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COMMENTARY: The Green New Deal — The Left’s Attempt to Co-Opt Trump’s Labor Populism

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The Dems plan is what it has always been – the Robin Hood strategy. That is, they want to steal from the rich and give to the poor. That’s why the Green New Deal is based almost entirely on cost-shifting, taxation and wealth redistribution rather than job creation and sound industrial policy.

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By Armstrong Williams, NNPA Newswire Contributor

The florid “Green New Deal” proposed by the newly-elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez (D-NY), has been widely panned by critics on both the right and the left – but perhaps most notably by Democratic Senate Minority Leader Dianne Feinstein. However, what many critics of the deal fail to note, is that the supposed New Deal is the Democrats’ most recent attempt to co-opt President Donald Trump’s populist agenda.

The Green New Deal seeks to achieve on paper what the laws of both physics and economics would not allow in practice. That is, it is attempting to appeal to the strength of the American worker while at the same time, discouraging American industrialism. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the not-so-green origins of this stale, almost comical idea.

President Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, ‘Make America Great Again,’ has been a wildly powerful rallying cry for his largely blue collar, rust-belt base. For them, it stands for secure borders, unfettered enterprise and fair trade.

The first part, securing the borders, has become bogged down in a fight over the humane treatment of illegal immigrants, especially in the wake of Trump’s disastrous child separation practices. However, what is rarely discussed is the reason why Trump is focusing on the issue of overland illegal immigration. The primary reason Trump sees immigration as a winning populist message is that cheap, undocumented immigrant labor has been undercutting the American worker in key industries, including agriculture and construction. Furthermore, minorities, who the Democrats claim to love so much, are disproportionately hurt by the wage-suppressing effect of undocumented labor.

The thing is – Democrats, although they pretend otherwise, clearly know this. They know that the rust-belt counties across Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia that voted overwhelmingly for Obama in 2008 and 2012, also voted overwhelmingly for President Trump in 2016. This singular fact shows that it is not Trump’s allegedly ‘bigoted’ rhetoric that attracted these voters – most of whom helped elect America’s first black President just eight years prior to Trump’s election – but in fact Trump’s promise to restore prosperity to their dying industrial towns.

Although in their hearts of hearts Democrats know that economic factors drove traditionally Democrat voters to elect Trump, they do not have a plan of their own to restore economic prosperity to wide swaths of the U.S. population. Rather, they do have a plan, but it is not a new one.

The Dems plan is what it has always been – the Robin Hood strategy. That is, they want to steal from the rich and give to the poor. That’s why the Green New Deal is based almost entirely on cost-shifting, taxation and wealth redistribution rather than job creation and sound industrial policy.

And here’s the proof: Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez celebrated, as a ‘victory’ her successful attempt to prevent Amazon from building its new headquarters and flagship distribution center in New York City. Let that sink in for a minute.

Democrats are celebrating the fact that their constituents would not be the recipients of a major job boom in a community that desperately needs jobs. Amazon was guaranteeing New York 25,000 jobs up front and up to 50,000 jobs over the next two decades, not to mention more than $27 billion in state government tax revenues.

NY Governor Cuomo, who knew just how beneficial Amazon’s proposed headquarters would be so for the state, made the highly unusual move of openly criticizing Democrats in the NY state legislature who killed the deal. The three-term governor called the plan’s demise “the greatest tragedy that I have seen since I have been in government.”

The irony here is that Amazon, and its CEO Jeff Bezos, were actually trying to reward Democrats by placing their headquarters in a place – Long Island City, New York – that historically is one of the least business-friendly places in the country to begin with. The real estate costs alone would be prohibitive for most companies Amazon’s size, not to mention New York’s incredible taxation and regulation regimes.

This leads us to prong two of Trump’s populism and Democrat’s failing plans to incorporate it into their dumb new deal. That is, making the American worker more globally competitive by negotiating strong trade deals. Trump’s trade sanctions against China and other grossly unfair trading partners are trying to address a lopsided trade regime that has lasted almost fifty years, since President Nixon first opened U.S. Trade with China.

The President has also negotiated more labor-friendly deals with Mexico and Canada. The Green New Deal echoes a lot of that sentiment in the sense that it wants to privilege American manufacturing by incorporating protectionist trade policies. But here’s where the proposed legislation takes a sharp left turn. The Green New Deal’s proponents want to prevent job-killing imports from China and other countries, but then calls for the replacement of those imports with a massive investment in so-called ‘clean manufacturing’ in the United States.

This is a fantastical idea – one that, again, not only defies the laws of economics, but physics as well. The heavy manufacturing sectors that have caused the trade imbalance in the U.S., are based on extraction industries – such as steel manufacturing and energy harvesting (natural gas, oil and other fossil fuel extraction). Those are not so-called ‘clean’ industries, and they never will be. But Dems want to have their cake and eat it too. They believe that they can have plentiful clean energy on the cheap…if only government would get in on the game and make massive taxpayer-funded investments in unproven technologies.

At the end of the day it all comes down to the tried and failed laws of centralized command and picking winners and losers. Obama tried this out during an energy crisis in this country, and most of the renewable energy projects he threw money at failed miserably, leaving taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars of loan guarantees.

This so-called New Green Deal is only new in the sense that it offers to waste even more taxpayer money.

To find out more about Armstrong Williams and read features by other creators, syndicated writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of BlackPressUSA.com or the National Newspaper Publishers Association.)

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COMMENTARY: Building A Powerful Black Media Based on Human Rights

NNPA NEWSWIRE — There is a lack of diversity in American media, and only 6% of owners are minorities. Some experts say there are no television stations owned by Blacks in America, and others say there are 10, but the numbers are terrible. Many Black-owned media companies actually only own a small percentage of their television stations, and very few Blacks own their own shows.

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It is no accident that there is only a hand full of Black TV stations, and very few Black owned Media companies, and that is because of racism and discrimination. There are very few Black TV networks, because the billionaires decide who is allowed to work. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

By Roger Caldwell, NNPA Newswire Contributor

It is now 2020, and Black-owned media in America is struggling to stay alive, and many in mainstream media believe Black media is not necessary. “Black ownership is dying,” said Armstrong Williams, whose Howard Stirk Holdings owns seven of the Black-owned commercial television stations. “Newspaper ownership, radio ownership – but it’s probably hit TV the hardest.”

In order to invest in the mainstream media business and be successful, it is almost necessary to be a billionaire in the giant cable business. African Americans don’t come into the media business with a fortune, and many of the longtime media moguls have consolidated their companies. This means that billionaires decide who will be hired, and 88% of them are white males.

In the news business there are 15 billionaires like Rupert Murdoch, Michael Bloomberg, Jeff Bezos and others, who control several of America’s influential national newspapers, magazines, local papers and online publications. It is obvious that there is a coordinated system in the American media, and the big boys decide who they will allow to play.

There is a lack of diversity in American media, and only 6% are minority. Some experts say there are no television stations owned by Blacks in America, and others say there are 10, but the numbers are terrible. Many Black-owned media companies actually only own a small percentage of their television stations, and very few Blacks own their own shows.

Hispanics operate major networks, such as Telemundo and Latin Business Today, and they find themselves in a better financial situation than Blacks. While Telemundo is owned by a major mainstream media company, its managers have more control.

Where is the Black-owned media, and how will there be more diversity in mainstream media and television?

In 2020, Blacks must build coalitions and force the billionaires’ media companies to hire more Blacks in decision making positions. Black media companies must hold mainstream media companies accountable for their terrible numbers and demand everyday more positive Black stories. Blacks must also be at the table when public companies make decisions about local television stations.

Black organizations across the country must unite from coast to coast and demand more diversity across ethnic lines. In Africa there are billionaires, who can invest in projects, causes, and television shows, because they are sitting on fortunes. Everyday Blacks must shop-Black, and the community must think Black.

Entertainment Studios Network owned by a Black man, Byron Allen, a comedian, television host, and entrepreneur has sued telecommunications giants Comcast Corp, and Charter Communications. They have refused to distribute his shows on their stations, while launching scores of mostly white-owned shows on their networks. Byron Allen says his stations and shows are 100% African American owned Media Company operating seven television channels.

Allen issued a statement, “This case is not about African American-themed programming but is about African American ownership of networks. Unfortunately, the networks Comcast refers to as African American-owned are not wholly owned by African Americans and did not get any carriage until I stood up and spoke out about this discrimination and economic exclusion.”

It is no accident that there is only a hand full of Black TV stations, and very few Black owned Media companies, and that is because of racism and discrimination. There are very few Black TV networks, because the billionaires decide who is allowed to work.

On every level there is a need for more Black-owned media companies, more hosts, reporters, and more Blacks in decision making positions. Blacks must organize, sue mainstream media in your city, county and state, and demand more Black stories and images. In 2020, Blacks are building powerful media companies, but we must continue to fight. We must organize, unify, build coalitions and work with African billionaires.

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COMMENTARY: Comcast vs Byron Allen Supreme Court hearing analysis

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “I’m not a lawyer, but it seemed clear to me that the Justices (Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was absent because, in the words of Chief John Roberts, she was “indisposed due to illness”) thought the issue was what the pleading standard for a §1981 claim should be, not at this point whether Comcast had racially discriminated against Byron Allen.” — Armstrong Williams

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Armstrong Williams is a conservative columnist. To find out more about Armstrong Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

By Armstrong Williams, NNPA Newswire Contributor

I had the privilege to hear oral argument at the Supreme Court of the United States of America in Comcast v. National Association of African American-Owned Media. The case focused on one of the country’s oldest civil rights laws, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (42 U.S.C. § 1981), and its ban on racial discrimination in contracts.

The case was brought by Entertainment Studios Network (ESN), a company owned by comedian Byron Allen, who is African American, and the National Association of African American-Owned Media. They maintained that Comcast’s decision not to carry ESN’s “lifestyle” television channels, including JusticeCentral.TV, Pets.TV and Recipe.TV, was due to racial discrimination and accordingly violated the § 1981 ban on racial discrimination in contracts.

The California district court dismissed ESN’s lawsuit, concluding that the complaint, which sought billions of dollars in damages, had not properly plead that Comcast’s refusal to carry ESN’s “lifestyles” channels was motivated by race, rather than by legitimate business reasons. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reversed, holding that ESN did not have to show “but for” causation – that is, “but for” Byron Allen’s race Comcast would not have turned down carriage of ESN’s channels. Instead, ESN only had to plead that race was one “motivating factor” in Comcast’s decision. Comcast then sought review by the Supreme Court, which agreed in June to hear the case.

Comcast argues that §1981 can only be interpreted as requiring “but for” causation. It argues that everyone must have “the same right” as white citizens “to make and enforce contracts.” If Comcast (or any defendant) would have made the same decision about whether to enter into a contract if the plaintiff had been white, then ESN (or any plaintiff) had the “same right” to enter into the contract. Comcast also assured the justices that there are other reasons, having nothing to do with race, why it decided not to carry ESN’s channels, such as a lack of bandwidth, and its decision to focus on news and sports channels. Moreover, Comcast notes it has for many years carried numerous other African American-owned networks.

ESN counters that Comcast’s position would prohibit a plaintiff “who alleges that race was a motivating factor for the refusal to contract” from conducting fact-finding discovery on the claim, “no matter how strong the evidence of racism unless the plaintiff could meet the stringent requirement of plausibly alleging that race was the but-for cause of the refusal to contract.” That, ESN reasonably insists, is an extremely high and difficult hurdle because “the defendant typically is the only party with access to evidence of the defendant’s motives.”

I’m not a lawyer, but it seemed clear to me that the Justices (Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was absent because, in the words of Chief [Justice] John Roberts, she was “indisposed due to illness”) thought the issue was what the pleading standard for a §1981 claim should be, not at this point whether Comcast had racially discriminated against Byron Allen. Hopefully, the Court will make a quick ruling in this very important case.

Armstrong Williams is a conservative columnist. To find out more about Armstrong Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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OPINION: Press the Pause Button on College Admissions Outrage

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The reality in many of these universities is that by the time you subtract preferences for minorities, the spots reserved for athletes, the preferences given to the children of donors, the places taken by children of the well-connected, college admissions is a process where the only people seemingly ‘guaranteed’ a spot, are people who have the system rigged in their favor. It’s clear, from reading some of the emails, that many of these parents were trying to ‘rig’ a guaranteed spot for their kid.

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By Armstrong Williams, NNPA Newswire Contributor

The media is baring its rancid teeth again. We have more people whose lives we can now rip apart. In the latest frenzy of outrage and recrimination, the collective disdain and finger-pointing and “how could they-ism” of the media establishment has new, fresh meat: the wealthy and sometimes famous and sometimes powerful parents who were involved in a scheme to bribe and cheat to get their children into college.

Let me be clear: what these parents did is wrong. What the coaches did is wrong. What the test-proctor cheaters did is wrong.

But let’s also consider this: the whole college admissions system is rigged, and wrong, and instead of simply tsk-tsking these people who allegedly illegally paid to help their kids, maybe we should also consider why what seem to be otherwise good and upstanding people would be driven to engage in this kind of behavior.

The fact is, the whole college admissions system is rigged in one way or another to give unfair advantages. It is rigged to give preferences to black students, even if their parents are wealthy, their schools comfortable, and their lives privileged. It is rigged to give preferences to athletes.

It is rigged to give preferences to Hispanic students who write admissions essays (read by liberal college admissions officers) arguing that their family has been oppressed. It is rigged to give preferences to people who can donate $20 million to a school, have a building named after their family and have “helpful” calls made on behalf of their children when they apply.

Is any of that fair?

Parents love their children. The want to do right by them. Most parents would gladly give their lives for their children. Believing that admission to a particular college is crucial for their child’s success or imagining that it is the fulfillment of a dream—these parents looked at a system that is, by any fair account, rigged to favor a few, and they tried to make their children one of those few.

Now here’s where this gets hard: my bet is that 98% of the people involved in this scheme are upper middle-class white people. Their children, I bet, are mostly good people: involved in the community, good students. And the fact is, college admissions is rigged against white and Asian students, who often have to have better test scores and better qualifications, simply to gain admittance to a college.

The reality in many of these universities is that by the time you subtract preferences for minorities, the spots reserved for athletes, the preferences given to the children of donors, the places taken by children of the well-connected, college admissions is a process where the only people seemingly ‘guaranteed’ a spot, are people who have the system rigged in their favor. It’s clear, from reading some of the emails, that many of these parents were trying to ‘rig’ a guaranteed spot for their kid.

Think about this. Being on the Board of Trustees of a college and giving $20 million and talking to the college admissions officer about your kid or a friend’s kid, is legal. Being a black student with lower test scores than other applicants, but getting a special preference, is legal. Being Hispanic and having lower test scores than the average applicant but writing an essay about the prejudice your family faced and playing to the sympathies of the admissions committee, is legal. All of it plays to getting a special advantage in admissions. And all of it is legal.

What these parents did was clearly illegal. It is not justifiable. It is wrong. But for anyone who has ever loved their child—it is understandable. I’m not justifying their behavior, but I understand it. If you love your kid, wouldn’t you do anything for them? And when you look at a system that is so clearly rigged, why wouldn’t you try to rig it in your kid’s favor?

It’s easy to blame the parents. And, they should be blamed. But let’s also not let the colleges off the hook completely.

Everyone knows that the system they’ve set up is rigged. So, let’s unrig it. Make all admissions blind. Instead of names on applications, substitute an anonymous number. No information should be included about race or gender. No contact should be allowed between rich, well-connected donors and college admissions officers. Applications should be graded in the way that some law school classes are graded—blindly—based on the quality of the application.

Let’s have blind admissions. Let’s unrig the way that America admits young people to colleges. What these parents did is wrong. But the system itself is wrong. Let’s see if the liberal media, the celebrities, and the college admissions officers are willing to ask hard questions about the very system they all support.

Armstrong Williams is a conservative columnist. To find out more about Armstrong Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of BlackPressUSA.com or the National Newspaper Publishers Association.

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