’s not just a theory. In the last election, this campaign of fear was not as successful as the liberals had hoped it would be. Horace gave the American people credit for knowing what they wanted and not succumbing to the fear tactic. He noted:

In 2018, they tried it with those “radicals” running in Georgia, running in Florida, running in Texas. And guess what? It wasn’t just white Americans – black Americans refused to vote for black candidates at the top of the ticket because they were talking crazy.

One of my favorite authors is Charles Murray. He wrote a book called Losing Ground. That’s what could be written – Losing Ground II – for what happened the [eight] years of the Obama Administration. In every single category, black Americans lost ground. Just like the rest of the country.

It isn’t true that… we are about where we were on Election Day. The truth is – from 2008 to 2016 – a whole lot of people lost a whole lot of their assets, their income and the livelihood. It started to turn around in the end.

Trump’s “Salute to America” the Right Thing and the Right Time

Trump's "Salute to America" the Right Thing and the Right Time

In the days leading up to the White House-planned Independence Day “Salute to America” on the National Mall, there was a loud hue and cry from the media and the left about the event. Critics lamented the tanks that were brought in for display and the shifting of Park Service dollars to pay for events on or near the Mall.

It appears to have been well-attended. And it was watched on television by those who could find it.

Most importantly, and undoubtedly a shock to critics, the event was apolitical.

In a Fox News commentary, Project 21 member Deroy Murdock notes how all of the hyperbole in the days leading up to the Salute made the left and media look downright silly. He writes:

The left overpromised. The President under-delivered.

Before Donald J. Trump’s July 4 Salute to America, his foes described this event as, at best, a parade of partisanship, narcissism, racism and divisiveness. At worst, they billed it as a pageant of despotism or a prelude to martial law…

By 7:32 p.m., when Trump finished speaking at the Lincoln Memorial, he had reduced these hyperventilated warnings into flaccid windsocks. And those who had screamed from the rooftops looked like rejects from Klown Kollege.

Project 21 member Emery McClendon feels the “Salute to America” served a very important purpose for those who were able to take part in it or watch it. It’s something he hopes will continue. Emery writes:

Along with countless others, I agree that last week’s expanded Independence Day celebration in Washington, which President Trump dubbed a “Salute to America,” was a very monumental event.

And it took place at a critical time in our nation’s history.

The timing of our President in trying to bring this apolitical event to fruition is incredibly important.

Americans have become too divided. I pray it is not too late.

This was an event that should have united Americans and given us all a renewed sense of patriotism. But the media and others who bear ill-will toward our President and his supporters seemed willing to do everything they could to smear the celebration before it even got out of the planning stages.

This is an event that should have been televised on every major television network and given the opportunity to be admired by all Americans – regardless of their political leanings.

It didn’t happen because many of the media outlets chose to ignore the celebration altogether. Those that did cover it, like CNN, cut away for commercials and commentary that was disrespectful during a salute to our military.

As a result, many of our citizens missed a great opportunity to learn about our nation’s history, its greatness and the important role that many Americans played throughout our nation’s history – including the role of those who have served and are still serving in our armed forces to defend our freedom and the American Dream.

We need more events like the “Salute to America” to rebuild our love of God and country. We are finding ourselves lacking when it comes to the history of our nation and the knowledge of our founding principles. People need to be reminded, especially those who are younger and may never have properly learned this history at all.

It is time for all of us to reflect on what it means to be American. Our President, and those involved with planning this event, have given us a glimpse of why we should be proud of our country.

It’s our duty to celebrate and give a united salute: To America! And not just this year, but every year.

The entire “Salute to America” can be seen here.

Immigration Ideas in Project 21’s Blueprint Cited in Newsmax Commentary

Immigration Ideas in Project 21’s Blueprint Cited in Newsmax Commentary

A Newsmax columnist highlights Project 21 in a recent commentary about immigration policy, noting that the recommendations found in Project 21’s “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America” are being wholly ignored by the liberals’ political superstars.

Clarence V. McKee, commenting on liberal presidential candidates, writes that they “only care about protecting illegal immigrants; that is, giving them free health care and other benefits as well as decriminalizing illegal entry across our borders.”

He further suggests that “[a]ll other Americans — black, white, brown, veterans, seniors, the middle class, permanent residents, and naturalized citizens  — are not a priority” to these liberal leaders.

As for a solution, he notes:

Project 21, an organization of black conservative leaders, supported the president’s enforcement policies to “stop the unfair strain on public services caused by illegal immigration.”

Its report, “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America” observes that taxpayer funded programs are “being reduced or unavailable to black Americans in too many communities due to illegal residents taking advantage of them.”

Project 21’s Blueprint specifically states that black Americans “shouldn’t be forced to subsidize people who are not in the United States legally” For immigration reform, it recommends:

  • Barring illegal aliens from accessing any public services, except emergency services.
  • Terminating federal funding of any social service agency that provides non-emergency services to illegal immigrants.
  • Prosecuting providers and recipients who allow scarce federally-funded social services to be used by non-citizens unlawfully in the country.
  • Ending states’ special programs for assisting unlawful immigrants and redirect those funds to needy citizens.

Echoing Project 21’s concerns, McKee writes:

Illegal immigration drives down wages in the low-skilled labor market and hurts blacks and others who are disproportionately concentrated in that sector…

What’s truly sad is the silence of most black civil rights and political leaders on the negative impact of illegal immigration on their own communities.

As for action on the Blueprint’s recommendations, McKee laments, “[t]hey haven’t seen anything yet!”

To read all of McKee’s commentary at Newsmax, click here.

Among his many accomplishments, Clarence V. McKee is a former chairman of the Florida Association of Broadcasters and former co-owner of WTVT-TV-Tampa. He has served on the boards of directors of Barnett Banks, Florida Power, Checker’s Drive-ins and American Life Insurance Company. During the presidential administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, he was vice chairman of the board of the Legal Services Corporation.

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The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 60,000 active recent contributors.