Nel's New Day

March 8, 2023

Carlson’s January 6 ‘Peaceful Chaos,’ Women’s History Month

Yesterday, I thought I was finished with Tucker Carlson for a few days, but every day brings fresh news. More documents in depositions from the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against the Fox network again reveal the private derision from Fox executives and hosts toward former Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and the stolen-election claims while the network continues to air support for them, as Carlson did on March 6.

Rupert Murdoch described DDT and his former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani as “both increasingly mad.”

Murdoch also admitted he gave DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner Fox’s  nonpublic information about Joe Biden’s advertising before the election because Kushner was “a friend of mine.”

Two nights before the January 6 insurrection, Carlson texted about DDT, “I hate him passionately.” He added about DDT’s four years in the White House, “We’re all pretending we’ve got a lot to show for it, because admitting what a disaster it’s been is too tough to digest. But come on. There really isn’t an upside to Trump.”

n more protection for DDT, Sean Hannity edited out DDT’s solution for preventing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a March 6 interview: allowing Russia to take over parts of Ukraine. DDT also continued to brag about his good relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin since the invasion.

After Carlson’s lies about the January 6 insurrection, the Capitol Police chief blasted him for lying about the violent riot in a false manipulation of footage that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) gave him. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), chair of the House Administration Subcommittee on Oversight, promised that all aired footage would be vetted by the Capitol Police, but the agency’s spokesman Tim Barber said, “So far we have only been given the ability to preview a single clip out of the multiple clips that aired.” Both Carlson and a senior GOP aide said that the Fox team checked with Capitol Police before airing any footage. Carlson plans another segment this week after the one on Monday.

Republicans typically clam up to avoid agreeing with Democrats, but Carlson may have engendered a tipping point. Although many GOP legislators are staying quiet, others have expressed outrage about his current lies about the January 6 insurrection. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he agreed “with the opinion of the chief of the Capitol police about what happened on Jan. 6.” He continued that “it was a mistake [for] Fox News to depict this in a way completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official in the Capitol” described.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) called Carlson’s show “bullshit,” and Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said calling the January 6 “a permitted peaceful protest is just a lie.” Those disagreeing with these opinions, such as Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), are known for their conspiracy theories.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) described the day as a violent attack, that any effort to “normalize that behavior is dangerous and disgusting.” He added that “attacking the Capitol of the United States is … a serious crime against democracy and against our country.” Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) agreed, saying:

“I was there on Jan. 6. I saw what happened. It clearly was violent. It was an insurrection.”

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) stated:

“I was here. It was not peaceful. It was an abomination. You’re entitled to believe what you want in America, but you can’t resort to violence to try to convince others of your point of view.”

By giving the footage to Tucker Carlson, McCarthy put his own caucus in a difficult position. They would prefer to not return to one of the darkest time in their history even if Carlson lied to exonerate Republican supporters. A few House members expressed their irritation. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) said:

“It’s definitely stupid to keep talking about this … So what is the purpose of continuing to bring it up unless you’re trying to feed Democrat narratives even further? …  If your message is then to try and convince people that nothing bad happened, then it’s just gonna make us look silly.”

Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) said he has “a hard time with all of it,” that January 6 “was not a peaceful protest. It was not an insurrection. It was a riot that should have never happened. And a lot of people share blame for that. The truth is always messier than any narrative.”

In desperate justification, Carlson piled onto his lies in an op-ed, writing that the footage, which he had carefully cherry-picked, allowed people to decide for themselves what had happened. The opinion piece tried to exonerate Jacob Chansley because of the carefully selected footage. After an attack on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the piece repeated the lie about former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (R-CA) responsibility for lack of security despite “ample warning”—which didn’t exist.

March is Women’s History Month, and March 8 is International Women’s Day. To commemorate the event, Kady Ruth Ashcraft wrote a piece about the future of women’s equality:

“Ladies, mark your calendars! We’ve gathered all of the data and looked over everyone’s conflicts and finally have a date for when we’ll be able to enjoy the same amount of privileges and access as men. On Monday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced in a general assembly speech that ‘gender equality is growing more distant’ and that ‘on the current track, UN Women puts it 300 years away.’ I’ll keep the day open!”

Guterres continued, “Women’s rights are being abused, threatened, and violated around the world” before listing urgent global issues faced by Women and young girls—kidnapping, police preying on vulnerable populations, being forced into marriage, and maternal mortality rates.“One woman dies every two minutes during pregnancy or childbirth,” Guterres said. The World Health Organization reported that maternal mortality increased by almost four percent between 2016 and 2020 and that pregnancy kills about 800 women per day.

In his speech, Guterres identified the source of gender equality’s failure:

“Centuries of patriarchy, discrimination, and harmful stereotypes have created a huge gender gap in science and technology. Let’s be clear: global frameworks are not working for the world’s women and girls. They need to change.”

People in the U.S.—at least men—may think that growing inequality is not common to women in the United States. Not true. Two major problems for women, anti-abortion and the growing incel movement, are increasing violence and deaths.

For many years, the U.S. maternal mortality rate in the United States has exceeded that in other high-income countries, and it grows worse every year. In 2020, the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. was 24 deaths per 100,000 live births—up from 16 deaths in 2018 and over three times the rate in most other high-income countries. The U.S. is also unique in not providing universal health care; 8 million women of reproductive age are uninsured.

The innocent-sounding word “incel” represents “involuntary” and “celibate,” a heterosexual man desperately wanting sex with women. When he fails, he blames women for his inability to form sexual relationships. A Secret Service report has reported many instances in which incels have killed women, sometimes in mass shootings. The most prominent online incel forum in the U.S., visited by 2.6 million people each month, endorses not only killings but also rape, including that of children.

More than 89 percent of those who post on the forum find rape acceptable, and over one-fourth of members post pedophilia keywords. Over half the members support pedophilia. The forum’s audience comes largely through social media, especially YouTube where videos promoting incel ideology have been viewed 24.2 million times as of last September. Teenage boys are among the forum’s most active and extreme users, sometimes as much as ten hours a day.

President Joe Biden’s beginning lines to his proclamation on Women’s History Month:

“During Women’s History Month, we celebrate the countless women who have fought tirelessly and courageously for equality, justice, and opportunity in our Nation.  We also reaffirm our commitment to advancing rights and opportunities for women and girls in the United States and around the world.”

Biden wrote about “system barriers to full and equal participation in our economy and society,” specifically the overturn of Roe v. Wade, stripping away a constitutional right from the American people.” He continued with listing disparities “in economic security, health care, and caregiving responsibilities.”

The idea of Women’s History Month began with the early 20th-century suffragists. To regain what women have lost, we need to vote—and vote for our rights.

March 10, 2022

Equality of Women Would Improve the World

Whenever minorities have a designated month or week or day, those in power always complain about being left out. The same goes for the annual Women’s History Month in March. And International Women’s Week, beginning this year on March 8’s International Women’s Day, for celebration, education, and awareness surrounding women’s and gender issues. Although National Woman’s Day was made official in the U.S. in 1909, it was organized the year before to protest women’s working condition. It expanded in the 1980s for the first full week of March to include International Women’s Day during the first week of March. Two women, one a high school senior and the other a seasoned Republican columnist, wrote op-eds about problems with the U.S. attitude toward women’s invisibility in education and politics.

For most of her life, Micaela Wells, a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (Alexandria, VA), has wondered if women did not exist because of her history classes. She asked the question after a second-grade history class and repeated it ten years later. In this piece she wrote about her Advanced Placement U.S. history textbook (AMSCO from Perfection Learning). For example, the 20-page chapter about World War II’s impact on society had only one paragraph on women—100 words. 

When she asked 30 students ages six to 17 years old from other Northern Virginia schools, half girls and half boys, who are important people in U.S. history and who are important women in U.S. history. The first question garnered 35 men and one woman, the latter because a second-grade substitute teacher had read the class about Amelia Earhart earlier that day. One high school sophomore couldn’t think of any woman, and a 14-year-old could name one. Answers were brief: Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, VP Kamala Harris, Clara Barton, Susan B. Anthony, and Earhart all totally only 25 mentions from almost half of Wells’ subjects.

Wells is right: in our education—and much of its society—women don’t exist. Or if they do, it’s in a subservient role.

In a Washington Post column, conservative Jennifer Rubin focuses on the GOP “obsession with toxic masculinity” and “their utter lack of principle.” She writes about how “their wish fulfilment—admiring Russian ruthlessness and going to war—are features of a party in constant need of masculine affirmation.” All the right-wingers seem eager to out-tough each other, advocating the assassination of Putin and a no-fly zone which would accelerate the possibility of war, possibly a nuclear one. “Like little boys playing at war, these Republicans don’t bother to think through the real-world consequences (war with an unhinged dictator with nuclear weapons),” Rubin writes.

Rubin goes into GOP history:

“Whether they are separating children from parents, spying on and infringing on women who do not want to be compelled to complete their pregnancy, or threatening to take away transgender children whose parents seek appropriate medical care, manliness manifesting as bullying has been the Republicans’ defining feature of late.

“And they’re using the full force of the state to impose their will. All to enforce the frantic assertion — as Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) laid out in a ludicrous 11-point platform — that “men are men, women are women.” Does anyone remember a national party running on such a naked appeal to masculine insecurity?”

Since Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) began campaigning in 2015, MAGAs had “its ideal caricature of toxic masculinity. Excusing war crimes, egging on police to injure suspects, defending White vigilantes and standing by men accused of abuse.” MAGA men could be “tough guys without having to leave their living room couches. Then there was his delight in watching thugs attack the Capitol and threaten the lives of lawmakers and his own vice president on Jan. 6, 2021. These were the men he ‘loved.’”

MAGA followers agree that “’traditional masculine virtues’ are under attack” with Republicans staging a “revival of strong and healthy manhood in America.” After DDT used “bone spurs” to escape military service, he and other Republicans buddied with authoritarian Saudi Arabians, North Korean Kim Jong Un, and Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan) while praising the brutal, vicious Russian President Vladimir Putin. A polling shows that 63 percent of Republicans think “society has become too soft and feminine.”

Rubin’s new book, Resistance, should be mandatory reading for everyone. Most people have probably not heard of it because almost all authors of political books invited on the talk show circuit are male.

Even Rubin’s newspaper gave its review a “woman’s” twist with the headline: “A Women’s History of the Trump Presidency.” The reviewer missed the point of the book, claiming it described women-centered moments” during the four years. She cited only one line in the lengthy review in a brief reference to the media’s treatment of Hillary Clinton, referred to as gender-bias toward women candidates. Rubin’s book is subtitled How Women Saved Democracy from Donald Trump. The focus is not “the Trump Presidency”; it is the female candidates’ brave struggles to get elected because of mysogeny from both opponents and the media. 

Fortunately, an interview by Bob L’Leary in The Harvard Gazette allowed Rubin to give an explanation of the ideas in her book. O’Leary’s opener for the article:

“Jennifer Rubin points to rise in female candidates, political networks, despite systemic sexism, biased news coverage.”

Rubin talked about her book as contributions about women’s wins for Congress in 2018, they what they did with their victories, and how they self-organized to get the votes. Her discussion of sexism describes the “unconscious bias” because “most reporters and most editors are male.” Examples she cited from her book are Elizabeth Warren’s treatment by the “so-called Bernie [Sanders] Bros … in the most misogynistic, toxic atmosphere in which the president of the United States was essentially saying, ‘Men who are accused of sexual assault are victims.’ The whole environment was so antagonistic towards women.”

Rubin also explained a long section of the book was about “the issues of likability and electability” suffered by Warren and Kamala Harris that men never experience. With Harris, the addition of her race only worsened the attacks on her. As she competed for president, people called her “too ambitious, too aggressive.”

The lack of reviews and other publicity treated Rubin’s book with the same male superiority as women candidates receive.

For decades, studies have proved women outperform men on almost all traits needed by effective leaders; i.e., “humility, self-awareness, self-control, moral sensitivity, social skills, emotional intelligence, kindness, a prosocial and moral orientation, are all more likely to be found in women than men,” according to Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic.

He continued: 

“Women also outperform men in educational settings, while men score higher than women on dark side personality traits, such as aggression (especially unprovoked), narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, which account for much of the toxic and destructive behaviors displayed by powerful men who derail.

“Narcissistic leaders are too focused on themselves to care about others, psychopathic leaders are cruel and immoral, lack empathy and engage in reckless risk taking, and Machiavellian leaders will engage in callous manipulation and exploit their charisma and social skills to take advantage of their followers and subordinates. And of course, research shows that men have bigger egos.”

To the question of why women are still in the minority among leaders, Chamorro-Premuzic states that the “answer is rather obvious”:

“Because we don’t really select leaders on the basis of their actual potential, talent, or competence. If we did, then we wouldn’t just have more women leaders, but more female than male leaders. And if we did, then the average performance of leaders would not be as poor as it is today.”

The financial cost is also serious. Gender equality would increase the world GOP by $12 trillion, and gender inequality costs $23,620 per person in lost earnings and $160 trillion in human capital loss—twice the global GDP. That’s thanks to male leadership and inequality.

Chamorro-Premuzic concludes:

 “We pick individuals for leadership on the basis of their confidence rather than competence, charisma rather than humility, and narcissism rather than integrity. For every Angela Merkel, there are many Silvio Berlusconis, Jair Bolsonaros, and Donald Trumps. Not just in politics, but also in business, the typical leader is not known for their humility or competence, but arrogance and incompetence.”

Before the pandemic, an extensive study found women were better at taking initiative for change, providing teamwork and relationship building, and dealing with stress, frustration, and anxiety. Further research during the pandemic shows that women are also better in a crisis. Female brain configuration gives women superiority in understanding and processing language, faster learning and adaptability and faster multitasking. Reasons for their skills may also be the communal way girls are reared and the higher standards for female leaders than male leaders.

Bravery should be added to the list of female leadership attributes. Since 2013, when Maidan protests ousted Ukraine’s Putin-supporting president Viktor Yanukovych, the number of Ukrainian female recruits has grown. The 57,000 women in the country’s armed force—22.8 percent—gives it a higher percent of the total than neighbors Poland (7.5 percent) and Russia (4 percent) as well as the U.S. (16 percent). Those defending the country now include a 79-year-old woman who just learned to fire a gun, the 2015 beauty queen Anastasiia Lenna, and former wedding singer Kristina. Ukrainian women have been able to take combat positions since a 2018 military gender-equality law. And the success of these women comes from their acceptance of male comrades. The world might consider emulating this practice in all areas.

March 12, 2021

Tucker Carlson’s Misogyny Hits New High

Ratings have been hard on the Fox network in the past year, especially after Deposed Dictator Trump (DDT) largely disappeared into the bowels of Mar-a-Lago. February was particularly brutal for Tucker Carlson when viewers for Rachel Maddow, who provides news on her MSNBC show, outnumbered those watching Carlson’s evidence-free bigotry and hatred.

Monday was International Women’s Day, part of Women’s History Month, and Carlson tried to build his ratings this week by showing the white man’s superiority over women. He presented his warped perspective on his Tuesday program—pregnant women are “feminizing” the military and giving China the opportunity to become more dominant over the U.S. in its world dominance of national defense. 

He also ranted about new updates to Army and Air Force hair regulations:

“So we’ve got new hairstyles and maternity flight suits. Pregnant women are going to fight our wars. It’s a mockery of the U.S. military.”

Part of Carlson’s rage came from President Biden’s Monday nomination of two highly-qualified four-star female generals to lead a combatant command. The pregnant Air Force Capt. Beatrice Horne, serving with the 964th Airborne Air Control Squadron, was selected to vet the flight suit prototype to accommodate pregnancy.

Current and former members of the military, including senior-ranking military officials and members of Congress, were not pleased with Carlson’s denigration of over half the people in the U.S. population and Carlson’s attempt to control military policy. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) sent a strong tweet about Tucker’s insults:

“F–k Tucker Carlson. While he was practicing his two-step, America’s female warriors were hunting down Al Qaeda and proving the strength of America’s women. Happy belated International Women’s Day to everyone but Tucker, who even I can dance better than.”

A retired Army National Guard lieutenant colonel with two daughters, Duckworth lost both her legs while engaging in combat during the Iraq War. Her reference is to Carlson’s brief 2006 appearance on Dancing with the Stars when he was the first contestant to be eliminated. Duckworth is the first sitting senator to give birth while in office and brought her newborn daughter, Maile, to a 2018 Senate floor vote.

Michael Grinston, the top enlisted leader of the Army, tweeted:

“Women lead our most lethal units with character. They will dominate ANY future battlefield we’re called to fight on.”

General Paul Funk, the commanding officer of the Army Training and Doctrine Command, wrote:

“Thousands of women serve honorably every day around the globe. They are beacons of freedom and they prove Carlson wrong through determination and dedication. We are fortunate they serve with us.”

VoteVets tweeted:

“Tucker Carlson doesn’t think women can serve in the military. Pretty bold words from a frozen food heir who couldn’t be bothered to serve himself.”

Tucker Carlson wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but his father stuck one there by marrying Patricia Swanson of the Swanson Frozen Dinner family fortune. He was then able to attend private schools and colleges along with connections to a television career through his father, media executive Dick Carlson who was CEO of The Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The family also gained political clout after the marriage from Sen. J. William Fulbright, part of the Swanson family.

VoteVets is accurate about Carlson never serving in the military, and he failed in an attempt to join the CIA.

Travis Akers wrote:

“As a military officer, I am calling for the ban of Fox News being broadcasted in the workplace on all military bases and installations. The values of Fox News are not aligned with those of the United States military, and undermine good order and discipline among the ranks.”

Work on updates to protect women’s health while serving in the military, a maternity flight suit, permission to wear “ponytails” to stop scalp damage from tight buns, and body armor fitting women for injury prevention were initiated during DDT’s term. A former Secretary of Defense, however, did not recommend the nomination of female generals to lead service members into combat because of the concern DDT would reject women for the position.   

Martina Chesonis, spokeswoman for the Service Women’s Action Network, pointed out that pregnant women, not authorized to fly in combat, will still wear flight suits for daily work including training flights.

“It’s just such a lack of understanding of how wars are fought, how deployments are managed, how women contribute in the military. And what’s unfortunate is that [Tucker Carlson] has that platform.”

Pregnant women are not sent “to fight in our wars.” Women in military aviation often plan pregnancies to occur during regularly scheduled, non-operational jobs for every service member such as being instructors or other non-deployable positions.

Carlson wasn’t satisfied with only smearing women in the military on his Tuesday show: he also ridiculed New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz for accounts of online harassment by saying she has “one of the best lives in the country.” For International Women’s Day, Lorenz asked her Twitter followers to “please consider supporting women enduring online harassment.” Carlson complained about “powerful people claiming to be powerless” and compared Lorenz to women accused of pretending victimhood, listing Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

The Times called Carlson’s segment “calculated and cruel,” so he returned to attack Lorenz. She is a “deeply unhappy narcissist,” according to Carlson, and he denied she faces online abuse. One of his guests accused Lorenz of “harassing kids and teenagers.” A defense from a Fox spokesperson stated, “No public figure or journalist is immune to legitimate criticism of their reporting, claims or journalistic tactics.”

The word “legitimate” runs contrary to the network’s defense for Carlson in a defamation lawsuit last summer. Before he called former Playboy model Karen McDougal a “presidential extortionist,” he told 2.8 million viewers, “Remember the facts of the story; these are undisputed.” The network’s attorney excused Carlson from defamation by claiming no reasonable viewer would believe Carlson’s “reporting” was factual. Erin Murphy said:

“It’s a commentary show, It’s a show that markets itself … as opinion and spirited debate. That context matters.”

Carlson’s show aired two days before DDT’s fixer Michael Cohen and prosecutors granted immunity to the National Enguirer’s parent company after the owner, DDT’s friend, admitted it arranged to conceal any stories about women having had affairs with DDT. McDougal had clearly stated she never approached DDT, and the federal court record supports her claim.

The judge, appointed by DDT, dismissed the defamation suit against Carlson with the explanation he doesn’t tell the truth:

“This ‘general tenor’ of the show should then inform a viewer that he is not ‘stating actual facts’ about the topics he discusses and is instead engaging in ‘exaggeration’ and ‘non-literal commentary.’ … Given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer ‘arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism’ …”

Carlson doesn’t attack everyone. A week ago, he called QAnon conspiracy theory believers “gentle people waving American flags.” He was referring to the mob storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6 with the intent of overturning the legal U.S. presidential election in their attempt to retain DDT in the White House. “They like this country,” Carlson said on his show. One of the five people who died at the Capitol because of the mob was Roseanne Boyland, trampled by the mob while carrying a Gadsden flag, the revolutionary era snake and the words “Don’t Tread on Me.” Carlson not only didn’t talk about these victims but also failed to mention the QAnon belief about DDT being the nation’s real leader against the cabal of Satanic Democratic child-killers and pedophiles.

The 800+ mob members running through the Capitol were looking for people to kill and wound after DDT said to “fight like hell”; Carlson ridiculed the fear of people being attacked in the Capitol. Carlson appears to have confused the “American flags” for the Confederate flag, the symbol flown by treasonous people during the Civil War who tried to overturn the United States. Many people in the Capitol were searching for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) with the intent to commit physical violence against her.

Tucker Carlson’s ratings for March will indicate whether larger audiences reward his hatred toward women and call for violence against them. 

March 8, 2019

Think Equal: International Women’s Day

On March 8, International Women’s Day, 28 members of the world champion United States women’s soccer team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit regarding the lack of pay equity and working conditions. According to the lawsuit, discrimination against the women athletes not only leaves them with much less than pay than men in the soccer field but also restricts their place of play, training, medical treatment, coaching, and even travel accommodations.

The women, stars for over a decade, head to France this summer to defend the Women’s World Cup that they won almost four years ago. Since their third win of the contest in summer of 2015, they have made some gain—doubled prize money pool for the upcoming tournament, the disappearance of artificial turf, and even a chartered flight. Female soccer teams in other countries such as Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Norway have made a few gains since protests by the U.S. women’s team.

FIFA, pro soccer teams’ employer, still favor the men by give a pool of $400 million to 32 men’s teams compared to $30 million for 24 women’s teams. According to pay schedules for players participating in 20 games a year, men get an average of $263,320 while women get a maximum of $99,000. That’s after the $17 million more in profit for 2016 that women made over the men. Although the male team lost the 2014 World Cup in Round 16, their bonuses were $5.375; after winning the Cup in 2015, women received $1.725 for bonuses.

Women suffer far worse inequities around the world than lack of pay. Poverty, lack of justice and rights, abuse, poorer health, discrimination in education—all these are just a few of the ways that women are wanting in gender equality. But sports is one area that symbolizes the subjection of women to male values. A recent example occurred in a cycling race in Switzerland. In the annual Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, men started two minutes before women—because women are faster. No matter—Nicole Hanselmann took a big lead over the men’s field, that is, before she was told to sit by the side of the road to “neutralise the women’s race in order to restore the gap between” the men and women’s groups. Maybe the men should have had a five-minute head start so that they could win.

Women ride the Tour de France through traffic and without media on the day before men get the attention, and the women’s Olympic race is half the length of the men’s race. Olympic cycling events for women didn’t exist until 1984, the same year that events included a women’s marathon but almost a century after the modern Olympic revivals in 1896 included these events for men.

Bobbi Gibbs entered the Boston Marathon in 1966 without an application after being told that was told that “women are not physiologically able to run a marathon.” She beat over half the field in 3 hours, 21 minutes. The next year, Kathrine Switzer entered the marathon under her initials and beat her boyfriend. Her time of 4 hours, 20 minutes might have been better if the race co-director had not physically attacked her during the race. Not until 1972 did the AAU allow women to run more than a mile and a half.

Other sports still have the  gender restrictions: women play two out of three sets in tennis, but men play three out of five. Men said that the rules are meant to protect women’s “reproductive organs” from undue endurance. In the beginning, women’s cycling threatened men because women gained independence with their own transportation. The lack of chaperones caused people to refer to bicycles as “prostitution on wheels.” The reason for gender inequality is to show women that we are inferior.

Other inequalities in sports:

In the U.S., 40 percent of sportspeople are women, but only six to eight percent of the total sports media coverage is devoted to them. Women-only sports stories comprise just 3.5 percent of all sports stories in the four major US newspapers.

Each year, male athletes get $179 million more in athletic scholarships—50 percent more—than female athletes receive.

Colleges and universities spend only 24 percent of their athletic operating budgets on female sports and just 16 percent of recruiting budgets for women.

Coaches for college women’s team sports earn 63 cents for every dollar earned by head coaches of men’s teams.

The 2015 Women’s World Cup soccer final was the most watched soccer match—male or female—but its players were far less compensated than male soccer players. In professional soccer, the National Women’s Soccer League has a pay ceiling per player of just $37,800 compared to an average of more than $300,000 and a median of about $100,000 for men’s Major League Soccer. Each team in the NWSL has a salary cap of just $265,000—compared to more than $3 million for men.

Of total commercial investment, 0.4 percent goes into women’s sport.

People who discriminate against women in sports claim that they won’t receive any attention, that the public wants to watch only men play. This attitude, however, comes from the top. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) makes news with male championship sports teams, either being rebuffed by them or feeding them fast foods like hamburgers and pizza. Yet he has not invited one female championship team to the White House to honor them on a solo visit—not the 2018 women’s NCAA basketball champions Notre Dame, not the 2017 WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx, nor the 2018 WNBA champion Seattle Storm. The latest invitation, however, was a men’s lower-division NCAA football championship team, the first one invited since Bill Clinton’s time. Every other president going back to Ronald Reagan invited the women’s NCAA basketball champions. Here’s President Obama with the 2016 NCAA winners.

Politics this year has brought out the worst—thus far—in conservative misogyny. From the minute that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was elected a Democratic U.S. representative from New York, journalists stalked her, intent on photographing her from behind, questioning how much she pays for her clothes, why she took an Uber instead of the subway. A Texas city council member called her a “bimbo,” and one of her congressional colleagues yelled “Go back to Puerto Rico!”  Conservative pundits call her a “little girl” and fantasize about dating her. On The View, Meghan McCain said she was “really surprised” that Ocasio-Cortez had asked an intelligent question at Michael Cohen’s House hearing. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has the same political views, but it’s the conservatives who cried at CPAC that Ocasio-Cortez wants to “take your hamburgers” and replaced incessant smears of Hillary Clinton to those directed at Ocasio-Cortez.

The hatred and sexism directed toward Ocasio-Cortez moved to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) after she criticized the control of Israel over U.S. policy. For decades, GOP congressional members and conservative media protected rampant racism from colleagues and now fail to call out their racist president while becoming livid about Omar’s suggestion that candidates receive millions of dollars to oppose Palestine and support Israel. The attacks didn’t start with her supposed anti-Semitic remarks used to revile her; threats against her began before she was sworn into the 116th Congress also because of her Islam religion. Every word she uses, even “hypnotize,” is classified as an “anti-Semitic trope” while DDT and other white male GOP congressional members escape any criticism. Yet 23 of them voted against all expressions of prejudice such as racism, Islamophobia, and anti-LGBTQ rights except for anti-Semitism. Omar is even being blamed for the spike in anti-Jewish hate crimes that began with DDT’s election.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is Jewish, said that while anti-Semitism is a “hateful and dangerous ideology,” it must not be confused with criticism of Israel’s government under the right-wing leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) joined Sanders in defending Omar because they, too, have suffered from the misogyny, especially since the women declared their candidacies for the 2020 presidential election. After condemning Hillary Clinton for being too “icy,” pundits slam Warren for being “aloof” and Harris for connecting with audiences “too much.” For weeks, opinionists agonized over whether the women presidential candidates were “authentic” and found stories to show that they are phonies. Warren’s oral history of Native American background from the 1980s appears again and again—and again. (The same people overlook DDT’s 9,000 lies.) Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) was attacked for talking about how to eat fried chicken, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar is “mean.” Authenticity for women is being a secretary or staff member.

The theme for the 2019 International Women’s Day is “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change.” Almost half the Democrats running for president in 2020 are women, and a pro sports team is suing for equality. Ocasio-Cortez and Omar are making changes in Congress along with the other 108 Democratic women plus their allies. These changes plus millions of others may bring women into the 21st century.

January 19, 2019

Women March, DDT Bombs

Filed under: Women's issues — trp2011 @ 10:47 PM

On the two-year anniversary of the inauguration of Dictator Donald Trump, approximately 200,000 people attended the 45th anti-abortion “March for Life” in Washington, D.C. VP Mike Pence spoke, telling the audience to “stand with that love and compassion.” Both he and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) emphasized the importance and equality of “every life,” meaning only fetuses and newborns, probably white.

The 2018 National Clinic Violence Survey provided statistics showing that the dangerously high levels of violence and threats against women’s clinics, doctors, and staff from the anti-abortion activists demonstrating “love and compassion”:

23.8% of clinics experienced the most severe types of threats and violence in the first half of 2018, including death threats, stalking, and blocking clinic access.

45% of clinics experienced at least one incident of severe violence, threats of severe violence, and/or severe harassment, such as break-ins, robberies, or vandalism, in the first half of 2018.

88% of clinics  reported experiencing some type of anti-abortion activity in the first half of 2018, with 62% of providers experiencing activity at least once a week

Clinics that rated their experience with law enforcement as “poor” or “fair” were twice as likely to experience high levels of severe violence or harassment (28%) than those that rated local law enforcement “good” or “excellent” (15.1%).

These are the only businesses in the United States that suffer these levels of threats and violence.

Reproductive rights are not the only area in which women lack equality within the United States. The recently-published annual Global Gender Gap Report from the World Economic Forum finds 51 countries in the world are better places for women to live than in the United States. That’s six countries down from two years earlier in the measure of 144 countries. The report evaluates four categories of gender equality:

Economic Participation and Opportunity: labor force, wage equality, earned income, administration (U.S. – #19)

Educational Attainment: literacy, enrollment, graduation level (U.S. – #46)

Health and Survival: sex ratio at birth, healthy life expectancy (U.S. – #71)

Political Empowerment: seats elected, appointed, years with female head of government (U.S. – #98)

According to the trend, women will gain equality to men in 165 years—2183.

Today is the third Women’s March. The first one brought out 4 million people in hundreds of places around the world. The protest goes far beyond just “women’s issues”: it includes rights for racial justice, LGBTQ people, immigrants, workers, voting, and the disabled as well as issues such as economic justice, liberties, and protection of environment and climate. Specific priorities include universal healthcare, the Equal Rights Amendment, end of war, student debt, and de-militarization of the U.S. borders.

Increasing the number of women in leadership could move the country toward these rights. Right now, the U.S. Congress is about 20 percent female—most of them Democrats—while the nation has a majority of women in the general population. These are benefits from women leadership:

Problem solving improves with more women because it benefits from diversity of gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, and gender expression.

Workers have more trust in female leaders, according to a Pew survey. In 2015, 34 percent said women are more honest and ethical whereas only 3 percent is better in this area.

Women leaders are more collaborative, better at making deals as shown in the Senate. Quorumanalysis found that the average female senator co-sponsored 6.29 bills with another Senate woman, while the average male senator co-sponsored 4.07 bills with another Senate man” and that “the average female senator co-sponsored 171.08 bills with a member of the opposite party; for the average male senator, that figure was 129.87.”

Women make good mentors, according 30 percent in the Pew survey. Only 5 percent thought that men were better mentors.

Millennial women are more educated than men, and education is important in challenging the status quo, introducing new business approaches, and implementing innovative techniques.

In her speech at one of today’s rallies, Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (R-NY) said:

“Justice is not a concept we read about in a book. Justice is about the water we drink, justice is about the air we breathe, justice is about how easy it is to vote, justice is about how much ladies get paid.

“Justice is about making sure that being polite is not the same thing as being quiet.

“In fact, often times the most righteous thing you can do is shake the table.”

Ocasio-Cortez echoed a statement from Pulitzer Prize winning historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich that “well-behaved women seldom make history.”

Reports show that this year’s marches were smaller than the millions of the past, perhaps from bad weather, less interest, or the fracturing of he organization from accusations of anti-Semitism for the leaders. Yet hundreds of thousands of people in over 300 cities showed up in freezing rain across the United States. For the past two years, the marchers have been active—attending town halls, protecting the Affordable Care Act, supporting teachers on strike, campaigning for progressive candidates, electing women, and protesting to save the dying planet.   In the midterm elections, the first since the inauguration of the annual Women’s March, 102 women won their races for the U.S. House, shattering the previous record of 84. Eighty-nine of these winning women, Democrats, represented ethnic and religious diversity. Women will chair six influential House committees. Over 20 of the 36 newly-elected women—all of whom replaced male incumbents—are first-time political candidates. One-fourth of the Senate is female, 17 Democrats and 8 Republicans. In Congress, 28 are mothers of younger children, causing the installation of infant changing facilities in the members’ restrooms.

Yesterday, a group of indigenous people protesting at the Lincoln Memorial were interrupted by 50 to 70 DDT-supporting who chanted “build the wall.” One of them, a white teenager wearing a MAGA hat, harassed an indigenous elder, Nathan Phillips, who served in Vietnam and participated in surrounding and jeering at the protesters. The young man came from Covington Catholic High School (Park Hills, KY), an all male schools of 560 students with a their mission to “embrace the gospel message of Jesus Christ in order to educate young men spiritually, academically, physically, and socially.” Singing the American Indian Movement song that serves as a ceremony to send the spirits home, Phillips, 64, said that he continued his drumming and singing by thinking about his wife, Shoshana, who died of bone marrow cancer nearly four years ago, and the threats that face indigenous communities. Covington students each paid $130 for the field trip to the March for Life before they moved on to abuse the indigenous protesters, and the students’ parents and chaperones did nothing to intervene in the students’ behavior. This past week, DDT mocked horrifying massacres of Native Americans.

Today, DDT preempted television programming for another speech purporting to be a plan to reopen the government. He negotiated with McConnell and son-in-law Jared Kushner—no Democrats involved—to rehash earlier proposals from the year before offering three years of safety to DACA recipients in exchange for $5.7 billion to build his “barrier.” DDT’s offer is useless because DACA recipients remain in limbo. Fact checking on his lies here. DDT had hoped that the Supreme Court would hear his appeal on DACA to rule on his executive order to dump DACA, but the high court would not hear the case, leaving injunctions against DDT’s rejection of DACA for another year.Hard-core conservatives who goaded DDT into the shutdown were not happy with DDT’s solution. Pundit Ann Coulter tweeted that the proposal was “amnesty.” She wrote, “We voted for Trump and got Jeb!”

Day 29 of the government shutdown: Just before the Women’s March for justice and reproductive rights, House Speaker Mitch McConnell (R-KY) ignored the House bills on the grounds that it would waste the Senate’s time “on show votes.” Last Thursday, McConnell failed to get the 60 necessary votes for his first anti-abortion bill of the 116th Congress, something he knew would happen. Opponents to women’s reproductive rights did show up to Washington—some of them to harass a Native American veteran and elder. McConnell plans to put another useless bill onto the floor of the Senate–this one DDT’s proposal that the Democratic House has declared DOA.

DDT is still stuck in his corner, and the economy is tanking from the government shutdown.

April 9, 2018

Equal Pay Day – Help from the 9th Circuit

Filed under: Women's issues — trp2011 @ 3:03 PM
Tags: ,

If women got the same wages that men do for equal jobs, then Equal Pay Day would be December 31 each year. But we don’t, and women on the average have to work over three months longer to equal the men’s salaries each year because women make $.80 for each $1.00 that men make. This year, Equal Pay Day is April 10, and women can celebrate a great court win today.

Almost one year ago, a three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit Court ruled that employers can pay women less than men for the same work by using differences in workers’ previous salaries. The decision overturned a lower-court ruling and was appealed. Deborah Rhode of the Stanford Law School pointed out that this decision “perpetuate[s] the discrimination” because it “allow[s] prior discriminatory salary setting to justify future ones.”

Today, the eleven members of the 9th Circuit Court unanimously ruled that employers cannot use previous salaries to justify higher payment for men than for women. Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote the majority opinion before he died last month at the age of 87. The case concerned a starting salary for Aileen Rizo, a math consultant with the Fresno County Office of Education, who was paid less than all her male colleagues. The decision applies to the nine states of the 9th Circuit Court.

Although April 10 is Equal Pay Day for all women, dates vary for different ethnic groups when compared to white non-Hispanic men:

  • Asian-American Women: February 22, 2018 ($.87)
  • White Women: April 17, 2018 ($.79)
  • Black Women: August 7, 2018 ($.63)
  • Native American Women: September 27, 2018 ($.57)
  • Latinas: November 1, 2018 ($.54)

People who refuse to believe in the existence of the gender pay gap spread these myths:

  1. Myth: Women choose lower-paying work. Women are consistently told that they cannot do as well in male-dominated fields such as finance and technology. As career fields have a higher percentage of female entering them, the salaries drop because male-centric jobs are more prestigious. For example, biology and design were higher paying when more males were employed in these fields, whereas computing paid less in early years because early programmers were women. The trend then reversed for all these fields—computing became more lucrative when men dominated, and biology and design paid less with more women.
  2. Myth: Women choose to work fewer hours and select more part-time work than men do. Again, this is not a choice because the U.S. lacks federally mandated family leave, and child care is prohibitively expensive. With salaries higher for men, households with one worker keep the woman at home. Gender biases also allow men to leave home to work, leaving women to care for the children.
  3. Myth: Women choose jobs with flexibility over high pay so they can care for families. Female-dominated workplaces—care work, primary education, and clerical—have far less flextime than other workplace.
  4. Myth: More women are getting college degrees than men, so the gap will close on its own. Women continue to select college majors with lower-paying jobs. At the current rate, the closure of the gender pay gap may not occur for another 200 years.

Take-home pay is not the only problem from the gender pay gap. The discrimination leads to trickle-down financial disadvantages causing income inequality and financial insecurity:

  1. The retirement savings gap: Women save about half ($45,614) as much as men ($90,189), and only 52 percent of women have retirement savings’ accounts such as a 401K, compared to 71 percent of men.
  2. The student debt gap: Although women have less student debt, they are less equipped to deal with this debt; 28 percent of women see their loans a “not at all manageable” compared to less than half this percentage for men at 13 percent.
  3. The financial literacy gap: Men are taught far more about managing their finance, and parents think that sons have a better understanding of their money’s value than their daughters.
  4. The work time gap: Women are twice as likely as men to have part-time jobs which fail to offer such benefits as health care, retirement investment, and transit support. Women’s expenditures are more than those for men without these advantages. Again, women are left at home to care for the children because of the myth that they have more skill in this area than men.
  5. The homeownership gap: Homes owned by men are worth more than those owned by women, and male-owned homes appreciate more. Times reported that “homes owned by single men on average are valued 10 percent higher than those of single women, and that the value of their homes have appreciated by 16 percent more than those of their female counterparts.” Women, especially those of color, are also far more likely to be targeted by predatory lenders. “In 2005, women were 30 to 46 percent more likely to receive subprime mortgage loans than men. Black women were a staggering 256 percent more likely to receive subprime loans than white men,” according to Salon.

The gender pay gap doesn’t need to exist. A new Iceland law requires employers to pay women the same as men. All public and private employers with 25 or more employees must obtain government certification of equal pay policies or face fines. The legislation was supported by Iceland’s center-right ruling party and the opposition.  The 2017 Global Gender Pay Report shows that Iceland has the most gender equality of any country in term of economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.

The United States ranks 49th in gender equality, ahead of Kazakhstan but behind Uganda. The United States ranks 96th in political empowerment of women, behind Nepal, Algeria and Pakistan.

A major difference between the United States and Iceland is also the female participation in Iceland’s federal government. Almost 50 percent of Iceland’s parliament is female. Women make up just 19 percent of the U.S. Congress.

Iceland is smart in this legislation: equal pay can help a country’s economy. Equal pay for women can increase the GDP, adding women in senior management roles and corporate boards can boost companies return on assets, and raising women’s wage can cut the poverty rate for both working women and their children in half if women earn as much as men. The U.S. economy could add $512.6 billion in wage and salary income, equivalent to 2.8 percent of 2016 GDP.  Lifting women out of poverty would vastly decrease the need for costs in the nation’s the safety net.

Statistics surrounding U.S. pay will be unknown in the future, however, after Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) eliminated the requirement for large companies to report wages by race and gender. In Iceland, all pay data will be made public for transparency.

Conservatives claim that the 1963 Equal Pay Act covers all problems with the gender gap in salaries. Yet among the caveat for “equal” pay is “a differential based on any other factor other than sex.” This one was used when the three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit Court ruled last year that past salaries could be used to pay women less.

A consistent argument against the Paycheck Fairness Act in the United States is that men make more money because they work harder and their jobs are “riskier.” That came from GOP state Rep. Will Infantine in New Hampshire. He added, “[Men] don’t mind working nights and weekends. They don’t mind working overtime, or outdoors in the elements.” As if that wasn’t enough, he said that “men are more motivated by money than women are.” That was in 2014. The state house gave “preliminary approval to the Paycheck Equity Act,” and the law took effect in 2015. Infantine is no longer in the state legislature.

Women can also be destructive to decreasing the gender pay gap:

  • Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), now a candidate for Senate, said that women “don’t want” equal pay laws.
  • Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) said it is “condescending” towards women to work on policies intended to prevent wage discrimination.
  • Phyllis Schlafly, before her death, wanted the pay gap to be larger so that women could find a “suitable mate.”
  • Kirsten Kukowski, RNC Press Secretary in 2014, could think of any policies her party could support to improve pay equity.
  • Cari Christman, head of Texas PAC RedState Women, said that women were too “busy” to find a solution to the gender pay gap.
  • Beth Cubriel, the 2014 executive director of the Texas GOP, said that women needed to become “better negotiators” if they want equal pay.
  • Fox network’s Martha MacCallum declared, “Many women get paid exactly what they’re worth.”

GOP men are equally dismissive. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) wanted to know what gender pay fairness would do for men, and Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy, called the debate “nonsense.”

Many people on the far right are even questioning women’s right to vote.

  • White supremacist leader Richard Spencer said that women voting in U.S. elections isn’t “a great thing.”
  • Casey Fisher, a Davis County (UT) GOP precinct chairman, called voting rights for a “grave mistake.”
  • Davis County GOP chairwoman Teena Horlacher, Fisher’s colleague, defended him by saying that Fisher was following the beliefs of the Founding Fathers.
  • Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore co-authored a textbook that was critical of the women’s suffrage movement.
  • Ann Coulter also opposes women’s right to vote, but her net worth was almost $9 million in 2016.

Imagine the gender pay gap if women couldn’t even vote. Happy Equal Pay Day!

March 22, 2018

Could ‘NIFLA v. Becerra’ Change Free Speech, Abortion Law?

The past week has been again filled with chaos—firings of the national security council, resignation and appointments of the legal team for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), continued lawsuits against the federal government, additional information about DDT’s sexual misconduct as more women join Stormy Daniels, and concerns regarding the retention of special investigator Robert Mueller. No wonder that a case before the Supreme Court last Tuesday got little attention from the media. In normal times that case would have been front and center on television because it’s one of seven cases thus far this judicial year that addresses free speech—two of them major lawsuits.

Last December the religious legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the federal government argued before SCOTUS that a cake in Colorado is free speech because the baker is an “artist.” A ruling in his favor and opposing service for a gay couple would permit rampant discrimination across the United States, not only against LGBTQ people but also anyone else who offended the religious and moral sensibilities of everyone in all businesses—retail, health care, food services—everyone.

Last Tuesday’s case, NIFLA v. Becerra, the federal government joined ADF to oppose a California law that requires community clinics to post notices about their licensing (or lack thereof), the availability of a medical provider, and patients’ access to abortion and other family planning services in the state. The 2015 California Reproductive FACT Act mandates that licensed community clinics whose “primary purpose is providing family planning or pregnancy-related services” disclose to all patients that California offers “free or low-cost” contraception, prenatal care, and abortion. These clinics must provide a telephone number that patients can call for more information about state-funded services. Clinics focusing on pregnancy or family planning but are unlicensed must clearly provide a warning in the clinic and in advertising that they have “no medical provider.”

Many of California residents are unaware of expanded funding for prenatal and family planning services from the Affordable Care Act, and many clinics, especially the anti-abortion crisis pregnancy clinics (CPCs) pressure women to not have an abortion. Many CPCs hide religious affiliations and claim that they provide more services than available in the clinics. Owners and employees of the CPCs use “free speech” to object to the law by arguing that it makes them “complicit in facilitating an act they believe hurts women and destroys innocent lives.” They maintain that the FACT Act is “gerrymandered” to “commandeer” their expression, “manipulat[ing] the marketplace of ideas” to favor abortion in violation of the First Amendment.

The argument from Michael Farris, a member of ADF, is that not all doctors are required to post the information, only community clinics with pregnancy-related services. He wants to move the law to heightened judicial scrutiny, which raises the legal bar for California to keep the law. Justice Samuel Alito bought the argument that the “crazy exemptions” of the law creates “a very strange pattern.” California Solicitor General Joshua Klein explained that the law targets community clinics where millions of low-income Californians get health care and exempts private physicians because they usually don’t have poorer women patients.

Jeffrey Wall, the deputy U.S. solicitor general who joined Farris on behalf of the federal government, tried to persuade the justices that informing pregnant women about alternatives to abortion are necessary only when medical procedures are provided and that unlicensed clinics don’t provide medical procedures. Justice Sonia Sotomayor pointed out that CPCs sometimes provide medical procedures such as ultrasounds and pregnancy tests and give pregnancy counseling, much like doctors’ medical advice in discussing abortion procedures.

The case also addresses whether clinic users should know which clinics are licensed and provide a full range of subsidized medical options. Sotomayor described Fallbrook Pregnancy Resource Center’s website:

“There is a woman on the homepage with a uniform that looks like a nurse’s uniform in front of an ultrasound machine. It shows an exam room. It talks about ‘abortion,’ ‘your options,’ and ‘our services,’ advertising ‘free ultrasounds.’ But in fact, the Fallbrook Pregnancy Resource Center is an unlicensed CPC. If a reasonable person could look at this website and think that you’re giving medical advice, would the unlicensed notice be wrong?”

Sotomayor compared NIFLA to Planned Parenthood v. Casey that allows states to pass “informed consent” laws forcing abortion providers to deliver a state-approved anti-abortion canned statement before the procedure even if the information is false. Both situations mandate information for women, one on alternatives to the clinics and the other about termination of pregnancies. Justice Stephen Breyer dubbed this issue “what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.” Denying California the right to require postings at all community clinics regarding availability of free and/or inexpensive family planning services could give free speech to only one side of the abortion argument.

The case was appealed to the Supreme Court after a federal district court and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court denied an injunction in favor of CPCs. Both lower courts maintained that California’s law was constitutional in the same way that Pennsylvania could require doctors to tell abortion patients about the “nature” of the procedure and the “probable gestation age” of the fetus.

Observers watching the negative comments from some justices believe that at least part of the FACT Act will be struck down; the question is how much and on what grounds. Mandatory disclaimers in multiple languages on advertising for unlicensed CPCs may be unconstitutional. Requiring clinics to tell patient about a lack of license seems legal. The middle ground is the crux: whether states can force CPCs to tell patients about services elsewhere.

A serious problem in this case comes from dangers in CPCs that promise medical assistance but have the sole purpose of forcing a woman to carry a fetus to full term. Over 2,700 CPCs throughout the nation lure pregnant women into their facilities and then terrify them with lies about their future if they have abortions.

States like Texas are using public funds from bona fide community clinics to unlicensed CPCs exempt from regulations or credentialing because they provide only non-medical services such as self-administered pregnancy tests or parenting classes. One-fourth of Texas’ 200 CPCs are funded by federal taxpayer money through the $38 million operating budget of “Alternatives to Abortion” for low-income women. With no government oversight, the “Texas Pregnancy Care Network” subcontracts with 51 CPCs with most money going to “counseling,” a term with no definition. Another $739,000 went to advertising. When asked if the CPCs were medically licensed, a state spokesperson said that they are not medical clinics.

People who go to CPCs don’t know they won’t get any medical care. Austin (TX) tried to pass an ordinance requiring that clinics state whether they have doctors. A federal judge struck down the ordinance with the argument that it violated CPCs’ due process. Texas law does require doctors to lie to women about medical risks of abortions, a procedure with less risks than pulling wisdom teeth or taking out tonsils.

In his 12 years as Chief Justice, John Roberts has greatly expanded the definition of free speech for corporations. To him and a majority of the justices in Citizens United, all money is free speech meaning unlimited anonymous corporate donations to political candidates, a ruling later expanded in McCutcheon v. FEC. These cases, and others such as Hobby Lobby allowing corporations to deny birth control to employees using faulty scientific information, shows that Roberts’ defense of the First Amendment protects only corporations. He uses the same argument to give corporations benefits in cases involving drug advertising and trademark regulations as well as removal of unions’ rights. A recent case argued whether state laws can permit mandatory fees for workers to pay for the support services that unions are legally to provide all employees.

The ruling in NIFLA, most likely in June, will either leave the California law in place or give pro-choice activists the grounds to argue against laws in other states that require doctors to give pregnant patients the false information that abortions cause breast cancer and infertility. The NIFLA lawyers argue that posting information “unconstitutionally compels [the clinics] to speak messages that they have not chosen, with which they do not agree, and that distract, and detract from, the messages they have chosen to speak.” A ruling in their favor might take the shackles off abortion providers and other doctors so they can deliver “the messages they have chosen to speak.” Breyer said that the court’s most important job is “to keep sauces the same.”

October 6, 2017

Congress Supports Women–A Little

North Korea, hurricanes, mass shootings, anti-women and anti-LGBTQ rights’ bills and order—all these are the orders of the day during the past few weeks. Scouring the news, however, reveals the passage of the Women, Peace and Security Act, in both the House and Senate with voice votes and then signed by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) today.

For the first time, the U.S. is required to develop a strategy to increase women’s participation in peace negotiations and conflict prevention. The Department of Defense, State Department, and USAID are to strengthen the participation of women in peace and security processes along with post-conflict relief and recovery efforts.

The bill entered Congress five years ago because women have such a small part in conflict resolution. Only nine percent of negotiators at official peace talks were women between 1992 and 2011. Only five percent of police and military forces are women in many places throughout the world. In 2011, President Obama created a strategy on women’s participation in peace and security processes by executive order that was updated in 2016.  The order did not improve the situation much in the past six years: In 2015, only 3 percent of UN military peacekeepers and 10 percent of UN police personnel were women. DDT has nominated white men to almost all positions.

The new law not only requires that women’s participation be a priority in federal agencies but also mandates personnel for these agencies to train and consult with women in conflict areas. It also gives Congress the right to oversee that the law is enacted. The law requires the International Military Education and Training program, that brings foreign officers to U.S. military schools, to double the number of women in three years. Out of participants from 140 countries between 2011 and 2015, only seven percent were women. Also to be doubled is the number of female peacekeepers in five years and female participants in the State Department anti-terrorism training program within three years. Women must be at least ten percent of nominees for U.S.-funded police training programs around the world.

This new law may seem like a distraction to the various foreign policy challenges and security threats, but it does require gender diverse groups which can be better at preventing and resolving conflicts. In 2001, U.S. and allied NATO forces gave billions of dollars to stabilize the country and help to reconstruct it. Yet Afghan women had little involvement in decision-making, leaving procedures to men. Women stayed at home with no input into their fate as male soldiers and tribal elders determined what to do with them. Community needs, understood by women where terrorist groups and insurgents were embedded, were determined by men without any contribution by women.

How women move the world toward conflict resolution:

  • Syrian women have risked their lives to secure local ceasefires, mobilize campaigns for reconciliation, and open secret schools in ISIS-controlled territories.
  • Policewomen in Pakistan address grievances to rebuild trust with the civilian population.
  • Women in South Sudan are forming coalitions to resolve the conflict between government and opposition leaders.
  • Peace accords are 35 percent more likely to last at least 15 years if women take part in their development because women often bring up issues connected to causes of conflict and violence.

Sen. Jean Shaheen (D-NH), a founder of the bill, said:

“Women are disproportionally affected by violence and armed conflict around the world, yet far too often they are under-represented in the peace process. We know that when women are at the table in peace talks, conflict prevention, and conflict mediation, it increases the likelihood that these negotiations will succeed. Our legislation will help ensure that women have a meaningful role in security and peace around the world.”

According to research, female security forces are more likely than men to de-escalate tensions with excessive force. Women are better at providing a perception of a security force’s integrity. They can also get more information about security risks, and women are more likely to report gender-based violence to female personnel.

Congress has now passed the law, but DDT wants to slash the tiny budget for women, peace, and security efforts. This needs to be stopped. Other important steps forward are improved targets for all U.S.-offered training related to peace and security issues and outlines of specific steps to better use women’s skills and perspectives. Guidelines are necessary for recruitment, retention and outreach to involve women in prevention and peacebuilding efforts. Congress also needs to legislate the U.S. National Action Plan on women, peace, and security so that U.S. agencies are held accountable for the commitment shown in the Women, Peace and Security Act.

The law is a baby step, but it’s a start.

May 22, 2017

‘Pay for Play,’ Or Women ‘Empowerment’ in Saudi Arabia

The first stop on a world trip by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) garnered big bucks for his daughter Ivanka. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates gave her $134 million for her new initiative to “benefit female entrepreneurs around the globe.” Women Entrepreneurs Fund seems to be the sort of “pay for play” activity that DDT accused Hillary Clinton of running in the Clinton Foundation. Last year DDT was furious that the Clinton Foundation accepted money from Saudi Arabia because they treat “women as slaves” and “kill gays.” He added, “Hillary must return all money from such countries!”

About the countries who just donated money to Ivanka’s fund, DDT said to Clinton during a debate last year:

“You talk about women and women’s rights. These are people that push gays off business — off buildings. These are people that kill women and treat women horribly, and yet you take their money. So I’d like to ask you right now. Why don’t you give back the money that you’ve taken from certain countries that treat certain groups of people so horribly? Why don’t you give back the money. I think it would be a great gesture.”

Of course, this was because the countries had donated to the Clinton Foundation, which did not accept any donations from Saudi Arabia while Clinton was Secretary of State. Donations to DDT’s daughter is just fine.

Scrutiny of Ivanka’s project caused her to claim that the World Bank would manage the investment fund. Yet it is widely known by both domestic and foreign officials that Ivanka has an office in the West Wing, meets with foreign leaders, and advises her father on many presidential matters. Writing her a check can make Ivanka’s father very happy. Ethics experts have objected to Ivanka’s leadership in gathering funds. Kathleen Clark at the Washington University in St. Louis said that it was unclear whether Ivanka had “any governmental authority” to make such requests. Richard Painter, Bush’s ethics czar, declared:

“It absolutely cannot be a private fund. She can’t be at the White House soliciting money for a private foundation. We went through this with Hillary Clinton, who resigned from her foundation when she took a job as secretary of state.”

Presidents and their families can be legally involved in philanthropy, but their efforts are subject to a lengthy approval process to guarantee there is no special access or influence or influence for donors. One example is “Let Girls Learn,” a Michelle and Barack Obama charity that supports educational opportunities for teen girls in developing countries. In 2016 the World Bank invested $2.5 billion in the project, stating that the empowerment of girls was “central” to the group’s development efforts. Earlier this year, DDT’s White House sent a memo to Peace Corps employees ending the program. After public outcry, a White House official indicated that it would continue the work—just not the name or probably any connection to the Obamas. Yet Jennifer Rigg, executive director of Global Campaign for Education-US (GCE-US), said, “We haven’t seen any new commitments, partners, or projects of Let Girls Learn announced since the start of the current administration.” DDT’s new budget provides deep cuts for Peace Corps–as well as everything else except the military.

During Clinton’s campaign, DDT attacked her for connections to Goldman Sachs, which is now deeply entrenched in the White House with at least six high-level officials. Dina Powell, who headed up the investment bank’s project to provide business education for women throughout the world, 10,000 Women, is working with Ivanka on this fund-raising. Ivanka’s chief of staff is Julie Radford, previous leader of Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Business initiative, which invested in small U.S. businesses. Information about Ivanka’s project is very sketchy, and Dan Primack has several questions:

  • Do these investments need a financial return, or are they are a grant or loan?
  • Who is on the investment committee, and will they get paid?
  • How are the people behind the project actively soliciting contributions from private institutions and foreign governments, and has White House counsel signed off on the project?
  • Will the fund get capital from U.S. state pension funds, similar to other private equity funds?
  • How will the fund balance interests of U.S. companies that might receive direct competition from foreign startups that receive investment?

In her speech about women’s empowerment in Saudi Arabia, Ivanka glowed about how well the nation treats women, saying that the country’s “progress” in its treatment of women “is very encouraging.” Journalists were asked to leave the room before problems of women’s inequality could be brought up, such as women not having the right to drive, go anywhere alone, or be included in public life. U.S. officials also ignored these issues. Women reporters were banned from most of Ivanka’s event on women’s empowerment with Princess Reema bint Bandar.

In Saudi Arabia, adult women must have permission from a male guardian to travel, marry, work, and have access healthcare. Without a male relative, they also struggle with transactions such as renting an apartment or filing legal claims. Saudi women who attempt the restrictions of male control are jailed. Restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia extend to their garb. Even most foreign visitors—although not Melania and Ivanka Trump—are required to wear floor-length black dresses—no pants—that cover all the body including arms and legs. A head scarf should cover their head and hide their hair. More conservative women wear veils that also cover their faces, save for a slit that makes their eyes visible. In the past, First Ladies of the U.S. have dressed modestly but not in conformance with the mandated dress for Saudi women. DDT was highly critical when Michelle Obama failed to wear a scarf, accusing her of creating enemies.

Although 38 women were elected in December 2015 for a total of 3,159 municipal positions, Saudi Arabian councils are segregated by sex: women participate only through a video link in a separate room. Women are also denied the opportunities given males in sports: women were not allowed to attend or participate in national tournaments or state-organized sports leagues until last summer when four women represented Saudi Arabia in the Rio Olympics.

Aziza al-Yousef, a 58-year-old activist, said, “If Ivanka is interested in women empowerment and human rights, she should see activists, and not just officials.” As Ivanka wrote in her 2009 book, The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life, “Perception is more important than reality. If someone perceives something to be true, it is more important than if it is in fact true.”

The donation to Ivanka Trump raises a few question:

  • Is it just a coincidence that Ivanka gets $134 million at the same time that Saudi Arabia is able to buy at least $110 billion in lethal weapons from the United States and she travels to the country as “assistant to the president of the United States”?
  • Is it now acceptable that Ivanka receive at least $134 million from countries that her father describes as abusers of women and killers of gays?
  • And is $134 million enough for Ivanka to describe herself as an “advocate for the education & empowerment of women & girls” while ignoring the donor that lacks these values?

Time will tell.

April 5, 2017

Sexual Assault Awareness Month: DDT Defends O’Reilly

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. In keeping with presidents in the past, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) issued a proclamation to honor this event:

“We dedicate each April to raising awareness about sexual abuse and recommitting ourselves to fighting it. Women, children, and men have inherent dignity that should never be violated…. “As we recognize National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, we are reminded that we all share the responsibility to reduce and ultimately end sexual violence. As a Nation, we must develop meaningful strategies to eliminate these crimes, including increasing awareness of the problem in our communities, creating systems that protect vulnerable groups, and sharing successful prevention strategies.”

During DDT’s campaign, a 2005 recording shows him bragging about his committing sexual assault in which he said, “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ‘em by the p***y.” Eleven women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct, and one is currently suing him for defamation after the controversy.

After the sexual-assaulter promised that his administration “will do everything in its power to protect women, children, and men from sexual violence,” DDT defended Fox network host, Bill O’Reilly, after the New York Times’ article about his harassment of women, including the $13 million paid to settle claims to five women. Five days into Sexual Assault Awareness month, DDT declared that O’Reilly is a “good person” and declaimed that “I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.” Advertisers were so disturbed with the revelations, that included information from other women who didn’t sue him, that over fifty companies, including major automobile manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz, have dropped their advertising for the O’Reilly show. DDT also said, “Personally, I think he shouldn’t have settled.”

As a fan of Fox, DDT gets all his false information from them such as all that wire-tapping that didn’t exist. He is so obsessive about watching the cable that his schedule shows that he doesn’t being any presidential activity until almost 11:00 in the morning. DDT has attended baseball games with O’Reilly and been a regular guest on his show, giving him an interview airing on Fox during its Super Bowl pregame bowl.

DDT brags about referring to the Fox owner, Rupert Murdoch, by his first name. Since the presidential election, the two men frequently communicate. In the past, Murdock mentored DDT’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Murdoch’s former wife, Wendi Deng, made DDT’s daughter Ivanka a trustee of the Murdoch children’s fortune until Ivanka dropped out of this role a few months ago.

In saying that he thinks that neither O’Reilly nor Ailes did anything wrong, DDT is probably not lying. He thought that he also did nothing wrong in assaulting women. A 2015 survey found that one in three women have been sexually harassed at work, and 71 percent of them did not report the harassment, partly because powerful men can block their job prospects. Like O’Reilly, DDT denied that he did nothing wrong and would sue women who made claims against him.

Last year DDT defended former Fox CEO Roger Ailes after a number of his female employees reported his sexual harassment.  “I think they are unfounded just based on what I’ve read,” Trump said. “Totally unfounded, based on what I read.” Ailes was forced to resign from Fox News just one week after that interview. Julie Roginsky has recently filed another sexual harassment suit against Ailes. The FBI is investigating him and other Fox executives for using corporate funds to pay off the company’s sexual harassment victims. DDT defended Mike Tyson against his 1992 rape charges as well as billionaire whose private jet was nicknamed “The Lolita Express” and Joe Paterno who ignored Jerry Sandusky throughout years of the assistant coach’s sexual abuse of young boys.

O’Reilly has spent two decades at Fox being verbally abuse to female staffers, punishing them for refusing sexual advances, and appearing to masturbate while on the phone with them. Seventeen years ago, producer Andrew Mackris’ sexual harassment lawsuit accused him of describing his sexual fantasies about her and urging her to purchases a vibrator. If she told anyone about this, he said, she would “pay so dearly that [she’d] wish she’d never been born.” Mackris received $9 million by issuing a joint statement with O’Reilly that “no wrongdoing whatsoever” had occurred. She has not worked in television news since then. In 2011 Rebecca Gomez Diamond settled for an undisclosed amount. One of the settlements came because one of the women had recorded telephone calls with O’Reilly.


Transcripts from a custody hearing between O’Reilly and his ex-wife in 2014 show that their daughter once saw her father choking her mother and dragging her down the stairs.

In response to the NYT article, O’Reilly played the victim when he said, “Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity.” His next cover was that he “would do anything to avoid hurting [my children.]” The question might be the identities of “prominent and controversial people” other than DDT.

Last week, DDT “honored” National Autism Day after he spread the falsehoods that vaccines cause “horrible autism” and that there’s a “tremendous increase” in the number of autism cases. After his intense ridicule of journalist Serge Kovaleski, he skipped over honoring Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in March. DDT has until September 15 to figure out how to work around Hispanic Heritage Month after his racist attacks, including the ones against a Latino judge.

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