Featuring the Work and Ideas of the National Center for Public Policy Research & Project 21
It’s been three weeks since President Donald Trump tweeted about poor quality of living standards in the Baltimore congressional district of Representative Elijah Cummings.
And it’s been two weeks since Project 21 gave Cummings, Baltimore Mayor Jack Young and the Baltimore City Council copies of its “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America” to provide them with recommendations that could truly improve the city.
And it’s been just a little over a week since Project 21 followed up with the mayor and the city council by email about the Blueprint and the possibility of meeting with city officials. Only a single reply was received from a single city councilman – and only then to simply acknowledge having received it.
It certainly seems there is a desire to preserve the status quo rather than work to make things better. When a group of conservatives (including Project 21’s Marie Fischer) helped clean up a neighborhood in Maryland’s 7th district after the Trump tweets caused a national controversy, the Baltimore Sun seemed skeptical of the effort when its editors opined that “solutions are just not that simple.”
There was a much better reception for Project 21 from city officials in Ferguson, Missouri. There – in the same week that Baltimore leaders appear to have paid no attention to the Blueprint – Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said: “the things that Ferguson can move forward on, we want to do that.” The city council there plans to hold a work session to see how they can incorporate the Blueprint into improvements there.
So while conservatives pitch in to try to help the plight of West Baltimore and other hurting cities, liberal response seems limited to claiming once again say that President Trump is racist. Host Laura Ingraham last night criticized those who use “race as a cudgel” against their enemies and reform efforts.
In a panel discussion about this on the Fox News Channel’s “The Ingraham Angle,” Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper noted how the President is portrayed unfairly when it comes to how he and his administration have performed with respect to black America. He explained:
This is how the irony is.
People are gonna be suffering. People are not gonna have job opportunities. Housing values are gonna decline. And Donald Trump is a racist.
The problem with all of that narrative is, because of what President Trump has been doing – his policies – there are greater opportunities that there have ever been. No thanks to Congressman Cummings. No thanks to the Baltimore mayors, as they rotate around from prison or wherever they’re headed off to.
This is a time for us to have a serious conversation about what to do about some of the problems that plague those communities.
Cummings has found the time to bring together the mayor and other lawmakers and the media to have a meeting about the issue of “child trauma.” But the causes of the trauma seem to be the community’s current conditions – which need more of what President Trump and Project 21 are offering than the status quo. But, as Horace mentioned, critics will find some way to blame problems like this on President Trump while glossing over how the longtime elected leaders – those who have overseen the decline of these areas and have not been attentive to obvious community needs – will continue to hold positions of power.
Panelist Kimberly Klacik, who has been credited with bringing the plight of West Baltimore to the President’s attention in the first place, said that the community is usually left out of such discussions. She interviewed community activist Doc Cheatham, who complained, “[w]e have elected officials that know nothing about this community.”
When panelist Leo Terrell brought up that Cummings’s congressional district comprises the second most educated and wealthy black constituents in the nation, he was criticized for not looking at the entirety of the district. Commenting on the depressed neighborhoods in the 7th as opposed to more prosperous suburbs, Klacik asked Terrell: “When have you been to West Baltimore to talk to the residents?”
As for why Baltimore leaders are not responding to Project 21 or others who want to help reform the city, Horace explained that retaining power is likely their ultimate goal:
They don’t want to have a discussion about solutions because they’ve been happy. They’re complacent as long as they stay in power. As long as they keep getting re-elected, they’ve been fine.
As for Terrell’s recitation of the district’s demographics, Horace said the statistics do not paint the proper picture of the streets of West Baltimore. Or other areas, for that matter. He pointed out:
San Francisco. Los Angeles. Both of them have more millionaires and billionaires than any other cities, and yet they have some of the most abject poverty… Mr. Cummings’s district is like that. There are successful people there, but… there are also very poor people. And we’re not dealing with reality.
With only a three percent recovery rate for 1,661 species that the federal government has designated as threatened or endangered since 1973, National Center Senior Fellow Dr. Bonner Cohen calls the Endangered Species Act (ESA) “a complete dud.”
“Paltry,” he notes, “even for a government program.”
But, in a commentary in The Hill newspaper, Bonner reports how new Trump Administration reforms to the ESA can be expected to bring “some long overdue steps to drag the ESA, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.”
He writes that “sweeping revisions,” which will apply to future species designations, “provide much-needed fixes to a cumbersome, convoluted statute that has ill-served both the wildlife it is meant to protect and the rural communities caught up in its enforcement provisions.”
Commenting on troubles plaguing existing ESA regulations, Bonner remarks:
Farmers, ranchers, loggers, miners and others unfortunate enough to harbor threatened or endangered species on their property find themselves in the ESA’s straightjacket of potentially ruinous land-use restrictions. It’s a Kafkaesque world in which landowners are tied up in endless litigation and threatened with steep fines and imprisonment for the very environmental stewardship that attracted species to their land in the first place.
ESA reforms announced by the U.S. Department of the Interior include:
It’s the aim of the Trump Administration to promote partnerships between stakeholders and the government toward the goal of species recovery instead of an adversarial relationship enforced by regulation.
“Create a framework within which rural communities have incentives to cooperate in the recovery of endangered plants and animals,” Bonner points out. “The administration’s initiatives are an important step in that direction.”
To read all of the Bonner’s commentary – “Endangered Species Act Reforms Will Benefit Wildlife and People” – at The Hill website, click here.
After all, slavery was abolished generations ago. Those directly involved in slavery died generations ago. Civil rights protections are the law of the land – widely respected and dutifully enforced. But there’s a segment of the left that suggests reparations are the only way to close the book on the issue. In Emery’s opinion, this only seems to dredge up animosity.
In a point-counterpoint for InsideSources, Emery writes:
Reparations should not be a topic of discussion in today’s America. Progress and success should be our focus as we strive to achieve the American Dream. We should focus on keeping America great, not looking for another huge socialist payout.
But while Emery suggests Americans should “flip the script from reparations to personal responsibility” as the “cure for inequality,” the counterpoint offered by Dedrick Asante-Muhammad of the National Community Investment Coalition and Chuck Collins of the Institute for Policy Studies is a strident complaint about the alleged problem of “white wealth” and “the violent displacement of indigenous people.”
Muhammad and Collins claim that “all white people in this country benefit from a social and economic infrastructure that was built on black exploitation.” Their solution is a “Reparations Trust Fund” to collect taxes from “wealth” such as earnings and savings, inheritance and penalties on the assets of individuals and businesses that are banked abroad or in trusts.
While Muhammad and Collins write that “[t]here’s no myth of hard work or deservedness that can justify” what they consider financial inequity, Emery points out that generations of self-appointed black leaders – the current slate of which embraces reparations rhetoric – have failed to promote the value of self-improvement and a work ethic.
Noting that the recent Emancipation-related observance of Juneteenth was cynically used for a congressional hearing on reparations, Emery writes:
It is ironic that blacks are still calling for reparations in 2019, and using Juneteenth to do it. We have had many opportunities to put ourselves on equal footing with other Americans and pursue the American Dream. But too many of us have failed to do so…
Over the years, black leaders failed to bring their communities to prosperity by promoting and teaching sound principles for economic growth. They also failed to help people use the resources that are available to every American regardless of their ethnic background.
To read Emery’s InsideSources commentary – “Reparations are Treated as the Cure for Inequality – They are Not” – in its entirety, click here. A link to the Muhammad-Collins piece is provided on that page.
Commenting on the recent press conference with city officials in Ferguson, Missouri, Project 21 member Jerome Danner writes in a Western Free Press commentary that “there is hope that change may come with the implementation of Project 21’s ideas and proposals.”
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said he and the Ferguson City Council will hold an upcoming work session in which they will consider recommendations from Project 21’s “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America” that can be implemented at a local level. The Blueprint is the black leadership network’s initial effort to “remove barriers blocking blacks from reaching their full potential and ensuring the American dream is attainable for all.”
In his commentary, Jerome notes Ferguson’s significance in that is was where riots occurred five years ago after the death of Michael Brown, bringing national attention to the St. Louis suburb. While the nation focused on the issue of police-community relations, Jerome noted the region also “faced other issues that included economic development and economic empowerment.”
There are times when well-known matters need thoughtful solutions to rectify them. Well, a group of black conservatives decided that they wanted to extend a helping hand to the mayor and city council members of Ferguson to see if they could give them strategies to use in making a difference in this particular community.
Jerome says this “hope” is possible “[i]f Ferguson’s leaders are sincere in their desire to help their economically underdeveloped residents.” Right now, they seem very sincere.
To read all of Jerome’s Western Free Press commentary – “Black Conservatives’ Desire to Spark Change in Ferguson” – click here.
Our nation’s racial problems are “far more complicated than our leaders have grasped.”
Tweets may be part of the problem, but calling President Donald Trump a white nationalist or pushing for more gun control is “a waste of time” that will not help the situation. Reining in out-of-control liberal policies is more important.
There is a “convergence of certain issues that would create a perfect storm for racial unrest,” she writes, that is creating the potential for “unprecedented levels of racial and ethnic violence.”
Dr. Swain initially suggested this scenario in her 2002 book The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration. Now, in a Tennessean commentary, she writes about how escalating racial tension is being seriously mishandled right now. She points out:
The mainstream media and leftist politicians are focused on white supremacists and white nationalism. It is an obsession, yet a ploy. Meanwhile, they ignore acts of violence committed by racial minorities, so nothing is done to solve or even acknowledge the problem…
If we want to end violence and create a great society, we must give each other permission to speak.
Instead, a largely unchecked liberal agenda – helped by the rise of the Internet and its ability to unite like-minded, angry individuals opposed to this agenda – is stoking tensions. There’s animosity toward liberal overreach in the pursuit of fundamentally transforming America. In particular, people are bonding over:
White nationalism is aided by the kindling of left-wing rhetoric. Dr. Swain notes:
Most surprising was how the language and rhetoric of multiculturalism and identity politics furnished the intellectual underpinnings for young whites to think in terms of white identity and white consciousness…
Political correctness run amok, and for what ultimate worthy purpose? America’s failure and reluctance to reform immigration – accompanied by the intolerance and marginalization of anyone who demands enforcement of the laws – creates a situation where some Americans are poised to strike out against perceived enemies.
To read all of Dr. Swain’s startling Tennessean commentary – “American Leaders are Ignoring the Issues That are Fueling Racial Hatred and Violence” – click here.
Along with the liberal creations of a right to marry and a right to an abortion, liberal attorney Leo Terrell proclaimed on the Fox News Channel that “Hollywood has the right to make a movie.”
While there is a right to free speech in America, and no true conservative wants that right to be infringed, there are also responsibilities that Hollywood must consider. In this case, Terrell was defending the right for NBCUniversal to distribute the movie “The Hunt.” The movie, which was recently pulled from the company’s movie schedule, had been marketed as a horror story about rich, elite Americans kidnapping and hunting their “deplorable” counterparts.
Why do people lose their right as a citizen to comment on these movies? These movies that are violent. These movies that have disturbing messaging.
Horace said the problem is that Hollywood is catering to an extremely small segment of the population with these movies:
This is the problem that Hollywood has. This fever dream on the part of a couple of writers and directors and producers to say let’s just talk to a small segment of the American society and have this idea – a murder fetish.
It wasn’t gonna make any money. It never is gonna make any money.
And it’s a sign that Hollywood really is kinda out of ideas. It’s really kind of pitiful when you think about it, when there are really good ideas – credible ideas – that could have been put forward.
And “The Hunt” is not an aberration of Hollywood’s get-work/go-broke filmmaking proclivity. This film comes from the makers of “Get Out” and “The Purge,” which are steeped in conspiracy about race and class divisions. Then there is also:
Terrell suggested “The Hunt” was a victim of timing – scheduled to come out so soon after the shootings in El Paso and Dayton. He cited other movies with similar problems that were later released. But Horace said all this doesn’t mean that Hollywood can’t make successful suspense and action movies during trying times. He mentioned “Deliverance,” a film that made over 20 times its budget in December of 1972 despite a month of war in Vietnam, terrorism in Ireland and tens of thousands dead in earthquakes in Nicaragua:
You remember “Deliverance”? It was a movie in which we took people from a particular geographical location… mixed then in and had a really, really intense, amazing movie. This isn’t anything like that.
And it’s a good thing that they decided to pull it, because at least now – the money they’ve spent – they don’t need to waste any more with needing to market it or anything like that.
Terrell also suggested this was a “free enterprise” issue, suggesting that Americans “let Hollywood decide” what to make and overcome of the “censorship” of people such as Horace and President Donald Trump. The President reacted to “The Hunt” by calling Hollywood “really terrible” and doing a “disservice” to the nation. Horace pointed out:
There’s no censorship… The government hasn’t said anything. The government hasn’t – in any way – interfered with this piece of junk coming forward. Common sense has prevailed, and instead this movie isn’t gonna see the light of day.
There is a “free enterprise” angle Terrell didn’t consider – fiduciary responsibility to shareholders. “The Hunt” was being distributed by NBCUniversal, a division of the publicly-traded Comcast. Because of the bad decision to get behind this movie, Comcast shareholders’ investment has been harmed.
Now any potential for making a profit from this film is gone. At the next Comcast shareholder meeting, shareholders have a legitimate reason to question the board and the corporate leadership about “The Hunt.” They should ask why a company that claims to be “uniquely positioned to education, entertain and empower” likely lost tens of millions in shareholder investment. Was this a proper use, as they claim, of “[l]everaging our far-reaching storytelling platforms to educate our audiences and ignite conversations about critical issues that shape the world?”
When Project 21 Co-Chairman Stacy Washington left Ferguson City Hall, she fought the urge to indulge on barbeque. It was tough, because the downtown area of this Missouri city is awash in the enticing aroma of Red’s Bar-B-Q.
Red’s once existed in many places in the St. Louis area. But when a local restauranteur retired, Ferguson leaders sought to give Red’s a permanent home. That’s how Mayor James Knowles III wants Ferguson to be remembered.
On the day after his press conference with Project 21, where he and members of the Ferguson City Council accepted copies of Project 21’s “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America,” Mayor Knowles appeared on Stacy’s “Stacy on the Right” podcast to talk about the Blueprint’s recommendations and Ferguson’s future.
Despite the “challenge” to Ferguson’s reputation after Michael Brown’s death five years ago, Knowles said it is a “beautiful town… not what people saw just watching the news in 2014.” He explained that Ferguson is “diverse – racially and socioeconomically.” City leaders have worked with and sought out partnerships with large companies such as Centene and Express Scripts and small businesses like Red’s to maintain the “strong foundation of a community.”
Despite the 2014 coverage, Knowles said Ferguson is a “community of people who truly… have worked to come together” to heal divisions and become a more united municipality. Any suggestion that it is a segregated city, he said, is “furthest from the truth.”
As for Project 21’s Blueprint, which offers recommendations for government to “remove barriers blocking blacks from reaching their full potential and ensuring the American dream is attainable for all,” Knowles told Stacy that he and the Ferguson City Council will hold a work session soon to further study the Blueprint so that Project 21 can “hopefully see the benefits of your labors.” He said he is “really excited Ferguson can do our part” to help take Project 21’s recommendations off the printed page and put them into effect. He added: “the things that Ferguson can move forward on, we want to do that.”
Presented with its “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America” on the eve of the fifth anniversary of Michael Brown’s death there, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said “[w]e need partners… like Project 21 to give us this agenda and help us focus on what things we can do.”
At a press conference today in the chambers of the Ferguson City Council, Project 21 Co-Chairman Stacy Washington and member Chris Arps presented copies of the Blueprint to Mayor Knowles and council members Heather Robinett, J. Toni Burrow and Byron Fry.
The event was covered by the St. Louis NBC and CBS affiliates and the 50,000-watt radio station KMOX.
Chris said the presentation was meant to “heal wounds, encourage opportunity and help usher in a new era of black prosperity,” and was “not about finger-pointing, assessing blame or relitigating the Michael Brown shooting.”
Project 21’s Blueprint contains 57 policy recommendations over 10 key areas that are designed to remove barriers that keep black communities from reaching their full potential and ensure that access to the American dream is attainable for everyone. Many of the ideas proposed in the Blueprint can be implemented at a local level.
Stacy told Knowles and the councilmembers “you are in great company in receiving it,” mentioning that she and other Project 21 leaders previously presented the Blueprint at the White House and on Capitol Hill.Project 21 recently sent copies of the Blueprint to the mayor and city council of Baltimore after conditions in that city were criticized in President Donald Trump’s tweets.
Explaining the purpose for making Ferguson leaders aware of the Blueprint, Stacy said:
Our primary aim is to get the truth out there and to help the black community advance the American dream. We know the opportunity and prosperity that exists in America, and we want to see everyone partake in that…
I think these are ideas that everyone – regardless of partisanship – can come alongside and say let’s have a conversation. I believe that today’s effort with Mayor Knowles and the city council here in Ferguson is the beginning of that work.
Among the recommendations in Project 21’s Blueprint designed to help communities such as Ferguson are:
While observances of the fifth anniversary of Brown’s death tomorrow may be rooted in anger, Stacy said Project 21 seeks to help in discovering solutions to benefit Ferguson:
In the spirit of partnership – not rancor, not anger, but in a spirit of working together to improve the lives of people who truly deserve the fullest access to the American dream.
In his remarks, Mayor Knowles said:
Thank you to Project 21 for giving us this Blueprint to hopefully help us look for ways to move our community forward to make lasting change – to make lasting improvements in our community – especially those communities disproportionately affected by unrest, unemployment.
Stacy will interview Mayor Knowles on August 9 on her “Stacy on the Right” podcast. She and Chris also plan to have subsequent meetings with members of the Ferguson City Council, and they used the press conference to publicly ask for meetings with St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page about the recommendations in the Blueprint.
As Project 21 waits to hear back from city leaders about their thoughts on the black leadership network’s “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America” and how it might be useful in cleaning up Baltimore, one Project 21 member was actually on the streets of Charm City helping to get rid of tons of trash.
Project 21 member Marie Fischer was joined by hundreds of people from across the region who came together to haul trash out of the Easterwood neighborhood of Baltimore – near Coppin State University and Mondawmin Mall. It’s estimated that over 12 tons of trash was removed over 12 hours on August 5 (with temperatures in the 90s).
As reported by local television station WBAL:
Nearly 300 volunteers removed a toilet, chairs, tables and spare tires, among other things, from piles of trash in a west Baltimore alley. The volunteers completely cleared out what was an impassable alley, making a real difference and a real dent in the condition of the neighborhood.
The clean-up was organized by conservative activist Scott Presler, who lives in Virginia. Presler put together the self-funded crew comprised largely of supporters of President Donald Trump as a way to show the communities targeted by the President’s recent tweets that conservatives want to help. Marie met Presler when they both appeared on the One America News Network to discuss the conditions in Baltimore and the need for new ideas and involvement.
Presler told WBAL:
I’m a big Trump supporter, but I wanted people to know that’s not the reason we’re coming here today. This is not a pro-Trump rally, and this is not an anti-Representative Cummings rally. This is truly the community coming together.
Presler reported that the city was uncooperative with the permitting, but the dumpsters and portable toilets came anyway. And Bella Fishman, one of the volunteers, promised they would be back again next month. She also said they forged relationships with community business leaders and the local recreational center to further help out some of the underprivileged children in the community who “just want some love.”
And Presler gave a shout-out to Marie and Project 21, noting how “Marie cares about her community so much.”
Don Lemon did nothing to dispel the CNN’s reputation of being very liberal and incredibly biased against the Trump Administration when he recently “ambushed” a black pastor invited on his show to talk about a meeting with the President.
Lemon spent the majority of the approximately eight-minute interview trying to get Reverend Bill Owens of the Coalition of African American Pastors to say that President Trump is a racist. When Owens would not, Lemon browbeat Owens with suggestions he was “condoning attacks” by not calling out the President. Owens was also cut off by Lemon when he tried to explain his positions.
In a discussion about the CNN interview and Lemon’s hostility toward the President on the Fox News Channel program “The Ingraham Angle,” Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper said that Don Lemon betrays the proper role of the press because he “has an axe to grind.” Dispelling the suggestions that President Trump is a racist, Horace said that “[a] racist would not have done all of the great things he has done for black America.”
Explaining Lemon’s lack of objectivity, despite CNN giving him high-profile assignments such as being one of the moderators of the recent Democratic presidential debates, Horace pointed out:
He’s a political opponent – not a journalist. He’s not even a talking head. He actually tries to weigh in any way to manipulate the outcome.
Regarding the Owens interview, Horace added:
And it was really, really irresponsible – and very unprofessional – the way that he handled that interview. Frankly, I thought there would have been a lot more deference to a minister brought into to discuss his ministerial activity.
As for what Owens said to Lemon about the President, Horace said:
He told the truth.
The pastor explained that the President is an equal opportunity offender. He doesn’t single out people… It means he’s not a racist. In fact, his record is the opposite of a racist. He’s put more pickup trucks in the homes of blacks. More homes.
Leo Terrell, Horace’s usual debate partner on Ingraham’s show, did not try to defend Lemon or his bias and even laughed at how CNN changed the description of Owens from “faith leader” to “controversial pastor” during the course of the interview with Lemon. But Terrell once again tried to validate the claim of President Trump’s alleged racism as a fact because of the results of a recent poll. Horace replied:
Let me give you some facts… In the last 60 years, there’s been only one president who has kicked more black Americans out of their house, who has destroyed the savings of more black Americans, who has put – in the unemployment lines – more black Americans. That was Barack Obama. If that record is what we want to measure, they he’s a racist.
It’s unlikely that this line of presidential analysis will ever be a part of Don Lemon’s regularly scheduled CNN programming.