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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

Women’s March is No Tea Party

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Despite a week of controversy over Representative Steve King’s comments mentioning white nationalism and white supremacy, it might seem odd that the Women’s March is getting relatively little attention for its own intolerance and radicalism.

Emery McClendon

Over at The Federalist, Project 21 member Emery McClendon has written about the similarly disparate treatment of the Women’s March by the media and left-wing activists compared to how the Tea Party has been put under a microscope and intensely scrutinized.

And there’s actually a lot more to be concerned about with regard the Women’s March! Funny how that happens.

In his commentary, Emery pointed out:

[W]hat’s happening with the Women’s March right now is similar to what the left claimed about the Tea Party ten years ago. The only difference is the reports this time appear to be true.

Let’s go back to Representative King for a second. For his comments, he was quickly condemned by his colleagues – and experienced a quicker denunciation from his fellow conservatives. But that didn’t seem to be enough. A disgraced King was used as a cudgel to beat on the Trump Administration.

In many ways, this was a repeat of when the Tea Party movement was in full swing. The left was quick to find any poor representation of the movement – no matter how small – and make that the focus. One Confederate flag was enough to tar-and-feather an entire event… and the movement as a whole.

But over on the left, the actual leadership of the Women’s March was revealed to be quite hostile toward Judaism. One of those leaders called Nation of Islam Louis Farrakhan the “greatest of all time” on her Twitter account, and another is exceedingly anti-Israel.

Some groups have pulled their support from the March – albeit quietly. But there’s no media firestorm like there is for King right now or about the Tea Party back in the day.

After laying out examples of the radicalism of the Women’s March leadership in his commentary, Emery exposed the hypocrisy, writing:

Yet the NAACP, which was alarmed in 2010 that Tea Party organizations “have given platform to anti-Semites, racists and bigots,” remains a partner of the Women’s March despite all the reported antisemitism, racism, and bigotry associated with it. This is all in stark contrast to how the Tea Party movement was portrayed by the left. The Tea Party was held to a totally different standard regarding its events. Was it simply based on the Tea Party having conservative leanings while the Women’s March has progressive leanings? It appears to be so.

The Tea Party was tagged as racist from its inception. Anytime a controversial person attended or a questionable sign was held up at a Tea Party event, there was an immediate call for accountability. If one person in thousands brought a Confederate flag, the NAACP wanted Tea Party leaders to repudiate those individuals as if they were invited to the podium. Critics even tried to label the Gadsden Flag, the Revolutionary War flag adopted by the Tea Party, as racist.

Yet, in contrast, it took two years and multiple investigative articles and public pressure from celebrities to get the Women’s March to address public racism by its leaders. Why the double standard allowing leaders on the left to get away with publicly condoning overt racists like Farrakhan while those on the right are tarred as racist despite their ready and open condemnation of it every time some unknown shows up at their events with a questionable sign?

Emery is uniquely suited to call out these problematic disparities since he has been an active Tea Party organizer. He noted:

The notion of Tea Party racism continues to be pursued even though black conservatives like myself not only attend these rallies, but are also speakers and organizers. As a leader of Tea Party rallies in the Midwest, I’ve always made it known that it is an open movement. I invite every American to join us out of love for God, country, and a common desire to preserve our Constitution and founding principles.

Over the past ten years, I have traveled to and spoken at countless Tea Party events. During this time, I’ve never witnessed a single incident of racism. To the contrary, I have been given several prestigious awards and been the keynote speaker at many movement events. I speak at conferences, write articles and make television and radio appearances to discuss the issues and motivations of the Tea Party movement.

Emery concludes: “[I]t’s time for the left to come to grips with itself and police the extremism of the Women’s March. They can’t have it both ways.”

To read Emery’s commentary at The Federalist– “For Proof of the Left’s Double Standard on Racism, Compare the Women’s March and Tea Party” – click here.

 

“Hard-Hearted” Liberals Keep Immigration Crisis Going

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Assessing the recent Oval Office address regarding our nation’s immigration crisis, Stone Washington – a member of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network – writes in a commentary published on the Politichicks website that President Donald Trump successfully “made the case that illegal immigration is not merely a political issue, but a criminal and national security concern that must be properly addressed.”

According to Stone, President Trump has exposed the “hard-hearted” response of his critics that hurts everyone from government employees being denied a paycheck to American citizens facing the economic as well as safety concerns related to the current flow of illegal immigrants across our borders.

In his commentary, Stone writes:

The President’s message was a much-needed reminder to his hard-hearted critics, who are apparently willing to overlook the violent crimes and catastrophes occurring due to an influx of drug dealers, human traffickers and even potential terrorists across our southern border.

And despite the negative reaction in the mainstream media, which has depicted the President’s message as politically motivated and a manufactured and phony crisis, the address was helpful in informing the American people about the dangerous reality of what some liberals want to essentially make a borderless nation.

After President Trump used statistics to make his case regarding the toll that illegal immigration takes on society – from deadly and illegal drugs to an influx of violent criminals – Stone finds it “truly alarming” that liberal politicians and the media still say the President is fabricating a crisis. Pointing out the similarity of the situation to a biblical story, Stone explains:

Despite the facts, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer seem so blinded by their personal disdain for the President that they overlook the devastating consequences of an unsecured border. Instead, they harden their hearts more and more – reminiscent of Pharaoh in the book of Exodus, who hardened his heart and refused to free the people of Israel from enslavement. Through their own actions, liberals now prolong the ongoing government shutdown – effectively enslaving 800,000 federal workers by keeping them from being paid.

“It’s time for the liberals to recognize the facts, cast aside their political animus and work in the best interests of the American people against clear and present threats to our security and liberty,” Stone concludes.

To read Stone’s commentary – “Liberal Hard-Heartedness Prolongs Gov’t Shutdown, Immigration Impasse” – in its entirety on the Politichicks website, 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.”

Black Conservatives Castigate Rep. King for Controversial Comment

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Congressman Steve King no longer has any committee assignments. He has an aggressive primary challenger already running against him in the 2020 election. He is politically isolated. He is a conservative lawmaker who embraced fiery racial rhetoric, and his colleagues are dealing with his inappropriate behavior.

Members of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network applaud conservative lawmakers’ reactions to King’s comment, calling what King said “antithetical to the American ideal” of equality.

In an interview last week, King asked a New York Times reporter: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”

Retribution was swift. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who leads King’s caucus, said: “It is definitely not American. All people are created equal in America, and we want to take a very strong stance about that.” Senator Tim Scott, who took exception to King in a Washington Post commentary, pointed out that King’s comment “damage[s] not only… the conservative brand but also our nation as a whole.”

The Republican Steering Committee has since voted unanimously to strip King of all committee assignments in the current session of Congress. King previously served on the Agriculture, Judiciary and Small Business committees.

Project 21 member Christopher Arps, a political consultant and talk radio host, said:

I applaud and wholeheartedly support the removal of Congressman Steve King from his committee assignments.

There must be zero tolerance within any political party – or in the Congress – for racists who proudly espouse viewpoints which are antithetical to the American ideal that all people are created equal and have a divine right to pursue happiness and their individual concept of the American dream.

Deroy Murdock, a Project 21 member who is also a contributing editor for National Review Online and a Fox News Channel contributor, added:

Congressman Steve King recently wondered out loud why people have problems with the terms “white supremacy” and “white nationalism.”

Well, for starters, conservatives do not believe that whites are superior, nor are blacks, nor are Hispanics, nor anyone else. Like our Founding Fathers, we find it self-evident that we are all created equal and enjoy equal justice under law. Also, America is not a white nation. We are a nation of many hues united as the American people. We are immeasurably fortunate to be citizens of a country where we enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – no matter our color.

King should know this by now. If he knows so, he should say so. And if he doesn’t, he should sit down, shut up and read up on America’s basic civic virtues, among which you will not find white supremacy or white nationalism.

Antifa Protests Don’t Do MLK, Gandhi Proud

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Antifa has taken the protest “a long way” from the days of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi – and not in a good way, according to Project 21 member Jerome Danner.

In a Western Free Press commentary, Jerome wrote:

Antifa is dangerous not only because of their ideas, but because they will use anarchy and confusion as tools against anyone that opposes them. Unlike protesters of old, they do not see the need to make an impact on politicians and change laws. They believe in bending people to their will.

Drawing upon an account of Antifa activity in Portland, Oregon by Kevin Williamson in National Review, Jerome noted that today’s protests lack the “sophistication and logic” of yesteryear.

“Who would have thought that a group viewing themselves as being opposite of fascists,” wrote Jerome, “would show fascist-styled behavior when desiring to protest others that they consider to be fascist or the enemy.”

What bothers Jerome and many others about the new breed of leftist protestors is their penchant for violence and their desire to shut down ideas and opinions on which they disagree. He pointed out:

Even when others march and yell out their beliefs, they will still desire to stay within the law. This is of no real matter to Antifa. If you are constantly trying to “fight fascism or racism” (or whatever angers them lately, i.e. anything that conservatives hold dear), then why the need to hide one’s face behind a mask?

King, nor Gandhi, their followers, or their fellow activists did not parade around in masks. They wanted to be seen. Many times, they marched lawfully and with support from local or national governments. From what was written in Williamson’s National Review piece about what took place in Portland, Antifa members dismissed the demands of local law enforcement and political leadership.

To read Jerome’s full commentary at Western Free Press – “Serving Anarchy: The Antifa Guide to Protest” – click here.

Sharpton’s “Sheer Stupidity” on Criminal Justice Reform

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Al Sharpton wants to deny rapper Travis Scott a high-profile appearance at the Super Bowl LIII halftime show next month. Sharpton claims Scott is “violating” the cause of Colin Kaepernick and criminal justice reformers.

Project 21 member Adrian Norman, in a recent commentary published by the Epoch Times, called this “sheer stupidity.” Adrian wrote that Sharpton and others “missed the bus entirely” by refusing to participate in the creation and passage of the “First Step Act” criminal justice reform bill that President Donald Trump signed last December.

Referring to Sharpton and Kaeperinck, Adrian asked: “How is it that two of the loudest voices on this wedge issue were conspicuously uninvolved in efforts to address one of their key issues?”

Scott will join Maroon 5 in Atlanta for the halftime performance at the NFL’s championship game.  Several performers turned down the offer to play Super Bowl LIII in solidarity with Kaepernick. What exactly that entails is not quite clear.

Sharpton has sought to bully Scott, telling TMZ: “I think anyone that goes into the halftime show is in effect directly violating those that want to raise the question that the NFL should come to terms with what they have done and continue to do to Colin Kaepernick and those that protest on criminal justice issues.”

Adrian wrote:

The sheer stupidity of Sharpton’s sentiments can’t be overstated, particularly since he–as well as athletes protesting for criminal justice reformmissed the bus entirely on the largest piece of legislation in recent history to enact changes in the criminal justice system.

Instead, Sharpton said the President has “declared war” on minorities – even suggesting the White House is ignoring criminal justice reform.

Project 21 did not completely agree with the First Step Act, and spoke out against the rollback of mandatory minimums as something that could actually hurt some minority communities. But the black leadership network has spoken with White House staff about other means of reforming the justice system and improving police-community relations. Project 21’s “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America” has 18 recommendations that include getting police out of regulatory enforcement; reforming onerous fines, fees and asset forfeiture; special police training to handle people with conditions such as Alzheimer’s and autism and increased use of police body cameras.

There was no such productive outreach on the part of Sharpton or Kaepernick. Adrian added:

[T]hey don’t really care about criminal justice, only the attention it brings. They have significant money, notoriety, and political access. Yet, after years of calling America racist, when they had a chance to help enact real change, they simply chose to ride the bench. And if they declined the opportunity to participate in reform that they’ve championed, they should be prepared to be seen through a lens of incredulity.

As for Kaepernick, his protest helped him land a lucrative promotional deal with Nike that is “unique because he isn’t actually playing.” Yet Adrian doesn’t see history looking favorably upon him, writing:

Kaepernick’s lack of action and whining about criminal justice reform has become his legacy, even though he did so unwittingly. And that he was nowhere to be found during the creation and passage of this bill renders his “movement” null and void– it now has zero credibility.

To read Adrian’s Epoch Times commentary – “Taking a Knee on Criminal Justice Reform” – in its entirety, click here.

 

Crying Wolf About Dog Whistles Diminishes Real Racism

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Liberals regularly claim that President Donald Trump hurts minorities because of comments they assert are a “dog whistle” to racists. Noting how much the President’s policies are actually benefiting minorities, Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper called this the “weirdest” expression of intolerance he’s ever encountered.

In a recent segment of “The Ingraham Angle” on the Fox News Channel, Horace suggested “we hold him to the amazing” results of his policies before leaping to any radical conclusions about President Trump’s beliefs.

Horace and attorney Leo Terrell appeared on Laura Ingraham’s show to comment on Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s recent “60 Minutes” interview in which she told Anderson Cooper there was “no question” in her mind that the President is a racist.

Horace noted that any instances cited as dog whistles to allegedly encourage or promote intolerance actually pale in comparison to the outreach and the accomplishments the Trump Administration has made in promoting economic improvement with particularly positive results among American minorities. Horace said:

More black Americans have brand new pickup trucks. More black Americans have great new jobs. More poor, unemployed black Americans who lost their incomes, their houses during the eight years of the Obama Administration are seeing that turn around.

This is the weirdest Klan rally idea I’ve ever heard: Let’s get the lowest unemployment for blacks ever.

But critics such as Ocasio-Cortez and Terrell appear to prefer to focus on the anecdotes over the big picture. Terrell said he disagreed with Horace on “everything,” elevating the allegations about dog whistles above results such as lower taxes, more jobs and certain criminal justice reforms.

Crying wolf over dog whistles, Horace pointed out, is a political tactic that could actually have the same terrible results as Aesop’s fable:

[T]he only reason this is being done is to encourage and create a political wedge to try to motivate black Americans as well as other groups to support radical, progressive policies. That’s the real issue, and we’ve got to push back against it because it’s a lie and it also diminishes the real actions where bigots and racists actually live.

Philly Soda Tax Loses Fizz as Grocer Closes Shop in Food Desert

Philadelphia’s special tax on sugary beverages is blamed for the closure of a grocery store serving one of the city’s “food deserts.” This tax, the first in a major city, was criticized in a National Center commentary that recently appeared in the Detroit News.

Grocer Jeff Brown sat with First Lady Michelle Obama during the 2010 State of the Union Address while President Barack Obama lauded Brown for locating his stores in impoverished areas that don’t normally have access to quality foods. In March, Brown will be closing one of those stores – his ShopRite supermarket at 67th Street and Haverford Avenue.

The store, located near the city line, has had a 23 percent loss in sales – an annual net loss of over $1 million – since the tax was imposed in 2016. Brown noted the beverage tax was a catalyst for greater loss, causing people to shop outside the city for cheaper drinks and thus hurting overall grocery sales.

“This store is closed because of [Mayor] Jim Kenney’s beverage tax,” Brown said, “and he’s locked in, and he’s been a bully, and he’s causing harm to the people of Philadelphia.”

In the commentary, National Center Vice President David W. Almasi explained that the 1.5-cents-per-ounce tax on drinks that include sodas, sports drinks and certain coffees and teas was supported to a large degree by former Enron energy trader John Arnold and his wife Linda. Their Action Now Initiative gave $400,000 to a local group pressuring the Philadelphia City Council to pass the tax, and the Arnold Foundation later gave the city $500,000 to fight a lawsuit that sought to overturn the tax. This is in addition to other similar anti-consumer choice efforts the Arnolds have helped bankroll in San Francisco and Oakland in California and in Portland, Oregon.

Almasi pointed out that the Arnold-backed taxes are regressive and punitive. The “de facto luxury tax” was also not living up to expectations in the City of Brotherly Love:

For one thing, a tax creates a revenue stream for the government upon which it will undoubtedly become dependent. In Philadelphia – where the tax is allocated for schools, recreation centers, libraries and parks – it was budgeted to raise $47 million in its first six months. It caused alarm when it only raised just under $40 million. And it might not have even cut consumption by that much. More than a year after the tax went into effect, it was estimated that around a third of residents were traveling out of town to buy the beverages that are taxed more within city limits.

Arnold-backed beverage taxes are also inherently unfair. Think back to those inner-city residents craving a Coca-Cola. Soda taxes are regressive, meaning poor households are spending more of their income on them. They are also less likely to be able to travel elsewhere to satisfy their cravings and avoid Philadelphia’s punitive pricing.

Located in an area where food staples are already hard to find, the site of the closed store will now become a full-blown food desert, warns Brown. He laments: “I built these stores to help people live healthier, longer lives. This is taking a success and destroying it.”

On the defensive, Mayor Kenney’s office said educational programs funded by the beverage tax created 278 jobs. But Brown noted that the tax has already led him to cut 200 jobs at his stores through attrition. While all 111 employees of the 67thand Haverford store will be repurposed, their jobs will ultimately be eliminated when they leave them.

Making this an even more significant blow to the community is the fact that Brown hires ex-cons at his stores. That was another reason why President Obama praised Brown.

In pushing the soda tax, the Arnolds and the liberal politicians of Philadelphia have depressed opportunity and will likely make many residents less healthy. Their progressive policies have confounded a progressive business leader who says he’s just “looking to help people.” It’s hard to see an upside, no matter how one pours it out.

Health Care Rationing Fears Revived With the Arnold Foundation’s Help

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Even though ObamaCare’s controversial Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) was abolished earlier this year, the fear of future rationed health care in America remains alive and kicking.

While IPAB will not be responsible for it, the relationship between the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) and the massive CVS drug store chain could result in critical care options being denied to those who need it most. It’s another aspect of the left-wing, Big-Government agenda being bankrolled by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

Free Enterprise Project Director Justin Danhof, Esq. explains the Arnold-ICER-CVS nexus in a commentary recently published by The Federalist. Justin also notes CVS’s past work helping the Obama Administration promote its health care takeover, and how the company is now “working with far-left actors to revive a version of ObamaCare’s rationing board.”

Last August, CVS announced it would work with ICER on drug pricing policies. It also recently closed on the purchase of the health care provider Aetna, potentially making the ICER relationship more wide-ranging. Exposing the possible threat, Justin writes:

Under ICER’s direction, CVS has set a “threshold of $100,000 per QALY, or quality-of-life years, a benchmark that measures both the quantity and quality of life generated by providing a treatment or some other health care intervention.” In practice, that means ICER’s opinion about the so-called quality of life value will determine whether CVS customers can receive new prescription drugs and treatments.

This means that even if a doctor prescribes a drug for a patient, that individual may find that CVS doesn’t carry that medication if it doesn’t fit ICER’s parameters. Think of it as socialized health care without the socialistic government regime.

Since 2015, the Arnold Foundation has reportedly donated over $19 million to ICER.

ICER’s idea of thresholds has been criticized by former congressman Tony Coelho – a key architect of ObamaCare – who said such analysis “discriminates against people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups because it assigns higher value to people in ‘perfect health’ than people in less-than-perfect health.”

Showing how the IPAB threat of rationed care has been resurrected, Justin adds:

Recall that the debate over health-care rationing was a primary reason so many folks objected to ObamaCare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)…

The idea of a panel deciding who gets what kind of care and when seemed Orwellian from the start, and Americans by and large opposed the entire concept…

CVS is now instituting its own form of IPAB with ICER.

This fear springing from the Arnold Foundation’s charity is not unfounded. There’s precedent to back up the worry. ICER was founded by Dr. Steven Pearson. In Britain, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence – where Dr. Pearson previously worked – has a record on rationing. Justin explains:

Thanks to NICE guidelines, millions of British citizens are on waiting lists at any given time for procedures, hundreds of thousands are waiting for basic diagnostic tests, and thousands of operations are regularly cancelled…

NICE is even worse on drug approvals.

If Dr. Pearson and ICER – with the help of the Arnold Foundation – are able to institute NICE’s agenda in America through the giant CVS-Aetna provider, it likely won’t be very nice for America’s sickest.

To read Justin’s commentary in The Federalist – “CVS Makes Plans to Ration Customers’ Health Care” – in its entirety, click here.

LeBron Shoots Air Ball with NFL Criticism

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Despite National Football League owners not imposing a rule to stop players from kneeling on the field in protest while the national anthem is played, professional basketball star LeBron James has still declared the owners to be largely “old white men” with a “slave mentality.”

Members of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network are criticizing James for seeking to raise his public profile by demeaning and diminishing what real slaves endured to score cheap political points.

Football players who knelt while the national anthem was played during the 2017-18 football season turned off fans and may have had a long-lasting negative effect on the sport. This year, after the league considered but later abandoned a policy against kneeling, few players actually chose to continue their protests. Yet James recently sought to revive the issue and single out the owners on his HBO program “The Shop.”

In a discussion on the show, James said: “In the NFL, they got a bunch of old white men owning teams, and they got that slave mentality. And it’s like, ‘This is my team. You do what the f*** I tell y’all to do or we get rid of y’all.’”

James made this declaration about an allegedly intolerant and indignant NFL, even though the National Basketball Association he plays for has a rule against players kneeling. The NBA policy states that “[p]layers, coaches and trainers are to stand and line up in a dignified posture along the sidelines or on the foul line during the playing of the National Anthem.” When NFL protests were near their height in 2017, the NBA reached out to owners and managers to made sure professional basketball skirted the controversy.

Additionally, the roster of NBA owners has only one team owned solely by a black person. Former NBA star Michael Jordan is the owner of the Charlotte Hornets. Other teams have black owners among several members of an investors group.

About James, Project 21 member Christopher Arps, who has discussed the NFL kneeling controversy in commentary and in broadcast media, says:

In my opinion, a true “slave mentality” is being a highly paid and highly visible overseer for a political philosophy that discourages free thought and expression among its most economically and culturally disadvantaged adherents.

This is yet another example of James trying to find relevance outside of the basketball arena with divisive remarks in already deeply divided nation.

Project 21 member Adrian Norman adds:

James’s comments demean and diminish the plight of actual slaves.

NFL players aren’t chained and forced against their will to work in horrific conditions with no pay. They choose to try out, after spending years preparing, and when they get to the league their employer pays them a salary – on average – 37 times higher than the average U.S. worker.

For an elite millionaire who spends $1.5 million per year just taking care of his body to equate a pro athlete’s privileged status to slavery shows just how little James knows about both slavery and reality.

And Project 21 member Richard Holt adds:

LeBron’s comments highlight a classic division between black labor and white wealth. But I think it’s difficult for someone who makes millions of dollars to complain about a 1% of which he’s a part.

The old divisions between the black laborer and the white business owner from early American times of major class divisions are vastly different than millionaire employees now complaining about their bosses’ decisions that they don’t like.

Arnold Foundation Sweet on Making Your Drinks More Expensive

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Enron billionaire John Arnold has said he’s libertarian, but National Center Vice President David W. Almasi claims Arnold’s funding of soda tax activism is “a de facto luxury tax” that amounts to “social engineering.”

In a commentary distributed by InsideSources, David points out the harm and folly of special taxation on sugary beverages imposed in many localities by the nanny-state crowd. He cites the Arnold-backed 1.5 cents-per-ounce tax imposed by the Philadelphia City Council on drinks such as soda, sports drinks and certain coffees and teas as one of the attacks on personal choice that penalize those who can least afford it.

At the heart of it, soda taxes are regressive and punitive. And that’s not the predilection of a true libertarian.

David writes:

For one thing, a tax creates a revenue stream for the government upon which it will undoubtedly become dependent. In Philadelphia – where the tax is allocated for schools, recreation centers, libraries and parks – it was budgeted to raise $47 million in its first six months. It caused alarm when it only raised just under $40 million. And it might not have even cut consumption by that much. More than a year after the tax went into effect, it was estimated that around a third of residents were traveling out of town to buy the beverages that are taxed more within city limits.

Arnold-backed beverage taxes are also inherently unfair. Think back to those inner-city residents craving a Coca-Cola. Soda taxes are regressive, meaning poor households are spending more of their income on them. They are also less likely to be able to travel elsewhere to satisfy their cravings and avoid Philadelphia’s punitive pricing.

John Arnold and his wife, Linda, through their Action Now Initiative, helped pass Philadelphia’s soda tax through an initial grant of $400,000 to a local group that was lobbying for it. After the tax was enacted and soon challenged in court, the Arnold Foundation gave the city $500,000 to fight the lawsuit.

Philadelphia is not the only battleground for the Arnolds’ pro-tax/anti-consumer choice activism. David notes:

This isn’t the Arnolds’ only assault on consumer choice. They also spent a reported $3.3 million to help pass ballot initiatives in San Francisco and Oakland that imposed similar penny-per-ounce taxes on sugary beverages. They partnered in those campaigns, and efforts to do the same in Portland, Oregon, with fellow billionaire Michael Bloomberg.

The Arnold Foundation has given out over a billion dollars since 2011, mostly to liberal and far-left causes. The Arnolds have also personally made donations in the millions to liberal causes and political candidates while, to give an air of political neutrality, giving a small amount to conservative-leaning groups promoting non-controversial issues such as criminal justice reform. John has even claimed to be a libertarian, but support for taxing sugary beverages does not conform to libertarian principles.

InsideSources syndicates its content to almost 300 leading American newspapers that collectively reach over 25 million readers in addition to those on the Internet.

To read David’s commentary – “Rich Liberals Push Beverage Taxes to Curtail Consumer Choice” – in its entirety, click here.

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