GOP Sets New Year Agenda, Al Sharpton: Shakedown Artist + More

Posted on Mon 01/05/2015 by

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THE FOUNDATION

“If this spirit shall ever be so far debased, as to tolerate a law not obligatory on the legislature, as well as on the people, the people will be prepared to tolerate any thing but liberty.” –James Madison, Federalist 57, 1788

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS

GOP Sets New Year Agenda

As members of the 114th Congress take their seats Tuesday with the GOP in majority in both chambers, the Republican Party will begin the session by trying to approve the Keystone XL pipeline and changing the ObamaCare definition of full-time work to 40 hours a week instead of 30 – issues that have bipartisan support. A House aide, who serves Republican leadership, told The New York Times, “The Senate will be ground zero,” as the GOP still has to persuade four Democrats to vote with them to reach 60 votes to send legislation to Barack Obama’s executive pen. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) wants to reform the failed educational policy No Child Left Behind, a move that would essentially reduce the federal government’s meddling with state and local school boards. But while senators are anticipating a bipartisan political game and plotting governing moves, there is infighting in the House. At least nine GOP representatives will make a show of voting against John Boehner as House Speaker because he did not stand up to the president and agreed to fund Obama’s executive immigration decrees until February. More…

Al Sharpton: Shakedown Artist

For years, it hasn’t been enough for Al Sharpton to simply pontificate about racial issues. No, that’s not how a 21st century race-baiter operates. According to the New York Post, the self-appointed spokesman on race issues has for years made a nasty habit of threatening American companies: pay him in money or power – or else. “For more than a decade, corporations have shelled out thousands of dollars in donations and consulting fees to Sharpton’s National Action Network,” the Post writes. “What they get in return is the reverend’s supposed sway in the black community or, more often, his silence. … ‘Al Sharpton has enriched himself and NAN for years by threatening companies with bad publicity if they didn’t come to terms with him. Put simply, Sharpton specializes in shakedowns,’ said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal & Policy Center, a Virginia-based watchdog group that has produced a book on Sharpton.” In other words, Sharpton is not a principled defender of civil rights. The only color he really cares about is green. More…

NYPD Expands Protest of NYC Mayor

In response to allegations of police racism made by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the city’s police have turned their backs (literally) on the mayor at the funerals for slain NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos – even when Police Commissioner William Bratton asked the force to respect the ceremonies. NYPD is also on a working strike, as the department has virtually stopped enforcing traffic laws, making drug arrests and, in the words of one NYPD supervisor, “only making arrests when they have to.” De Blasio brought this backlash on himself with his outrageous racism accusations. But as Red State’s Leon Wolf writes, the actions of the NYPD create a “dangerous precedent” if future politicians ever want to cut the bloated bureaucracy of government. There are other ways for the NYPD to petition de Blasio for a redress of grievances that do not endanger the public or disrupt a memorial to a fallen law enforcement officer. More…

Border Patrol Detains More Non-Mexicans Than Mexicans

According to the Pew Research Center, the number of Mexicans illegally crossing the U.S. border has dropped dramatically since the Great Recession. Thanks in part to the rise of unaccompanied alien children from Central America, the number of people detained by Border Patrol who are not from Mexico is now greater than the number of people coming from our immediate southern neighbor. Pew reports, “About 229,000 Mexicans were apprehended by the Border Patrol in fiscal year 2014 compared with 257,000 non-Mexicans during the previous year, according to recently published Border Patrol data. Taken together, total apprehensions of Mexican and non-Mexican unauthorized immigrants (more than 486,000) were up 16% over the previous year.” Overall, the number of illegal immigrants is down from its high in 2000, when 1.6 million illegal immigrants crossed the border. Obama, so far, has inadvertently fixed the immigration issue because few people want to live in a nation destroyed by his economic policies. However, an upturn in the economy combined with his amnesty will change that. More…

A Good Year for Gun Rights

In the aftermath of the horrific murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, gun grabbers led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein pushed hard to enact “sensible gun control.” Fortunately, at the national level at least, they were unsuccessful in restoring things like the ban on so-called “assault weapons.” And even better, Second Amendment proponents were able to advance gun rights in several states. To name a few victories, Idaho, Georgia and Indiana expanded the number of places where concealed carry is permitted, Missouri now permits teachers to carry firearms and the Ninth Circuit Court struck down California’s “just cause” concealed carry requirement. All this while more and more Americans are buying guns. Clearly, we should never let down our guard (see the UN’s anti-gun treaty as an example), but there is reason for optimism as Liberty advances.

For more, visit Right Hooks.

RIGHT ANALYSIS

UN Moves Forward With Anti-Gun Treaty

Moving crews have packed up desks, lamps, chairs, office supplies and other personal items of numerous Democrat Senate and House offices now vacated after November’s election. But in a suite of offices located directly across from the Senate Floor, there were relics from the list of bills that passed the U.S. House and sat without action inside Harry Reid’s office. Somewhere in that stack likely sits an anti-gun treaty signed by Secretary of State John Kerry.

To his credit, outgoing-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid likely knew the United Nation’s Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) (full text here) would never meet the two-thirds majority requirement for ratification. But as of Christmas Eve, the treaty has gone into effect internationally.

The UN General Assembly first approved the ATT in April 2013 and Kerry signed it on Sept. 24, 2013, amid criticism from the Republican side of the upper chamber’s aisle.

No action has been taken to move the treaty to a vote for U.S. Senate ratification, but 61 nations have ratified the treaty and 69 additional nations have signed without ratification by their own governments. The ATT is legally binding only to the 61 nations whose governments have procedurally embraced the global legislation.

Likely, Reid avoided the self-inflicted damage to Democrats in an election cycle that would result with a recorded vote on a UN arms control effort. Then again, Democrats didn’t fair all that well as it was.

According to Kerry and Barack Obama – of “bitter clingers” fame – the ATT will protect Americans and other global citizens from the dangers of illicit small arms trade (smaller munitions, sea and land mines, rockets). They assure us that the treaty’s jurisdiction would apply only to international trade and not infringe upon domestic gun rights.

Kerry trumpeted, “Make no mistake, we would never think about supporting a treaty that is inconsistent with … the rights of American citizens to be able to exercise their guaranteed rights under our Constitution.” Spare us the idea that Democrats have anything but contempt for gun rights.

Why would any American who values the Constitution and the Second Amendment have concerns about the negative implications on our national security and the right to bear arms?

First, on a foreign policy level, Obama and Kerry have essentially signaled their willingness for an international body made up of rogue and terrorist nations to define the appropriate movement and utilization of certain weapons and munitions. It’s foreign policy for dummies … and on purpose.

The treaty permits post-ratification amendments by a three-quarters majority vote of the UN General Assembly that would completely circumvent the power of our legislative involvement. Nothing says “Smart Foreign Policy” like allowing your potential enemies to amend an agreement to their advantage.

Second, on the domestic front, the ATT would mandate export/import controls requiring the importing country to collect information of the “end user” of a firearm, retain that information for 20 years, and provide that information to the exporting county. So if you purchased, say, a Beretta shotgun, you would be deemed an end user and the treaty would obligate the U.S. government to provide the Italian government with the record of your purchase and your contact information. If the U.S. should fail to do so, exports could be banned to the U.S.

In January 2013, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) put forward an omnibus appropriations bill that prevented funding of any types of implementation of the ATT. The legislation received 53 votes for passage, with 46 opposed – all Democrats.

Our North American brethren, the Canadians, rejected the ATT outright. Yes, even Canada. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird included in his remarks these direct statements: “It is important that such a treaty should not affect lawful and responsible firearms owners nor discourage the transfer of firearms for recreational uses such as sport shooting and hunting. We’ll make sure that any treaty we sign onto is good for Canada, and good for Canadians‎.”

Sounds like bitter clingers are not limited to the GOP, eh?

In a twist that sounds more like supporting what your enemy opposes, Israel signed the treaty just before the deadline. Iran and other terrorist states determined to eliminate Israel’s existence openly oppose the ATT. Israel can do no right in the eyes of the United Nations, so if its strategy is to remove one criticism from the table it’s unlikely to achieve much.

With a Republican majority now in the U.S. Senate, this treaty won’t see a vote and will not legally bind the U.S. But that may not stop the Obama administration, which had no problem trafficking guns to Mexican drug cartels, from infringing on the Second Amendment anyway.

Civic Virtue in Decline

As we enter 2015, it’s worth looking back on some key cultural indicators from 2014. Here is one bad omen: According to a 2014 Associated Press-GfK poll, Americans’ sense of civic virtue is in serious decline. “I don’t see any recovery,” said Rutgers University Professor Cliff Zukin. “The people who were 40 two decades ago aren’t as engaged as the people who were 60 two decades ago. This generational slippage tends to continue.”

The poll was a reprise of questions asked in 1984, and it focused on six civic-oriented activities: voting, volunteering, jury service, reporting crimes, knowing English and keeping on top of news and public issues. Only voting and volunteering were embraced as enthusiastically as they were 30 years ago, yet even those numbers are not particularly encouraging. Only 28% of Americans consider volunteering a “very important obligation.” And while 75% characterize voting a central obligation of citizenship, talk is cheap: Voter turnout in the last presidential election dipped to 57.5% of eligible citizens compared to 62.3% in 2008.

Voter turnout in 2014? The 36.4% of eligible citizens who bothered to vote represented the lowest turnout in any election cycle since World War II.

Most Americans do feel some sense of duty to the nation, with 90% characterizing the reporting of a crime one has witnessed, voting in elections, knowing English and serving on a jury when called as “somewhat important” obligations of citizenship. And a majority of Americans consider them “very important” obligations. Yet with an exception for voting, those majorities have declined by an average of approximately 13 percentage points over the last three decades.

Leading the pack are adults under 30 years of age. In every category except volunteering, they were less likely than elder generations to see any obligation, and also felt less obligated than young people of the past. Even more ominously, nearly one in four feel no obligation to keep informed, volunteer or speak English.

Scott Keeter, director of survey research at the Pew Research Center, suggests one possibility for the decline. “There are a lot of arguments about how our society has shifted toward a rights focus instead of an obligation focus,” he explains – even as he remains relatively unconcerned, adding, “It’s a little early to pull the alarm bells about the demise of our civic culture.”

No, it’s not. And while a rights focus versus an obligation focus may account for some of the decline, the 800-pound gorilla is far more obvious: The American Left has virtually removed the concept of American exceptionalism from the classroom, and cheapened the concept of citizenship itself.

With regard to exceptionalism, the New York Post explains that the teaching of civics has been “largely abandoned” in today’s public schools, and according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which bills itself as “the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas,” those students are less proficient in American history than in any other subject.

Furthermore, what little history they do learn has been twisted to conform to the leftist agenda. As we reported in July, the College Board, the company responsible for the SAT exams and a number of Advanced Placement (AP) exams, has radically redesigned American history curricula to dispense with such things as learning about our nation’s Founders. Mark Alexander noted, “The College Board, which sets the curriculum-testing bar, makes only two references to George Washington, one to Thomas Jefferson, and nowhere to be found are Benjamin Franklin and James Madison, among others.” In their place, students will learn about class, race and gender wrongs.

One such example is that set by the cities of Seattle and Minneapolis, where Columbus Day has been kicked to the curb in favor of “Indigenous People’s Day” – in all its grievance-mongering glory.

Thus the obvious question arises: Why would one be expected to feel a sense of civic virtue toward a nation one either knows little about, or has been taught to view with contempt?

As for cheapening citizenship, what could be more obvious than the Left’s obsession with granting many of its privileges to illegal aliens? Once again California leads the way, as illegal aliens can now get driver’s licenses in that state beginning this year. Not to be outdone, the New York City Council is considering a bill to allow non-citizens to vote in municipal elections. That follows Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signing of a bill last July providing municipal ID cards to city “residents,” regardless of immigration status, beginning this year. De Blasio also signed a bill in November barring the city from alerting federal authorities to illegals in city custody and subject to deportation proceedings, except in rare cases.

And last, but certainly not least, Barack Obama unilaterally decided he will not enforce immigration law against five million illegal aliens – illegals who have and will compete with American citizens for jobs, and many of whom already receive government services, including welfare and Medicaid.

And legal immigrants who were once expected to assimilate into America’s “melting pot” society have been told to “celebrate their differences,” which goes a long way toward explaining the reluctance to learn English.

The concerted effort to tarnish the civic pride that American exceptionalism engenders, coupled with the effort to denigrate citizenship itself – which is exactly what creating politically motivated exemptions for lawbreakers represents – are all the explanation necessary as to why civic virtue is in decline.

In the same 1961 speech in which Democrat President (and leftist icon) John Kennedy uttered the words “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” he also told the nation that “[w]e dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first [American] revolution.” Six years later, Ronald Reagan made it clearer in his inaugural address as California governor: “Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction.” Civic virtue and the obligations of citizenship cannot be separated from the preservation of freedom. We allow their continued deterioration at our own peril.

For more, visit Right Analysis.

TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS

For more, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

The Gipper: “The Democrats may remember their lines, but how quickly they forget the lessons of the past.”

Columnist Star Parker: “The more time and energy liberals invest to destroy someone, you can bet that this is someone who loves America, what it stands for, and who can make a difference. Latest case is attacks on Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) because he spoke, in 2002, to the European American Unity and Rights Organization, a white supremacist group founded by racist David Duke. Scalise says the remarks were in the context of promoting tax reform legislation he was sponsoring when he was in the Louisiana state legislature, that he addressed many groups in promoting this legislation, and that he didn’t appreciate then who these folks were. But, really, who cares who they were? Shouldn’t a legislator with reforms to improve his state or his nation be free to sell good ideas to anyone? How far do we let liberals go in censuring speech and ideas in America?”

Columnist Burt Prelutsky: “If the cops are as racist as the idiots in the streets keep claiming, why is it we never see Asians or black immigrants from the Caribbean rioting and complaining about police brutality? With all the people of color residing in America, why is it always and only native-born blacks who take to the streets complaining of mistreatment? Could it possibly have anything to do with the violent crime rate and the lack of parental discipline found in their community that leads to so many unpleasant interactions between the police and young black thugs? Furthermore, if things are as oppressive as they claim, why do we never see a mass migration to Canada or Mexico? The only blacks we ever see leaving the U.S. are those like convicted cop killer Joanne Chesimard, who leave, seeking asylum in Cuba.”

Humorist Frank J. Fleming on one of Obama’s biggest accomplishments of 2014: “More than 99% of the movies scheduled for release this year were not blocked from release by North Korea. So if you don’t like your viewing habits to be decided by murderous dictators, then you have to be mainly pretty happy with President Obama’s record on this.”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.

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