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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

Planned Parenthood “Got Their Guy” in Richmond

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After Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s blackface scandal began, but before the rest of Virginia’s executive team became embroiled in similar personal scandals that now threaten their political careers, Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper appeared on the new radio show of former Trump Administration official Sebastian Gorka. They spoke about Governor Northam’s race problem. But Horace also brought up Northam’s apparent profound lack of respect for human life – a topic that was getting a lot of attention prior to the revelation of the blackface/KKK photo on his yearbook page.

Gorka’s show, “America First”, is syndicated to 120 stations nationwide through the Salem Broadcasting Network.

Gorka introduced Horace as “a man whose scope knows no bounds.” He added “[y]our left and right vectors are massive” when it comes to Horace’s ability to discuss a myriad of issues.

On the blackface/KKK scandal, Horace said Northam’s use of race in the 2017 gubernatorial campaign was likely intended as cover for Northam’s own lack of charisma and vision. It’s now coming back to haunt him. Citing Colin Powell’s warning to President George W. Bush on Iraq (“If you break it, you own it”), Horace said:

Governor Northam has broken political and public discourse on the topic of race, and he owns it. It was his idea to decide that he didn’t have much of a vision – he didn’t show much leadership – when he was campaigning in 2017. And so let’s create a racial wedge against [his challenger] Ed Gillespie…

It was Ralph Northam who decided: “I don’t actually have a competitive vision, so I’m just gonna castigate my opponent as a bigot”…

If I had the baggage – the racial baggage – in my background, I would never have brought forward such a thing.

As a matter of full disclosure, Horace brought up that he is friends with Northam’s 2017 opponent, Ed Gillespie.

Noting that the abortion provider Planned Parenthood announced in 2017 that it would spend $3 million on Northam, Horace commented:

Big Abortion came in and said “we’re gonna buy this election”…

They wanted the butcher of their choice to be sitting in the [governor’s mansion]… in the capital. And they got their guy.

Planned Parenthood’s return on investment was manifesting itself in late January with the introduction of a New York-style late-term abortion bill in the Virginia House of Delegates. But the backlash against it intensified after Northam made comments that essentially endorsed infanticide. Then came the blackface/KKK yearbook photo. Reportedly the photo was leaked by a former classmate of Northam’s who was appalled by his comments on abortion.

Horace saw a fitting nexus between the photo and the comments that now have a wide spectrum of people calling for Northam to resign. He mentioned Planned Parenthood’s often-overlooked racial underpinnings:

But Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was a eugenicist… That’s a fancy term for… [s]he was a racist!… She worked with the Klan… to help them promote their goals.

And Horace criticized the coarsening of the culture and disrespect for the lives of the unborn that have come from the politics of abortion:

It is this backdrop that brings us Planned Parenthood – working with this governor, and supporting the most brutal, gruesome activity. Saying that a born child doesn’t deserve the kind of basic things that we might do if we saw an animal injured on the side of the road.

Happy to have such an informative guest, Gorka said to Horace: “I’m so glad I invited you.”

Philadelphia Soda Tax More Revenge Than Reform

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Maybe the Arnold Foundation wasn’t as effective in promoting and protecting the Philadelphia soda tax as was previously suggested.

The federal indictment of a Philadelphia union leader and city councilman has shown that the city’s 1.5-cents-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages – often referred to as the “soda tax” – was likely pushed as a means of killing jobs in a rival union. And it doesn’t stop there!

According to the 116-count indictment, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 98 business manager John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty told another union official: “They’re going to start to put a tax on soda again, and that will cost the Teamsters 100 jobs in Philly.” When the mayor’s office tried to sell Johnny Doc on the health benefits of the soda tax, he replied, “You don’t have to explain to me. I don’t give a f–.”

So much for the sake of the children.

Johnny Doc’s animosity for the Teamsters is said to have stemmed from a union rift involving business at the city’s convention center and the Teamsters’ endorsement of a mayoral candidate to rival the IBEW-backed Jim Kenney. Philadelphia City Councilman Bobby Henon’s support was allegedly bought with an IBEW salary and sports tickets.

Now-Mayor Kenney reassured people: “It may have been a revenge plot by Local 98, but it wasn’t to do with me.”

But what about the Arnolds?

Linda and John Arnold, the billionaire leftists who have bankrolled campaigns to support soda taxes in Philadelphia and elsewhere, reportedly spent at least $400,000 to promote the soda tax through their Action Now Initiative. According to the indictment, Johnny Doc spent just under $85,000 in IBEW money for Henon. That’s much more economical.

To be fair, the IBEW also spent a lot of money on campaign donations to a lot of candidates. It has been the largest independent spender in Pennsylvania politics lately. This, plus the alleged payoff of Councilman Henon, clouds the effectiveness of the Arnold’s spending.

The Arnold Foundation – the Arnolds’ non-profit entity – also gave a $500,000 grant to the city to defend the soda tax in court. The city won. The Arnold Foundation played a key role. But did it?

Johnny Doc has a brother named Kevin. Johnny helped Kevin and two other candidates become justices on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. That’s the court where the city won its case to keep the soda tax. Kevin recused himself from the case, but he is believed to be “Family Member No. 4” – who received home repairs and other ill-gotten benefits – in his brother’s indictment. Johnny Doc’s campaign spending is credited with the liberal takeover of the Court in the 2015 election.

Commenting on these unfolding political and legal developments, Commonwealth Foundation Vice President Nathan Benefield told The Washington Times: “You can make all the good policy arguments, but there’s so much corruption and bribery that goes into creating bad policy, that’s what’s wrong with the politics of Philadelphia. It’s often driven not by ideology or by economics, but by backroom politics.”

It’s arguable that the Arnolds’ almost million-dollar effort to push a sugary beverage luxury tax on Philadelphia’s residents and visitors was a bust. Instead of impact, they might have been a sideshow – a distraction from the raw political corruption that is now thought to have greased the skids to make the tax a law. It’s not the success you can tout to the media and charity monitors.

But that’s not going to be an issue for the Arnolds anymore. The Arnold Foundation is going the way of cheap soda in the City of Brotherly Love. Say hello to Arnold Ventures. The new entity is a limited-liability corporation (LLC). Vox reported that “[i]t’s a move that lets them do more — and leaves some philanthropy watchdogs nervous.”

Vox also noted: “An LLC is not subject to all the same requirements as a foundation. It doesn’t have to spend down 5 percent of its assets each year, as foundations are required to do. It does not necessitate the same kinds of disclosures of public tax documents. And if any of the LLC’s investments turn a profit, the owners have discretion over what to do with it.”

It also allows the Arnolds to be less transparent in their future operations.

Congressional Committee Introduced to Minority Impact Assessments

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Amidst all of the climate alarmism, the first congressional hearing on climate issues in years was tempered by discussion of “minority impact assessments,” a key plank of the Project 21 black leadership network’s “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America.”

This unique and innovative idea would help ensure that any new regulation – such as that being discussed during the hearing – does not disproportionately affect the economic well-being and opportunities of minority communities, as residents endeavor to climb the socioeconomic ladder and achieve a more equal America.

Project 21 member Derrick Hollie, who is also the president of Reaching America, testified during the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on National Resources full committee hearing on “Climate Change: Impacts and the Need to Act.”

Derrick, who has written about minority impact assessments in the Daily Caller, explained to the Committee how increased regulation can lead to energy poverty issues in poor and minority areas.

In his prepared testimony, Derrick said:

Energy poverty exists when low income families or individuals spend up to 30 percent of their total income on their electric bill. And when this happens, people have to make tough choices like do I eat today or pay the electric bill? Do I get this prescription filled or fill up my car with gas? We all know someone who faces these choices every month. 

For members of the African-American community, energy poverty is a reality. Members of our community don’t have the luxury to pay more for green technologies. We need access to affordable energy to help heat our homes, power our stoves and get back and forth to work each day. 

Specifically regarding the issue of minority impact assessments, he said:

I’m also a member of Project 21, a national black leadership organization. In our “Blueprint for A Better Deal for Black America,” we focus on ten key areas for reform – including “Minority Impact Assessments” for new regulations. This would be a major step toward increasing economic opportunities… 

After all, the government requires environmental impact statements to estimate the effects of projects like roads and buildings on nature. Shouldn’t the government act similarly when it comes to how regulations impact the population? 

A minority impact assessment would create a list of all the positive and negative impacts a proposed regulation would have on factors including employment, wages, consumer prices and homeownership. This regulatory impact would then be analyzed for its effect on minorities in contrast to the general population. 

The bottom line: any policy that contributes to energy poverty is a bad one for low income families and minority communities.

The entire hearing is available for viewing via C-SPAN. Derrick’s testimony is at the 2:05 mark.

In responding to Derrick’s comments, Representative Louie Gohmert recounted how “cap and trade” regulations proposed during the Obama Administration “jacks up the cost of energy like you’ve been talking about. And, as you know the people who are impacted – it isn’t the rich. They can afford it.”

Project 21’s Blueprint is a 57-point plan for removing barriers blocking blacks from empowerment and ensuring they have their chance to attain the American dream.

Derrick’s testimony was covered by media such as Grist, Envirolink and Daily Caller.

FEP Takes Bite Out of Apple’s Rotten Logic

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Apple shareholders have an opportunity to bring more ideological diversity to the company’s board of directors thanks for the hard work of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP).

Through both proxy ballots and in-person ballots at Apple’s annual investor meeting in Cupertino, California on March 1, Apple shareholders – even those who own as little as one share of Apple stock – can vote on Proposal #5, “True Diversity Board Policy.” This proposal was submitted by FEP.

But submitting that proposal wasn’t an easy task. The Federalist website has published an article about both the content of the proposal and the arduous process of getting it in front of Apple shareholders. In the article, Federalist contributor Helen Raleigh calls FEP’s success “truly a David vs. Goliath story.”

Justin Danhof

The popular and influential website notes that FEP “cleverly modeled this proposal after similar liberal diversity proposals.” FEP Director Justin Danhof explains in the article that Apple’s complaint about the term “ideological diversity” was “a desperate move to keep its groupthink in the boardroom intact, because ‘most middle-school students understand the concept of ideological diversity.’”

As noted in the article, companies facing shareholder proposals have three options:

  • Adopt the proposal or a negotiated version of it.
  • Allow the proposal to be voted on by shareholders.
  • Fight the shareholder and allow the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to determine if it can be excluded from a shareholder meeting agenda.

Pepsi, which received a similar FEP proposal, adopted an ideological diversity policy and the proposal was withdrawn. It go before Starbucks shareholders in Seattle, Washington on March 20 (Proposal #4) Facebook and Twitter have not responded (their meetings are later in the year). Apple, which meets earlier than most companies, fought FEP – and lost.

Describing FEP’s proposal, The Federalist noted:

Liberals have been aggressively pushing for diversity in boardrooms based on sex and race. In 2018, CtW Investment Group, a coalition that works with “pension funds sponsored by unions affiliated with Change to Win,” introduced an Amazon shareholder proposal on “board diversity.” The proposal “calls on the Amazon board of directors to implement a ‘Rooney Rule’ requiring that the initial list of candidates from which new management-supported director nominees are chosen should include (but need not be limited to) qualified women and minority candidates.”

The Rooney Rule is a policy implemented by the National Football League in 2003 that requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for any open head coaching or general manager position. At the time of implementation, there were two minority head coaches in the NFL. Since then, the number of African-American coaches in the NFL has increased. But there is no hard evidence to prove whether they were helped by the rule or would have become head coaches anyway without it.

However, lacking hard evidence hasn’t stopped liberal groups from pushing the Rooney Rule everywhere else, especially in corporate America’s boardrooms. CtW cited Microsoft and Costco, among other companies, that have implemented the Rooney Rule in their director search. CtW pushed Amazon to do the same.

As to why ideological diversity is necessary:

Danhof explained to me that, unlike the liberals, he doesn’t advocate for a quota of conservatives on corporate boards. He believes in free enterprise and has no desire to dictate how Apple implement his diversity proposal, should it pass.

While acknowledging “a diverse board is a good indicator of sound corporate governance and a well-functioning board,” Danhof says he only wants to raise awareness that “true diversity comes from the diversity of thoughts.” He sees ample evidence that “the company – and Silicon Valley generally – operate in ideological hegemony that eschews conservative people, thoughts, and values. This ideological echo chamber can result in groupthink that is the antithesis of diversity”…

Exhibit A is that, after Dick Sporting Goods banned the sale of certain types of guns in February 2018, its overall store sales went down. Danhof hopes that diverse opinions in the boardroom will help corporations make better decisions that will benefit shareholders in the long run.

Apple fought against the FEP proposal by saying, among other things that “ideological perspectives” are not commonly understood or well-defined. This is allegedly to the extent that shareholders cannot properly vote on the proposal and the company cannot properly implement what FEP wants.

While Apple could always ask Pepsi for some advice on implementation, The Federalist pointed out that the politics of the Apple board is not hard to figure out:

Yet Apple seems very dismissive of its shareholders. Since Apple only chooses prominent figures to sit on its board, these prominent figures’ political alliances are well-known to the general public. For example, does anyone doubt where Al Gore, a long-time Apple director, stands ideologically? Apple CEO Tim Cook is especially vocal on his liberal political views and he has often done so on behalf of Apple. Without a diversity of ideas in the boardroom, no one is pushing back on him.

A shareholder proposal is an uphill fight. FEP was successful in fighting Apple and its hired-gun lawyers to get Proposal #5 on the company’s proxy statement. But it faces yet another challenge in the form of liberal proxy advisor services that have a great deal of influence on how large investment firms vote the shares under their control. While supporting leftist diversity proposals, these services generally oppose the FEP.

Despite all that, The Federalist article noted:

Still, having the “ideological diversity” proposal on shareholders’ ballots is a big win for Danhof, the FEP, and conservatives in America. Liberals have been very good at taking advantage of existing laws, regulations, and systems to advance their ideology in many aspects of our society. It’s about time conservatives catch on, push back, and let our voice be heard. Danhof and the FEP just showed us how.

To read The Federalist article – “Apple Faces Shareholder Ballot to Consider Political Diversity for Board Members” – in its entirety, click here.

Liberals Watching SOTU Show Disdain for American Greatness

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A CBS News poll conducted just minutes after President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address found a staggering 76 percent approval for what respondents heard. Yet, over at CNN, political commentator Van Jones was reviewing it as “psychotically incoherent” and mysteriously full of “cookies and dog poop.”

Alrighty then.

This, by the way, is the same Van Jones who – when President Trump pushed for and later signed the First Step Act into law – called the criminal justice reform measure “unbelievable” and said that the President “stood up” and “has got to get the credit” for something a lot of liberals loved (notsomuch at the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network).

As part of a post-SOTU panel discussion on the Fox News Channel which examined the media response as much as the address itself, Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper remarked about Jones:

I actually don’t know what speech he watched.

I mean, it’s remarkable. One, he got a chance to work with this president – and they did a lot when it came to criminal justice reform.

But tonight’s speech was probably one of the best speeches the President has delivered.

Yet grumpiness and contempt seemed to be the overall response of most liberals. After all, Senator Kamala Harris deemed the address “insincere” before it was even given.

During the President’s address, she and her liberal colleagues in both the House and Senate largely refused to clap for a myriad of things that should have made people happy or at least should have earned the support of people across the political spectrum:

  • Choosing greatness
  • Rejecting the politics of revenge
  • Economic growth
  • Energy independence
  • Fighting drug dealers
  • Low unemployment (especially among minority groups)
  • People leaving welfare
  • “The state of our union is strong.”

The lone exception seemed to be Senator Joe Manchin. And the CBS News poll seems to lend credibility to an assertion that unity is appealing.

Emery McClendon

Emery McClendon

The liberals’ bad attitudes did not sit well with Project 21 member Emery McClendon, a veteran and Tea Party organizer. He said:

As I watched the President deliver his second State of the Union address, I could not help but admire his love for our country and his desire to keep America great.

In stark contrast, liberals showed their true colors. They displayed particular disdain for minorities and working class citizens when they chose to not applaud for the issues that affect them the most. These liberals may tout themselves as being for the average citizen, but they refused to show any actual public concern for those citizens’ gains during this important event.

When President Trump used his speech to honor the military and our veterans, too many liberals failed to respond with applause. When he mentioned the successes of lower unemployment numbers and fewer people on food stamps, his critics once again remained silent. They should have been proud for the thousands of Americans who have been lifted up out of government dependency and are now taking on personal responsibility.

When ICE was praised for its victories in fighting drug dealers and sex trafficking, liberals sat on their hands and failed to show any enthusiasm. This is yet another issue that affects Americans and should draw a welcomed response. Why aren’t they happy about our progress?

Working together, we can achieve the goals that will refresh the American Dream and rebuild our legacy of greatness. But it will require a joint effort from those who represent us in Washington, D.C.

This sentiment was echoed by Horace during his appearance on “The Ingraham Angle.” Horace praised the President’s effective use of invited guests to make his points, and also for having a “generous affection” for America that is evident in speeches like his second State of the Union address:

When you see CBS reporting that nearly 80 percent of Americans who watched this speech thought it was amazing, thought it was remarkable…

This is a man who loves this country. And his infectious love of this country allowed him to weave a narrative using the lives of real Americans.

This was quite Reaganesque – how he was able to build this narrative. And it’s something that you can’t do without a generous affection for your country.

Liberals Play the Race Card to Obscure POTUS Success

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Citing the unyielding liberal attacks on the President and his supporters despite unmistakable gains for black Americans over the past two years, Fox News Channel host Laura Ingraham asked Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper: “Why is this broad racism brush so generously applied to Trump and his supporters?”

“Because it’s effective,” Horace replied.

He added:

It is a very good way to stop people from being able to see how important the policies are, how effective they are, how impactful they are.

It is working, and it will keep continuing to occur unless we can call these people out for doing it.

In an “Ingraham Angle” panel discussion, Horace was joined by Trump advisor Bruce Levell and former Georgia state representative Dee Dawkins-Haigler to discuss the ongoing demonization of the White House and its policies even when they are popular and effective.

Horace noted that liberals are seizing on the smallest of things to try to lend credence to their assertions that anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs is extremist, sexist, racist and any other slander that can get someone kicked out of polite society. “They’re scouring the news to find little episodes that they can show,” he said, “to create a counter-narrative that’s false.”

And proof of what the President has accomplished is what his critics want to be obscured by all of their bluster:

You can’t deny the relative growth – particularly for black Americans… Four of the records for worst employment for black Americans happened under Barack Obama. Five of the best records for black America have happened under Donald Trump. You can’t deny that…

It was Barack Obama who told us that, if Trump was elected, the end would come. He was wrong, and it’s great that Donald Trump’s policies are working.

But it’s come to a point where someone simply wearing a “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) baseball hat is considered an endorsement of the rallies in Charlottesville. It is compared to a KKK hood. And it is a target for abuse. There’s a restaurant owner in California who tried to ban customers who wear MAGA hats.

Dawkins-Haigler tried to point the conversation in a more philosophical direction to avoid having to justify poor behavior on the part of her liberal allies. She said: “We need to have real conversations in this country about race.”

But Horace quickly replied, “That’s a tired old trope.” He explained:

The problem is, during the eight years of the Obama Administration, the repo men got to know more black Americans than they got to know any other group of people. We lost more houses, more automobiles – the whole nine yards.

And guess what? In just two years… since Trump has been president, we’ve seen an absolute reversal in every single index of the American Dream.

Newspaper Apologizes, Agrees with Project 21’s Call for Mutual Respect

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In a mea culpa of sorts for the widespread rush to judgement following recent events involving smirking students and drumming at the Lincoln Memorial, one newspaper looked to Project 21 to help bring reason back into fashion.

When the media and social justice warriors condemned Nick Sandmann and his classmates at Covington Catholic High School for their alleged intolerance before all the facts were clear, Project 21 called on people “to take more time and be more careful before making allegations that increase racial tension.”

It was a wise call.

When the full video of what happened was available, it showed that Sandmann and other Covington students were the target of taunts from radical Black Hebrew Israelites for over an hour before it got to the short but widely-publicized clip of Sandmann and Native American activist Nathan Phillips. And Phillips, portrayed as the target in early accounts, was shown to have singled out Sandmann – contradicting the suggestion that the students blocked his marching. There was also much that contradicted assertions by Phillips about the Covington kids’ behavior and facts he used to embellish his own reputation.

Obviously having remorse for all that happened, the Canton Repository (Ohio) wrote in a house editorial:

Too often, it seems, those clamoring the loudest for [tolerance] are the same people and groups least willing to extend it.

Over the past week, our collective ability to practice what we preach has come under scrutiny. And, yes, we are holding up a mirror to ourselves — the media in general — as well.

Many were guilty of a rush to judgment after viewing only snippets of the confluence of several groups Jan. 19 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Reactions on social media became a tidal wave of hate — vile, bigoted, polarizing and, yes, intolerant to the extreme.

In making their own plea for people to act better in the future, the editors noted:

The Golden Rule? Shoved aside to our own detriment.

Said Donna Jackson, a member of Project 21, an initiative of The National Center for Public Policy Research: “It’s in no one’s best interest to tear ourselves apart to score political points.”

Yet we see it every day…

We don’t need to agree with each other and we don’t even need to like each other, but we do need to listen to each other.

We need tolerance.

The comment from Donna came from Project 21’s press release that said Sandmann should be praised for keeping a cool head and that also quoted Project 21 Co-Chairman Council Nedd II urging people to “stop fomenting racial division as a means of advancing political agendas.”

To read the Canton Repository’s entire “Tolerance in Short Supply” editorial, click here.

 

Lawyers Group Keeps Bar Low at Students’ Peril

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In the interest of diversity, the American Bar Association is apparently willing to take their chances on failing law schools and students who may not be cut out for the legal profession.

The move may doom a portion of these students to the shame of failure and a mountain of debt that it may take a lifetime to pay off.

Reforming higher education to help black students succeed, rather than setting them up to fail, is one of the key policy recommendations of the Project 21 black leadership network’s “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America.”

In late January, at its Midyear Meeting, the ABA House of Delegates – in an overwhelming 88-334 vote – rejected a proposed change in association standards submitted by its Section on Legal Education and Admissions. The change to ABA standards would tie law schools’ accreditation to a requirement that 75 percent of students pass the bar exam within two years of graduation.

In a letter to the chairman of that section, chairs of the ABA’s Goal III groups – including the Coalition on Race and Ethnic Justice and the Council on Diversity in the Educational Pipeline – stated that the proposed standard change would have “an adverse impact upon diversity within legal education, the legal profession and the entire educational pipeline.” The letter added that it also “continues to threaten attempts to diversify law schools and ultimately the legal profession” by impacting HBCUs, schools in Puerto Rico and California and those with “large populations of diverse students.”

According to data cited in the letter, 11 of the 19 schools at risk of losing accreditation due to a 75 percent bar success requirement have “significant” (“at least 30 percent students of color”) minority student bodies – with two being classified as historically black colleges and universities.

In an interview with Inside Higher Ed, Kaplan Bar Review Vice President Tammi Rice said:

Arguably one of the most important responsibilities of a law school is to help its students succeed on the bar exam. Keep in mind that all of the law schools that have recently shuttered or are on the verge of closing down have something in common: a low bar passage rate. This is an important statistic that potential law school students look at.

This concern was echoed by Project 21 member Rich Holt:

We’ve got to protect minority students from being used to satisfy a quota and ensure that – once admitted – they’ll be given the education they deserve.

Not doing so leaves the door open for any number of big-name schools to exploit minority students with big lofty dreams while charging them hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition as they hit their diversity quotas.

This exploitation is something we can prevent by ensuring that universities are following through on their duty to educate the students they admit.

Focusing on undergraduate coursework, Project 21’s Blueprint noted a disproportionate six-year graduation rate for black students in contrast with their white, Asian and Hispanic counterparts. “Colleges are admitting many black students who are unprepared for rigorous college environments,” the Blueprint pointed out. “At the same time, colleges are failing to provide black students with the individualized support they need to overcome the deficiencies of their K-12 educations to give them their best chance of success.”

Project 21 offered four recommendations for policies that would set black students up for success in higher education:

  • Incentivizing schools to provide black students the support they need by requiring schools to meet minimum graduation rate standards to qualify for federal financial aid programs. (A minimum six-year graduation rate should initially be set at 60% for the general student population, and no less than 15 percentage points lower for minority students was suggested.)
  • Preventing federal student financial aid programs from fueling tuition inflation.
  • Providing additional funding to improve infrastructure, renovate and update Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by reprogramming existing funding for colleges – provided the HBCUs commit to meeting the same minimum graduation standards required of all colleges receiving federal financial aid.
  • Ending policies that encourage segregation on college and university campuses.

Project 21 member Jerome Danner noted about the recommendations:

Colleges take chances on black students who may initially need more help in keeping up with the curriculum. The combination of linking federal financial aid eligibility to graduation rates and keeping tuition manageable puts the priority not just on admitting students, but also retaining them. This not only helps them succeed, but also protects them from the depression and debt related to being forced to drop out.

Rich added:

The idea that law schools would want this criteria eliminated is another example of how institutions essentially exploit minorities for profit.

In the fair world, law schools would only admit the students they are truly able to educate. Each law school is unique, and admitting a student who doesn’t fit its educational structure denies that student the opportunity to find a school that does.

I hope this proposal gets due consideration in the future to ensure the protection of the many students so eager to reach for success.

Check out Black Central Station for the original article on this and more.

Sick-Outs Stymie Shutdown Strategy

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With a little more than two weeks left before the next potential government shutdown, Project 21 member Christopher Arps thinks “we might have seen the last gasp of closing the government for political leverage.” In a commentary published on the Politichicks website, he asserts that it wasn’t the media’s shaming or politicians’ grandstanding that led to the reopening, and how he fears that declaring a state of emergency could be a short-term solution with unfortunate long-term repercussions.

Christopher writes: “It wasn’t the stream of stories and images of government workers worried about paying their mortgages and putting food on their tables that were peddled by liberal politicians and their media allies.” He notes there were plenty of options for furloughed federal workers in a bind. This included assistance from financial institutions, community charity and even the intervention of politicians trying to ensure that any inability to make payments during the shutdown wouldn’t lead to lasting trouble.

“The leverage that really ended the shutdown,” he concludes, “came from how federal workers used their power to retaliate.”

Christopher adds:

What ultimately ended the shutdown was when a significant number of air traffic controllers and ten percent of TSA screeners began calling in sick. Flights were delayed and canceled at four of the nation’s busiest airports. TSA lines swelled. Air traffic controllers rebelling against their lack of paychecks was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Americans will tolerate politicians acting like petulant children using people as political pawns in the short-term, but it’s a bridge too far when you start disrupting the public’s air travel and a major source of our economic prosperity.

President Ronald Reagan fired striking air traffic controllers and decertified their union almost 40 years ago. Conservative lawmakers opposed the unionization of the Transportation Security Administration and President Barack Obama’s eventually successful effort to give the union collective bargaining power. While neither the TSA or the new air traffic controllers union actually organized a walkout, emboldened workers did begin calling out sick in greater numbers during the shutdown.

This could easily occur again in another shutdown, Christopher notes, creating real pain in ways that the media’s stories about suffering federal workers could not. Additionally, there could be legal walkouts in solidarity by private-sector unions representing flight attendants and pilots.

Many expect that all of this will end with an open government and a state of emergency declared to facilitate the construction of a border barrier. While there are many existing states of emergency – including the one declared after the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001 – Christopher is concerned about potential future abuses of power and a division among conservatives over the use of executive powers if the border crisis is handled in this manner.

“There’s no stronger advocate for a border wall and enhanced border security than me,” Christopher writes, but he warns:

[D]eclaring a state of emergency sets a dangerous precedent for future liberal presidents to declare emergencies for their own priorities. And they won’t likely have as tenacious opposition as President Trump has experienced. That’s also why I’m against senators using the “nuclear option.” When liberals someday retake the Senate, Pandora’s Box has already been cracked open.

With two more weeks of negotiations before the deadline, the impasse may yet be broken. There are more liberal lawmakers who appear to be willing to discuss funding additional border barriers.

To read all of Christopher’s Politichicks commentary – “The Last Government Shutdown?” – click here. The Politichicks is a web-based political talk show whose members have appeared in other media including the Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, SiriusXM satellite radio and the syndicated “Dr. Phil Show.”

Soaking the Rich Won’t Sate the Poor

/ ConservativeBlog.org /

Barmaid-turned-congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the leading leftists in Congress, is shaking things up by advocating for a top tax rate of 70 percent.

Like former President Barack Obama, who once lectured Americans that “at a certain point you’ve made enough money,” Ocasio-Cortez apparently doesn’t think “a world that allows for billionaires” is moral. She said “a system that allows billionaires to exist when there are parts of Alabama where people are still getting ringworm because they don’t have access to public health is wrong.”

Project 21 member Adrian Norman, in a commentary published by the Epoch Times, disputes the class warfare rhetoric used by Ocasio-Cortez and fellow American socialist lawmaker Senator Bernie Sanders:

The rich aren’t rich because they’ve stolen from the poor. The rich created wealth by, a) engaging in voluntary commerce with a customer base willing to pay a mutually agreed-upon price in a free exchange, and, b) taking their profits and making capital investments, which yield returns…

It’s not immoral to create a product or service that millions of people choose to buy. Immorality lies in taking wealth and income away from someone who has earned it and redistributing it to someone who hasn’t.

This is precisely what Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders are proposing: confiscatory tax rates to steal money that they haven’t earned and dole it out however they see fit, under the guise of social justice. But, there’s nothing moral or just about this plan. It’s government-sanctioned theft.

Worse still, Adrian notes that a policy that redistributes wealth is more than unfair – it’s counterproductive to overall economic growth in general and the interests of low-income workers in particular. Adrian writes:

Imposing tax rates (at any income level) of 50 percent or more are indeed confiscatory, and the impact will be stunted economic growth, fewer jobs, and reduced opportunities for the very Americans those policies are said to help. Even if the government attempts to impose restrictions on deductions and exemptions, the mega-wealthy have enough assets to simply pick up and move. It’s not a stretch to assume they will take their businesses with them.

That means the people working for those companies would then make nothing, because they’ll be unemployed.

Adrian’s assertions were shared recently by leading economic minds at the World Economic Forum. Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell told the Washington Post, “I don’t think [the Ocasio-Cortez plan] would help the growth of the U.S. economy.” Scott Minerd, the chief investment officer of Guggenheim Partners, suggested that billionaires affected by a high tax rate “will start allocating capital in a way that is less efficient and will bring down productivity.”

Adrian adds:

Many, in the name of social justice, push for equal outcomes. Currently, some want more equal outcomes in wealth. But, when it comes to wealth (just like in any other area), guaranteeing an equal outcome is impossible.

There are too many variables in life. Some people work harder, some people are smarter, some people make better investments, some people chronically mismanage funds. So, we can never expect to see equal outcomes in wealth across groups…

One can understand the place of empathy behind proposals for increased tax rates to fund social programs. But, if you truly want to help the poor, then just help the poor. Nothing is stopping you as an individual from writing a check out of your own bank account or volunteering. Churches and private organizations have been helping the poor for years.

But, nothing should make any of us feel good about advocating the use of force to take money away from the most productive people in our society to simply hand it over to the least productive. Not only will that plan not work, but it’s also inherently unfair.

To read Adrian’s Epoch Times commentary – “The War on Success: The Wealthy and Their ‘Fair Share’” – in its entirety, click here.

Epoch Times is an international publication available in 35 countries and is translated into 18 languages.

[Ringworm, which Ocasio-Cortez seemed to consider a major health crisis, is a common skin infection that’s also known as athlete’s foot and jock itch (depending on where it occurs). It is contracted through contact with fungi during regular interactions with people, animals, dirt and shared items such as gym equipment. It can usually be treated with over-the-counter medication available at dollar stores.]

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