Who Funds the Statue-Topplers?

By Declan Leary

In the general chaos of the summer of 2020, it was a typical moment. At the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, a band of activists—primarily from indigenous-rights groups—had slung ropes around the neck of a statue of Christopher Columbus and pulled it down by force.

The moment meant different things to different people. For the woke left, it was another culture war victory in the age of 1619 and BLM—a small and long-delayed comeuppance for the colonial oppressors. For the right, it was the latest advance in the onslaught of the cultural arsonists—as cities were burning and statues falling down, it seemed that little would survive the spontaneous rage inspired by the death of George Floyd in that same city just two weeks before.

But it was hardly spontaneous, and it had little (if anything) to do with the death of Mr. Floyd. The destruction of the Columbus statue on the Capitol grounds—installed by Italian immigrants in 1931 as a pushback against discrimination—had long been an explicit goal of the region’s American Indian activists. The eruption of riots in the early summer simply provided an excuse. As destruction reigned, Twin Cities native activists decided to join in, taking the opportunity to follow through on something they had wanted to do for decades.

It’s actually fairly representative of what happened in major cities across the country this summer: local activists had an axe to grind, and the superimposition of a national narrative gave them all the cover they could ever need. (Any outburst of disorder that happens to have occurred after late May is qualified in the media as a “protest following the death of George Floyd”—a carefully crafted non-descriptor.) It’s representative, too, of the interplay among the unholy trinity of the modern activist left: grassroots radicals, big-money donors, and the big money itself—concentrated in funds where the donor foundations invest their dollars.

The St. Paul statue-toppling was organized by a man named Mike Forcia, a member of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Forcia is also the chairman of the Twin Cities branch of the American Indian Movement (AIM), and of AIM Patrol.

AIM—the most prominent network of indigenous activists in the country—is commonly billed as a grassroots organization. In some ways this is true. AIM was founded in Minneapolis more than half a century ago, as the Indian Relocation Act of 1956 and other federal policies geared toward assimilation created sizable urban communities of Indians drawn away from reservations. Over the years, much of AIM’s public profile has been shaped by scattered bands of activists engaging in highly visible stunts, such as the occupation of Alcatraz from 1969 to 1971.

Even today, the national network remains fairly decentralized—sometimes ostentatiously so. After Forcia’s arrest, AIM’s national president Frank Paro “was adamant that the rally was not sanctioned by A.I.M. or associated with the organization,” according to court documents. Paro even went so far as to assert “that Mr. Forcia is not affiliated with the National AIM organization”—an interesting …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Karol Markowicz: COVID and the school chaos it has created is a teachable moment for kids about politicians

By Karol Markowicz In-person school may be back for elementary students in New York City beginning Dec. 7, but this remains a hard moment for parents and kids. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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At the Supreme Court, a Red Line for Religious Freedom

By Curt Mills

In a helter-skelter year for Americans’ conception of themselves, their freedoms and the very integrity of the democratic process itself, the Supreme Court set limits last week on the state’s power to curtail religious gatherings.

Concurring with four other justices — Amy Coney Barrett, Sam Alito, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh — Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote: “Government is not free to disregard the First Amendment in times of crisis. … New York’s governor has asserted the power to assign different color codes to different parts of the State and govern each by executive decree.”

The Court found in favor of religious gatherings in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, New York V. Andrew M. Cuomo.

“Nor is the problem an isolated one,” said Gorsuch. “In recent months, certain other governors have issued similar edicts. At the flick of a pen, they have asserted the right to privilege restaurants, marijuana dispensaries, and casinos over churches, mosques, and temples.”

Noted Gorsuch: “The governor is remarkably frank about this: In his judgment laundry and liquor, travel and tools, are all ‘essential’ while traditional religious exercises are not. That is exactly the kind of discrimination the First Amendment forbids.”

The ruling quintet is considered (with the recent addition of Justice Barrett) the Court’s new, center-to-center right wing. It is said to be poised to impose an abortion regime out of The Haidmaiden’s Tale— as well as strike down the Affordable Care Act and the 2020 election results. None of that has, as yet, come to pass, but what has transpired in recent years is a remarkable reversal in what constitutes the live-and-let-live wing of U.S. politics. The Court’s divisions are emblematic of a broader shift in American life.

The Moral Majority is now a crested political force, but as recently as the past two decades, the “religious right” was poised to succeed in its quest to keep marriage heterosexual nationally, and even ban abortion by Constitutional amendment (if not a reinterpration of the existing amendments). The shift in cultural attitudes — one could even say, the Californication of America — has been a flash flood. Gay marriage is now the law of the land, and talk of a Human Life Amendment is nowhere to be heard in Congress, to say nothing of the cannabis dispensaries opening up from the Pacific to the Atlantic.

But if cultural liberalism has triumphed — as civilizations go, very potentially permanently — some of its proponents would seem to have learned tricks from the old wars: about leveraging the power of the state. It is plain that the rights of the genuinely religious and the authentically socially conservative have been thrown into debate in recent years. Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo is the latest episode, but America witnessed teasers of this kind of clash in the Obama years.

Whether it be the right of conservative firms to decline to provide birth control to employees or anonymous Indiana pizzerias to decline to cater gay …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Victor Davis Hanson: Trump’s options – election decision, his political future come down to these hard choices

By Victor Davis Hanson What matters now are the interests of the country first and Trump’s constituents second. So Trump has a number of pathways. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Steve Levy: Forgiving students loans is bad policy – but if it happens, demand that colleges do this

By Steve Levy As Joe Biden convenes his transition team, one of the top priorities on his to-do list is some type of student loan forgiveness, which was promised on the campaign trail. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Jonathan Turley: Gun-rights case tailor made for Justice Barrett, Supreme Court. Here’s why

By Jonathan Turley The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit has issued an opinion over the right to bear arms that has received little attention, but it should. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Liz Peek: Obama’s warning about Biden – this is why so many Americans are worried about the president-elect

By Liz Peek Half the country eagerly awaits the Biden-Harris administration, hopeful that President-elect Joe Biden will “Build Back Better.” The rest of us ponder a warning about Biden from Barack Obama. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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The Immigration Stakes in Georgia

By Michael Volpe

If the Democrats win a majority in the Senate, the pressure on a Biden administration to push leftward in tandem with the party will be immense. That makes the stakes in the upcoming Georgia runoffs high on every front, but one that gets little attention in news cycles lately is the trademark issue of Trump’s successful 2016 campaign: immigration.

The immigration question is especially important because activists for the cause are out in force for the Democratic candidates in Georgia, mobilizing critical votes and thereby shaping the electorate. A press release from one group gives an impression of the extent and organization of the network on the ground:

All of Poder Latinx’s Georgia staff are residents of Gwinnett, Cobb, and Fulton counties. The team led a phone banking operation staffed by 24 bilingual phone bankers calling Latinx voters throughout Georgia, and 18 bilingual canvassers knocking on doors in Gwinnett, Cobb, and Fulton counties. Canvassers were given extensive training on safety protocols before talking to voters, not only to protect themselves, but also their own Latinx community, which has been hit hard by the pandemic.

These activists’ agenda includes hot-button issues like legislating DACA and excusing sanctuary cities, but also things like lower application fees for immigrants, along with increased or new benefits for immigrants, both legal and illegal. The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) has published a New American Dreams Platform for immigration policy. It begins with sweeping claims:

We believe that we cannot have a true democracy without a system that includes all people. Congress must pass comprehensive immigration reform that provides an attainable road to citizenship for undocumented people and protects existing immigration pathways through family migration and diversity visas. Congress should also foster “active citizenship” for New Americans by funding civic leadership, reducing barriers to voting, and promoting greater civic participation. In addition, we must eliminate unfair barriers to naturalization—such as exorbitant application fees and linguistic requirements—while reducing the application backlog. In all this work, we must remember that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is a customer service agency with a separate and distinct mission from agencies geared towards immigration enforcement.

The platform includes workforce training and English language classes for immigrants. Furthermore, since NPNA views health care as a human right, the group also believes all immigrants should receive free health care:

We must affirm that affordable health care is a basic human right, regardless of immigration status. There are a number of steps we can take to ensure that everyone has access to affordable health care, such as enacting policies to make employer-based health coverage more affordable, strengthening safety-net programs, and removing barriers for legal immigrants to access federally funded health care programs. We must also work to ensure that public health programs and health care providers are culturally and linguistically competent, with a workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities they serve.

This immigration platform will also play out in many areas which receive very little attention.

For instance, President Trump ended the process of rubber stamping Temporary …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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