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Monday
Dec222014

There Are Good Things in the Budget Deal

ObamaCare may have received funded through the “cromnibus” budget in Congress, but the National Center’s Dr. David Hogberg explained there are good things included in that fiscal deal making it harder for the government to the implement takeover of health care.

Pointing out that any further skirmishing over the budget “would just lead to a government shutdown” that would likely hurt conservative lawmakers over the long run, David told host Rick Amato there is now less chance of a bailout of insurance companies through the “risk corridor” provision created by the original ObamaCare plan.  “There’s now language in the omnibus,” David assured Amato, “basically prohibiting that from taking place.”  David called this “a win for taxpayers.”

On the 12/11/14 edition of “The Rick Amato Show” on the One America News Network, David added that there was also at least a “symbolic” blow against a threat from a Independent Payment Advisory Board “death panel.”

 The $10 million defunding of IPAB is considered symbolic for now because the board is “not up and running” yet, but that this cut would still apply when it does.  “I think the term death panel is correct because what these types of panels usually end up doing is they usually end up cutting health care for the sickest,” David noted.  He added that his concerns are borne out by the actions of similar bureaucracies in England under their nationalized health care plan. 

Thursday
Dec182014

Obamas' Comments on Race in People Magazine "Just Reckless" 

RacismShoppingMichelleObama

In a new interview with People magazine, Barack and Michelle Obama claim that, in the words of interviewer Sandra Sobieraj Westfall, “their encounters with racial prejudice aren’t as far in the past as one might expect.”

As examples, Barack Obama claimed that “[t]here’s no black male my age, who’s a professional, who hasn’t come out of a restaurant and is waiting for their car and somebody didn’t hand them their car keys” because they thought dressed-up black men such as Obama were valets.  Michelle Obama added a story that “somebody asked him to get coffee” when he wore a tuxedo at a formal dinner.

Michelle Obama herself discussed being asked to reach something from a high shelf for someone while she was shopping at a suburban Washington, D.C. Target store, saying: “The only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf.  Because she didn’t see me as the first lady, she saw me as someone who could help her.  Those kinds of things happen in life.  So it isn’t anything new.”

Members of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network don’t think the interview did anything to help with America’s currently strained racial relations.  In fact, it might have actually hurt them. 

By telling the average black American that the President of the United States and his wife cannot get a break — even while they’ve been in the White House — it is undoubtedly demoralizing.

For example, Project 21 co-chairman Horace Cooper said:

President Obama’s remarks are remarkably destructive.  He stokes racial resentment and creates the false impression that racism and bigotry play a real role in whether blacks can currently achieve their aspirations.

I have some questions for the President.  Do any of these experiences mean that it isn’t possible for black Americans to achieve in this country?  Do they mean that a black man can’t become the leader of the most powerful nation on the planet?

I don’t question the veracity of the President when he makes these claims, but I do question the validity of presenting them as legitimate examples of the barriers that hold black Americans back.  Racism and bigotry are not the drivers of high unemployment, broken families and elevated crime in the black community.

Obama’s comments undermine the will to achieve and, by doing so, he is rhetorically cutting off the bottom rung of the achievement ladder — the very one that he used to advance.  Using the highest office in the land to express personal resentments is divisive and will likely serve only to condemn legions of struggling blacks to poverty and no hope for experiencing the American Dream.

Also commenting on the People article and the potential fallout, Project 21 member Christopher Arps, appearing as a guest on the 12/17/14 edition of “The Rick Amato Show” on the One America News Network, added:

Right now, America is a racial tinderbox.  And, for the President and First Lady to make these types of comments, in my opinion, is just reckless.

Christopher thinks he might know why the Obamas said what they did.  Noting that Obama’s approval rating among all Americans is quite low, he pointed out that black Americans “are really carrying [Obama] right now” when it comes to political support.  But black support for the President is eroding, with some blacks referring to the controversy in Ferguson, Missouri as “Obama’s Katrina” — an allusion to the 2005 hurricane that hurt the reputation of former president George W. Bush.

Christopher thinks Obama is seeking to bolster his credentials with his black base at the peril of the nation as a whole.  He said:

I think that these comments he’s making are trying to authenticate himself [with other blacks].  I also think that this comes… when a lot of African-Americans are upset with him… Unfortunately, he’s further dividing the country instead of bringing it together…

To be intellectually honest, you have to bring up that he was elected a senator from Illinois, and he’d been elected president and re-elected president.  So you’ve got to qualify that with those things that happened also.

Additionally, Michelle Obama’s Target story, as told to People, conflicts with her description of it in a 2012 interview with late-night television talk show host David Letterman.  On Letterman, she said she was “undercover” while she told People it was “wonderfully publicized” (though press coverage was extensive, it was not until was after the trip).  She told Letterman, “I felt so good” helping the shorter woman get detergent from a high shelf, as opposed the People description of “she didn’t see me as the first lady, she saw me as someone who could help her.”

Christopher said her new telling of the story was likely all part of a calculated strategy by the Obamas:

Everything is political.  And whatever they can use at the moment to try to gain some political points or curry some type of favor with a Democrat constituent group, they will do that.  And this is just an instance when she’s been caught.

Thursday
Dec182014

New Obama Cuba Policy "Setting a Terrible, Extremely Bad Precedent"

Project 21 co-chairman Horace Cooper argued with RT host Thom Hartmann over the Obama Administration move to normalize diplomatic relations with the Cuban dictatorship.

On the 12/17/14 edition of “The Big Picture” on the RT network, Horace cited the human rights abuses and the hostility of the Castro regime toward the United States.  He rebutted Hartmann’s suggestions that American trade and tourism will soften the iron grip the Castro brothers have had on the Cuban government since the Eisenhower Administration, noting that not waiting until regime change occurs in Cuba would be “setting a terrible, extremely bad precedent, and I don’t think we should reward them while they’re alive with the behavior they’ve engaged in.”

Wednesday
Dec172014

"Race-Shamers" Stop Law School Test from Using Ferguson Facts

Officials at Columbia Law School allowed students to put off final exams due if they say they have aggrieved feelings over the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and the grand jury decisions not to indict the police officers accused of possible criminal activities in their deaths.  Students at other prestigious law schools such as Harvard and Georgetown also petitioned to have their exams put off as well.

At UCLA, there was a different kind of testing controversy.  A law professor rescinded a test question that pulled facts from something that happened in the aftermath of the Brown case and used it as background.  The premise riled up students and other legal observers to the extent that the professor felt compelled to apologize.

Professor Robert Goldstein raised the issue of Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head, shouting “burn this bitch down” to a crowd in Ferguson, Missouri after the grand jury did not indict Officer Darren Wilson.  Riots did occur locally that night, including structure fires.  Goldstein asked his students to assume the role of a staff attorney in the St. Louis County Attorney’s office and assess the First Amendment issues that might come into play regarding a potential indictment of Head for inciting violence that night.

After students complained and the question became a national news story, Goldstein apologized and said he would not use the question in the grading of the test.  Even though he said he had “drawn [questions] from current legal issues” to “make the exam educational and relevant,” he nonetheless reassessed that this topic was “too raw to make it a useful opportunity.”

Project 21 co-chair Horace Cooper doesn’t agree.  Horace, a former professor of constitutional law at George Mason University in Virginia, is calling out blogger Elie Mystal in particular for his reported comments suggesting teaching students about the limits of free speech using real situations is “racially insensitive and divisive.”

Horace said:

What’s “racially insensitive” is refusing to teach attorneys that the training they have will involve real-life applications.  What’s “divisive” is implying that all students, black or white, can’t assess the proper application of legal principles when one of the parties involved is a minority.

This type of criticism not only a slap at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s colorblind vision, but it’s also a clear play of the race card.  This is neither relevant nor appropriate.

I commend Professor Goldstein for bringing relevant incidents for students to examine in the classroom.  I also recommend that “race-shamers” such as Elie Mystal stick to simply blogging instead of trying to limit inquiry and study at universities.

Wednesday
Dec172014

Sharpton March Didn't Address Major Problems Facing Black Community

As Al Sharpton rallied marchers in Washington, D.C. this past Saturday to call for more federal prosecutorial authority against local police, Project 21 co-chairman Cherylyn Harley LeBon lamented that the energies of the marchers were being squandered when they could be demanding more important policy innovations that the black community desperately needs.

Echoing her comments and the comments of other Project 21 members from a press release that was published prior to the Sharpton march, Cherylyn said in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that was aired on 12/13/14 while the march was actually happening:

What we’d really prefer to see is a march on Washington for jobs, for improved education for kids in the inner cities and just a revitalization of these urban areas…

The other thing I think this march is missing the mark on is the fact that 93 percent of… all deaths of young black men are being committed by other blacks.  So, really, it’s a genocide on black youth, but it’s being committed by other black men.

Along with this CBC interview and coverage of it on The Huffington Post web site, 20 other interviews on the march have this far been conducted by members of the National Center’s Project black leadership network.

Tuesday
Dec092014

"This Blame It on the Whitey Stuff Is Dangerous and It Is a Lie"

Confronting the allegation that a history of racism in America is responsible for today’s problems in black communities, Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper strongly rebutted the notion and laid much of the blame for current unrest at the feet of President Barack Obama for not using his position and personal history as a means of healing troubled and tense communities.

Taking on the myth that institutional racism still exists, Horace said:

Racism, to whatever degree it exists in America today, is not the reason for anyone’s lack of success.  The relic of a bygone era made up by a bunch of people running around with sheets over their heads and cones on their heads isn’t an explanation for the poverty.  It isn’t an explanation for the criminality.  It isn’t an explanation for the unemployment.  That is something that individuals must take responsibility for.

In a discussion with host Rick Amato on the 12/8/14 edition of “The Rick Amato Show” on the One America News Network, Horace specifically said President Obama squandered an opportunity to calm heated tensions and perhaps become known as a “remarkable leader” in the process, but that he shirked this leadership role in favor of “political resonance” among his leftist power base.  Horace explained:

The President of the United States ought to have been uniquely able to say not only is our system just, not only does our system work — look at me, I am living proof that if you apply yourself, that you become an achiever, that this country is open to anybody for taking on the most important political positions in the land.  Instead, he has said just the opposite.

Talking about the fractured relationship between blacks and the police, Horace again said that Obama abdicated his responsibility as a leader in not confronting and addressing the problem in a mutually beneficial manner.  He said that Obama “could have said: ‘I trust our criminal justice system.  I trust our ability of law enforcement — working together in the community to resolve this.’  He has suggested and aided actions that did exactly the opposite.”

Horace noted:

There always will be an element in any community that doesn’t want to abide by the basic norms of decency.  They will rob.  They will rape.  They will engage in mayhem.  And that’s the reason you have law enforcement.

BloodyHandsDFC W

This criminal element “preys on those closest to it” — which is usually poor and minority communities.  Instead of embracing the cause of local leaders and the police on the scene: “What the White House is saying, what Mayor de Blassio is saying and what Eric Holder at the Justice Department is saying undermines that basic truth.”

Critical of the heated rhetoric, Horace warned that New York City Mayor Bill de Blassio, in particular, will have “blood on his hands” should things get any further out of control due to his comments.  Horace also added: “This blame it on the whitey stuff is dangerous and it is a lie.”

Tuesday
Dec092014

Grubers' ObamaCare: Candy Coating Over a Really Nutty Idea

GrubersNationalCenter

Jonathan Gruber put a candy coating around the nutty ObamaCare idea to trick people into accepting it.

Just a reminder: Nuts can trigger deadly allergic reactions in some people.

Tuesday
Dec092014

Amazing: Eric Garner's Family Sees America More Clearly Than Its President Does

Project 21's Joe Hicks appeared for the third time in three weeks on the Fox News Channel's "The Kelly File" on December 8, 2014. He noted that Eric Garner's family does not see Garner's death as a racial issue, but President Obama and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio outspokenly do.

Said Joe: "It's very significant, I think, that you hear this dour, down, sour note kind of thing from the mayor of New York as well as the president of the country, yet you have a couple of relatively unsophisticated working people who just out of the gate tend to see it in a much more different way. I think that says something very significant about the leadership ranks of this country, the elites of this country, and what people down at the grassroots level of the country, in a daily kind of way, tend to see things -- very, very different."

Joe is the vice president of Community Advocates, Inc., a privately-funded Los Angeles-based political think-tank. He appeared on the show with host Megyn Kelly and Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal.

For more about Project 21 and related activities, subscribe to our free action newsletters here.

For more than 35 years, Joe has been an active and high-profile figure. Beginning in the turbulent 1960s and into the 1990s, Joe's views were aligned with what he describes as the "orthodoxy of left - liberalism." By the mid-1990s, however, he began a lengthy re-examination process that resulted in dramatically-altered political views and positions. Today, Joe's views often stand at odds with the beliefs with which he was long associated, and he now identifies himself as a political conservative.

Joe's other recent appearances on Fox's "The Kelly File" on events in Ferguson, Missouri can be viewed here and here.

In August, the Orlando Sentinel published an op-ed by Joe on how President Obama's amnesty plan for illegal aliens would hurt blacks, available here (free registration required). That article said, in part:

...we now have America's first black president defiantly threatening to use his executive power to grant amnesty to perhaps as many as 11 million unauthorized immigrants. In doing so, Barack Obama would thumb his nose at a Congress that refuses to, in his words, "… pass a darn bill."

So far, however, what the U.S. House refuses to pass is a bill legalizing more competition for low-skilled black domestic workers.

HicksJoeKellyFileRace120814

Obama is effectively ignoring the plight of black workers who have lost economic ground and struggled mightily during a recession from which America has yet to fully emerge. The unemployment rate for blacks in 2013 without a high-school diploma was 20.5 percent; for those with a diploma, it was still disproportionately high at 12.6 percent. The rate for all races was 7.4 percent, and 6.5 percent for white workers.

Highlighting the dilemma is that unauthorized workers and black entry-level citizens have a similar median age — approximately 36 and 39 years old, respectively. Once settling largely in border areas, unauthorized immigrants are now migrating to major urban areas and rural areas in southeastern states that also tend to have higher black populations. This puts unauthorized immigrant workers in direct competition for jobs with black citizens...

In conclusion, Joe wrote, "As civil-rights leaders now converge on Ferguson, Mo., to claim racism in the police shooting of Michael Brown, they are strangely silent on the economic threat illegal immigration poses to millions of low-skilled black workers. Might it be that these leaders have simply become loyal foot soldiers to partisan politics and a president who looks like them?"

Sunday
Dec072014

Renewed Community Policing Pushed to Promote Peace

With tempers flaring in the black community about alleged persecution by the police and an atmosphere of fear and distrust between cops and young black men, Project 21 member Kevin Martin – who once found himself accidentally on the wrong side of some angry cops – said the road to renewed trust can come through more interaction between the two parties through changes such as bringing back community policing and encouraging local residents to join the police force.

In a conversation with guest host Larry Elder on the 11/28/14 edition of “The Rick Amato Show” on the One America News Network, Kevin said “you change a problem from within.”  He added, based on his own experience in helping change the way police and residents related to each other years ago in Price Georges County, Maryland: “Some of the men out of the street protesting [in Ferguson]… should be joining that police force.  And not only the police force in Ferguson, but police forces nationwide.”

After his own experience being ripped from his car and thrown in a jail cell after being mistaken for a wanted criminal suspect years ago, Kevin said his response was not to lash out be to get involved.  He “actively became a part of [his] community” by testifying at a civilian review board and at other local events in which he could share his perspective on crafting police policy.  Speaking again about what occurred in Price Georges County, he said “we encouraged our young men… to engage and join the police force” and “if you are the police, and you look like the county, you have nothing to fear, in my opinion.”

Responding to Elder’s concern that that community policing to make police forces look like the community might turn into unproductive demographic quotas, Kevin said: “I don’t care what your skin color is.  I don’t care what your gender is.  As long as you’re competent, as long as you can do the job… hey – sign up.”

Sunday
Dec072014

All Hands on Deck!

RidenourD Danhof Cookies120514Cropped

It's all hands on deck as National Center for Public Policy Research President David Ridenour (L) and General Counsel/Free Enterprise Project Director Justin Danhof join other staff members packing cookies for shipment to our most dedicated supporters.

We extend our deepest appreciation to all our donors for their vital role in making our work possible. Thank you!

To learn more about the work of the National Center for Public Policy Research, sign up for our free action-packed newsletter here.

Saturday
Dec062014

Football Players "Supported a Lie" Emerging on Gridiron with Hands Up

While they won’t be playing at home this week, it’s probably not as likely that members of the St. Louis Rams will emerge onto the field with their hands up – a message of alliance with those protesting the death of Michael Brown and a grand jury decision not to indict the officer who shot him.  But, if they do and if other players begin copying them, the NFL made it pretty clear that this overtly political action by the players will not be punished.

This is troubling to Project 21 member Wayne Dupree, who told host Rick Amato that “the players came out and supported a lie” last week.  While Amato said he supported the free speech of the players (while acknowledging the league doesn’t need the political problems associated with their message), Wayne instead called the players “jackasses” and said: “They took to the field and basically… went against the police for doing their job.”

On the 12/2/14 edition of “The Rick Amato Show” on the One America News Network, Wayne said the exhaustive evidence analyzed by the grand jury exonerated Officer Wilson in Brown’s death and the “hands up, don’t shoot” meme the players mimicked is something that is “based on a lie that has gone global.”  He said people are largely “reacting on something that… didn’t happen.”

Additionally, in talking about former professional basketball star Charles Barkley calling Ferguson looters “jackasses” and “scumbags,” Wayne said, “100-percent – I agree” with Barkley.  Rebutting the narrative that criticism of the rioters is selective, Wayne explained that condoning bad behavior such as went on in Ferguson and elsewhere in protest of a settled legal process is a part of the demeaning leftist mentality that is meant to keep blacks loyal to their political agenda.

Saturday
Dec062014

When Rhetoric Rebutted, Lefty Pundit Demands "Don't Talk about Statistics"

While some people see the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York City as part of a trend in which black men are inherently endangered by police aggression, Project 21 co-chairman Horace Cooper said that people “can’t conflate these two incidents as one in the same.”  He noted that the Brown case was much different, for example, in the fact that Brown attacked an officer in the moments before his death.  An argument can be made that police involved in Garner’s death, however, should not have been engaged in so zealously enforcing government tax laws.

In a debate with Danielle Moodie-Mills of the leftist Center for American Progress on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Power and Politics” program on 12/4/14, Horace said the facts surrounding these deaths and others do not back up assertions of a police vendetta against black men.  He said there are “no evidentiary statistics to support” such charges, but there are definite problems of black-on-black crime that are not being addressed by those quick to complain about the police.

After he noted that police shootings are at a low, to which Mills replied to Horace, “don’t talk about statistics – let’s talk about people.”  She alleged a rise in racial tensions in America can be blamed in part on resentment of President Obama due to his race.  Rebutting that by mentioning the “Bush derangement syndrome” that gripped the left during the previous White House administration, Horace said that “overly-heated rhetoric” is “some of the history and the legacy of what it means to be President of the United States” and that it was Obama who failed to achieve his own goal of creating a post-racial America.

Friday
Dec052014

Expect Obama’s Amnesty Plan to Make America’s Employment Future Worse

On the first Friday of every month, Project 21 member Derryck Green provides his analysis of the nation’s economic stability under Barack Obama’s stewardship that is done in conjunction with the release of federal unemployment figures.

This time, Derryck wonders what will happen with unemployment and other facets of the economy as Obama brings illegal aliens out of the shadows and possibly onto the entitlement track.

Here is December’s “About Those Jobs Numbers”:

Newly-released unemployment figures from the federal government are almost the same as a month ago.  There’s probably some celebration that the official jobless rate remains below six percent.  But there are the lingering problems of the alternative and more overall measure of joblessness — the calculation that includes those seeking employment, are underemployed and who have stopped looking for a job in frustration — that is around twice the size of the rate that the mainstream media regularly reports.

But get ready for the possible blindside.

For November, that official unemployment rate as reported by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics is 5.8 percent — no change since last month.  That alternative rate, however, is a much higher 11.4 percent.

Combining this unsettling alternative rate with the workforce participation rate, and it’s a one-two punch to the gut.  Last month’s workforce participation rate was 62.8 percent, a rate that is unchanged since October and still keeps it down near a low not previously seen since the Carter Administration.

Want more bad news?  Racial minorities, particularly those considered to be among President Barack Obama’s political base, continue to suffer.

The overall unemployment rate for blacks is 11.1 percent.  That’s up.  This is bad enough, but it’s even worse for black teens.

As the media focused on the unfortunate death of one black teenager in Missouri, they seem to fail to notice that a lack of jobs is killing the hopes and dreams of so many others in Michael Brown’s age and race demographic.  This past November, 28.1 percent of black teenagers were out of work — being deprived of income, training and hope.  This was a  small decrease since the previous month.

In the Hispanic community, the official unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent — still above the national average.  But it begs to be asked where this rate might be going in the coming months.  It’s a question that should be on everyone’s mind as Obama presses forward on his obvious quest for amnesty for our nation’s illegal alien population.

It’s a problem that will have a profound impact on the workforce, taxpayers and America’s safety net for its least fortunate.

After the mid-term elections, the President finally acted on his long-threatened intention to legalize millions of people who smuggled themselves into the United States against the law.  Around five million of these illegal immigrants are slated for exemption from deportation unless Congress figures out a way to successfully halt Obama’s executive action.

As Obama seeks to bring these illegals “out of the shadows,” at what point will jobless statistics begin to reflect this new influx into the official American employment equation?  Obama and his advisors had to know that the unemployment rate would necessarily skyrocket upon the opening of his road to amnesty.

And a rise in unemployment generally as well as decreased job prospects for American citizens and legal immigrants in particular, in an already tough job market, is likely only going to be the beginning.  Consider the possible cascade of new economic problems that undoubtedly lie ahead because Obama chose to go it alone on the illegal immigration issue and “go big” in the process:

  • While the President’s alleged solution is only supposed to apply to illegal immigrants residing in the United States for a while, it is still expected that at least 100,000 more illegals will surge across the U.S.-Mexico border in 2015.  After his 2012 executive action legalized some younger illegals, many of the border-jumpers subsequently caught in the act clearly misunderstood Obama’s parameters and said they thought U.S. immigration law changed dramatically and simply getting into the country was good enough to guarantee they could stay.  That, and the unexpected interpretation of another law regarding unaccompanied children, led to flood of tens of thousands of Latin American children hopping across the border last summer.  It’s foolish to believe Obama’s post-election actions will stop the flow of illegal immigration into the United States.
  • What about those beneficiaries of the Obama’s 2012 executive action: the DREAMers?  Like illegals covered under Obama’s most recent action, they are not supposed to be eligible for ObamaCare.  Not yet.  Sylvia Burwell, Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services and one of the key players in implementing ObamaCare, indicated the Obama Administration may try to change that soon.  In a November webcast, Burwell said about DREAMers and ObamaCare coverage that “this administration feels incredibly strongly about the fact that we need to fix that.  We need to reform the system and make the changes that we need that will lead to benefits in everything from health care to economics to so many things…”  That means what’s already more expensive than it was promised could become even more expensive as a result of the Obama amnesty plan.
  • The Obama Administration shocked many by admitting those who came here illegally and work in the United States for as little as a decade can qualify for Social Security benefits.  A Heritage Foundation study conducted before the Obama plan was announced suggested that hypothetical amnesty for four million illegal immigrants (less than what is now expected) could cost American taxpayers around $2 trillion in government benefits.  Basing projections on the profile of the average illegal immigrant, Heritage’s Robert Rector, a welfare expert, said: “Given their expected earnings, from someone that has a 10th grade education, they will draw about three dollars worth of benefits out of those [government] programs over their lifetimes for every dollar they put into them.”
  • A looming threat to American citizens of limited means arose from a broken bipartisan deal that would have continued the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) past 2017 as well as set other tax cut extensions for individuals and businesses that are currently in peril  of expiring.  Conservatives have had a justifiable skepticism of both the EITC and CTC because of the fraud and abuse associated with them.  But there are those who legitimately use these programs as the safety net they were intended to be.  Those are the ones who stand to lose a lot due to amnesty.  A bipartisan deal that could extend the EITC and CTC was being negotiated until Obama’s immigration announcement was made, but faltered on the fact that there were no guarantees the programs could not and would not be exploited by the newly-legalized.  Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), trying to save the larger deal, took extensions of the two programs off the table, and the White House scuttled the deal by threatening a veto of the entire tax-extender package just because Reid sought a compromise.
  • At the moment, conservatives in Congress are looking for a way to defund any implementation of Obama’s go-it-alone immigration plan.  If anything, they want to at least put off its implementation until the new Congress can be seated and the will of the voters in the mid-term elections (who were aware of Obama’s amnesty plans) can be realized.  If they find a way to do so, however, it could lead Obama to force a government shutdown.  President Obama is apparently so enamored and so protective of his path to amnesty for illegal aliens that White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Obama would veto any budget that would stop his executive measure — bringing the government to a screeching halt.

Let’s not forget that there are those on the left who now say that what the President did for illegal immigrants was not enough.  Erika Almiron of the group Juntos, for instance, told the Washington Times, “When we declare ‘Not One More Deportation,’ we mean just that.”  Still others, striking a seemingly more moderate pose, say that effectively giving amnesty to around five million people who cheated the system and didn’t wait in line and pay the fees and undergo the examinations involved in the legal immigration process is just a “down payment.”  That’s strange, since Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) referred to Obama’s 2012 executive action as a down payment back then.

Just how much of a debt are we supposed to owe these lawbreakers anyway?

Too many legal Americans are treading water as it is right now.  According to the official federal estimate, there are 9.1 million Americans looking for work.  That’s more than last month.  That job pool is about to get a lot more crowded thanks to the independent action of Barack Obama.

America’s jobs crisis seems about to get a whole lot worse.  Legal citizens desperately seeking work are about to find foreigners zealously and openly competing with them for the scant openings that are available.  Those who cannot compete, or simply join the ranks of the demoralized and give up, will further strain the government’s safety net of benefits.  And they will be joined by possibly millions more people who have come out of the shadows with a hand outstretched.

It’s a bad situation that’s likely only on the verge of getting worse.

Thursday
Dec042014

New Congress Could See "Tons of Conflict" with White House over ObamaCare

Asked about his predictions for health care policy reform in the next session of Congress now that the Republicans control the House of Representatives and the Senate, National Center policy analyst David Hogberg suggested there might be a “smattering of cooperation… but coupled with tons of conflict.”

On the 12/3/14 edition of “The Rick Amato Show” on the One America News Network, David said that the Obama Administration might come to the table on some ObamaCare reforms such as the medical device tax and adjusting the employer mandate, but they will likely refuse to budge on the individual mandate and provisions to bail out the insurance industry.  Bringing up the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case of King v. Burwell that challenges subsidies to those enrolled in the federal exchange, he said a loss for the Obama Administration would likely mean “all bets are off” as far as working with Republicans on reforms.

Amato asked David about comments by former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who said his fellow Republicans should drop intentions to repeal ObamaCare in favor of creating alternatives to it.  David noted that Bush may be “half-right,” but that “implementing those ideas is going to still require repealing at least some parts of ObamaCare” such as the individual mandate, community rating and guaranteed issue.  He added that allowing ObamaCare to remain virtually untouched is “not possible if you want to come up with a free-market alternative.”

Thursday
Dec042014

Project 21's Shelby Makes Sense about Ferguson Decision Poltics, Process

Project 21 member Shelby Emmett, a lawyer and former Capitol Hill staffer, was a true voice of reason after the controversy erupted in Ferguson, Missouri.

In interviews that lead-off Rick Amato’s cable talk show on two occasions over the course of a week, Shelby explained why things may have gone the way they did regarding the Ferguson grand jury and how professional race hustlers and violent opportunists made the situation in Ferguson worse than it needed to be.

On the 12/2/14 edition of “The Rick Amato Show” on the One America News Network, Shelby was asked about outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder’s stated intention to end alleged racial profiling by local police, she replied that such a move is likely to make things a whole lot more unfair and regulated in America:

It will probably be something with a more powerful, centralized federal government and he’ll probably ask for a lot of money…

They just want one big uniform police state, and they want to make sure that power is concentrated in the hands of the few at the expense of everybody else.

This comment intrigued Amato, who played a 2008 clip in which then-candidate Barack Obama railed against increased police power.  Shelby noted how the President is now headed in the wrong direction if he truly does want to follow his campaign rhetoric about reducing the power and influence of the police:

If the President was actively concerned with ensuring individual liberty and protections for everyday citizens — particularly those in poor areas — what he would do is push a bill for education reform and choice, and he would push to decriminalize so many of these gun control issues.

For a president that seems to think the police have too much power, he has no problem trying to take away constitutional Second Amendment rights for everyday people… instead of allowing these people to be armed and protect themselves.  And instead, he supposedly wants these same entities that are allegedly harassing African-Americans every single day — he wants those people to have more power and more access to guns.

The whole thing just doesn’t make sense.  This is all about power, control and distraction.

And she said that Al Sharpton, a protest gadfly and now an apparent White House confidant, is “all about political pandering” and helping President Obama distract the American people from the more important issue of Obama’s executive action on amnesty.

Speaking about the grand jury’s decision in Ferguson on the 11/25/14 edition of Amato’s program, the day after the decision was rendered, Shelby said that she felt the jurors “came to the right conclusion” based on the information available at that time.  She noted that the “jury did what the jury needed to do,” and that they did so with the knowledge of what was happening in the world around them and what the controversial decision they did come to could mean in the community.

Shelby was quite critical of Benjamin Crump, a lawyer representing Michael Brown’s parents.  She said that Crump, who had earlier represented the parents of Trayvon Martin in Florida, was “looking for his five minutes of fame” and his anger about the ruling — dutifully rendered by the grand jury — was improper since, as a lawyer, he “has a higher duty” than the parents or the general public to respect the grand jury’s decision.

She added about the grand jury and allegations of potential tainting of the proceedings:

Of course, arguments can be made about the prosecutor’s past and what happened to his father [who was a cop killed by a black man in the early 1960s], but then we could also make those same arguments if there was anyone on that jury — particularly the three African-American members that were on the jury — did they ever have any issues with the police department.  And, if so, could we argue that they would not be able to be on that jury.

Commenting on establishment civil rights leaders and protesters who waded into the Ferguson controversy, Shelby said there are those who “want the violence” and “want the drama” associated with angst over the grand jury’s decision, and that one needs to “separate people that may be legitimately upset — with background and reason to be — and those that just wanted a reason to start trouble.”

Thursday
Dec042014

Senators Cruz and Coburn Vow to Stop Scheme to Include Massive Pork in Defense Authorization Bill

Should controversial legislation that has not been debated and which is completely irrelevant to our national defense be included in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA?

The office of Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) says no, and Senator Cruz and Senator Tom Coburn (R-TX) have vowed to stop it -- the "it" being a huge federal land grab that has nothing to do with national defense.

Senator Ted CruzSenator Ted Cruz (Flickr: Gage Skidmore)

Besides, the federal government already "owns" nearly a third of America's land!

National Center Senior Fellow R.J. Smith does not mince words in his agreement with Senators Cruz and Coburn:

In still another bald-faced action, both the Democratic and Republican establishments in the U.S. Congress have demonstrated their contempt for a free society and a strict Constitutional government. The leaders of both parties have cut a dark-of-night deal to slip a public lands lock-up package into the murky depths of the nearly 2,000 page National Defense Authorization Act.

The federal lands package will take still more of the so-called public lands -- lands supposedly owned by all the people and available for multiple use -- and lock them up for the benefit of elite minorities and pressure groups in mainly limited-use or non-use categories, preventing their use by or benefit to the vast majority of the American people. Hundreds of thousands of acres of land all across the West will be permanently locked up. Still more un-inventoried land will be locked up as Wilderness Areas, set aside and left completely unmanaged to serve as source of forest disease, insect infestation, degradation, death and catastrophic wildfires. America already has over 107 MILLION acres of its lands permanently locked up as Wilderness, which is an area larger than the state of California plus Massachusetts. There is hardly a pressing need for any additional Wilderness.

Senator Tom CoburnSenator Tom Coburn (Flickr: Talk Radio News Service)

The "lands package" also will lead to the creation of still more national parks, expansions of existing parks, and studies for new parks, as well as the creation of new Wild and Scenic Rivers. This again extends federal hegemony across the American land.

But perhaps the most disturbing part of the land lock-up package is that hundreds of thousands of acres of multiple-use lands will be withdrawn from any exploration or development or production of energy resources, oil and natural gas, strategic minerals and forest products. How does preventing America from even discovering its oil and gas and strategic minerals possibly enhance out national defense and security? Perhaps our Congressional leaders should rename the act "the National Anti-Defense Act."

RJ SmithNational Center Senior Fellow R.J. Smith

America is already facing a looming crisis produced by unthinking or uncaring Members of Congress, as year after year they continue to expand the federal estate, giving government an ever-growing ownership of the nation's land and natural resources, and locking up and mismanaging the lands they already hold. The American people can only live free and prosperous lives if they own the land and natural resources. This is a large part of why the colonists broke away from Great Britain with its long traditions of the King and the ruling classes owning all the land and resources and wildlife. Sadly, we appear to be traveling back down the Road to Serfdom, paved with the green bricks laid by uncaring and unscrupulous congressmen.

Thankfully, two Constitutional heroes in the Senate have promised to stand up and halt this never-ending journey to government land tyranny. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).

Instead of attempting to acquire still more private land and lock-up still more federal land, it is way past time for the Congress to begin to take a serious look at the entire issue of the vast over-reaching ownership and control of the American land by all levels of government. Congress should begin to look at ways to permanently halt this avaricious land-grabbing and return to the free society envisioned by the Founding Fathers.

Learn more about this atrocious policymaking by reading a quick summary by Robert Gordon and Nicolas Loris at the Daily Signal; a story by Sarah Hurtubise in the Daily Caller, a story by Edwin Mora on Breitbart.com, and/or a press release by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

An article in The Hill about Senator Ted Cruz's opposition to the land grab is available here and a Roll Call article about a letter Senator Coburn sent to incoming Majority Leader Mitch McConnell protesting this atrocity is available here.

Or you could just Google "pork in 2015 defense authorization bill."

Wednesday
Dec032014

What Michael Savage Said About Project 21 Members Speaking Out on Immigration

That's what top talk show host Michael Savage (#6 nationally, according to Talkers magazine, with 5 million-plus listeners) had to say about Project 21 members speaking out about President Obama's immigration action:

If you'd like to read the unabridged comments of Project 21 members Joe Hicks, Demetrius Minor, Stacy Washington, Charles Butler, Christopher Arps and Shelby Emmett on the President's immigration order, please go here.

Saturday
Nov292014

Horace Cooper on Sean Hannity: Media, Eric Holder Partly Responsible for Destruction in Ferguson

Attorneys Horace Cooper (Co-Chairman of Project 21), Kisha Hebbon and Tamara Holder discussed the grand jury process that led to no charges being filed against officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri on The Sean Hannity Show.

Some excerpts:

Horace Cooper: Mainstream media reports were contradicted by forensic evidence, yet were a cause of the protests.

"Here's the problem. When the mainstream media reported, unchallenged, false narratives from people who said they were eyewitnesses -- and it turned out they actually weren't eyewitnesses -- from people who described what they said they saw, then the forensic evidence showed it was almost impossible for that to occur. You get his fingerprints, and you get his blood on a firearm only by close contact. It just isn't plausible to now want to say a man grabs for a police officer's gun, threatens him, gets out of the car, jumps down on his knees, puts his hands in the air, and then the police officer shoots him point-blank. At least one of the witnesses I saw on MSNBC said Michael Brown was laying on the ground and a kill shot was administered by Darren Wilson. The forensic evidence showed none of that. For the mainstream media to report these things as facts... obscured the truth about the forensic evidence..."

Kisha Hebbon: "When do we as African-Americans look at ourselves and say 'why is there a heightened level of fear when it comes to African-American males?'"

"I'm an African-American female who grew up in the inter city, and I'm tired of people saying, 'why is this happening, why is this happening.' When do we as African-Americans look at ourselves and say 'why is there a heightened level of fear when it comes to African-American males?' What are these males doing wrong? What about the innocent people who are killed by gang violence? Blavk-on-black crime. We need to look at that. Michael Brown's life is not any more important than any other innocent child who was shot down the other day in Newark on Chancellor Avenue. We need to look at those issues."

HoraceCooperTVFoxHeadshotW

Horace Cooper: Eric Holder "chose to act more like Bull Connor in inflaming racial tensions than someone like Martin Luther King, who tried to diminish those, and bring this country together."

"Eric Holder had access to the forensic information. He had to know that there were eyewitnesses, black ones, who were prepared to report exactly as Darren Wilson had indicated when he first gave his report to his officers. They were giving similar, almost identical accounts. He had to know that, and yet he chose to act more like Bull Connor in inflaming racial tensions than someone like Martin Luther King, who tried to diminish those, and bring this country together."

Kisha Hebbon: "There are a lot of good police officers who are out there to protect and serve, and I feel bad for all of them..."

A lot of people on social media are saying things like, 'oh, you can't trust any of the police; they're all bad; I'm teaching my children not to like police officers,' and I think that's the most ignorant, senseless thing to do. There are a lot of good police officers who are out there to protect and serve, and I feel bad for all of them, with this crisis going on right now."

Horace Cooper: Darren Wilson is to be commended for being willing to testify before the grand jury, even though he was required to do so without his attorney present.

"A quick fact. Every single accused person has a constitutional and legal right in all fifty states to voluntarily go and testify before the grand jury. The statements can be used against them, but it is not unprecedented, it is not true that it doesn't happen. And so, Mr. Wilson chose to exercise that option; he appeared without his attorney. I commend him for having chosen to do that."

Wednesday
Nov262014

Project 21's Joe Hicks on Fox's The Kelly File: Some Protesters are "Just Flat-Out Rejecting Facts and Evidence"

Project 21's Joe Hicks and Rev. Rafael Green of the Metropolitan Christian Worship Center join Shannon Bream on the November 26 edition of Fox's "The Kelly File" to discuss the violence in Ferguson, who is responsible for it and how communities can reduce violence in the future.

Among other comments, Joe Hicks said the willingness of some protesters to ignore facts makes communication difficult. He noted that some protesters appear to be "just flat-out rejecting facts and evidence; eyewitness testimony from black witnesses who came and corroborated the police officer's version of events. People are saying 'we won't believe it; we refuse to accept it,' and are continuing to argue for pushing forward, saying, in essence, the nation -- people who are not black in this case -- don't understand where they're coming from. I'm not always sure we need to understand that... we have to somehow find a way to engage... but there has to be some common basis for us having that discussion."

Tuesday
Nov252014

Media, Mob among Those Condemned by Project 21 Members for Ferguson Furor

More members of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network are commenting on the rioting in Ferguson and the culpability of the mob, politicians, the media and other culpable parties.

Project 21 member Christopher Arps, who lives in the Ferguson area and was witness to both the initial riots in August and the ones that began after the grand jury decision:

You had two types of protestors in Ferguson last night, and neither were peaceful.

You had those hell-bent on destruction, looting and rioting.  And you had those out there who were not doing those activities but who were encouraging the looters and urging them on.

I was there.  To me, they are both guilty of the lawlessness we witnessed last night.

Day Gardner, a Project 21 member and media host, said about the looting:

Those rioters in Ferguson really don’t seem to care about Michael Brown’s death.  They refuse to hear all the facts.  They appear to just consider this a license to steal and act out.  They have burned a Public Storage, Little Caesars, liquor store and more.  They are laughing while they destroy their own community – burning businesses and stealing liquor and cell phones.  It’s ridiculous and so sad!

All the stores and businesses that have been looted and burned to the ground mean that, as we enter the Christmas season, families are forced out of work.  How many residents will be out of work because of the destruction?  They will be unable to pay bills or provide for their families.

Al Sharpton incited tensions in Ferguson before all the facts were known.  He should have waited for the grand jury documents.  He is such an embarrassment to the black community.

Author and motivational speaker Demetrius Minor, a Project 21 member living near Atlanta, said churches need to step up:

There was no indictment in ‎Ferguson for Officer Wilson, but there was an indictment of the conscience of many.  Riots and violence proves our nation still needs healing.

It’s shameful that the same people who are inciting – directly or indirectly – the protests and mob violence in ‎Ferguson will be quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and praising his message just two months from now.

Something needs to be done.

Dear 21st century churches: This is your moment.  Stand up for morality, but also advocate peace.  Speak healing, but also be sensitive.  Ferguson needs you.  The world needs you.

Project 21 member Wayne Dupree, a talk radio host who visited Ferguson after the initial riots to try to help the community heal, had sharp words about the word choices of the media:

Words have meaning.  It seems people are too willing to fall into the media’s portrayal of the victim and the media’s own version of the truth.  Allowing the media to use words that indicate one’s innocence or guilt is a very slippery slope.

There is no innocence or guilt unless proven by law.  And Officer Wilson has the law on his side.  His life is now destroyed at the hands of a thug who died.  Wilson didn’t force the fight.  Wilson did what he needed to do to save his own life, but he will never seem to have the same sympathy that have been afforded to the deceased by the media and the mob.

Many people saluted Obama for stepping in and asking for peace, but that executive action should have been done earlier.  He was too late – the looting was just beginning.  The mob looted a beauty store, burned down a bakery and destroyed Advanced Auto Parts among other businesses.  What the Hell!

Agitators were angry and they wanted “justice” for Mike Brown, but instead they destroyed innocent business owners’ livelihoods.  Where is the justice in that?

Additionally, Project 21 member Kevin Martin appeared in Danish television to talk about the situation in Ferguson and the need for more community policing in which law enforcement has more ties to the communities they serve (as well as more respect from the community for the police):