Featuring the Work and Ideas of the National Center for Public Policy Research & Project 21
How brazen is woke culture? So brazen that companies now openly tout their discriminatory behavior to oblige the left’s social justice goals.
But, for now, they are getting their comeuppance for it.
When Microsoft boasted that they would “double the number of black and African-American people” within its leadership, the U.S. Department of Labor informed the high-tech giant that – as a federal contractor – it cannot engage in racist behavior. That would include hiring based solely on race. Now the company must explain how it plans to achieve its stated goal in a nondiscriminatory manner.
In a commentary for The Federalist, Justin Danhof, Esq. – the director of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP) – writes that this Microsoft initiative is a natural progression of the left’s long march through the institutions to install its vision for America:
The left has grown bored with applying these racist policies only to college and graduate school admissions. To the left’s thinking, that only provides a platform for more equal opportunity in future career success. Unsatisfied with the results of their decades-long higher education experiment, progressives are now demanding not just equality of opportunity, but equality of outcome.
“All across corporate America,” Justin notes, “there is a push to pack companies with affirmative action quotas.”
And the business community has become a willing participant in the left’s strategy. That’s why the pushback from the Trump Administration is so important:
As the American left, which includes most Fortune 500 company leaders, has become increasingly racist, it is exceedingly rare that anyone in authority calls them out for it. Here the Department of Labor is doing more than that by demanding that Microsoft show its work, if you will. Not only is the department calling out Microsoft’s potential racism, but it is asking the company to explain it.
As You Sow, a collective of leftist shareholder activists, is the catalyst for this co-opping of corporate America. It has unveiled its “Racial Justice Initiative” to “compel action” from companies that won’t comply – or that need cover. This activism includes a scorecard ranking companies on their adherence to social justice goals. This will undoubtedly be followed up with shareholder proposals and demonstrations at corporate events. And these activists, so to speak, mean business:
Leftist shareholder proposals, most of which flow from As You Sow, received record support in 2018, broke that record in 2019, and have now reached an all-time high in 2020. These proposals bring about real cultural and societal change and are a major reason for the woke capitalism phenomenon.
Conservatives and legitimate investors seeking a decent return on their investments can be thankful to have Justin and FEP on their side. For example, earlier this year Justin confronted Tricia Griffith – the CEO of insurance giant Progressive – about its apparent collaboration with As You Sow on abortion.
FEP is the most active shareholder advocate for traditional values and investor well-being.
And right now, the federal government is siding with the message FEP has been sending to CEOs:
The Department of Labor… is sending a clear signal that companies might well be breaking the law if they go along with such pressure campaigns to adopt racist hiring practices. Labor’s efforts to root out Microsoft’s racism problem should be applauded – and replicated.
To read all of Justin’s commentary – “Trump’s Labor Department Demands Microsoft Explain Its Hiring Practices” – click here to visit The Federalist’s website.
When it comes to the perils of government energy regulation, California easily springs to mind. High energy prices, rolling blackouts and other missteps tarnishing the Golden State’s reputation are indicative of its leaders being “poorly prepared for its self-imposed transition to green energy.”
But it’s not confined to the West Coast anymore. National Center Senior Fellow Bonner Cohen, Ph.D. warns that “‘[i]t can’t happen here’ is one of the most dangerous sentences you can utter.”
A Virginia resident, Bonner points out in a commentary published by The Epoch Times that Richmond lawmakers are making moves similar to those in Sacramento, which could end up causing the same energy problems for East Coast residents like him.
The Virginia legislature passed, and Governor Ralph Northam signed, the “Virginia Clean Energy Act” that mimics California by pushing electric utilities to move solely to “renewable” wind and solar sources by mid-century. Northam also issued an executive order with the ambitious goal of 2,600 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2026.
Bonner notes Northam’s goal may not be possible because Virginia is a “low-wind” state. Similarly, an ambitious and costly wind farm planned for off the Virginia coast is not expected to be ready until at least 2026. With regard to solar panels, one company boasted about putting in 2.5 million more panels over the past five years. That makes it more than one panel per customer!
Commenting on the lackluster expectations, Bonner writes:
[A]s California amply demonstrates, the transition to dependence on intermittent wind and solar is fraught with its own perils, which affect both consumers and the environment.
Besides the rolling blackouts, Californians have seen their power bills rise six times more than the national average since 2011. There is also a steep cost of infrastructure and environmental hazard involved with renewable energy production that Bonner called “illusory.”
For example, “[t]he raw materials needed to manufacture wind turbines (installed on land or at sea) far exceed those needed to manufacture and install [natural] gas-fired combined-cycle turbines.” And crucial rare-earth minerals necessary for their operation come largely from China – which has famously poor environmental standards. Sea-based turbines also degrade at a rate of around five percent per year, and those blades cannot be recycled!
It’s a similar situation with solar panels. They are highly toxic, and have a lifespan of around a decade. Surprisingly, “there are no federal regulations governing the disposal of used solar panels, even though they are prone to leakage, in addition to being difficult to recycle. A popular form of solar panel recycling is sending them “to developing countries with weak environmental protections.”
That doesn’t seem very green. Neither does the retirement of large tracts of agricultural land to sprawling wind or solar farms rather than becoming reclaimed wildlife habitat.
Yet liberal politicians have put this all of this on the agenda for Virginia. And Bonner figures the prospects for affordable and abundant electricity in Virginia are more remote than on the other side of the country:
California has far more sun and wind than Virginia. Yet not even those favorable environmental conditions have enabled the Golden State to produce enough energy from either source to meet demand. And their intermittency continues to destabilize the state’s fragile power grid.
Click here to read all of Bonner’s commentary – “California’s Energy Nightmare is Coming to Virginia” – at the website of The Epoch Times. A free digital subscription may be required.
The Epoch Times has a reported circulation of over 1.3 million with 67 different editions in 21 languages.
Have you had just about enough of these endless lockdowns, with their arbitrary and counterproductive rules? Do you sense that they’ve long been more about politics than public health?
If so, you’re not alone. Thousands of infectious-disease doctors and other medical professionals, and millions and millions of your fellow citizens, feel the same way. The experts have collected their thoughts, and have begun to collect their and our signatures, in favor of opening up the economy and returning a free people to reasonable autonomy, retaining only those measures that are directly and demonstrably necessary to protect the lives of those at greatest risk.
If that sounds like a cause you can get behind, would you consider going here to review, and perhaps to sign, the Great Barrington Statement?
It’s time to demand that the nanny-staters of the “public health community” and the tinpot dictators who run so many of our cities and states stand aside as we return to something very close to the old normal.
“Like the crazed Queen of Hearts in Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland, progressives prefer a ‘verdict first, trial later’ approach – it’s faster and keeps their ‘cancel culture’ agenda moving along more briskly.”
In a commentary for American Greatness, Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper laments that leftist political discourse has stooped so low that the willingness to call someone hateful for simple disagreements is at a hair trigger. For example:
This profound disrespect for the values of tolerance, free speech and open debate that have fostered American exceptionalism is hurtful to the preservation of our founding ideals. Horace writes:
Americans have always understood the value of hearing different opinions, gaining new perspectives, and seeing things from a point of view that is different from their own. Most Americans were taught to respect other people’s rights to express their views, to debate those views, and to politely and even publicly disagree with prevailing views. Now we are being taught a different way.
The left no longer accepts this framework. To progressives, discussion, debate and respect for differences of opinion are all overrated and stand in the way of swiftly imposing their radical policy agenda.
Name-calling and epithets like “racist,” “white supremacist” and “hate group” are part-and-parcel of the cancel culture currently on display. This approach is not only radical, it is antithetical to the American way and the values and freedoms that the Constitution and its Bill of Rights were designed to protect
“Gone are the days when to be a racist required skulking around with hoods at night, destroying ballots or intimidating citizens on the basis of race,” he notes. “Now racism has been fast-tracked to mean mere advocacy of deregulation, free-markets and equal justice before the law.”
And, in a dangerous trend, the increase of casual accusations of racism, sexism and other alleged extremism “has caused the charge of racism to lose all meaning,” Horace warns.
This poses a challenge going forward in which tolerant Americans “must remain vigilant and push back against these tactics or else we’ll be the next target.”
To read all of Horace’s American Greatness commentary – “Queen of Hearts: The Newest Race Card” – click here.
Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Federalist Society?
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has characterized Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett as “a judicial torpedo” aimed at left-wing holies such as Obamacare. And the primary reason he feels he can make such a callous remark seems to be that she was a member of and has remained affiliated with the Federalist Society, a group the senator has wrongfully demonized for years.
In a Washington Examiner commentary, Scott Shepard – the deputy director of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project – tears apart Whitehouse’s “fervid denunciations” of the conservative legal society. Scott plainly states:
Don’t fear the Federalist Society.
Rather, it is Whitehouse’s grim attempt to silence a lonely voice of dissent in the left-leaning legal world that is the “dark” force threatening to systematically and relentlessly dismantle our limited government for a free and unmuzzled people.
Scott explains that the nearly 40-year-old Federalist Society “was established in response to the increasingly left-wing bias of the American Bar Association.” Like its counterpart, the Federalist Society holds conferences. It stands apart because its membership invites opponents to its events “so that a spirited exchange occurs, rather than an intellectually monochromal pep rally.”
Yet Whitehouse, who referenced the group during Barrett’s confirmation hearings as part of a dark cabal influencing appointees such as the judge, “has set out to destroy an organization for the sin of disagreeing with him and for its support of judges, professors and other legal actors who subscribe to a thoroughly reasoned and wholly reasonable reading of the law and the theory of government.”
And Scott says the senator, who has already suggested that sitting judges not be permitted to associate with the Federalist Society, offers an illogical preferred response:
His solution to this asserted threat to democracy is transparency and disclosure. But these are odd conclusions and solutions to be put by such a man in such a statement.
For in his partisanship, Whitehouse does not stop for a moment to transparently consider or evenhandedly disclose the relationships between left-leaning deans, professors, and judges with leftist donors and influencers. He hasn’t canvassed the country or even made even a cursory effort to disclose what the left is up to.
In his canned shriek of manufactured horror at the spending by those on the right for the advancement of their legal theories, he does not stop to dissect the massive amounts of money that George Soros alone has spent to install far-left district attorneys who have in this riot year demonstrated their hesitation to enforce the law against “mostly peaceful” rioters and arsonists with whom they sympathize.
In short, it’s his way or the highway. It’s not far removed from the left’s overall fear throughout the Barrett nomination that President Donald Trump, in exercising the powers given to him by the Constitution, is guiding the judicial branch toward a more faithful adherence to the words of the founding document’s authors rather than the interpretations and extrapolations of the liberal judges and justices they are now replacing.
It’s kind of like what the Federalist Society advocates. Maybe not what Whitehouse wants, but certainly quite legal. That’s obviously why the opposition is so fierce.
To read all of the Scott’s commentary – “Sheldon Whitehouse’s Obsession With the ‘Dark’ Federalist Society is Out of Place” – click here.
Chinese “economic aggression” is propelling its global expansionism, and it’s up to the United States to put its efforts in check.
In a Newsmax commentary, National Center Senior Fellow Horace Cooper credits the Trump Administration for “push[ing] back hard against China’s economic bullying.” But he adds that “more must be done.”
A key step that Horace suggests President Trump can take right now is to ban any Chinese imports that are “endangering American lives, national security – and economic stability.”
After decades of concerted effort, China has become a primary source of American consumer goods, which are manufactured there or assembled from parts and shipped back to the United States. China is now our primary source for a wide variety of essential items like industrial supplies, pharmaceuticals, and cellular technology.
If the COVID-19 crisis has taught us anything it’s that we can’t allow so much of what America needs to come from a country that views itself as an adversary.
It’s time to rethink our supply chains, and to end our reliance on China.
In particular, Horace cites sodium cyanide as a good place for the White House to put its foot down.
China is not acting in good faith when it comes to sodium cyanide, a vital chemical for gold and silver mining. Chinese businesses may have stolen industrial secrets from an American manufacturer. There are also concerns about the safety of shipping this chemical from China – including that the chemical could be used by terrorists to harm Americans.
And, by the way, American companies had previously been able to handle the North American demand for sodium cyanide before the Chinese entered the market. China is simply trying to undercut domestic sellers.
According to Horace:
It ought to be a basic principle of U.S. law that no American firm should be forced to compete against a Chinese company trying to enter our markets using technologies and processes stolen from U.S. firms.
It ought to be another that imports made cheaper by creating significant national security and safety risks should not be permitted.
“The executive branch has the responsibility to protect American commerce from this kind of invasion,” Horace notes, warning that not blocking China’s efforts will embolden them to “do so again in other places.”
This, he writes, is all part of China’s ambition to become the predominant world superpower.
Click here to read all of Horace’s Newsmax commentary – “Trump Must Do More to Counter China Threats.”
Liberals have never been fans of the American ideal of manifest destiny. Imagine how they must feel now that the policies and attitudes for which they’ve been advocating are causing people to want to spread out.
It’s an urban sprawl nightmare, as Americans scorn the densely packed urban centers of the left’s fondest dreams.
In a Townhall commentary, Free Enterprise Project Deputy Director Scott Shepard highlights how the Wall Street-centric financial sector in particular illustrates a new, successful and popular dynamic of getting work done outside of the traditional metropolitan hubs that are under the yoke of liberal dynasties.
While the old days forced people to live in and around Manhattan, Scott points out that “[t]rading and a great many investment-banking activities can proceed anywhere” these days:
While businesses have increasingly recognized throughout the century that improving technology has made remote work more attractive and increasingly both more productive and less costly to firms and workers than pointless daily travel to an office, that learning process was rapidly accelerated by the lockdowns. The more that employees can work from anywhere, the smaller the need for businesses to be anywhere in particular.
Prior to this year, urban centers such as Manhattan, San Francisco and nearby Silicon Valley “had famously grown impossibly expensive.” What’s worse, “they will grow even more untenable, as the governments of those areas… are all moving to significantly increase already crushing tax burdens, especially on those who already generate so much of their tax bases.”
When COVID-19 lockdowns were enacted and places like Manhattan became ghost towns, many employees also discovered that they enjoyed working remotely so much they don’t want to go back to town when the virus abates.
As a result:
The impetus to allow employees to relocate, if not to shift operations entirely, presses hard.
Oh, and then there were the Black Lives Matter riots:
[J]urisdictions that have maintained the longest and most brutal lockdowns, while – in a masterpiece of hypocrisy, scientific illiteracy, tyrannical malgovernance and unconstitutional discrimination by subject matter and viewpoint – also permitting essentially untrammeled “protesting,” often of the fiery and fighty kind that’s usually called riot. This combination renders these cities and states both unlivable and extremely dangerous.
If given a choice of working in a room with a view of pastoral splendor – as opposed to an open-air drug market or their hi-rise’s dumpster on fire – and sharing recirculated HVAC air with all of their neighbors, it’s no wonder New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is begging residents to return and California is considering a tax increase that follows people after they flee the state.
But it’s pretty simple to understand why there is this reckoning for the once-celebrated urban homesteading:
Given all of these factors, businesses – especially businesses significantly exposed to large and ill-governed cities – will face fiduciary obligations to study whether they would be better positioned in different locations. This obligation will not be limited to financial and tech companies. Any companies that have operations in these unstable and unsustainable locales that can reasonably be moved will have to decide whether they should. Many will have no choice but to conclude that they should, which means that they must.
Pleasing the blue collar workforce is also good for the white collar crowd. That’s why companies like Boeing are moving manufacturing plants from places like pricey regulated Everett, Washington to cheaper friendlier North Charleston, South Carolina.
“Investors should monitor their companies’ managers… to make sure that they’re conducting these analyses, and doing so fairly, honestly and with full consideration of all factors, not just the ones that favor their pre-existing personal preferences,” Scott notes. “And employees endangered by forced continuation in dangerous locations have their own sets of options.”
Click here to read all of Scott’s commentary – “Abandoning Broken Locales has Become a Fiduciary Obligation for Firms.”
In 2002, the National Center’s Center for Environmental Justice released an econometric study on urban sprawl regulations. It noted then that “[p]olicies to combat sprawl penalize minorities, the poor, urban families and the young.” The late Amy M. Ridenour, then the president of the National Center, called it “the new segregation.” The study found that anti-sprawl regulations like those found in Portland, Oregon posed a clear and present danger to homeownership, caused rents to rise and did nothing to mitigate traffic concerns.
Liberals want to break up Big Tech.
As with all things that they cannot control, they now want to regulate it to serve their will.
As followers of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP) are well aware, companies such as Twitter, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet (the parent company of Google) are no friends to conservatives. In fact, they are hotbeds of liberal thoughts and deeds – but apparently not enough for the left.
Because social media companies such as Facebook have not completely squelched conservative voices, the left attacks them for what vestiges of free speech they still allow. This anger fuels the left’s efforts to try to break up these giant corporations.
A new antitrust report issued by liberals in the U.S. House of Representatives is the latest in an obvious effort to intimidate these companies. And, as FEP Deputy Director Scott Shepard pointed out in a Townhall commentary released prior to the publication of this report, Big Tech can’t turn to the traditionally laissez-faire conservatives and expect much sympathy.
“[T]his sort of discrimination [against conservatives] itself provides some evidence that the companies are monopolies, and are therefore liable to prosecution, and even to dissolution, under antitrust law,” Scott wrote. “And once the political right is convinced, as it is being convinced, that its efforts to preserve liberty require setting aside traditional antitrust squeamishness, it will do so.”
In the commentary, Scott demonstrated how Big Tech is different from previous targets of antitrust crusaders:
In many ways they reprise the so-called Robber Barons of the late 19th, bestriding the newest business vistas like colossi…
But there’s a key difference. This new crowd of plutocrats seeks to control, and thereby to censor, these new modes and methods of communication that have so effectively diminished and even defeated the systems of expression of just a few decades past… Our civil life is almost entirely lived online now, with information sought using Google, then conveyed via Facebook and Twitter and other networks.
And these companies have not wielded their power judiciously:
[T]hey have brought their wealth and power to bear to complicate or cut off speech by those on the right half of the political spectrum: tagging or removing posts; rigging search results so that leftwing opinions rise above those in the center or on the right; filling their staffs with those who understand any disagreement with their radicalism to be “hate” that must be de-platformed and silenced because, in their untutored but proud refrain, “hate speech is not free speech.” What does that mean? It’s gibberish at constitutional law. In practical fact, it means: “shut up, you monsters who dare to disagree with me.”
So conservatives who have had enough are fighting back. There is support for reforming the protections these companies currently enjoy under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Senator John Hawley has also introduced legislation allowing those who are censored to be able to sue.
“The big tech companies have been saved so far – at least since the Microsoft action in the late 1990s – by the natural inclination of those on the center and the right not to push antitrust enforcement,” Scott noted. “But as calls by Senator Hawley and others indicate, that reserve is cracking.”
To read all of Scott’s commentary – “FAAMG (+T): Modern Day Monopolists Needing Broken?” – at the Townhall website, click here.
You go first!
That’s the message the National Center’s Scott Shepard has for CEOs and other business leaders who’ve failed to put aside their own “privilege” when buying into the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
Despite making “active financial and rhetorical contributions” at the expense of shareholder profit and employee welfare, it would seem that these corporate titans are more interested in ordering others around (naturally!) instead of taking some of their own medicine.
In a Townhall commentary, Scott – the deputy director of the Free Enterprise Project – points out that executives have painted themselves into a corner by signing onto the BLM agenda. But just talking the talk doesn’t cut it – they need to walk the walk!
It’s a problem of their own design. In hastily embracing radical racial chic in an obviously desperate play for relevance, corporate America has displayed its ignorance:
There is no principle in the notion or theory of privilege that limits its application to the racial sphere. Privilege – and the need to redress it – must arise from class and wealth as well. This “stacking” of privileged or victimized status is in fact at the very heart of “intersectional” theory, which both buttresses and accompanies privilege theory.
So… what now? How can c-suites get street cred?
Scott dishes out some harsh reality to the suits:
[I]f they really do buy into the theories of privilege and the need for compensation, along with the necessarily concomitant theories of collective and intergenerational guilt that are necessary to offer the white privilege/supremacy/fragility triad even the patina of coherence, they must agree that they and their descendants have the most for which to account.
And there’s no limit to what one must denounce after bending a knee to the radicals. In order to truly be woke, here’s what Scott believes they must do:
If these CEOs are honest and serious about their support for BLM and its allies and principles, then we should look for them to renounce, for themselves and their posterity, their positions of power, influence – and yes, privilege – with just as much publicity and performative vigor as they employed in making their initial supportive commitments. Look for them to consign themselves, their family and their progeny to positions as manual laborers, social workers and retail workers, with the salaries and influence that append to those positions. Only then can they – the most intersectionally privileged of us all – properly and fully make restitution for their surfeit of good luck and good fortune (because, after all, individual responsibility and accountability, and all that follow from them, have been renounced by the movements and theories that they have espoused).
Notably, however, it appears that none of these loudly woke corporate leaders have taken this obvious and requisite next step. This raises the suspicion that they didn’t really mean their pronouncements after all. Or, more exactly, it raises the suspicion that they didn’t mean the notions and theories of Woke that they have so lavishly embraced to apply to them and theirs. Rather, they performed their wokeness as a way of buying off the leftwing mobs, secure in the expectation that they are wealthy enough and of high enough status that whatever damage they inflicted by supporting notions of intergenerational race guilt and the negation of personal responsibility, it would never have any meaningful effect on them and theirs.
In other words, they bargained our futures for their personal and familial benefit.
To read all of Scott’s Townhall commentary – “How Woke CEOs Traded Our Future for BLM Approval” – click here.
Asked about the possibility of “election night chaos,” Project 21 member Rich Holt – a campaign strategist by trade – said it could happen. But he assured Newsmax TV host Emma Rechenberg that he thinks the election will be decided by the beginning of December. This would guarentee a peaceful continuity of government on January 20, 2021.
In an interview on Newsmax TV’s “National Report,” Rechenberg asked Rich why “the idea of accepting American election results has become such a heated topic” these days. Rich blamed the faulty assumption that alternatives to in-person voting are inherently trustworthy:
It’s because mail-in ballots are so terrible that the Europeans abandoned them back in the 70s. It was rampant with fraud and corruption.
Here in the United States, we have a serious problem with making sure that the ballots – when they get in – are actually counted. And the absentee balloting/vote-by-mail states – they always have these problems with fraud.
In trying to pinpoint the potential problems with mail-in voting, Rich noted that procedural problems will likely garner the most media attention in close contests:
I think the problem that we have is not with the post office or the mailing. It’s only two percent of the volume of the post office.
The problem we’re going to have is: do signatures match? Are they gonna throw out the ballots?
As states try to meet their legal deadlines for reporting election results, there will be inevitable challenges. When asked about Hillary Clinton’s assertion that Joe Biden “should not concede under any circumstances,” Rich said there is an obvious double-standard for pretty much anything liberals do. That, he said, needs to be taken into account considering the sanctity of an election process:
[Y]ou’re allowed to be mad if you’re a liberal. You’re allowed to fight if you’re a liberal. You can, you know, throw a Molotov cocktail at a police car and blow it up if you’re a liberal. But, if you’re a conservative, you’re an evil villain.
The fact is they want to rig the election through mail-in voting, and there’s not really much we can do except trust the mechanisms we have in place to make sure we have a fair system.
He looked to one aspect of the process – one that liberals currently hate – as its savior:
I think the Electoral College will do that just fine.