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Entries by David W. Almasi (909)

Wednesday
Nov152017

President of 107th-Ranked Black College Criticizes Project 21 for Putting National Anthem in Context… Literally

Taking issue with a recent press release from Project 21 and a larger historical debate, Simmons College of Kentucky President Rev. Dr. Kevin W. Cosby insisted that the “Star-Spangled Banner” lyrics should apparently be defined literally and by modern standards.

Are you sure you want to be so literal, President Cosby?

There is no consensus as to what exactly Francis Scott Key meant in the little-known (until now) third verse of our National Anthem when he wrote: “No refuge could save the hireling and slave.”

But the literal interpretation – that Key was referring to chattel slavery – is being used by those who want to upend American history and tradition to argue that it should no longer be our national song.

In response to a tweet about Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper being scheduled to discuss the issue on Bill Martinez’s nationally syndicated talk show, Cosby tweeted that people can “safely assume” Key’s words meant chattel slavery because Key was a slave owner and white supremacist.

In the release, Cooper said: “Claiming that the lines from a song written in 1814 were intended to malign blacks reveals more about either their ignorance of history or their willingness to outright fabricate claims against our country.”

Key did own slaves, but it’s hard to justify he was a white supremacist outside of using the same specious logic ESPN’s Jemele Hill seemed to use when she called President Trump one.

In 2005, Robert Devaney, the executive director of the Francis Scott Key Foundation, wrote in the Washington Post that “to view Key, author of our national anthem, as a white supremacist misses the point of historical context.”  More recently, J. Mark Powell, a history blogger, pointed out Key’s complexities in a piece he wrote for the Washington Examiner:

Then there was Key’s highly-complicated relationship with slavery.  He was a slave owner who also opposed the practice.  He personally owned six slaves.  While he eventually set them all free, no effort was made to do likewise for the large number of slaves his wife inherited and who worked the farm that provided a big part of the family’s income.  On several occasions, Key represented slaves trying to win their freedom in court, for free.  He was also actively involved in the American Colonialization Society, which helped found the colony of Liberia in Africa.

Yet Key was also bitterly opposed to the abolitionist movement and used his position as U.S. Attorney to challenge it.  Right up until this death in 1843 at age 63, he strongly supported the colonization of former slaves in Africa and resisted the abolition of slavery.  Try explaining that contradiction!

Of course, the easy way – the one apparently being used by Cosby, is that Key is a plain and simple, unrepentant racist.

Then there’s the matter of the actual terms “hireling” and “slave” that appear in the song.  While Key never explained how that particular line came about, there are those who argue that the line refers to Hessian soldiers – Germans – who had been employed by the British:

Our revolutionaries referred to them contemptuously as slaves, because they had no choice in the matter of service, and hirelings because their services could be sold to the highest bidder.  Hessian soldiers had largely been press-ganged into service, and deserters were routinely and summarily executed…

A generation later, when the British once again tried to reintegrate their former colonies into their empire, it was a common belief among American patriots of 1812 that this latest levy of British soldiers were also bought and paid for, involuntarily serving mercenaries – hence, as the song said, men who were hireling and slave.

And it has been reported that noted no-nonsense abolitionist Frederick Douglass was quite fond of the song, despite that allegedly line about chattel slavery in the third verse. 

What can we glean from all of this?  You shouldn’t take things literally or out of context.  Especially when you are talking about something written over a century ago.

After all, it wasn’t but a generation ago that you could say to someone at your office that “you’re acting quite gay today” and be thanked rather than hauled down to human resources.  What was then a compliment about your attitude is now likely to be considered a bullying slur or insult and possibly grounds for termination or the dissolution of a friendship.  Putting things in context is also why people who hold traditional values can sing about donning gay apparel while decking the halls without believing they are endorsing the LGBT agenda.

What about those insensitive folk at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People?  What kind of person uses the term “colored people” these days?  Outside of the civil rights lobbyists at the NAACP, “Good Morning America” host Amy Robach found out the consequences last year when she used it in a news report and had to profusely apologize for using a “slur.”  As was pointed out by an expert, “people of color” is much preferred over “colored people” these days.

And then there is the issue of ambiguity, and why Cosby shouldn’t want to be so literal.

When you go to the Simmons College of Kentucky website, it proudly states that the school is “the nation’s 107th Historically Black College.”  That’s… it.

You go to the “fast facts” about the school, and it further explains Simmons was “Designated as the 107th Historically Black College (HBCU) by the U.S. Department of Education on April 13, 2015 (unprecedented accomplishment).”  OK…

For what?  They’re on a list.  But there’s no context.  Are they 107th among HBCUs?  That doesn’t sound good.  In fact, it sounds pretty bad.  I’d rather go to the HBCU designated in the top ten.  KnowhatImean?

Project 21 was chided in a tweet by the president of the 107th-ranked black college in America.  Literally!

Don’t like that, President Cosby?  Well, there are probably a lot of proponents of Francis Scott Key who bristle over him being called a white supremacist, and more who don’t consider our National Anthem a pro-slavery song.  Literally.

Monday
Nov132017

Project 21 Co-Chair’s Comments on Guns in Church to Protect Parishioners in Daily Caller, Wall Street Journal and OC Register

Project 21 Co-Chairman Council Nedd II, also an Anglican bishop and Pennsylvania state constable, is reconsidering his personal decision not to carry his gun during Sunday services.

As a constable, Council has provided protection to other religious institutions.  He never felt the need to be armed in his own sacred space until the attack on the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas last week.  A combination of that, growing intolerance toward the practice of faith in general and personal threats toward him as a law enforcement officer is leadig him to change his mind about packing in the pulpit.

Council discusses his reasoning in a new commentary from Project 21 that was just published by The Daily Caller. In “An Anglican Bishop Explains Why He May Soon Be Packing Heat at His Pennsylvania Pulpit,” he writes:

I’ve always seen the job of a bishop as that of an overseer.  That’s why a bishop carries an ornate staff called a crozier.  Like a shepherd, it’s a bishop’s duty to collect the flock and guide it clear of the wolves…

Maybe the crozier is no longer enough…

While liberal politicians and activists immediately took to social media to call for more restrictions on guns, it’s obvious that they fail to understand how a gun can also serve as a tool of salvation.

A pistol in the pulpit may sound extreme, but — when people of faith increasingly appear to be targets of armed evil — a good shepherd must do what he must do to protect the flock from the wolves. From the perspective of a bishop and a cop, people must be protected.  This includes in sacred spaces.

Click here to read the entire commentary at The Daily Caller.

Click here to see the press release about Council’s commentary that led to these interviews in the Wall Street Journal and Orange County Register.

Monday
Oct232017

Crusade Against Cross Honoring Vets Could Go to Supreme Court

An appeals court ruling against a war memorial cross could lead to the next big religious liberties case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bishop Council Nedd II, a co-chairman of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network says:

The Bladensburg Peace Cross should be allowed to stand where it has stood since it was erected in 1925.  

This growing trend in America to rewrite history has gone too far already, and I fear where this is headed.  It is not in the American tradition to destroy, deface and demolish monuments.  That is something that happens in dictatorial countries when leaders are toppled. 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, in a divided ruling, said the 40-foot Latin cross that stands at a suburban Maryland intersection “excessively entangles” the government with religion and is thus unconstitutional.  It overturned a lower court’s ruling said the nearly century-old landmark – inscribed with the words “endurance,” “valor,” “courage” and “devotion” – was not primarily religious and almost always used in a manner that marked government rather than religious observances.

Yet the majority of judges on the 4th Circuit determined that the Bladensburg Cross – dedicated to local men who died in the First World War – unlawfully represents “the core symbol of Christianity” and is “prominently displayed in the center of on one of the busiest intersections in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and maintained with thousands of dollars in government funds.”  Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory, in his dissent, countered: “In the majority’s view, the memorial is unconstitutional based predominantly on the size of the cross, and neither its secular features nor history could overcome the presumption.  But such a conclusion is contrary to our constitutional directive.”

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan called the decision “outrageous” and said “all options, legal or otherwise, are being considered” to keep the cross in place.  That could include an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The American Humanist Association (AHA) originally filed the lawsuit against the Peace Cross.  AHA Senior Counsel Monica Miller wrote in 2014 that the group was seeking “to eliminate this stigmatic message [of the cross] to non-adherents of Christianity.  It urges the government to erect an inclusive monument that will honor all fallen soldiers, regardless of their faith.”  Jeremy Dys, an attorney for the First Liberty Institute, the group that defended the Peace Cross, remarked after the ruling: “I think it’s important that we honor veterans the way that veterans choose to honor themselves.” 

The ruling, if allowed to stand, could have an impact on other monuments in places such as national cemeteries.  It could also help to reshape American society, where memorials such as the Bladensburg Peace Cross have stood without offending residents for generations.  Nedd, who grew up in the area where the cross stands, has fond memories of it and concerns about what the ruling portends for the future:

What’s next?  Will there be a movement to tear faces off Mount Rushmore, or rename national parks?

The Peace Cross is different.  It honors our veterans.  And it means a lot of good things to a lot of people.  For me, it was an integral part of my childhood.  It was always a special day if my family found ourselves in that part of town and my father would take us to see the “big cross.”

What is lost on the secularist and the revisionist historians is that – like it or not – America was founded as a Christian nation.  We should not apologize for that, or hide from that fact.

Monday
Oct232017

STRONGER Protections May Be Answer to Drug Patent Trolls

When Congress addressed patent reform earlier this decade, their attempt to stop “patent trolls” culminated in a law that the National Center’s Jeff Stier says ended up being “a solution in search of a problem.”  As a result, there are now patents at an increased risk of being trolled unless Congress revisits and fixes the problem.

In a new commentary published by The Hill, “Medical Innovation Shouldn’t Cause Pioneers to Jump Through Hoops,” Stier – the director of the National Center’s Risk Analysis Division – and Hoover Institution Fellow Henry I. Miller point out that efforts to protect our nation’s inventors turned the patent process into a “legal chess game” where some very dubious moves are now being made.

An important issue, patent protection goes back to the America’s founding when it was included in the Constitution.

 

Patent reform was passed in 2011 to stop business interests from using their purchase of similar patents to target and wage legal warfare on more successful innovators.  The America Invents Act (AIA) ended up being written in a way that promotes trolling when it comes to patents involving prescription drugs.  As Stier and Miller note:

The AIA was intended to stymie patent trolls that bought up patents they never intended to use.  Hedge funds, individuals and companies purchased patents not with the intent to protect their manufacture of innovative products, but to sue innovators who had their own, similar patents.  Stopping this practice was a laudable goal that made sense for technology like software code and cell phone hardware. 

However, it was never intended to be applied to pharmaceutical innovation, where the so-called “Hatch-Waxman” law, which created a pathway for generic drugs, had already effectively balanced the interests of brand-name and generic drug manufacturers.

 

How bad have things gotten?  One drug maker is trying to protect a patent in what might be called a sweetheart deal so it can avoid the pitfalls of the AIA.  Allergan, the company that created the dry-eye drug Restasis, transferred its patents related to the drug to a group of Native Americans rather than face the challenge created by the AIA:

In a move that could bring tears to the eyes of even the most jaded lawyers, Allergan last month transferred the Restasis patents to New York’s Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, whose sovereign immunity shields it from patent litigation.  The tribe was remunerated up-front and with the prospect of future royalties, and promptly leased the patents back to Allergan.

If the tactic is successful, analysts expect pharmaceutical giants Eli Lilly and Pfizer to follow suit.

Allergan recently lost a court challenge to protect its Restasis patents, so this tactic is more important than ever for them without a change to the current interpretation of the AIA.  As Stier and Miller wrote:

The key problem is that the 2011 law which sought to make it easier to challenge dubious patents also made it easier to challenge valid ones.  Ironically, in an effort to prevent trolling, the 2011 law created a group of reverse-patent trolls: generic drug makers seeking to undermine legitimate patents already subject to adjudication by the courts.  

Is there a solution?  Stier and Miller point to the Support Technology and Research for Our Nation’s Growth and Economic Resilience (STRONGER) Act that’s currently under consideration in the U.S. Senate.  It would require challengers to provide “clear and convincing evidence” of their case, restoring the traditional burden of proof standard upset by the AIA when it came to the relationship between innovative drug makers and those manufacturing generic alternatives.

Sunday
Oct222017

Bigoted Meddling in Personnel Policy Reflects Poorly on Disney CEO

It’s been suggested that Disney CEO Bob Iger thinks he’s got the stuff to run against President Donald Trump in 2020.  The National Center’s Justin Danhof, who has directly challenged Iger on numerous occasions at his company’s shareholder meetings, considers Iger’s leadership skills to be lacking.

In essence, after Iger’s recent example of the soft bigotry of low expectations, the CEO should take a cue from the movie “Frozen” when it comes to entering politics and simply “Let It Go.”

Iger was willing to let race overrule company policy at Disney’s ESPN.  Despite clear rules to the contrary, Iger admitted to personally injecting himself into network minutiae when host Jemele Hill used Twitter to call President Trump and his supporters “white supremacists.”  In doing so, Iger demonstrated that “black employees are held to a different standard than their coworkers,” says Justin, the director of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project.  That’s not very presidential!

In a commentary “Bob Iger’s Bigotry” that was recently published by The Daily Caller, Justin wrote:

Iger admitted to getting personally involved in the Hill fracas.  The CEO of the most powerful company in Hollywood handling HR matters is major news itself, but Iger made it even more sensational by deciding Hill’s comments were fine because she is black and was “outraged.”

After several confrontations between Iger and Justin about editorial bias at Disney’s news and sports networks, policies regarding on-air commentary and social media use were instituted at ESPN earlier this year.  Hill obviously violated them with her tweetstorm about President Trump.  Even she later admitted, “I put EPSN in a bad spot… I violated the policy.”

But Hill’s boorish behavior went unpunished, besides an alleged stern discussion.  While the situation at the very least appeared to show that the network was playing favorites (other on-air talent has been disciplined more for arguably less), it also seemed to exhibit a form of soft bigotry, because Iger made an allowance for Hill explicitly because she is black.  Iger said so in a public forum.

Justin noted:

Hill is currently enduring prejudice from her elitist liberal boss who apparently expects less of an outraged black woman that he does of Disney’s other employees.  She may feel thankful she still has a job at the waning sports network, but she should also feel unsettled that the only reason she may still have that job is because her boss intervened because she is black.  It may have been Hill’s outrageous actions that brought this bigotry to the surface, but Disney’s views on race are now on full display for all to see.

Iger’s allowance apparently does has limits, however.  While slandering the President of the United States can apparently be excused, offending advertisers is not.  At a later date, Hill used her Twitter account to endorse the idea of boycotting companies advertising during NFL games as a way to protest Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for demanding players stand when the National Anthem is played during games.  That earned her a two-week suspension from the network.

“You see,” Justin wrote, “ESPN has major contracts with the NFL and, while calling the President a white supremacist is fine, upsetting the sponsors is verboten.”

Bob Iger is considered by many to be the most powerful man in Hollywood.  His dive into ESPN HR affairs speaks a lot about him and the timidity of corporate America on the issue of race.  It’s just not fair.

 

 

 

 

Friday
Oct202017

NFL Kneeling: Project 21’s Horace Cooper 2, Leo Terrell 0

As this tumultuous NFL season heads into its seventh week, its fans – or ex-fans, as the case may be – will likely continue to lose interest in the sport.  Some radicalized professional football players are expected to continue to kneel during the National Anthem.  Compounding the problem is that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has expressed a desire for the players to stand while apparently being unwilling to enforce what he and most owners seem to want. 

It’s an odd situation considering that the league has strictly regulated things such as helmet decals and touchdown celebrations in the past.  Colin Kaepernick, the former quarterback who was the catalyst for this controversy, was fined $10,000 in 2014 just for wearing the wrong brand of headphones to a post-game press conference.

When it comes to a protest seen by many as a direct attack on America and what the nation stands for, however, the NFL is apparently unwilling to make any sort of policy – for or against kneeling and related acts.

The controversy is hurting the NFL directly, but the effects are becoming far-reaching.

Over the last two weeks, Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper has gone head-to-head with Leo Terrell, an attorney in Los Angeles, on the Fox News Channel program “Fox News Tonight.”  Both times, Horace has driven Terrell to fits of screaming and yelling as he hammered home the points that these protests are offensive to the clear majority of NFL fans and have no place in the workplace that is the gridiron.

In their October 18 match-up, addressing what he called Goodell’s “incomplete pass” in trying to stop the NFL’s current death spiral, Horace said:

Americans across the board reject this behavior as disrespectful, and now we’re going to see the trend continue of fewer viewers, fewer ticket-buyers and fewer supporters for the NFL. 

 

In response, Terrell said players aren’t obligated by their contracts to stand.  He claimed viewers and spectators are also not always respectful when the National Anthem is played.  While his claim about the behavior of the fans was anecdotal, Horace noted about the players’ protest:

They can’t even give us a specific and detailed outline of their critique.  If they wanted to have that – they can do it on their time.

Pointing out he sees the National Anthem protests as intentionally disrespectful toward the United States, he added:

[W]hy did they pick that time to make this expression?  They did it precisely because they wanted to hit us in the jugular and claim that America – our nation, which we honor with the flag – that is the reason they are attacking it.  That’s wrong.  That’s disrespectful. 

While the NFL may be losing its fans, it appears that Horace’s following is growing.  Twitter lit up after his appearance.

That debate between Horace and Terrell was the rematch of the two attorneys.  They debated each other one week earlier on the pretty much the same issue.  At that time, Goodell was floating a trial balloon about his own desire for players to stand, while Jerry Jones – the owner of the Dallas Cowboys – was adamant about his team doing so.

That next Sunday, the Cowboys did all stand during the playing of the National Anthem.  In this October 10 debate, Terrell asked what constitutes disrespect and bemoaned a situation where he thought players were being forced to choose between using their status to protest alleged racial injustice and being paid.

Saying that players “should honor the greatest country that has given them an average of $2 million a player,” Horace added:

I am pleased to see that owners understand that offending our flag in this way should not be condoned.  Shouldn’t be condoned by any owner.  Shouldn’t be condoned by any league.  And it shouldn’t be condoned by any player. 

While protestors are portraying themselves as modern civil rights crusaders, Horace showed how disapproving fans are the ones more in line with the methods of the Civil Rights Movement.  He noted how civil rights activists a half-century ago succeeded by encouraging others to express their dislike for institutionalized inequality to bring about societal change.  Fans opposed to National Anthem protests today are registering their disapproval by boycotting those perpetuating it – and to great success so far:

We get the right to also choose whether we are going to watch something we don’t like.  In overwhelming numbers, we’re watching the American people say, “we don’t like what you’re doing and we will not participate.”  That’s as American as apple pie!

Of course, it’s not just Leo Terrell who disagrees with Horace.  While Twitter posts have been quite positive of Horace’s appearances, there are critics.  And, as it usually seems for black conservatives, the critics often go low.

But they are small in number.  And the NFL crisis continues at their peril.

Friday
Oct062017

Black Activists at Cornell Want Fewer Africans on Campus

Black students at Cornell University are complaining that they are at a disadvantage because there are too many black students.

It’s not exactly that there are too many black students.  Cornell apparently doesn’t have enough of the right black students.  And the black student group there is demanding the Ivy League school do more to get the right kind of blacks so they can be more comfortable on campus.

Project 21 member Darryn “Dutch” Martin, a former foreign diplomatic staffer and motivational speaker, remembers seeing this happen when he was an undergraduate.  But he never saw such blatant activism as this – calling for administrators to participate in what constitutes intra-racial prejudice.

Among the demands Cornell’s Black Students United recently made to university president Martha E. Pollack in response to an alleged racial incident on campus was to “increase the presence of underrepresented Black students on this campus.”  There is no direct complaint about the current number of black students at Cornell.  They do want more attention paid to an “underrepresented” group.  The BSU wants Cornell to recruit black Americans whose families have been here for over two generations:

The Black student population at Cornell disproportionately represents international or first-generation African or Caribbean students.  While these students have a right to flourish at Cornell, there is a lack of investment in Black students whose families were affected directly by the African Holocaust in America.  Cornell must work to actively support students whose families have been impacted for generations by white supremacy and American fascism.

This rift between native-born blacks and those coming here from abroad to study is nothing new.  Dutch saw it.  He doesn’t see the motivation of the Cornell BSU’s demand as anti-immigrant or nativist.  Instead, he considers it something of a cover-up.  Dutch has noticed two different approaches to learning and the college experience, and he thinks the BSU is looking for more people to side with them their more relaxed attitude toward learning:

I have a question for the “black and proud” crowd that loves to romanticize Africa.  I’m talking about those who harken back to “Mother Africa” and seem to enjoy throwing complaints about the legacy of slavery in every white person’s face – implying that they long to escape the African diaspora.

That being the case, there is ample opportunity to fix the problem.  The solution lies within.  Dumping on fellow black students, however, will get them nowhere fast.

My simple question to them is: what’s up with this?  Why are you working against your African brothers? 

When I was in college, I remember seeing this unfortunate dynamic.  The African and Caribbean students I studied with usually had a distinct advantage over the native-born black American students.  What gave them this privilege?  It was evident.  The foreign-born students didn’t have a self-defeating victim mentality.  And they were very serious students.

Instead of wasting time complaining to the university administration about what they perceived to be a system that wasn’t doing anything for them, the African and Afro-Caribbean students – just like the Asian students – spent their time hitting the books.  They were studying on Saturday nights while the black American students were out partying.  As a result, the foreign and students new to America excelled academically.  Surprise!

This is also why I got along so much better with the African and Afro-Caribbean students. My studious habits sometimes had me at odds with my black American peers.

Now, black American students – at an Ivy League school, no less – are showing their hand.  They’re exposing themselves as weak and intellectually lazy.  They claim victimhood, but they are being shown up by their fellow minorities.  African, Afro-Caribbean and Asian college students take their educational experiences far more seriously than black American students, and American blacks are unfortunately lagging.  It’s not institutional racism – it’s a problem of their own making.

Dutch notes that Ivy League academic John McWhorter, a linguistics scholar at Columbia University, discussed an apparent anti-intellectual sub-culture among black college students in his book Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America.

 

Wednesday
Sep272017

Miss America Pageant Politics Worries Pivotal Past Contestant

While the spotlight is currently on the politicization of the NFL and the chaos that liberal politics is bringing to the sports world, Project 21 is making sure that people understand liberal influences are similarly threatening the footlights of the Miss America pageant.

In a new Washington Times commentary, Project 21 member Day Gardner – a defining figure in pageant history – warns that the politicization of America’s “girl next door” could have a disastrous effect on the legacy of the Miss America Organization and its positive impact on our culture.

Day was the first black contestant to make it to the Miss America semifinals, thus fully integrating the pageant in front of a live national audience.  Within six years, the first black Miss America was crowned.

Mentioning the struggles she overcame to get that far at that time, Day notes in the Times that “[r]ace is no longer an impediment.  Politics, however, seems to be a new barrier to advancement.”

Day points out that current-events questions posed to semifinalists this year (not a part of the pageant in 1977, when she was Miss Delaware) were obviously crafted to allow for criticism of President Donald Trump.  She also describes how abortion and same-sex marriage issues have mixed with pageant politics during previous years.

More importantly, Day fears changing pageant priorities could diminish the title’s prestige and the institution of Miss America:

[T]he pageants of my day placed value in morals and tradition over a pretty face.  A good reputation, as Vanessa Williams found out, was a requirement to wear the tiara as the goodwill ambassador for young American women.

This formula worked.  Over the years, the Miss America Organization raised millions for charity.  It created educational opportunities for women.  Former winners championed causes such as ending homelessness and domestic abuse as well as humanitarian causes around the world.  USA Today called it one of the last vestiges of true Americana.

But I fear liberal pressures threaten the pageant’s future. Andrew Breitbart noted that “politics is downstream from culture,” and the co-opting of Miss America appears well underway.

There’s a lot to be lost by turning the pageant into a cultural playground of the radical left.  The Miss America title may someday no longer fit.  When will a divorcee demand to compete?  When will they drop gender roles altogether and open the pageant to those who choose their own gender or claim no gender whatsoever?

To back up such an assertion, Day mentions how the liberal direction of the Girl Scouts in recent years has both tarnished the group’s image and led to the creation of several alternatives.

“The politicization of Miss America will only further polarize us,” Day warns.  “Instead, we should be embracing and celebrating our shared goals.  That is the role Miss America has played so well.”

Tuesday
Sep192017

Snark is Also a Form of Media Bias

It’s not easy to work with a member of the media you figure is going to troll you.

The National Center for Public Policy Research has been engaged in a coordinated effort to combat media bias.  In this instance, it’s at ESPN – a channel owned by the Walt Disney Company that is allegedly devoted to sports reporting.  Quite often, however, ESPN acts as if it’s more interested in politics than post-game analysis.

Rather than acknowledging this angle, the Washington Post only seems to see our most recent impact as a chance to be snarky.  Rather than reporting the real news at hand, it chose to play “gotcha” with the National Center’s minority outreach arm.  From first contact, it seemed the writer had already formed his conclusions; he was just figuring out a way to justify them.

Richard HoltOur Project 21 black leadership network published a press release last week on the controversy surrounding ESPN host Jemele Hill.  She took to Twitter to assert that President Donald Trump is “a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself [with] other white supremacists.”  Project 21 Richard Holt said Hill’s outburst was “causing more harm in a divided America” and “keep[ing] us from moving into a post-racial society.”

“Ms. Hill isn’t wrong to dissent,” Holt noted, “but she picked the wrong method to do it.”  While ESPN issued a statement distancing itself from her remarks, the network will apparently not discipline her despite an apparently obvious violation of network policy on social media and a history of disciplining other outspoken hosts (often conservatives).

Christopher ArpsProject 21 member Christopher Arps said the situation “further harms a network suffering a loss of viewers like me who are tired of the rampant political bias.”  As mentioned, the National Center is quite familiar with the problem of political bias at ESPN.  Our Free Enterprise Project (FEP) raised the issue with Disney Chairman Bob Iger at the company’s annual shareholder meeting earlier this year.  Soon after, ESPN issued new rules – including the social media policy Hill appears to have violated – to dial down the political vitriol on the sports channel.

And, after the Project 21 release was posted and members began speaking out on talk radio about Hill’s comments, ESPN President John Skipper sent a memo to his staff last week to remind them that “ESPN is about sports… not a political organization.”

This is all certainly news, but that’s not what the Washington Post wanted to discuss.

Just 12 minutes after the release was sent out, Washington Post reporter Eugene Scott replied to ask about other National Center “press releases condemning comments about white supremacy in response to statements made by the President or other lawmakers or television personalities.”

OK – so we forget about the issue at hand in which Project 21 members criticized a media personality who made extreme, unsubstantiated and blanket statements about the President of the United States, his administration and his supporters in an apparent violation of network policy at a network already trying to downplay a reputation of being a bastion of liberal bias.  Deeming the appropriateness of our putting out that release was the obvious focus.

In email exchanges over the course of the afternoon, I explained our organization’s ongoing interest in ESPN.  I explained that Project 21 members had participated in many interviews about the events in Charlottesville, the removal of statues of Confederate figures and white nationalist/white supremacist allegations.  We never issued a post-Charlottesville release, I explained, because Project 21 members were already fielding calls for comment, and a release was determined unnecessary for media outreach.  I said this our first release pertaining to the white supremacy debate.

Asked if we spoke on race issues during the campaign, I explained that our nonprofit status prohibits us from involving ourselves in elections (we turned away countless media requests over the years regarding the candidacies of people such as Trump, Barack Obama and Herman Cain for that reason).

Asked about any incidents prior to the campaign where we spoke out against white supremacy, I invited him to look through our 20 years of online archives.  I also asked ,“when has white supremacy been a front-page topic in the past 20 years?”

That was apparently what the reporter was searching for all afternoon.  His piece was on the Post’s web site about 20 minutes later.  The headline drew on my comment about it being our first release on white supremacy, and featured my question about front-page coverage of the topic.

Our Project 21 members’ quotes were featured and the Jemele Hill controversy explained, but there was no mention of the National Center’s work related to ESPN to put it in context.  The article mentioned our nonprofit status, yet cited Trump’s endorsement by the Ku Klux Klan’s newspaper as an apparent example of recent white supremacy headlines on which we could have commented.  Also cited were tweets by David Duke about President Trump after Charlottesville – but no justification for equating a failed politician (three percent in the 2016 Louisiana Senate primary) with 49,400 Twitter followers to a broadcaster with a show on every weekday evening and 695,000 Twitter followers.

Council Nedd IIHad he checked our archives at my recommendation, there was a blog post on Charlottesville in which Project 21 Co-Chairman Council Nedd II said “I particularly take issue with the white supremacists who claimed they were there because they are conservative.  They most certainly are not.”  Project 21 member Ted Hayes, who spends a great deal of time promoting racial healing by drawing attention to the 2008 congressional apology for slavery and Jim Crow laws, said, “We must abhor white supremacy like we must abhor all attempts to allow one race to hold power over others.”

In the past, Project 21 members also condemned the racist attack on Condoleezza Rice by a political cartoonist.  They rebuked allegations of racial intolerance at Tea Party rallies and condemned the anti-Semitism of the Occupy movement.  They even took on al Qaeda when members of its leadership called Obama, Rice and Colin Powell “house negroes.”  And there’s vital work that’s been done by Project 21 members to promote black economic empowerment and to stop voter fraud.

Ted HayesBut it seems obvious that pointing out any of this at the time would have resulted in less inquiry about those examples and more about what Project 21 didn’t do.  As if condemning the KKK newspaper, which most people probably don’t even know exists, might have been more important than clearing the name of the Tea Party against false accusations or pointing out where the hate among the Occupy movement was being ignored.

Apart from Disney/ESPN, another tale of FEP shareholder activism regarding media bias was the 2013 Washington Post annual meeting. Facing criticism of their coverage of the March for Life, the leadership of the Post at the time admitted to a newsroom bias.  Then-Publisher Katherine Weymouth estimated the newsroom was 90-percent liberal and “obviously their bias comes through.”  That seems to still be the case. The Washington Post has since been sold to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.  It is owned by him and is no longer a publicly-traded company.

At the National Center, we take pride in how well we interact with the media.  But it’s a two-way street.  Snark is a pothole on that street, and it’s something that we see too much of in today’s media.

Tuesday
Aug152017

CEO Resignations from Trump Council: "Triumph of Politics Over Policy"

They claim it’s not politics, but it certainly reeks of corporate America bowing to the will of the anti-Trump resistance movement.  That’s unfortunately not unusual these days.

It started with Merck’s Kenneth Frazier, and now includes the CEOs of Intel and Under Armour and the head of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.  Did these business leaders resign from the White House’s American Manufacturing Council because of a disagreement with President Trump over strategy to put the American economy back on track?  Hardly.  Economic indicators have improved quite well since the inauguration.  These business leaders quit because they said they didn’t like his handling of the events in Charlottesville last weekend.

Frazier said his decision was “to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”  Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank said his company “engages in innovation and sports, not politics.”  Intel’s Brian Krzanich said he did it “to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues.”  Scott Paul of the AAM trade association simply called it “the right thing for me to do.”

But, despite their excuses, how can the defections of these corporate chieftains not be seen as anything other than a political move?  It’s not like President Trump specifically addressed Charlottesville in an offensive manner at one of the Council’s meetings.  And, while Frazier resigned early Monday, the rest decided to quit after President Trump called out white nationalists in no uncertain terms:

To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held fully accountable.  Justice will be delivered.  As I said on Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence.  It has no place in America…  Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.

The fact of the matter is that CEOs engaging with the Trump Administration have long been under fire from the left.  At shareholder meetings this year, the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP) encouraged the leadership of Pepsi and Harley-Davidson, among others, to continue working with the White House to develop and help to promote policies that might create jobs and spur economic growth.  They were encouraged not to buckle to leftist demands that they shun partnering with the government.

Horace Cooper, a member of the National Center’s board of directors and a co-chairman of the Project 21 black leadership network who also represented FEP at shareholder meetings, is calling out these CEOs for the obvious political nature of their resignations: 

The decision by Kenneth Frazier and the others to resign from the White House’s American Manufacturing Council represents the triumph of politics over policy.  It is very disappointing when our nation’s corporate leaders have been given an opportunity to work with the federal government to encourage innovation and investment but instead appear more interested in political correctness.

These corporate executives represent the livelihoods of millions of Americans.  Their selfish decision to effectively become Antifa warriors means that the important issues of deregulation and tax reform - critical to job growth and improving household budgets - will be pushed to the back of the bus.

CEOs are hired to improve and expand their companies’ value and to provide needed services and products to consumers.  Federal policy is critical to that effort.  Abandoning this rare opportunity to work directly with the White House in order to pursue left-wing politics harms not only the corporations, but also the Americans - black, white and brown - who work for them and rely upon their products and services.

National Center General Counsel and FEP Director Justin Danhof, Esq. has confronted Frazier at four Merck shareholder meetings, discussing issues such as the company’s steadfast support for ObamaCare and drug pricing.  In 2017, FEP attended 19 corporate shareholder meetings on a myriad of topics including working with the Trump Administration on health care policy, transparency and media bias.

Tuesday
Aug152017

Observations on Charlottesville: Project 21 Members Reflect

It goes without saying that members of the Project 21 black leadership network are appalled by what transpired this past weekend in Charlottesville.

There is a lot to be angry about when it comes to Charlottesville.  The hostile actions there that enflamed racial tension all over were unnecessary, and the loss of life was tragic.

There is contention about finding fault with both sides, but any rational analysis of the events in Charlottesville shows plenty of blame to go around regarding how things were handled.  That being said, black conservatives with Project 21 are speaking out about the aspects of what happened in Charlottesville that hit close to home for them as well as the larger issues this event represents.

Project 21 Co-Chairman Council Nedd II, a long-time member of the conservative movement now living in central Pennsylvania and serving as a state constable, objects to the political orientation the white nationalists bestowed upon themselves:

I denounce those who sowed the seeds of hate in Charlottesville, and I particularly take issue with the white supremacists who claimed they were there because they are conservative.  They most certainly are not.

What was all of this “Unite the Right” business?  They’re not conservative, and there is no way they can unite any true conservatives under their agenda.  I have been actively involved in conservative politics both in and outside of Washington for decades, and I’ve never run into the kind of people I saw in the Charlottesville coverage.  For the Richard Spencers of America to claim conservative credentials is as silly as the left-wing agitators that day calling themselves the same.

The conservative activists I know want empowerment, fairness and freedom for all Americans.  Racism is antithetical to the free market and true right values.  We cannot excommunicate those who were never part of our movement.  But it is nonetheless important for conservatives to speak out against these imposters and reiterate our own agenda to promote harmony and freedom.

Ted Hayes, a Project 21 member and community activist in Los Angeles, is focused on the nation healing its long-festering racial wounds.  For the past six months, he has been calling attention to the 2008 congressional apology for slavery and for later institutional discrimination policies as an example of the intent of our society to establish common ground:

What I call the “Battle of Charlottesville” is more evidence of the racial tensions that, as Lincoln implied, create a “house divided against itself.”  It seems more dangerous than ever, with our republic experiencing divisions not seen since the Civil War itself.  This is happening despite the many achievements for the Civil Rights Movement, a national civil rights holiday honoring Dr. King and our first black president.

What happened in Charlottesville is part of a long-standing problem we aren’t talking about as a people.  We tend to have to wait for an attention-grabbing racial incident to explode before we want to stop and examine ourselves.  At that point, as now, we can be sidetracked by the tirades, diatribes and denouncements from the usual suspects of the organized left and the self-appointed black “leaders.”  And, like always, silent indifference takes over again as soon as the matter quiets down.

We must abhor white supremacy like we must abhor all attempts to allow one race to hold power over others.  There are earnest parties seeking healing, but their efforts don’t make headlines they deserve.  Our Congress, for example, apologized for chattel slavery and Jim Crow in 2008, yet this admission and admonishment does not get the credit it is due.  As a result, our nation continues drifting towards total destruction.

Project 21 member Demetrius Minor is an evangelical minister and author.  He believes the solution to the problems exhibited in Charlottesville can be found in faith and open communication:

What is occurring will continue as long as we seek a political fix instead of a spiritual one.  Too many of us are trying to be a voice instead of leading others to THE voice.  Jesus Christ is the lone answer.

We must have a dialogue on race and culture.  It must be done with transparency.  The church cannot be silent.  The generic, tone-deaf responses by politicians will not abridge or dissolve the tensions in our country.  Only God-fearing Christians who are willing to not compromise on beliefs but willing to evangelize a lost, dying and broken world, can help change the direction in which this world is headed.

Racism, hatred and intolerance will be rooted out once Christians invoke the unadulterated Word of God into every culture and community.  This comes with the ability to empathize with individuals whose beliefs, lifestyles and experiences differs from ours.

It’s worth repeating that Jesus Christ is the anecdote to our hurting communities.  There’ll be various political commentaries on diverse issues, but I’m committed to leading people to the ultimate changemaker because He’s the only one Who matters.

Derrick Hollie, a member of Project 21 and the president of Reaching America, warned that President Trump needs to confront intolerance head-on:

Last week, President Trump declared a state of emergency for the opioid crisis.  There also needs to be a state of emergency declared for race relations.  What happened last weekend in Charlottesville should serve as a horrifying admonition of how much work is left to do.  As a black American, it was a stark reminder of how many people still hate me and my family for no other reason than the color of our skin. 

I support President Trump because I believe his policies will help low-income and minority communities.  That being said, I pray he will be guided by the hand of God to bring our nation together, with a firm condemnation of any burgeoning white supremacy movement.  The hatred shown last weekend runs deep - fueled by generations of misunderstanding, mistrust and misplaced frustration.  For years, we were told this hatred was no longer prevalent.  But today we must look in the mirror and be honest with ourselves and deal with it.

I hope President Trump sees how these types of incidents affect his supporters in the black community.  Our nation is divided right now in ways it hasn’t been since the 60s and 70s.  We must now address the issues that are right in front of us.

Project 21 member Derryck Green, who has earned a doctorate in theology and spiritual leadership, is skeptical of the media and how it describes the white nationalists.  He says that the “alt-right” is neither right nor Christian as it is sometimes portrayed:

The media has been trying to tarnish the reputation of conservatives, Christians and evangelicals in particular for quite some time.  But efforts seem even more noticeable since Donald Trump was elected.  I believe it’s because progressives can’t accept what happened on Election Day, and now they feel they have to work overtime to tarnish the reputation of conservatives and evangelicals - specifically trying to identify both with the sins of white nationalism loosely identified as the “alt-right.”  Charlottesville is the latest attempt. 

To be clear, I don’t think the alt-right is as large or influential as the media would have people think.  Further, it isn’t conservative.  Many of its beliefs clearly contradict conservatism.  I’ve been a conservative for more than 20 years.  Never have I heard conservatives openly advocate expanding government to facilitate the preservation of white nationalism or supporting racial supremacy.  On the contrary, I’ve had countless sincere white conservatives repeatedly ask what they can personally do to help more blacks escape the indignity of leftist policies.  They also ask me how they can help spread the message of conservatism to more blacks. 

More importantly, there is no explicit connection whatsoever between the media-hyped racists in the alt-right and evangelical Christians - particularly those who voted for Donald Trump.  The only connection is made implicitly by ideologically-driven members of the media.  I’ve neither seen nor heard white supremacists associated with white nationalism or the alt-right articulate anything remotely close to biblical values or Christian principles. 

As a matter of fact, much of what white supremacists advocate - hearts full of hatred, anger, bigotry, violence and racial pride - is considered sin.  This directly contradicts Christian teaching and character.  Moreover, the racial supremacy of white nationalism is very much opposed to the theological anthropology found in Christianity.  The Sermon on the Mount and “loving one’s neighbor,” for example, have nothing in common with the divisive racial platform of the alt-right.

It should be obvious that white nationalism is incompatible with the multiethnic composition of the Kingdom of God.

Friday
Aug112017

NYC Moves to Snuff Out E-Cigs: "What Are They Smoking?"

The U.S. and U.K. governments see lower-risk nicotine products as a tool to bring smoking-related diseases down to levels not seen in generations.  But in New York City, legislators want to recklessly regulate responsible vape retailers out of existence.  What are they smoking?

Jeff Stier, the director of the National Center’s Risk Analysis Division, asks this in a New York Post commentary taking issue with the New York City Council’s August 9 vote to “slash the number of vape shops allowed to operate and to ban new stores from opening.”  Ironically, the vote was seen by its supporters as a way to reduce Americans’ tobacco habit.  It will likely have the opposite effect.

Vape shops sell e-cigarettes and similar products to people looking for alternatives to cigarettes and other forms of tobacco.  As Stier pointed out in his commentary:

[B]y drastically ratcheting down the number of vape shops in the city, smokers will have fewer places to buy their favored alternative to cigarettes.  Sure, they could still buy online, but they’d be missing out on individualized guidance on which products will give them the best chance at quitting.

Vape-shop owners are typically former smokers who saved their own lives by ignoring the advice of nanny-staters and quit smoking aided by e-cigarettes.  They’ve become entrepreneurs whose businesses succeed when smokers quit.  Now, both are more likely to fail.

Noting that other tobacco alternatives and taxpayer-subsidized health counselors are not posting effective gains in promoting smoking cessation, Stier wrote that “Vape-shop staffers, with their real-world success stories and product knowledge, have the potential to be highly effective, especially for entrenched smokers who were unsuccessful with other methods.”  Better still, “vape-shop staffers don’t cost taxpayers a penny.”

New York City’s attempt to discourage vaping comes as governments are becoming more open to the practice.  In late July, the Food and Drug Administration in the United States essentially reversed a hostile policy toward e-cigarettes to support less harmful alternatives to tobacco.  In the United Kingdom, a report aimed at reducing tobacco use released by the government agency Public Health England suggested “permitting innovative technologies that minimize the risk of harm,” and “maximize the availability of safer alternatives to smoking.”  This would undoubtedly promote vaping.

Thursday
Aug102017

Google’s Ideological Intolerance Recounted by Danhof in Investor’s Business Daily

While the rest of the world may have been taken aback by the firing of Google engineer James Damore, liberal intolerance at the tech giant wasn’t a surprise to the National Center’s Justin Danhof, Esq.

Danhof, director of the Free Enterprise Project, exposed this mindset in early June when he was at the annual shareholder meeting of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.  He recounted his confrontation with the company’s leadership in a new commentary published by Investor’s Business Daily.  He noted that “Damore’s firing was total twaddle, but it was predictable.”

In his commentary, Danhof noted:

At the meeting, I asked Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt about the company’s actual commitment to diversity and inclusion in light of the company’s public policy positions, not to mention the views of top management, that all skew to the extreme political left.  I noted conservatives may not feel welcome in such an environment, let alone feel free to express their beliefs.  Schmidt and other company executives dismissed my entire question by claiming everyone at the company – and in the tech industry as a whole – was in agreement with them.

Danhof brought up the company’s opposition to the Trump Administration’s immigration policy, support for the Paris climate accord and a Texas decency law as examples of complex issues where Alphabet may have employees of varying opinions.  He asked: “When the company takes public policy positions, does it consider all of its employees?”  Schmidt arrogantly responded: “The company was founded on the principles of freedom of expression, diversity, inclusiveness and science-based thinking.  You’ll also find that all of the other companies in our industry agree with us.”

While leaders in the industry might all agree with each other, their employees certainly do not.  In particular, there’s Damore – who was fired for thinking diversity should go beyond simply bean-counting protected classes in company employment statistics.  But Danhof found that Damore is not an anomaly at Alphabet:

After that confrontation, a strange thing happened.  I started receiving messages from Google employees thanking me for challenging Alphabet’s leadership.  Without realizing it, I was apparently speaking for a closeted segment of Google employees with conservative beliefs.

One email read, “I’m working with a few other Googlers to fix the company’s political discrimination problem.  Really appreciate you shining a light on the matter.”

Another said she was working closely with a group of conservatives at Google, and noted, “(t)hey’re all very appreciative that you were standing up for their interests at the shareholder’s (sic) meeting.  The shareholder resolution your organization filed also made a lot of people happy.”

I won’t divulge the names of these conservative Google employees lest they suffer the same fate as Damore.  But it’s clear that, despite Mr. Schmidt’s claim, not everyone at Google subscribes to his far-left worldview.

In a press release issued just after the Alphabet shareholder meeting, Danhof said the meeting left him with the feeling that the company was “of, by and for liberals.”  After what he exposed, and the posturing of the company after Damore’s firing, it’s hard to believe otherwise.

Today Danhof appeared on Dr. Drew’s KABC radio show to discuss this issue further. You can hear his entire appearance below.

Monday
Aug072017

St. Louis NAACP Backs Down, Reverses Course to Endorse Missouri "Travel Advisory"

Well, that was quick.

On Friday, Project 21 members in the St. Louis area were praising the NAACP’s St. Louis County chapter for pushing back against state and national leaders after a “travel advisory” was issued that cautions minority populations that might be visiting or passing through the Show Me State. Within a few days, however, the local chapter reversed itself and now supports the advisory.

Christopher Arps“Two days ago, the St. Louis County NAACP said the travel advisory hurt hospitality workers,” noted Project 21’s Christopher Arps. “Now, it miraculously doesn’t and the group ‘wholeheartedly supports’ the advisory? This flip-flopping makes the group seem irrelevant.”

In the group’s original statement, the county chapter recognized the negative effects the NAACP advisory – which warns that “[r]ace, gender and color based [sic] crimes have a long history in Missouri” – might have on Missouri’s hospitality industry. While not necessarily agreeing with a new anti-discrimination statute cited in the advisory, the statement noted it nonetheless helped Missouri law align with similar rules in 38 other states.

But now the St. Louis chapter of the NAACP has signaled its agreement with higher-ups that there is a “looming danger” for minorities in Missouri. “[A]fter additional study and consultation with our state conference,” the chapter announced that it “wholeheartedly supports” the advisory.

Stacy WashingtonThey’ve now decided they really don’t like the new law. There continues to be, by the way, silence at all levels of the group as to why the advisory did not address the extremely high murder rate in St. Louis and how that affects the quality of life of minority groups.

“Well I guess the jobs of black people in Missouri aren’t as important as was previously stated,” remarked Project 21 Co-Chairman Stacy Washington. “Now, if the upcoming major religious conferences cancel because of the NAACP travel advisory, Missouri workers and businesses can thank the NAACP.”

Tuesday
Aug012017

Law Enforcement Professional Talks Trump Remark About Prisoner Transport

In an address to law enforcement officials last week that was largely about gang violence and illegal immigration, President Donald Trump provoked criticism for a comment he made about the treatment of those who have been arrested for more heinous alleged crimes.

At Suffolk County Community College, the President said: “When you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over?  Like, don’t hit their head, and they just killed somebody - don’t hit their head.  I said, you can take the hand away, okay?”

The line got some laughs at the time, but many police officials later felt they needed to speak up about it.  They wanted to dispel any notion that they or the President endorse unwarranted violence or have strayed from a commitment to healthy community engagement.

Project 21 Co-Chairman Council Nedd II is a state constable in Pennsylvania.  He also wants to add his thoughts as someone behind the badge and behind much of the Trump Agenda.  He had this to say about the statement and the implications it has for him and other law enforcement professionals:

I’ve only ever noticed President Donald Trump voice and show support for the law enforcement community.  As a law enforcement officer, I have been nothing but encouraged by his words and actions.  With regard to his recent comments to that gathering of officers in New York, I believe his exuberance probably got the better of him.

Because of the nature of my job as a constable, I have probably put more people in the back of my vehicle than most other officers.  I do it about 20 to 25 times a week.  I tell each and every person to watch their head and knees as they climb into the back.  It’s not a preference - it’s policy.

Despite what may have happened in the past, a compliant prisoner must be treated with the utmost care.  Officers are literally responsible for the safety and welfare of prisoners in their care above everything else.

After the President’s remarks, my concern is that - while trying to show support for the blue - he has put us under yet another microscope.

His remarks will not change the way I do my job, nor how I treat anyone I have in my custody.  I don’t think the President really believes we should act any different, and one off-hand remark should not be used to taint his past support and respect for law enforcement.

Friday
Jun302017

Acting on Project 21 Co-Chair’s Suggestion, Trump Sends Feds to Control Chicago Gun Crime

When Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper discussed rampant violence in Chicago on “The O’Reilly Factor” on January 26, he said the federal government could “absolutely” intervene to help end the “carnage” there.

About an hour after Horace’s appearance, President Donald Trump tweeted “I will send in the Feds!” if the “carnage” in Chicago wasn’t abated.  He’s now making good on that vow.

In late January, when the President tweeted, the number of shootings was 228.  On June 30, that number reached 1,714.  According to media reports, 20 agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were dispatched to Chicago to coordinate with the Chicago Police Department and the Illinois State Police.  Their goal is to target gun traffickers and upgrade the technology used for tracking down the perpetrators of gun crimes.

Friday
Jun302017

Kate's Law Praised by Lawman for Protecting Public, Helping Police

On June 29, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3004 - “Kate’s Law” - to mandate stricter penalties for deported felons who re-enter the United States illegally.

The bill, which enjoys the support of President Donald Trump, is named after Kate Steinle.  In 2015, Steinle was allegedly murdered by an illegal alien who was deported on five previous occasions.  Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, charged in the shooting death of Steinle, is expected to be tried in the coming months.

Kate’s Law passed the House by an overwhelming 257-157 vote.  In the Senate, companion legislation that is still under consideration is S. 45.

Project 21 Co-Chairman Council Nedd, a constable in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, had this comment on the passage of H.R. 3004:

In my duties as a Pennsylvania constable, I have regular interactions with illegal immigrants.  I am encouraged by the passage of Kate’s Law in the U.S. House of Representatives and the tone of the Trump Administration on the immigration issue in total.  I believe it protects the public and helps make law enforcement more effective.

From a personal perspective, I have repeatedly served warrants on the same undocumented individuals.  Over time, it becomes folly and diminishes our credibility.  There is an inherent risk in the job I do.  I should not have to serve these warrants to those in this country illegally only to have them ignored at a potential peril to the public.

I’ve often wondered when the communities I serve would say enough.  I believe Congress is now channeling these people with their decisive action on Kate’s Law.  President Trump’s encouragement of its passage and his overall commitment to protecting Americans and law enforcement is to be applauded and not criticized.

Tuesday
Apr042017

A Tribute to Amy Moritz Ridenour (1959-2017)

Amy Moritz Ridenour was called home to be with the Lord on March 31, 2017, after a long battle with cancer.  Her husband and two of her children were at her bedside when she passed away.

In addition to being a beloved wife, mother and friend, Amy was known by many more as a leader of the conservative movement for over 35 years.

She founded The National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank, in 1982.  At the time of her death, she served as its chairman.

Her vision was for the organization to be a very different kind of think tank: More nimble than others and focused on giving the conservative movement capabilities it didn’t already possess.  Her success in achieving that vision was recognized when another conservative leader said of the Center, “It’s more than a think tank… it’s a do tank.”

Under her leadership, the Center initiated Project 21, a black conservative leadership group that’s created over 30,000 media opportunities for black conservatives and libertarians.

She also launched the Free Enterprise Project, a conservative shareholder activism and education program.  Dozens of major corporations have voluntarily adopted shareholder resolutions proposed by the program.

Amy played a significant role in virtually every conservative advance in the past three decades.

But one contribution of which she was most proud few knew about.

Though the U.S. eventually won the Cold War, that outcome was far from certain.  In the early 1980s, it was nearly derailed by the nuclear freeze movement.

On March 7, 1983, the day before a major nuclear freeze movement rally was to take place in Washington, DC, Amy and other pro-defense leaders countering the freeze movement met with President Reagan at the White House.

The president confided that he feared his effort to rebuild America’s defenses and win the Cold War could fail because the media was against him.

Amy gave the president a pep talk and outlined a strategy she’d used to go around the mainstream media to reach the American people using alternative media, including talk radio, local community newspapers, and religious media.

President Reagan took her advice and that very afternoon personally added 13 lines to a speech he was scheduled to give to the National Association of Evangelicals the next day.

That speech would become known as the “Evil Empire” speech.  It rallied support for the struggle against totalitarian Communism by framing it in moral terms.

Over the course of her career, Amy and wrote and edited hundreds of public policy papers and was widely published with her opinion columns appearing in a range of newspapers including USA Today, the Sacramento Bee, the Dallas Morning News, and the Boston Herald.  She was also a popular radio and television guest, appearing on the Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC and even the Comedy Channel.

During the 1990s, she co-hosted with her husband David a weekly public affairs television program called Scoop.

Her earlier achievements included serving as vice-chairman of the International Youth Year Commission of the U.S.; as a regional coordinator for the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign; and as chairman of the Maryland Federation of College Republicans.

A native of Pittsburgh, Amy was an avid fan of the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates and required that her husband adopt the teams as his own as a condition of their marriage.  She’s undoubtedly thrilled to be meeting Roberto Clemente and Honus Wagner now.

She was also a Trekkie and could recite episodes of the original Star Trek series from memory.  She once attended a Star Trek convention, but her husband married her anyway.

Amy had only a few regrets.  She did regret having a promising future in major league baseball cut out from under her by a coach who – despite her superior skill – denied her a spot on the boys’ baseball team in elementary school.

She also regretted never finding a way to convince her staff of the importance of subject-verb agreement.

Amy will be remembered for her humor, sharp mind, vast knowledge, keen strategic sense and for her generosity.  She was a mentor to many.

Many will also remember her as a fierce fighter for liberty.  She displayed that same spirit in her fight against cancer.  Though cancer took her life, it never defeated her.

Most importantly, her family will always treasure their memories of Amy as a dedicated and loving wife and mother.

She is survived by her husband David; their children, Katherine, Christopher, and Jonathan; brothers Christian (Washington) and Karl (Arlington); and mother Carol (Pittsburgh).

In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be made to Our Savior Lutheran Church in Laurel, Maryland for the benefit of its youth programs, or to The National Center for Public Policy Research.

 

Memorial service information

A memorial service will be held on Saturday April 8, 2017 at Our Savior Lutheran Church (13611 Laurel-Bowie Road in Laurel, Maryland).  Visitation begins at 3:00pm.  The service begins at 4:00pm.  A repost meal will follow.

An on-line guest book to share condolences is available here.

Monday
Sep072015

Unemployment News a Hollow Victory - About Those Jobs Numbers for August

When the monthly jobs report from the Obama Administration came out last Friday, there was unwarranted celebration at the White House.  Any “good” news truly rings hollow – that’s what Project 21 member Derryck Green thinks.

Case in point, the labor force participation rate – the number of people who are actually working or looking for work – is stuck at a low that has not been seen since the Carter era.  And it’s this unsettling factor that is likely driving down the official unemployment rate rather than robust job creation.

The stock market initially cratered in the news of the jobless report.  Yet Obama celebrated.

There’s a staggering, underreported crisis affecting the American workforce, and Obama seems to be ignoring it while he twists the report into something he’s using to threaten a veto of any forthcoming budget bill from Congress daring to cut spending.

Black is white.  Up is down.  Day is night.  Hollow victories are being treated as if they are major breakthroughs.

Trying to make some sense of it all is Derryck with his monthly “About Those Jobs Numbers” report for August’s unemployment report:

Based on a recent report from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis, officials at the U.S. Department of Commerce determined that the second quarter of 2015 saw GDP grow at a rate of 3.7 percent.  This is above the initial estimate of 2.3 percent.

It’s a hollow victory for the Obama Administration, which constantly seems to be on the lookout for alleged “good” news it can report about its stewardship of the American economy that the Preisdent promised to fix seven long years ago.

But the celebration should be tempered.  When the revised GDP output from the first quarter is taken into consideration, the economy’s growth is only a measly 2.25 percent for the year.

Consider the continuing crisis of American unemployment.  Private payroll processor Automatic Data Processing (ADP) estimated the private sector created 190,000 jobs in August, which is above July’s revised number of 177,000 but still below the 210,000 jobs that analysts were expecting.

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 173,000 jobs were created last month.

Despite this poor showing, the unemployment rate nonetheless was reported to have fallen to 5.1 percent.  Based on the pallid job creation numbers, it certainly wasn’t due to expanded hiring.

One of the obvious reasons the jobless rate dropped is because people stopped looking for work and are no longer counted among the unemployed.  The back-to-school season may also be responsible for the some of the unemployment rate drop.

Though economists sought out by reporters will no doubt cheer what they have perpetually regarded as an economy on the mend, this economy has allegedly been improving for six years while managing to never recover back to pre-recession levels.  Other economic indicators, as they usually do, demonstrate the economy is nowhere near recovered despite the spin of the Obama Administration and its allies in the media.

While the official unemployment rate reported in the media and hailed by President Obama and his supporters was at 5.1 percent for August, it is relatively unknown to most that there’s an alternative jobless rate that is more than double that.  The U-6 rate, a measure that is considered to be a better indicator of the complete employment situation because is measures those looking for work as well as those who are underemployed and have quit looking for work altogether, is a sky-high 10.3 percent.  For a good portion of the Obama presidency, this U-6 rate has doubled the official rate.

This jobless rate is a hollow victory.  Obama cannot legitimately claim the employment situation is getting better when one considers the devil in the details.

And, as usual, the demographic groups the President considers to be his base didn’t fare well compared to the general population.  Women’s unemployment, for instance, was at 4.7 percent.  That sounds good, but this rate is still worse that during the George W. Bush Administration.

For blacks, the rate ticked up to 9.5 percent.  For black teens, the unemployment rate went up almost three points to 31.3 percent.  For Hispanics, the jobless rate was 6.6 percent.

In all, more than 94 million Americans were not in the workforce in August, including more than 56 million women.  The civilian labor force participation rate of 62.6 percent for the third consecutive month – a 38-year low (that’s October, 1977, to be precise!).

These statistics alone make it certain that the jobless situation is much, much worse than official reports.  The month Barack Obama was inaugurated, the labor force participation rate was 65.7 percent and the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent – with roughly 80.5 million people not in the workforce.  Now, the number of people not in the workforce has jumped 15 million, and the labor force participation rate is 3.1 percent lower.  Yet the unemployment rate is a little more than two percent lower.

It sounds like Common Core math to me.

It’s a hollow victory.

And things aren’t getting better elsewhere in the economy.  For example:

  • According to consultancy firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, employers planned to cut 41,186 workers from payrolls in August.  This is a 61 percent decline from the 105,696 jobs that were cut in July.  Based on their data, this brings the jobs cuts for 2015 to date to 434,554.
  • Data from a recent Gallup poll shows more Americans are losing confidence in the economy.  According to Gallup, the U.S. Economic Confidence Index “slid three points to -17 after also declining three points the prior week.  This is the lowest the index has been since September 2014, and comes as international markets struggle amid volatility in China’s stock market.”
  • The U.S. manufacturing sector lost 17,000 jobs last month, the first decline in this sector since 2013.  On the same low note, the nation’s service economy added more than 26,000 jobs for bartenders and waiters.  So, if those who have given up hope in finding work or those who aren’t working full-time need to cry in their beers over the poor economic situation, there are enough bartenders and waiters to accompany a very large pity party.
  • A study conducted by the left-leaning National Employment Law Project noted that take-home pay for American workers was either stagnant or had fallen since the so-called recovery began back in 2009.  The greatest declines were among the lowest-paid workers such as those in the home health care, food preparation and retailing sectors.  Jobs without great wages is certainly a hollow victory.  At least that’s what the left always says, right?
  • The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says that, because of record tax revenue and plateaued spending, the federal deficit and debt were reduced to $426 billion in fiscal year 2015.  This marks the lowest deficit of Obama’s reign.  At the same time, however, the CBO predicts that by 2018 spending will increase while the economy slows once again, making the debt unsustainable.  And Obama is threatening to veto any budget from Congress and shut down the government if lawmakers don’t increase spending.
  • Wall Street didn’t react too kindly to the less-than-stellar jobs report.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 272 points – or 1.7 percent – ending the week at a loss of over three percent, according to the Wall Street Journal.  This ends a particularly bad two weeks for the Dow, which dropped significantly during the past two weeks of August as a reported result of China’s weak economic outlook.  Hollow.
  • The national average for a price of gas is $2.42, the lowest price per gallon for a Labor Day weekend since 2004.  AAA predicts the national average for gas to be at or below $2 per gallon at Christmas.  OK – so there is some good news!

Despite the reported drop, the fine print shows that the August jobs numbers weren’t good news.  And, while more and more Americans find themselves on the outside of the workforce looking in, President Obama seems disconnected from his duty to help manage our nation’s economic recovery.  Instead, he’s busy renaming mountains and continuing to push the scam of “climate change.”  He’s taking selfies (again), and lying to the world about how great his Iran deal will be (well, great for Iran; read it).

In other words, it seems Obama appears willing to ride out the remaining months of his presidency as an absent leader, taking what amounts to taxpayer-funded vacations and likely securing donations for his presidential library while his administration enacts more economy-killing regulations prolonging the financial suffering of more and more Americans. 

Sunday
Aug302015

A Perspective on Harris County Deputy's Death by a Project 21 Member Who Served with Him

Last Friday, Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth was essentially executed as he fueled his patrol car in a Houston suburb.  The alleged shooter, who walked up and shot the unsuspecting deputy while he was standing and then fired several more rounds after he fell, is now in custody and will face capital murder charges.

Details are still sparse and there has been no declared motive, but a major focus is that the deputy was white and the shooter is black.

It comes as radical activists are loudly condemning police in general for alleged harsh disparate treatment of blacks.  Officers have become targets of violence apparently incited by this anger in jurisdictions other than this Texas county.  Despite the danger to law and order and civil society, this radical rhetoric seems to be condoned by liberal political leadership that may go as high as the Oval Office.

Project 21 member Carl Pittman is a criminal investigator for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, where he has served since 2001.  Pittman knew Deputy Goforth, and he has made this statement about the shooting and its ramifications he believes are related to it:

The loss of any innocent life is tragic, regardless of race.

Unfortunately, there are those in our country – within our government and outside of it – who have fueled a war against law enforcement officers.  They have made officers out to be uncaring, calculating killers of minorities – especially blacks.  They want to name streets after and march in the name of people who have done nothing but act badly.

We are out of time.  Deputy Darren Goforth is out of time.

Darren put on his uniform a few evenings ago and left his family with an expectation and a right to return to them.  But he didn’t leave without knowing the risk.  In fact, he was the very definition of bravery.

Knowing the risk, he went anyway.  But a coward – a menace to humanity with a blatant disregard for law and order – decided to steal the future that belonged to Darren with his wife and children.

This rhetoric of “black lives matter” is very incomplete – and, yes, very racist.  I am greatly offended!

My God, what have we become?  You see, all lives matter – regardless of the color.

Where is the outrage from the Obama White House?  Where is the condemnation from the race-baiting Reverend Sharpton?  You two have this blood on your hands.  You have divided this nation because it suited your sick agendas.

As I see it, there are truly only two races of people – good and bad.  Does this black murderer killing this white deputy somehow make you feel better?

I am from the old school.  God forgives, but his warriors arrange his appointments.  This is a call to arms to all law enforcement officers to keep protecting and serving the good people of all colors in our communities.  You took an oath to do so, and to hunt those down and bring to justice those who wish to destroy us.

To the evil ones who wish to start a war against the righteous – don’t start something that you are ill-prepared to finish.

Rest in peace, Deputy Darren Goforth.  We’ve got it from here!