Much has been said about the first-ever report on U.S. human rights to the UN Human Rights Council, which the Obama administration released to the public this week. Most commentators have focused on how our least patriotic president apologized for America’s shortcomings. But there is a more important facet to the report: it establishes a host of new socialist “rights” the administration hopes globalist bureaucrats will help enforce.
Ditching the Constitution: Obama’s shift away from our Constitution and God-given liberty is startling. The 26-page report uses the word “progress” 18 times. After mentioning “the original flaw” of the U.S. Constitution, he makes this pivot: “Our commitment to the rights protected in our Constitution is matched by a parallel commitment to foster a society characterized by shared prosperity.” In other words, our desire to maintain the barriers our Founding Fathers wisely established in our form of government is equal to our commitment to “spread the wealth around.”
Obama affirms that he accepts “all kinds of obligations – both positive and negative – that governments have with regard to their citizens.” The reference to “positive obligations” is significant to Obama’s view of the Constitution and its “flaw.” In a 2001 interview with Chicago’s public radio station WBEZ-FM, he complained:
[A]t least as it’s been interpreted…the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. It says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.
He groused the Supreme Court only offered “formal rights” — for instance, after desegregation, “I would now be able to sit at a lunch counter and order, and as long as I could pay for it, I’d be O.K.” A government pursuing “positive” obligations means the government has to provide everyone a certain amount of money, wealth, or status by redistributing other people’s money. Maggie Gallagher in her column today notes that the report treats ObamaCare as a basic human right. The rest of the report lists a host of other, unheard of “rights.”
Card check: a Fundamental Human Right. Obama goes on to say freedom of organization “protects workers and their right to organize.” But some labor organizers have spoken about “the challenges they face in organizing effectively” – like the fact that no one outside the federal government wants to join a union. “Currently there are several bills in Congress that seek to strengthen workers’ rights – assuring that workers can continue to associate freely.” This is a reference to card check, the system of forming unions that does away with a private ballot and leaves employees vulnerable to intimidation.
Voting six times, a UN Right. The document recounts the history of minority and women voting, claiming there is an ongoing problem (even though the most recent racial voting incident featured Black Panthers threatening to club whitey.) It continues, “The Department [of Justice] recently obtained consent decrees against some jurisdictions” to make sure minorities are not unfairly excluded. One of those decrees was against Port Chester, New York, “designed to cure vote dilution for Hispanic voters.” Port Chester had never elected an Hispanic politician, and its population was 46 percent Hispanic; however, in the words of the New York Times, “many are not citizens.” Although these non-citizens are not entitled to any representation, the DoJ forced a remedy: allowing the town’s Hispanic residents to vote six times. It did the trick; the village elected its first Hispanic — coincidentally, a Democrat.
Bilingual Ballots and Registering Democratic Voters. The report trumpets securing “meaningful access to the franchise for non-English speaking citizens” (and, undoubtedly, non-citizens, convicts, the mentally insane, and the deceased). Obama believes those who cannot read the English language should vote for the nation’s representatives — in higher numbers than they are now. The document reaffirms America’s commitment “to increase historically low [voter] registration rates of minorities and persons with disabilities.”
Gay Marriage and Gays in the Military. The “LGBT” community made up this report’s preferred victim group, saying its “experience of discrimination illustrates the continuing debate among citizens about how we can build a far more fair society.” Obama enthused that Congress passed the hate crimes law that pastors fear will silence their ability to preach traditional Christian values. He highlights the Supreme Court decision overturning state anti-sodomy laws in 2003, and his decision to extend some benefits to the same-sex partners of certain federal employees. Then he looks to the future:
President Obama is committed to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” statute…The President [sic.] has also supported passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act…Debate continues over equal rights to marriage for LGBT Americans at the federal and state levels
The reference to “equal rights” is important language in a “human rights” document aimed at curbing discrimination. The document states “At this point” Obama merely “supports repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act.” But its inclusion marks gay marriage as a “human right” in the eyes of the United Nations.
Equality of Outcome. The discussion of “discrimination” focuses on the fact that minority groups have not attained as much as white Americans. This, Obama insists, must stem from bigotry. “We are not satisfied that whites are twice as likely as Native Americans to have a college degree. The United States continues to address such disparities by working to ensure that equal opportunity is not only guaranteed in law but experienced in fact by all Americans.” What he promises is not “equality of opportunity” but equality of outcome — that every ethnic group, and every person, has the “right” to an equal amount of wealth. Every American — smart or dumb, ambitious or lazy, gifted or talentless — will receive the same result as everyone else.
The name for that system is socialism, and Obama regards it as a basic human right.
Feminism. Obama points to his passage of the Fair Pay Act and support for the “Paycheck Fairness Act.” He also claims, “Our recent health care reform bill also lowers costs and offers greater choices for women.”
Affirmative Action. Obama pledges racial redistribution of wealth through reverse discrimination. He promises enhanced Affirmative Action programs “in the workplace when [minorities] are underrepresented.” But he does not confine this to employment. The section on American public education begins: “The United States is committed to providing equal educational opportunities to all children, regardless of their individual circumstances, race, national origin, ethnicity, gender [sic.] or disability.” Yet it makes clear that Obama foresees a world in which all education is administered according to race and sex. It “promotes educational equity for women” – who are vastly overrepresented on college campuses – “and students of color,” as well as seeking to “strengthen historically Black [sic.] colleges and universities.” And he vows federal, state, and local governments will move heaven and earth to “address the factors that contribute to the education ‘achievement gap’…particularly African American and Hispanic children.” Latinos in particular “find linguistic discrimination a barrier to full participation.” This means they have a right to taxpayer-funded bilingual education. Obama is very concerned about discrimination “in the areas of capital punishment, juvenile justice, racial profiling, and racial disparities in sentencing.”
Universal Preschool. The document states the Dept. of Education will “provide low-income students and students of color with increased access to early learning and education” — that is, taxpayer-funded daycare. In fact, this has already begun. The report notes that stimulus funds “are being used to promote high-quality early childhood education.”
The Right to Illegal Immigration. As I reported yesterday, the human rights report singles out Arizona’s immigration law as a violation of illegal aliens’ rights.
“Freedom from Want.” The report undergirds its commitment to socialism by citing FDR’s “Four Freedoms” speech. One of the new freedoms he sought was “freedom from want.” This “right” is listed under the section, “A commitment to foster a society where citizens are empowered to exercise their rights” — making clear Obama’s commitment to “positive obligations” and the federal government’s need to redistribute wealth.
So far, this is the standard, far-Left platform — although expressed more honestly than he ever manages in front of an American audience. The significance of ensconcing all these new “rights” in this UN document is that it creates international legal precedent. In the inaugural report before the UN Human Rights Council, the United States has declared it supports all these as the basic entitlements of every citizen. As the Human Rights Council process continues, a “troika” of three nations will review our report, other international reports, and the testimony of NGOs, then make a series of recommendations to implement these goals. Every four years, the council will grade our “progress.” And this world body reserves the right to “decide on the measures it would need to take in case of persistent non-cooperation.”
That means if future administrations object to the plan the UN draws up in cooperation with the most anti-American administration in history, they could conceivably be deemed guilty of “persistent non-cooperation.” If their lack of cooperation were sufficiently strong — and we were sufficiently weak — it could impose this agenda on the American people against their will. At a minimum, Obama has reduced our standing in the eyes of the world if we reject any piece of his far-Left agenda. This report guarantees we will endure decades of international propaganda that the United States is “not meeting its human rights commitments to the United Nations” — putting us on the same level as China, North Korea, or Iran.
The Obama administration has made its campaign platform the internationally recognized standard of conduct for future generations, all without winning a single vote for much of it.