October 23, 2019

Amazon Grilled About Anti-Trump Immigration Position as Shareholder Meeting Gets Political

Press Release from the National Center for Public Policy Research:

*Editor’s Note* – For those with understanding, it is easy to see the theater going on here.

Free Enterprise Project Warns Amazon Executives That Overtly Political Stances May Harm Tech Giant’s Reputation with Trump Supporters

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Owner of the Decidedly Anti-Trump Washington Post, Ducks Question with Claim That Company Does Not Take Political Positions

Seattle, WA / Washington, DC – Today’s annual meeting of Amazon.com investors turned political as a representative of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project  (FEP) questioned CEO Jeff Bezos over the company’s strong opposition to President Trump’s executive orders on immigration and travel.

 “As an investor advocate, our message is quite simple: taking overtly political positions on contentious, evenly-divided issues is a major risk for publicly-traded companies,” said National Center General Counsel and FEP Director Justin Danhof, Esq., who attended today’s meeting in Seattle and personally questioned Bezos.  “Amazon executives made a clear choice to oppose one of President Trump’s top political priorities, and they need to realize such actions are viewed by Trump supporters through a political prism.  If Amazon is considered anti-Trump, it will almost certainly harm the company’s long-term investors.”

At the meeting, Danhof stated:

Amazon publicly opposed President Trump’s first executive order on immigration.  The New York Post reported Amazon took “a victory lap for its role in halting Trump’s travel ban” after that initial order was halted by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  The company also signed a legal brief opposing Trump’s second executive order on immigration and travel.

Amazon risks reputational harm and consumer backlash for this stance.  Polling indicates nearly half of registered voters support Trump’s actions on immigration.  After Starbucks similarly came out against Trump’s proposed travel restrictions, Business Insider reported that “Starbucks’ brand ha[d] taken a beating.”

Danhof continued:

And Trump’s ban is not the first of its kind.  In 2011, after discovering two al-Qaeda members with links to Iraq operating in Kentucky, ABC News reported “the State Department stopped processing Iraq refugees for six months. . . even for many who had heroically helped U.S. forces as interpreters and intelligence assets.”  One Iraqi refugee who aided U.S. troops was assassinated while banned from entry by former President Barack Obama and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. . . it doesn’t appear Amazon said or did anything regarding the Obama-Clinton travel ban.

These examples raise a few quick questions.  First of all, Mr. Bezos, do you see any potential downside for Amazon related to the company’s opposition to the President, or from the Washington Post‘s anti-Trump bias?  Current and potential Amazon customers undoubtedly include Trump fans.  Are you concerned they may reject Amazon as they see the company opposes a President and policies they support?  And why were you willing to risk Amazon’s reputation by attacking President Trump’s executive order when it seems you lacked the courage to speak out against the Obama-Clinton travel ban?

 Danhof’s full question at today’s Amazon meeting, as prepared for delivery, is available here.

“In response to our question, Bezos essentially claimed Amazon does not take political positions; it instead takes policy positions.  While this may be the company’s aim, it is often a distinction without a difference.  Regardless of Amazon’s intentions, the company is rightfully viewed as taking a political position against President Trump’s immigration reform efforts,” Danhof said.  “If Amazon was truly just taking a principled policy position, it would have also opposed the 2011 Obama-Clinton travel ban we highlighted in the question we presented at the shareholder meeting.  But Bezos ducked that part of the question.  Interestingly, former Obama spokesman Jay Carney – who is now a senior vice president with Amazon – turned around from his front-row seat when I mentioned the Obama-Clinton travel ban.  It clearly got his attention.”

“I get the impression Bezos understands the risk Amazon faces in becoming overtly political,” added Danhof.  “He chose to answer our question diplomatically rather than double-down on any anti-Trump rhetoric.  He may realize that the company’s actions – and his own – have placed Amazon in a liberal-leaning light.  In the long-term, that would be bad for investors.”

This was the second time this year that a National Center representative asked a question of this nature at a company’s shareholder meeting.  Earlier this year, also in Seattle, Danhof questioned outgoing Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz about that company’s opposition to Trump’s travel ban.  Danhof’s confrontation with Schultz garnered significant national media attention, with stories appearing in the Bezos-owned Washington Post, Business Insider, CNN and The Hill among many others.

Launched in 2007, the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project is the nation’s preeminent free-market activist group – focusing on shareholder activism and the confluence of big government and big business.  Since 2014, National Center representatives have participated in nearly 100 shareholder meetings to advance free-market ideals in the areas of health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, food policies, media bias, gun rights, workers’ rights and many other important public policy issues.  This is the sixteenth shareholder meeting the FEP has attended in 2017.

The National Centers Free Enterprise Project activism has yielded a tremendous return on investment:

  • FEPs highly-publicized questioning of support for the Clinton Foundation by Boeing and General Electric helped trigger an FBI investigation of the Clinton Foundations activities that dominated the 2016 presidential campaign.  
  • FEP inquiries prompted Facebook to address political bias against conservatives in social media.
  •  Company executives acknowledged media bias at ABC News (Disney), the Washington Post and CNN (Time Warner) in response to FEPs challenges, which helped to bring about more objective reporting and more balanced political representation.
  • FEPs Employee Conscience Protection Project strengthened protections for the political beliefs and activities of over five million workers at 13 major U.S. corporations.
 So far in 2017, the FEP has been featured in media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Variety, Associated Press, Bloomberg, Breitbart, WorldNetDaily, Drudge Report, Business Insider, CNET, National Public Radio, American Family Radio and SiriusXM. In 2016, the FEP was also featured in the Washington Times, the Fox News Channel’s “Cavuto,” the Financial Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, the Hollywood Reporter, the Los Angeles Times, Fortune, Newsmax, the Daily Caller, Lifezette, the Seattle Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribuneamong many others.  The Free Enterprise Project was also featured in Wall Street Journal writer Kimberley Strassels 2016 book The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech (Hachette Book Group).

 

 The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank.  Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations.  It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 60,000 active recent contributors.  Sign up for email updates here.  Follow us on Twitter at @NationalCenter for general announcements.  To be alerted to upcoming media appearances by National Center staff, follow our media appearances Twitter account at @NCPPRMedia.

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Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper Calls Out Washington Post Columnist for Attacks on St. Louis County Grand Jury

Cooper Says the Grand Jury Process Plays a Critical Role in the American Legal System

Washington, DC – In Friday’s Washington Post, Columnist Dana Milbank claimed the St. Louis grand jury reviewing evidence in the Michael Brown shooting is perpetuating a “farce.”

“This yet again demonstrates just how far away the liberal media is from providing balanced news and analysis of the Michael Brown shooting,” Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper said. “The grand jury plays a critical role in the American legal system and shouldn’t be denigrated. It isn’t a rubber stamp for the prosecution and it shouldn’t be.”

“Mr. Milbank should do a little less lawyering and practice a lot more journalism. Giving the grand jury more discretion to review evidence isn’t a fix. It’s actually a good technique to ensure that the totality of the evidence is considered.”

Grand jurors often ask for additional information and are legally allowed to be independent of the state. Its operation, like the presumption of innocence, is one of the reasons the American legal system is considered superior, Cooper said.

“Repeating the stale claims that the elected prosecutor, a Democrat, will manipulate the grand jury or operates from personal bias isn’t legal analysis or even an effort at journalism. Instead it feeds the unsubstantiated belief that the Missouri legal system is unjust or unfair,” Cooper added.

“Asking a legal ethics professional about these claims would have at least put these complaints in context, although the result might not have been nearly as provocative as calling the St. Louis County grand jury a sham. Mocking a legal practice older than the Magna Carta does a disservice to justice and to Milbank’s readers,” explained Cooper, who taught constitutional law at George Mason University.

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

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Romance Biology About Wolves

By James Beers

*Editor’s Note* – James Beers has published a rebuttal to a Washington Post opinion piece, presented as factual by the Post, by Jane Goodall, monkey expert, about wolves. Here is the link to the Goodall piece.

It is presented as a photo essay with captions along the right hand side. The comments and information Beers presents about Goodall, are found in those captions.

A Letter to the Editor of the Washington (DC) Post re: a 5 January 2014 article by Jane Goodall on WOLVES.

A Romance Novella about Wolves

That Jane Goodall writes lurid nature propaganda (For wolves a struggle to survive, 5 Jan.) about select species is no surprise: that The Washington Post publishes such stories as factual about wolves is surprising.

Where to begin? The “Buffer Zones” around federal lands are private property under state jurisdiction. If Ms. Goodall decries local communities, through their governments, managing wolves that harm their economies, their hunting and their “domestic Tranquility”; please remind her that the USA is not some African country without our Bill of Rights and Constitution.

Wolf packs do not “disintegrate”, like all other animal species they fluctuate like the weather for almost as many disparate reasons. Silly assertions like a den site “occupied since the 1940’s” (i.e. 70 years) are akin to climate change assertions of the past 40 years meant only to line the pockets of researchers, increase bureaucratic power over the citizenry and gain re-election for career politicians.

We are to bemoan the fluctuation of “the most famous wolf pack on earth”? Who regrets the demise of the Lolo Idaho elk herd, or the N Yellowstone elk herd, or Minnesota moose: all of which have been eradicated to levels wherein millions of dollars in state license revenue and hundreds of millions in revenue to rural communities have been wiped out by and for as long as introduced wolves remain at high, unregulated densities.

Wolf counts down? Earth to Ms. Goodall; wolf counting like wolf hunting is a notoriously difficult matter and to think it can be done consistently and comparably year-to-year is simply ludicrous. This goes too for the “sky-is-falling” warning about sightings going down as a cry for even more federal intervention.

Yellowstone wolves have not declined because of hunting et al around the Park. Wolves have declined because they have eradicated the once-vast elk herds and moose that fed their population explosion for 20 years and are no longer available to feed them.

Finally, wolves were not “hunted” to extinction in the Lower 48. They were purposely and with great effort of time and expense eradicated over a period of 300 years by our wise forefathers that would not tolerate the dangers (over 30 deadly diseases and infections, human attacks and livestock losses, etc.) wolves create. When you assert that wolves “are beneficial to the ecosystem” you are merely dressing up your personal desires with a patina of meaningless gibberish: your wolf “ecosystem” is no more legitimate or desirable than my hunting/ranching/rural jobs/human safety/recreational safety “ecosystem”.

I suggest, as a Minnesotan that misses the moose that protected wolves have eradicated, that readers of the Post and Ms. Goodall interested in wolves disregard her African brand of environmental species tyranny and embrace the American system. Have the state agencies of Virginia and Maryland and the District wildlife agency steal some money (like the federal wolf introducers did from the States to introduce the wolves out West) and trap some wolves in Canada (they are bigger and fiercer there) and release them in western Virginia and Maryland. (Question: why has the East been spared this “wonder” to date?) Soon enough: dog owners, hunters, families with kids, livestock producers, campers, hikers, fishermen, the elderly and many others will join Western and Midwestern rural communities in howling to severely reduce wolves in some areas and eradicate them in others.

Those that think majoritarian rule should be used to forcibly impose wolves on their neighbors should remember Prohibition and all of its similar claims and unintended consequences.

Jim Beers
5 January 2014

FYI My Bio:

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority.

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