Featuring the Work and Ideas of the National Center for Public Policy Research & Project 21
Until now, the accepted narrative regarding the police-involved shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha was that he was unarmed. But this was recently deconstructed by Blake himself in a national television interview.
Yet USA Today editors refuse to correct their “fact check” that Blake was unarmed when he was shot, writing in a statement last week that their August 28 report remains true because it was based on “what is known at the time.”
When Fox News Channel host Laura Ingraham asked if it is “too much to ask” for the media to simply admit “gosh, we got that wrong,” Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper wryly responded that “we haven’t seen it yet.”
The police-involved death of George Floyd kicked off 2020’s string of Black Lives Matter-themed riots in which billions of dollars of property damage and several deaths were inflicted upon the American people. But a pattern of false claims misleading public perceptions about racially charged events – and fueling rioters, in particular – is not new.
“This narrative just repeats itself,” Horace noted during an interview about Jacob Blake on “The Ingraham Angle,” adding:
There were fires, there was looting and all manner of protest activities, only to see that apparently the only end result is a big payout to [attorney] Benjamin Crump. And later, we found out that either a dead person or shot person actually didn’t merit the criminal charges or investigation against the officers that had been pursued, because they had been lawfully encountering the individuals at the time.
Despite Blake’s recent admission that he reached for and was holding a knife during his confrontation with Kenosha police on August 23, Horace pointed out that the “bad cop” narrative is a key part of the left’s efforts to maintain allegations of America’s “systemic racism.” Ignoring or otherwise mitigating Blake’s confession is vital to maintaining the leftist narrative.
“The rioting – the mayhem – is essential to demonstrating ‘the truthfulness’ of the allegations made,” Horace said. “It isn’t the case that the allegations are true, and then there’s mayhem. It’s the case that you need the mayhem.”
And it is innocent, law-abiding citizens who are harmed in the end:
The real tragedy here is, as you identified, how many businessowners, how many homeowners have lost their lives as a result of the fake narrative that has been put forward.
You know, it’s $50 million in Kenosha, but the Insurance Industry of America says that it is half a billion dollars from just what happened this summer as a result of Black Lives Matter’s rioting.
Even as we’ve yet to see these cases turn around into actual either prosecutions or convictions.
Step aside shareholders, there’s a new sheriff in town: Wokeism.
Left-wing CEOs and corporate board members are quickly changing their approach on how to conduct business, and sadly, they are abandoning the people who must, in any logical corporate system, be their top priority: shareholders. The Corporate Wokeism model, also known as stakeholder primacy, has infiltrated America’s business sector and is sending it down a dangerous, partisan path.
Contrary to shareholder primacy — the belief that a corporation’s main focus is toward the interest of its owners, which means maximizing the long-term value of the company — woke business elitists are now pushing for the stakeholder primacy model, which prioritizes making decisions for “all possibly interested parties.” These parties include employees, customers and even the communities in which the businesses reside. This creates overarching promises that only lead to dire consequences.
There are two main repercussions that arise from the stakeholder model: 1) An increase in corporate adoption of left-wing ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) policies and the infiltration of wokeism into the corporate sector; and 2) Vague and malleable standards for CEO/board member decision-making, allowing them to enact any policy they may see fit and offering them the opportunity to cherry pick the “stakeholder interests” to which their pre-determined policy positions respond.
Occupy Wall Street, a social movement in NYC in 2011 to protest economic inequality and the lack of emphasis on the “little guy,” sparked a rise in this corporate wokeism. The bigwigs on Wall Street were terrified by the protests and the avalanche of left-wing corporate legislation that it might spur, and began to add performatively “social justice” considerations to their decision making. This process has continued, which has resulted in wokeism taking over the corporate sector.
Today, corporations are pushing agendas of social justice initiatives, “community building” and diversity quotas, ultimately leaving the interests of actual corporation owners out in the cold. This agenda is often a very expensive and efficiency-depleted sideshow.
One misconception about shareholder and stakeholder primacy is how the two models affect employees and consumers. Lackluster knowledge of a capitalist system enhances a simplistic belief of “one or the other.” That is, you either maximize profit for the shareholders and leave the others out, or you help defend the “little guy” and remove the emphasis from a small group of owners. But this is wrong. The shareholder primacy model creates incentives for sensible corporate managers to work for the benefit of owners, employees and consumers at the same time.
Think about it. If a corporation makes decisions that blatantly undermine employees, consumers, and the communities around it, its corporate revenue and reputation will suffer, thus decreasing profits for the firm’s owners. By keeping the company’s long-term interests at the top of the priority list, corporate leaders will automatically make decisions that benefit people outside of the owners themselves, because satisfying such groups will lead to boosting the value of the organization.
However, the stakeholder model, by undermining this clear and legally enforceable process, leaves all stakeholders at greater risk, while also freeing up self-impressed CEOs to flatter their egos by blundering unconstrained through public-policy issues which have nothing to do with the companies’ long-term interests.
Stakeholder primacy is a direct route to uncontrollable power for CEOs and board members, which goes a long way to explaining why so many of them support its adoption. CEOs hate being at the mercy of their shareholders, and the stakeholder model provides them with absurd amounts of discretion that they can then disguise under the category of “all possibly interested parties.” However, under the shareholder model, they don’t have this unceasing discretion. They must always answer to the question: Did my business decision help maximize profit?
A perfect example of a self-righteous CEO is Brian Moynihan of Bank of America. Moynihan has embraced stakeholder primacy and the role of a corporation as fighting for the interests of all. I wonder why? Most likely because Moynihan views himself as the politically woke dictator of the corporation, sending billions of shareholder dollars to causes he finds beneficial in satisfying his political and policy desires. One such organization he loves funding is Planned Parenthood. He continuously puts his own personal interests ahead of those of shareholders, while ignoring his fiduciary duties. The shareholder primacy model — which, if anything, should be strengthened, not abandoned — would hold him accountable for these decisions, and make him answer as to how they help his owners, not just his personal agenda.
Lastly, the stakeholder model is faulty due to its emphasis on favored employee opinion, leading to an opportunity for CEOs to enact their personal policy preferences — even instituting witch hunts against those who hold different public-policy positions — while ascribing those preferences to employees. If CEOs recognize that certain workers have policy preferences that align with their own, they will use them as caricatures for enacting such policies, claiming they did so in the interest of all employees. Yet workers who don’t share the policy preferences of those in decision-making roles will remain silent, in fear of angering the hierarchy. Thus the voices of these employees, who often are conservative, get silenced by the left-wing members of the organization.
The woke takeover and trend toward stakeholder primacy in the business sector will only lead to long-term consequences. We must remain true to traditional capitalism and keep shareholder interests as the top priority, which in turn, will lead to sustained growth and a better workforce for all.
At a public school in the heart of Silicon Valley, kids in a third grade math class were tasked with creating an “identity map” to explain their alleged power and privilege.
According to a report published in City Journal, the teacher told her students that they live in a “dominant culture” of “white, middle class, cisgender, educated, able-bodied, Christian, English speaker[s]” that was “created and maintained [for them]… to hold power and stay in power.”
Way to guilt trip an eight-year-old!
On a recent edition of “Fox News @ Night,” liberal commentator Kevin Walling couldn’t defend this radical deconstructionist teaching, but he tried his best to not give conservatives any quarter. “We need to have authentic conversations with our youth,” he stammered. “And is this the right idea? Maybe not.”
Walling actually tried to pin some of the blame for this abuse on conservatives, suggesting this was an “isolated” incident. He then contended that it is conservatives who have advocated for “local school control.” But he was then immediately schooled by Horace:
This isn’t a conversation about race. This is teaching people bigotry. And we never agreed that local communities can hide behind that kind of autonomy to promote that.
Horace further called out the teaching establishment for this predatory pedagogy. He noted:
Hate and racism isn’t something you come across on your own. It has to be taught. It has to be ingrained. And that’s what this is. And that’s why it’s so dangerous. And that’s why it needs to be stopped.
There’s a double-standard that’s cutting against conservatives.
Between acquiescence to the incoming Biden-Harris Administration agenda and a backlash over perceptions about the U.S. Capitol breach, Big Business is acting as a muscle for the political left in perhaps the most high-profile examples of bias ever exhibited.
For example, several corporations now plan to reassess how they will make future political donations. In an immediate move, they are cutting off support for lawmakers who have challenged recent election results. And, of course, countless numbers of social media accounts are being restricted or eliminated altogether because they are deemed politically incorrect by system administrators.
He explained the hypocrisy:
All of us condemned the violence that happened in the Capitol…
But where – exactly where – were these moral companies over the summer when Kamala Harris and others were encouraging the [Black Lives Matter] protests that attacked over 150 other federal buildings [and] caused damage to private businesses all throughout America?
When liberal politicians were egging those protests on, these soulless, godless companies said nothing.
A close-knit relationship will develop between the White House and corporations over the next few years, Justin predicted. Once that happens, the roughly half of the population that didn’t vote for liberal leaders will likely find themselves out in the cold and without a voice:
I think we’re going to see a similar pattern to what we saw under the Obama Administration, where Big Business teams up with Big Government to grow.
And at this time, and in this day and age, that growth is going to be to continually suppress conservative thought, conservative groups and conservative individuals.
Justin warned, “I’m afraid that’s a totalitarian mixture that’s very dangerous to right-of-center thought in 2021 and going forward.”
Discussing the growing social media blackout of conservative opinion, Justin explained how this relationship between liberal ruling politicians and Big Tech will work:
[I]t’s hypocritical. Facebook itself, a few months back, blamed itself for violent rhetoric on its own platform. But other tech companies didn’t gang up on Facebook and kick them off the Internet.
And what we’re seeing is quasi-government action which may lead to some liability for these corporations. And what I mean by that is [to] take a look at, for example, Apple – which took Parler off of its app store. Well, in China, they take things like the New York Times off the app store at the behest of the Chinese Communist Party. They took other news sites off of the app store at the behest of the Chinese Communist Party that the Hong Kong freedom fighters were using. So they are quite clearly acting as an arm of the government.
And there’s a parallel here because there were calls by high-ranking liberal political officials here in the United States to remove President Trump from Facebook and Twitter and Instagram – and those were then acted upon.
Justin called Big Tech an “oligarchy” that is acting against free speech to such a degree that even the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is beginning to become alarmed – in a move back toward its original mission.
It’s rare that conservative and liberal commentators agree with each other when they appear on news programs these days. But the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are simply too extreme to defend.
One of the latest stories out of southern New Jersey is that the state government reportedly seized the bank account of a gym that has defied mask orders. This money was supposed to help pay for the gym’s legal defense, but it has apparently been seized to pay for the fines they are still fighting.
“Let’s cut that out,” said Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper on the Fox News Channel program “Fox News @ Night.” “Give people freedom. Let people recognize that they can be smart and make the right choices.”
Liberal commentator Kevin Walling called the move by New Jersey authorities “absolutely wrong.” He noted that there is “more community spread among households” than in places such as gyms and restaurants. Gym owner Ian Smith reported that there have been no COVID cases attributable to his business, despite over 80,000 customer visits during the pandemic as of mid-December.
And, with obese people found to be more susceptible to contracting COVID-19, gyms are promoting good health now more than ever.
Horace said that what New Jersey is doing is counterproductive in light of the successes of other, less restrictive states:
We’re supposed to be encouraging responsibility. We’re supposed to be encouraging people to take the right steps.
But let’s also look at what’s happening in Florida. Let’s look at what’s happening… in the state of Texas. There’s a remarkable difference between allowing people to make the right and smart choices – listening to the science – rather than what they’re doing in New Jersey, where they’re shutting people down, ruining the economy in the process.
He also noted that lockdowns have ultimately been counterproductive, and they are saddling the new presidential administration with unnecessary, expensive crises:
And then the president-elect has to come out with a $1.9 trillion package as a way to obviate all of this.
Project 21 member Rich Holt held some apprehension about law enforcement officers because he was pulled over in the past for what he called “driving while black.” But, after he went on a police ride-along, he gained a new respect for the rank-and-file officers whom he called “the best and most dedicated among us.”
In a Washington Examiner commentary, Rich writes:
My ride-along had begun with a feeling of uncertainty about a day in the life of a police officer. I found these are good, dedicated people we desperately need to be doing this work. They face down the criminals, help the guy stranded in the street, and get dangerous drunks off the road.
I believe the officers I rode with are a representative sample of the culture of the police nationwide. Unfortunately, there are also officers lacking this altruistic philosophy of community service. And union contracts oftentimes prevent bad officers from being fired, force departments to rehire disciplined officers, and expunge disciplinary records.
Rich describes several of the police calls he experienced – from wellness checks to a tense and violent arrest. He says he discovered “the mantra of a capable, competent and professional police department”:
When it came to the arrest, over a half-dozen state troopers were engaged in an effort to subdue a drunk driver who kicked, spat upon, rushed and threatened to kill the troopers. “Despite the resistance,” Rich reports, “not one trooper pulled a gun.”
I later asked a trooper why they didn’t just shoot the guy. After all the videos of physical violence on social media, I wondered why they didn’t act similarly when the drunk guy said he wanted to kill them.
I felt it was the toughest question of the night and the crux of current law enforcement debate. Most officers do a fantastic job, but there are enough rotten apples to encourage the “all cops are bastards” narrative pushed by the Marxist Black Lives Matter movement.
The officer and his colleagues didn’t skip a beat in answering my question.
“When I’m out there, I’m all alone,” he said. “I’m 20 to 30 minutes from backup. I have to deescalate, or people die. If people die, people won’t trust the police. Deescalating is what we do, and killing that guy wasn’t the right thing to do. It’s my job to handle it.”
“While the media highlights ‘bad apple’ officers, police violence is far from the nationwide epidemic it’s portrayed to be,” Rich concludes. “Most police departments are filled with the kind of officers with whom I rode. They’re the best and most dedicated among us.”
To read Rich’s Washington Examiner commentary – “Good Police Officers’ Lives Matter” – click here.
This commentary is an abridged version of a longer essay Rich wrote in which he was able to describe in more detail the police calls during his ride-along and his thoughts on policing. That essay can be found here.
If your given name is Karen – sorry!
The name Karen took on new meaning in 2020 as the designated label for those intrusive scolds who make life less bearable. With pandemic precautions at a (ahem) fever pitch, it is the “Karens” who are acting as the mask police and as the neighborhood watch against unauthorized gatherings.
In the years to come, the governmental power of the Karen could come to the fore as the left ramps up its fight for socialized medicine. In a Townhall commentary, Free Enterprise Project Deputy Director Scott Shepard writes that the end result “would give the left standing to intrude into almost every facet of our lives” and “would extend the reign of the Karens indefinitely, and render it much more exultantly invasive and insistent.”
Health and Human Services Secretary-designate Xavier Becerra was a co-sponsor of the left’s public option bill, a “Medicare-for-All” equivalent, when he served in Congress. While Congress is expected to push that sort of legislation again – with the renewed vigor of having control of both chambers – experts expect that Becerra will also do his part within the Biden Administration through grant programs to states that help to achieve the same goal without pesky voting requirements.
But this is a goal that’s best not achieved. Scott writes:
Consider how “public health” progressed in the emergency of 2020. Officials constantly changed their recommendations and their demands not in response to “science,” but to further political goals and in reaction to what they asserted (without evidence, of course, but since they were opposing Trump, the sneer was not employed) to be our vast collective stupidity. Pharmaceutical companies (thanks, Pfizer!) delayed rolling out vaccines to achieve base political ends. Politicians issued punitive decrees that they knew were medically irrelevant, without regard to the effects of their dictates on the physical or emotional health of those affected, without any concern for their ruinous effect on the economy, and without the slightest intention of following those decrees themselves.
This was all very bad indeed, but perhaps most appalling, or at least most damaging for any lingering respect one might have for the broad run of one’s fellows, was the furious glee with which normal men and women – even some neighbors and perhaps some former friends – became handmaidens (and hand eunuchs) of the lockdown state, screeching at the rest of us to “stay home!” – sometimes with an added pinch of vulgarity, to demonstrate that their intrusion into our lives was so vital that normal decorum must be sacrificed. These miseries’ demands could change instantly, as conformance with high-left current opinion demanded; the important thing was never anyone’s real health prospects (which would have considered study and reflection), but their opportunity to exert their control over us, according to whatever precepts at that moment most enhanced their opportunities to hector, and to compel.
And hold onto your hats:
The list of things that Karen will attempt to ban or to constrain will be as endless as her desire to run other people’s lives. It will – 2020 has proven this – not be tutored by science, but only by her imagination. Anything that she personally dislikes will become an unacceptably risky and expensive behavior.
To read all of Scott’s commentary – “Socialized Medicine: Karen Locking You in Your House, Forever” – at the Townhall website, click here.
Between the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday observance on Monday and the inauguration of a vice president with a multi-ethnic background on Wednesday, race will undoubtedly be a topic of much discussion in the week ahead.
And, considering the racial rioting over the last year – coupled with concerns about the recent breach of the Capitol – conversations will inevitably gravitate to the topic of protesting, and specifically what degrees of protest are acceptable.
On the one hand, there are the nonviolent protests for which Rev. King advocated. On the other hand, before she became vice president-elect, Kamala Harris advocated for a bail fund to help out rioters arrested in Minneapolis after the death of George Floyd.
In PragerU videos, Project 21 member Derryck Green has previously discussed the history of racial protest in America – and especially the difference between modern-day Black Lives Matter protesters and the Civil Rights and Black Power activists of 50+ years ago.
Derryck notes that there is a definite distinction between today’s racial activists and the King legacy. He says:
The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., was a staunch advocate of Christian nonviolence.
Rev. King believed that – in refusing to respond in kind to violent attacks – civil rights activists would be living testimonies to the strength of nonviolent direct action, to Christian character and to the morality of their position.
Before the momentous march in Birmingham, Alabama, activists signed a statement promising to – among other things – refrain from violence, pray for freedom, seek service for others, be courteous and remember that they sought justice and reconciliation.
In contrasting Rev. King with Black Lives Matter, Derryck points out the negative consequences of modern protests:
Civil Rights Movement activists were strikingly different from today’s racial activists. Love isn’t on the agenda these days. Retribution is.
As we saw this past summer, contemporary racial activists reject nonviolence in favor of entitlement. These activists have a long list of grievances that they believe must be paid. This is how the violence, looting, rioting and vandalism are rationalized despite the social and economic costs to low-income residents who continue to suffer the long-term consequences of these destructive behaviors.
That isn’t reflective of the dignity of Rev. King’s civil rights activism. It’s reflective of the counterproductive tantrums of the Black Power movement of the 60s and 70s.
Derryck concludes, “The left has appropriated the morality of Rev. King’s public ministry to shield it from facing criticism for having undermined much of what the civil rights icon accomplished.”
In advance of the second round of impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, National Center General Counsel Justin Danhof, Esq., warned that congressional action against the president based on claims of inciting violence and challenging election results, in an action that might stretch beyond his term of office, could set a “crazy precedent.”
“We all condemn the violence at the Capitol,” Justin pointed out. “But if we’re talking about inciting violence, President Obama’s rhetoric against the police led to five law enforcement officers gunned down in Dallas. Should we go back and try to [impeach] Obama for that? I don’t think so.”
In an interview with Carrie Sheffield on the Real America’s Voice network program “Just the News AM,” Justin – who is director of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project – also spoke about the silencing of the president and conservatives on social media. He said this problem was obvious long ago, and that conservatives must shoulder much of the blame for ignoring it while suggesting that “the free market will solve this”:
They said, just create a new platform. If you don’t like censorship occurring on Facebook and Twitter against conservatives – which has been happening for a decade – create a new platform. So Parler did! But then [Big Tech] disappeared Parler. They’re like an unperson from George Orwell’s 1984 at this point.
Justin compared what Big Tech is doing in the United States to how these companies are acting in China:
Let’s parallel this to how Apple operates in China.
At the behest of the Chinese Communist Party, Apple – of course – deletes many apps from its app store, largely news apps, at the behest of the Chinese Communist Party. And, specifically, they deleted apps that the freedom fighters in Hong Kong were using to communicate and to get information and to get news…
So clearly, in China, Apple is operating as an extra-governmental arm of the Chinese Communist Party – acting at the behest of the communists to do what they want. Well, we have folks like Nancy Pelosi and AOC, Kamala Harris in the United States calling on Twitter and Facebook and others to ban President Trump. And to take down Parler.
And what are they doing? They’re honoring those requests.
This creates a dangerous situation for transforming free speech protections and the open discussion of news and ideas in America. And the impact has been seen on Wall Street.
Twitter’s permanent ban of President Trump led to a dramatic loss of share value for the company. The company’s political decision has hurt it financially, putting investors at risk:
Lawsuits should abound from shareholders.
Because boards of directors and management – their job, under state law, is to act as a steward for shareholders. That is their legal obligation. They are not to act as an extra-governmental arm of one party of another.
Justin said that, like in China, these companies appear to be acting “to appease a political class.”
Stacy is the featured speaker for the latest edition of “The Amendments and You,” an educational series presented by Constituting America. This Zoom webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, January 12 at 2pm eastern. Click here to register.
The webinar is hosted by Constituting America Co-Presidents Janine Turner and Cathy Gillespie and will also include student ambassadors Dakare Chatman and Tova Love Kaplan.
There is no cost to participate in this webinar. Please join us!