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

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

Looting, Riots “Obliterated” Arguments Against Gun Rights

Looting, Riots “Obliterated” Arguments Against Gun Rights

During a recent panel discussion about judicial reform and liberal efforts to block Senator Tim Scott’s police reform bill, Project 21 member Vince Ellison assured Newsmax viewers, “I’m an advocate of law enforcement.”

That being said, he pointed out police are not enough to keep people safe: “[I]f policing made anyone safe, Detroit, L.A. and Chicago would be the safest places in the world. And they’re not.” Vince explained that “[t]he police are not a security force… They’ll tell you that.”

Vince Ellison

Vince Ellison

What’s really important is that Americans are able to provide for their own security with a firearm:

If these riots did anything else, they proved that every argument against the Second Amendment has been obliterated. The things that keep people safe are their right to keep and bear arms. The police department is really an apprehension and investigative unit. Ninety-five percent of crimes are committed before they get there.

The right for people to defend themselves is an inalienable right given to them by God. It is irrevocable, nontransferable. It can be violated. It can be infringed upon and abridged. But it cannot be taken away.

And many of these liberal mayors have tried to do just that. And because of that, you have all of this violence and all of this chaos.

Noting that the police are “not clairvoyant” and are limited in their resources, Vince said the chaos in the cities is brought on by an inability for the people to protect themselves due to strict gun laws.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that congressional conservatives are “trying to get away with murder, actually – the murder of George Floyd” by not agreeing to liberal legislation for police reform. Vince countered that it is the liberal policies dominating large cities that can be blamed for out-of-control crime, violence and murders:

When Nancy Pelosi talks about committing murder to the black community… [t]hey should look at those inner cities where they have all the murders. This is something [liberals] control.

Ideology Trumps Investment When “Stakeholders” Hold the Cards

Ideology Trumps Investment When “Stakeholders” Hold the Cards

When a group of CEOs banded together to redefine the responsibilities of a corporation, leftists gave them an assist by relieving those captains of industry of lots of responsibility.

For the left, the redefinition is more than a foot in the door that makes the corporate world their oyster; it allows them to push an agenda in ways they could never do through government. For CEOs, the new focus on “stakeholders” frees them of having to be totally beholden to the pesky shareholders who are selfishly hoping for a return on their investment to fund their personal entrepreneurship or retirement nest eggs.

As National Center Fellow and Free Enterprise Project Deputy Director Scott Shepard explains in a Townhall commentary:

Any group is conceivably a stakeholder, including ill-defined groups like “activists” of various sorts, whose interests are malleable and whose leadership structures are either unclear or entirely fanciful. Hence, almost any decision made by corporate leaders under a stakeholder-primacy standard can be defended according to some concatenation of interpretations of stakeholder interests. And ultimately no one would have the necessary standing objectively and conclusively to assert that, no, this amorphous collection of ill-defined interests required some different result as a matter of law.

To do this dilutes the authority of the shareholder by giving CEOs the opportunity to justify their actions on the part of the company as something for the freeloading type of stakeholder without a vested interest in the company:

[M]ake no mistake: a move to a stakeholder primacy model would ultimately give corporate leaders more discretion, not less. Responsibility to one set of interests – shareholder primacy – necessarily implicates other considerations, such as employee retention and customer service policies, but still provides an ultimate and objective yardstick against which corporate managers can be measured. A broad smear of potentially infinite and ultimately illimitable “stakeholder interests” does not.

And don’t think this isn’t something the left has been anticipating. The rise of the stakeholder also heralds the rise of left-wing corporate influence:

It’s this opportunity for hectoring interference in other people’s lives that has attracted the strange-bedfellow supporters of increased corporate-director autonomy:  the National Professional Left. This congeries of pressure groups has worked – with increasing strength and success – to fuel the left’s long march through American institutions. These groups have taken over American education almost completely, and have throttled Silicon Valley, pushing its center-right employees into the fearful, hiding closet that the left once abjured. Now they are coming after American corporations generally – and they think that this move toward stakeholder primacy gives them their chance.

While employees, suppliers and customers also constitute stakeholders, the dynamic is different. In many ways, these stakeholders are in the same boat as shareholders after the left sinks its teeth into a corporate flank. As Scott writes:

We know who the losers in this process will be: shareholders, employees, customers – everyone who has been protected by shareholder primacy, whether they realized it or not. But when trying to identify the winners, it would be useful for all of us, especially those who lean liberal but who aren’t part of the National Professional Left, to ask: who’s playing whom? And why?

To read all of Scott’s commentary – “Stakeholder Primacy: Who’s Playing Whom?” – click here.

Regulators Ground Georgia Rocketmen

Regulators Ground Georgia Rocketmen

With America on the verge of leaping into a new era in space, commercial operators are being forced take baby steps as government regulations threaten to ground their lofty ambitions.

As National Center Senior Fellow Bonner Cohen, Ph.D. explains in an Epoch Times article, the White House may have to come to the rescue of the potential new private launch site in southern Georgia.

Not only does the plan for Spaceport Camden offer an exciting prospect of “provid[ing] a nearly unrestricted range for the launch of spacecraft in a wide array of orbits,” it also “eliminates the need for space companies to sequence their launches alongside government-directed payloads or be saddled with certain legacy systems, processes and concomitant friction costs.”

Furthermore, the plan for the launch site and related aerospace office and industrial park is “spearheading the region’s post-COVID-19 recovery by bringing high-paying aerospace jobs to the Savannah-Jacksonville corridor.”  Camden County has a per capita annual income of $22,022.

Bonner also notes the historic chance Spaceport Camden offers for advancing man in space:

Unlike the Apollo era of a half-century ago, when NASA called the shots and private companies served as mere contractors, today, it’s increasingly the private sector that is leading the way in all aspects of space innovation. From reusable rockets to plans to install a satellite-based internet, nimble private companies are already showing that they will be the vanguard of America’s space future.

Yet the county officials and companies that want Spaceport Camden have been waiting five years for approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). And a recent decision to pivot the site from medium-size rockets to “focus exclusively on smaller rockets that will ferry satellites into orbit” has essentially pushed the reset button. The FAA now wants a new environmental review despite the first one finding no issues.

In his analysis, Bonner points out the folly of this process:

This would be like the FAA requiring a new EIS for the Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport because a new commercial carrier wanted to fly small Cessna aircraft, and not Boeing 747s. The FAA projects that completion of the revised EIS will take until October 2021, adding nearly 18 months to a process that has already gone on for five years.

What to do? The White House may have two solutions to get Spaceport Camden off the ground:

Breaking the logjam at FAA may require intervention by the White House. One way to get at the FAA’s insistence on a revised EIS is through President Donald Trump’s June 4 Executive Order. It instructed federal agencies to expedite the permitting process for construction and energy projects as a means to confront the economic emergency brought on by COVID-19-related lockdowns.

Separately, the Trump administration in January proposed new regulations speeding up the notoriously slow EIS-approval process. The White House might be persuaded that FAA’s mandating another lengthy EIS for a launcher class that is 80–90 percent smaller than the original evaluated and acceptable launcher class would further unnecessarily delay the spaceport and undermine southeast Georgia’s economic recovery.

To read all of the Bonner’s analysis – “Federal Aviation Administration Slow Walks Proposed Georgia Spaceport” – click here.

 

Erasing “Bad” History Means You’re Bound to Repeat It

Erasing “Bad” History Means You’re Bound to Repeat It

Members of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network have observed Juneteeth for over 20 years.

In a panel discussion on the Newsmax television network, Project 21 member Marie Fischer noted that the timing of the protests following the death of George Floyd has “call[ed] more attention to the Juneteenth celebration” among the rest of America. And that’s a good thing, she pointed out, since too many people “have never heard about this celebration until this year.”

As a result of Project 21 and the protests “bringing it to the forefront,” there are now proposals to make Juneteeth a national holiday. As for how to treat the day, Marie said that this observance of the end of slavery in the United States should be allowed to have the same effect today as it did during its founding during the Reconstruction era:

Juneteenth – that marked the day that they announced in Galveston [Texas] that the Civil War was ended and that the slaves were free. So I look at it as a day when they should have started healing in the United States from the Civil War.

I think we should mark it the same way.

With all the racial tension, we need to start healing – starting today… That’s the only way we’re going to be the United States of America, once we heal.

Asked about the radical activists who are targeting statues and other representations of historical figures who do not live up to modern expectations, Marie said she opposed efforts to wipe America’s collective memory of these people: “I don’t agree with [any] of it.” She warned:

Because, when you’re erasing it, you’re erasing history. And history is good, bad, ugly, pretty.

But it’s there for us to learn from it. And if you start erasing all this, then we’re bound to repeat a lot of this.

From what the activists claim, they don’t want to go back. Yet their radical tactics, according to Marie, line themselves up for exactly that. That’s why Juneteenth can be an invaluable tool.

Without Police, Who Do You Call for Help?

Without Police, Who Do You Call for Help?

“As long as I’ve known, Chicago has been a gun-free zone,” Project 21 member Emery McClendon remarked during a recent interview on the Newsmax television network. “Yet there are more gun killings within the city limits than all over the other cities around the nation.”

Commenting on the “indiscriminate” violence and crime that is found in the Windy City, Emery said the root cause “seems to be blatant disregard for the law.” While Emery did admit there are problems with the police there, he countered that the major source of the problems run much deeper:

It seems like they have a problem in their communities. The people teaching their youngsters and their young people about respect for life, respect for others.

Asked about President Donald Trump’s critical letter to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker last week that nonetheless included a generous offer of federal help to deal with the crime there – something that Emery and other Project 21 members have applauded – Emery said:

That was very refreshing for the president to do so – and to offer the help from his cabinet to come in and help them devise a plan to lower the crime rate.

You know, Chicago is a very large city – an important city… So I think the mayor needs to take a look at any way she can to get help. And if the federal government can devise plans and ways for her to lower crime in Chicago… I think that’s a positive thing, not a negative thing.

The host asked Emery: “Is defunding the police the answer?” He unequivocally replied: “[A]bsolutely not!” He further explained:

At a time when violence is at an all-time high – it’s escalating – we see groups taking over city blocks, barricading those blocks off…

Elaborating on the violent crimes that quickly overtook the police-free CHOP autonomous zone in Seattle, Emery noted that our society needs the safety that law enforcement provides:

We need to make reforms – that is true – with the police department. Have standardized training and so forth. But we don’t need to defund the officers because, if we do, who are you going to call when you need help?

Read the Letter the NY Times Refused to Print!

Read the Letter the NY Times Refused to Print!

The New York Times reported a dubious claim that climate change has a disparate effect on black American mothers. But it was criticism of this shoddy journalism that the so-called “newspaper of record” decided wasn’t fit to print.

Donna Jackson

Project 21 member Donna Jackson had taken exception, saying that the situation chronicled in the Times article is exactly the opposite. She noted that it is climate change policies and the sometimes crippling regulations associated with them that are dangerous to black households. These dangers come from economic perils, lessened quality of life and energy poverty.

Letters to the editor should be a way for other viewpoints to be offered, or as a mea culpa on the part of editors for having gone too far. But, with the paper silent on her submission for so long, it’s obvious the Times has no intention of moderating itself or letting Donna’s voice be heard.

So we are printing her letter here.

The Times article claimed that minorities in general, and black mothers in particular, suffer a “disproportionate share” of harm from heat and air pollution. Playing on the current argument of systemic abuses plaguing the black community, reporter Christopher Flavelle complained that the “vulnerability of black mothers to heat and air pollution was likely the result of several systemic problems.”

If things such as heat and pollution are factors for American blacks, Donna wondered how black communities in Africa ever survived.

To follow is the letter Donna sent – the letter the Times refused to print:

“Climate Change Tied to Pregnancy Risk, Affecting Black Mothers Most” uncritically cited studies making a strained effort to turn climate change into a black issue. A little more journalistic curiosity is in order. How, for  example, could a rather slight climate change-induced increase in temperatures lead to such severe negative outcomes in pregnant women when we see no such disparate impacts when comparing hotter states like Florida and Arizona to cooler ones like Michigan and Illinois where the natural temperature differences are far greater? And how plausible is it that black women are disproportionately sensitive to heat increases as we are descendants from the world’s hottest continent — Africa?

The article does stumble into the truth that many black households struggle to afford the electricity needed to run air conditioning. The Energy Information Administration and others report that up to half of black households struggle to pay their energy bills. In some cases, they must choose between energy and other necessities like food and medicine.

But this is why the article has it exactly backwards – it is not climate change, but climate change policies that boost energy prices that pose the disproportionate threat to black families.

In its Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black AmericaProject 21 recommended that the government use “minority impact assessments” to determine if major new regulations have a disproportionate effect on black opportunity and quality of life. Project 21 members have also spoken out against policies that can lead to energy poverty.

Earlier this year, Project 21 and the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project challenged the radical racial premises of the New York Times‘s “1619 Project.” In answer to a question posed during the company’s annual shareholder meeting, publisher A.G. Sulzsberger essentially conceded that the systemic racist premises of the series were not factually sound.

Conservatives Confront Corporate Media

Conservatives Confront Corporate Media

When the riots began in Minneapolis, MSNBC’s Ali Velshi became a legend in fake news by reporting – to Brian Williams, no less – that activity on the streets was “not, generally speaking, unruly.” He said it while standing in front of a building engulfed in flames and acknowledging that the police were not in control of the streets.

On the RT network, Free Enterprise Project (FEP) Director Justin Danhof, Esq. told “Eat the Press” host Steve Malzberg that “as Rome burns, [Velshi’s] fiddling in front of the camera.”

Justin urged viewers who are disgusted by fake news of this sort – and by companies that take part in destructive politics in general – to “engage with bad corporate actors to change their behavior.” He already does that on a regular basis, but lamented that “so many companies are so bad in the culture wars here in the United States.”

He needs help. He needs an army. And it’s a cause that almost any conservative can join. Owning a single share of stock is all it takes to start.

Justin was invited on “Eat the Press” to talk about his shareholder activism at the recent Comcast shareholder meeting. Comcast owns NBC. Commenting on the need to challenge the network and its parent company, Justin said that “their bias and their fake news really does a tremendous amount of harm to our body politic and our public discourse.”

Regarding the Black Lives Matter unrest that has caused so much mayhem, he remarked:

The whole network, really, from… dusk ‘til dawn has just been giving cover to looters; rioters; those that are desecrating houses of worship, historic landmarks. They really have been giving cover to this.

And it’s worse than that, even… when the president rightfully suggests that Antifa is involved and mixing in with protesters… But, yet, even at MSNBC, they’re pushing back on that. They’re giving cover to Antifa. They’re giving cover to an organization that is burning buildings to the ground.

And, so, as a shareholder of Comcast, we went to their virtual shareholder meeting this year. And I asked [CEO] Brian Roberts some very specific questions.

At the meeting, which was conducted through an internet platform, and where Justin had to submit his question and risk it being vetted and possibly ignored, he boldly and successfully asked if Comcast’s board of directors supported Antifa, or if it was just the MSNBC on-air lineup.

A dumbfounded Roberts gave a nearly incoherent reply: “By and large, I think the coverage continues to inform and educate our society… But thank you for your comment, and we will continue to strive to inform the American public.”

As Malzberg noted, that was “not a very good answer.”

So, in front of a company’s leaders, employees and investors, one shareholder made an incredible impact by calling out the CEO – like David against Goliath, or pointing out that the emperor has no clothes.

While this was a victory for FEP, the free market and conservatives, it’s something that must be done on a much more robust scale. FEP could certainly use donations to expand, but Justin noted that it is also something people can learn from FEP and do independently.

This means conservatives cannot retreat from the debate:

The inclination for folks when companies are bad actors – whether it’s the media or whether it’s Nike… ripping down a Betsy Ross shoe – is to distance from that company.

But that is the wrong approach. When you see a bad corporate actor, and there are so many in the cultural lane in corporate America that are bad actors, engage with them!

Get in their face and ask questions. Roberts couldn’t even defend his own company because these people never get asked tough questions. But, as an investor, you have a right to question these corporations. And that’s what I recommend folks do.

To see more of FEP’s advocacy in action, click here.

Black Opportunity Doesn’t Matter to Black Lives Matter

Black Opportunity Doesn’t Matter to Black Lives Matter

Amidst the accusations, assaults, destruction and overall mayhem of the recent Antifa and Black Lives Matter-related uprisings, there doesn’t seem to be a clear message about what protesters think is the answer to helping black Americans.

Certainly the destruction of memorials to women’s suffrage and a martyred abolitionist in Wisconsin doesn’t make black lives matter any more than they did when the memorials were whole. Nor will the creation of autonomous zones create any new liberties or lasting safety.

In an appearance on the Fox News Channel program “Fox News at Night with Shannon Bream,” Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper revealed a key tenet of the Civil Rights Movement that is sorely lacking in 2020’s radical activism:

One of the problems here is none of the conversation talks about what it is that’s really, really critical – the genesis of much of the civil rights movement starting in the 1950s and ‘60s.

And that was economic opportunity.

What are we doing to make it better, easier and more possible for black Americans – like other Americans – to succeed in this country?

Our president has actually been focused on that like a laser. But this conversation we’re having right now? It’s almost completely ignoring that!

Horace Cooper to Tucker Carlson: America Isn’t a Racist Country

Horace Cooper to Tucker Carlson: America Isn’t a Racist Country

When Bubba Wallace – the only full-time black NASCAR driver – asked the motorsport’s leadership to ban Confederate Battle Flags from races, NASCAR acquiesced despite opposition from many fans. Even though NASCAR rejected gun advertisements last year, it did nothing to prevent Wallace from painting “#BlackLivesMatter” on his car this year.

And when a noose was reportedly found in Wallace’s assigned garage at the Talladega Superspeedway, every driver participating in that race helped push Wallace’s car out to the track in a show of overwhelming support. Still bitter, Wallace suggested the noose was retaliation by “simple-minded people” who are “afraid of change.”

Yet that is not the case. There were 15 FBI agents dispatched to investigate the noose, and they determined the rope in question had been there for months before the garage was randomly assigned to Wallace. The noose was not a symbol of hate – probably just something installed by workmen as a way to help people open and close the garage door.

But, as Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson said on his show, people “rushed in to believe an absurd story because it could be used to advance a political agenda.”

Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper, a guest on Carlson’s program, agreed. He explained that there is a “grand delusion that racism is running rampant in America.” His reminder of a similar event moved the normally staid Carlson to laughter:

America isn’t a racist country. In fact, racism is so hard to find you have to create these circumstances in order to find one.

You remember that guy in Chicago? He had to hire foreigners to do the racism… that America just won’t do.

Horace was of course referencing last year’s high-profile hoax perpetrated by actor Jussie Smollett. After giving a hearty laugh, Carlson remarked: “I wish I thought of that. So good!”

On a serious note, Horace highlighted a disparity intentionally being created among the races. Certain minorities, to their detriment, are being held to a different standard to aid those seeking to exploit disunity for political gain. These race hustlers are using unrest to perpetuate their power:

Part of the problem is it feeds a narrative that some people, who sustain themselves politically, it feeds a narrative that they are empowered by solving. “We come to rescue you from the bug boogeyman racist.”…

Whether you’re black, white, brown, gay, straight, male, female – all Americans occasionally find they have struggles and setbacks. But, because of this narrative, only a few groups are allowed to experience their struggles and their setbacks and their difficulties.

But what that has done is that it has divided the rest of America…

It’s not racism. It’s not bigotry. America is an amazing place. But, as our economy has changed, our elites haven’t responded to those changes. And they tell poor people – mostly white – too bad for you.

Finding racism where there is none, as appears to be the case with Bubba Wallace and the rope in his garage, is a typical tactic of those elites. Wallace, who has rejected the FBI’s conclusion, is now only feeding into the division Horace warned Carlson about during the segment.

Conservatism Brings “Hope and Encouragement” to Black Conservatives

Conservatism Brings “Hope and Encouragement” to Black Conservatives

Two Project 21 members are featured in a Daily Signal collection of comments from 19 black Americans who explain why they are conservative.

The Daily Signal is The Heritage Foundation’s news website.

Carol Swain

Dr. Carol M. Swain:

I am a conservative because I have tasted and spit out the depressing, self-defeating ideologies and fruits of progressive liberalism.

Long before I knew I was a conservative, I was acting upon and living my life by conservative principles.

Despite my poverty and lack as one of 12 children growing up in rural indigence, I still believed I could make good things happen, and that I was not destined to remain poor.

I married at 16, started a family, and eventually earned a high school equivalency after having dropped out of school after completing the eighth grade.

Next came a divorce and my entry into a community college, where I earned the first of five college and university degrees. A brief stint on welfare after my divorce convinced me of the need to get an education so I could get a “good” job.

It never occurred to me as I was studying, working, and raising my children that the world was stacked against me or that it owed me a better break because of my race, impoverished roots, female gender, or family status.

It would take graduate school and studies of oppression to reveal to me that people from my background were doomed to poverty because of oppression and systematic racism. Fortunately, I was successful and thriving before I heard these depressing messages.

My belief in the American Dream and its possibilities inspired me to study hard, make the dean’s list at the community college, and graduate from the four-year college magna cum laude while working 40 hours a week on nights and weekends at the community college where I earned my first degree.

I always have been a strong individualist who rejects groupthink and questions the behaviors and thought patterns of those around me. Today, I am a conservative because I believe in God, country, and nation.

As a Black child in the rural South, I knew I lived in the greatest country in the world, and I took pride in being a Virginian because my state was the home of presidents. Slavery, Jim Crow, racism, and other realities of the Black experience never defined or crippled me.

Conservatism offers hope and encouragement to those willing to avail themselves of opportunities.

Emery McClendon

Emery McClendon:

There are many reasons to embrace conservatism. Perhaps one of the chief reasons for making this choice is that one may embrace and pursue his or her own destiny and develop a sense of pride in individual accomplishment. This is a very important aspect if one values his or her sense of personal responsibility and seeks prosperity.

Conservatism allows an individual to excel beyond the dependency and imposed reliance forced upon him by the government, and gives one the desire to work toward greater life goals.

Conservatism… brings one to a point of satisfaction for the accomplishments of life, and creates a deep desire to work harder, not unambitiously.

I choose to determine my own destiny and to illustrate to my posterity sound economic and life principles that will help them become successful in life, and not become wards of the state.

In short, conservatism works for everyone.

The entire Daily Signal article is available here.

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