International Women’s Day Properly Observed, Thanks To Clinton, Obama
Thanks to the efforts of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, International Women’s Day,Â which marks the 100th anniversary this year, finally gets a credible, proper observation from the United States.
Today, governments and non-profit organizationsÂ around the world, mark the 100th anniversary of Â International Women’s Day, begun in 1911, inspired byÂ the work of German socialist and Â feminist Clara Zeitkin, aÂ former member of the German Reichstag, who died in exileÂ inÂ MoscowÂ in 1933. It was discrimination against women that brought out over one million women–and men–from the socialist movement onto the streetsÂ of Austria, Denmark,Â Germany and Switzerland on March 19, 1911 that began this observation.
Many Russian women activists and feminists, who participated in the Russian revolution in 1917 played a key role in establishing observation of International Women’s Day in the Soviet Bloc countries that eventually spread to countries outside the Eastern Bloc. In 1975, during theÂ UN Year of Women, International Women’s Day was designatedÂ to be observed onÂ March 8.
As an American woman feminist, who has worked in a dozen countries and traveled to at least 40 countries during my lifetime, I have spent many International Womens’ Days abroad inÂ former communist countries that celebrate this day to great fanfare as a tribute to the political and economic advances sought and achieved by women around the world. But most Americans know very little about International Women’s Day and our governmentÂ has rarely taken a considerable moment to recognize the achievements of women in America and around the world on this day, but that has changed dramaticallyÂ with the election of President Barack Obama.
To his credit, President ObamaÂ declaredÂ March to be National Women’s History Month and recognized the significance ofÂ the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day in his proclamation, but more importantly he spelled out that empowering women andÂ girlsÂ is a policyÂ priority:
My Administration has elevated the rights of women and girls abroad as a critical aspect of our foreign and national security policy.Â Empowering women across the globe is not simply the right thing to do, it is also smart foreign policy.Â This knowledge is reflected in the National Security Strategy of the United States, which recognizes that countries are more peaceful and prosperous when their female citizens enjoy equal rights, equal voices, and equal opportunities.
His astute nomination of Hillary Clinton to be the nation’s top diplomat has beenÂ the driving force behind the Administration’s elevated priority of supporting women and girls, especially abroad. Clinton, who declared in Beijing in 1995Â as then-First Lady of the U.S. that “Human Rights are Women’s Rights, and Women’s Rights are Human Rights”–galvanized women across the globe and has enabledÂ Clinton to becomeÂ argubly the foremost powerful advocateÂ on behalf of women and girls in the world today.
I happened to be working in Haiti and later in The GambiaÂ when Clinton made THE speech in Beijing and I will never forget how enthralled and enthusiastic women’s reactions were to it around the world. It was an electrifying moment.
This week, Clinton, as Secretary of State, isÂ leveragingÂ her position and powerÂ to the maximumÂ by putting substance to this paradigm-shifting three-pronged agenda.
(Compare this year’s observation to one just seven years ago, as then-president George W. Bush’s actions amid his $1.5 billion “Healthy Marriage Initiative”Â were protested on International Women’s Day.)
Yesterday, at the State Department she Â announced a new program entitled Â “100 Years, 100 Women, Empowering Women and Girls Through International Exchanges” that brought together 92 women from six different continents to the State Department, a first of 26 similar events that will take place over the coming year. These women will travel the U.S. sharing their experiences, while learning about America. Today, she and First Lady Michelle Obama, presided over the 2011 International Women of Courage Awards ceremonyÂ Â recognizing the courage and work of 10 significant women, includingÂ Roza Otunbayeva, the first woman President of the Kyrgyz Republic and of a Central Asian state.
The third leg of this comprehensive policy includes a public-private partnership with Goldman Sachs called “10,000 Women” which aims to train 10,000 underserved women around the world with business and management education through aÂ five-year investment. LloydÂ Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman, announced at the State DepartmentÂ ceremony today thatÂ its program would achieve education of 5,000 women by summer.
Clinton, who has said publicly on many occasions thatÂ she will leave government service at the end of Obama’s first term to work on advancing the rights and interests of women and girls, spells out her vision and goals in comments made yesterday:
So for me, investing in women and girls is smart. It pays off. Itâ€™s not only the right thing to do â€“ and I see some heads nodding â€“ because youâ€™ve seen the differences in the lives around you, in your own life as to what it means for someone to believe in a girl or a woman and to give her the tools to make the most out of her own life. But itâ€™s also true that this is important if you want to alleviate hunger â€“ you teach women, who are most of the farmers in the world how to get more harvest out of their hard work. If you want to alleviate poverty, you give women access to credit and opportunities to actually start to generate income for themselves and their families. And you have been working in these and so many areas. You are established and emerging leaders from 92 countries. You are leaders from the academic world, from business, from civil society, from the media. You are pioneers and you are fearless supporters of those who need a champion.
Obama and Clinton’s leadership is critical toÂ adopting policies and programs that will effectively empower women and girls–advancing their human rights–will stabilize transitional democracies and by providing education and job opportunities to women, will help lift families and communities out of poverty. Across the board today in international developmentÂ funding agencies, the professionals know thatÂ by prioritizing the empowermentÂ of women and girls, the investmentÂ will pay off exponential dividends in creating more stable societies and dynamic economies.Â Countries can notÂ achieve a good standard of living, byÂ leaving more thanÂ 50 percent of their population behind. Much work remains to be done.
Former President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet,Â said today that thereÂ has been “remarkable progress” since International Women’s Day was first celebrated a century ago. Bachelet, the new director ofÂ UN Women, the UN’s agency for gender equality and empowerment of women, which was officially launched in January this year, adds thatÂ gender equality remains a distant goal because women still suffer widespread discrimination and lack political and economic clout.
According to Clinton,Â today, 850 million women and girls are aliveÂ between the ages of 10 and 24 years old, the largest generation of womenÂ in the history ofÂ our civilization. Hillary Clinton, who declared women’s rights are human rights 16 years ago in Beijing,Â has miles toÂ go before she leaves this importantÂ work to others.
Happy International Women’s Day!
Tanya L. Domi is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs atÂ Columbia University, who teaches about human rights in Eurasia and is aÂ Harriman Institute affiliated faculty member. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi worked internationally for more than a decade on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights, gender issues, sex trafficking, and media freedom.
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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Christian Nationalist Group Working to Get Its ‘Biblical Worldview Spread Across the Nation’
Last week, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed legislation prohibiting transgender people from using public school facilities that match their gender identity. That legislation was crafted by the National Association of Christian Lawmakers, a right-wing organization that seeks to elect “godly leaders in our nation at every level” and then use them to “restore the Judeo-Christian foundation of our nation.”
Following the signing of this legislation into law, Jason Rapert, a longtime religious-right activist and ardent Christian nationalist who founded the NACL, took a victory lap, crediting his organization for the law and celebrating its success in pushing back “against the things of the devil in our country.”
As Rapert reported, this legislation had first been proposed by Arkansas school board member David Naylor during an annual NACL meeting and then brought to the Arkansas state legislature by state Rep. Mary Bentley, who serves on the board of the NACL.
On Friday, Rapert interviewed Bentley on his “Save The Nation” program, where she celebrated the NACL’s efforts “to get our biblical worldview spread across the nation.”
“Thank goodness we’ve got some common sense left here in Arkansas,” Bentley said. “[It was because of the NACL] that we were able to get that passed as model policy and bring it forth. I just love seeing grassroots come together and school board members coming to the capitol and going to the governor’s desk and just seeing it all work and flow just exactly how we want to. So, for the folks that are supporting NACL and what we’re doing, this is what we want to do across the country.”
“This is an example of the power of the NACL’s ability with model legislation,” Rapert replied. “This was brought by one of our members, and this policy actually could be immediately adopted by school boards in every school district across this country. If the school board wanted to adopt it, this is the model that they can utilize. And in addition to that, just like you did, go and pass it for the state so that this is going to apply to all the school boards in your state.”
Rapert and Bentley agreed that Arkansas has now blazed the trail on this issue, thereby making it easier for legislatures in other states to enact the same law.
“That’s what happens when you can be a leader,” Bentley asserted. “Once you make a trail, it’s a lot easier for people to follow once you get that trail made.”
“Thank you again for being a part of the NACL,” Bentley declared. “It’s just what we need in this nation right now to have it moving forward, to get our biblical worldview spread across the nation.”
This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
Pence Ordered to Comply With Subpoena, Testify Before Special Counsel’s Grand Jury
Mike Pence, the ex-vice president, must testify before Dept. of Justice special counsel Jack Smith’s grand jury investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection, a federal judge has ruled, rejecting his claims of executive privilege.
The judge is requiring Pence to answer questions about his conversations with Donald Trump leading up to the insurrection, and to answer any questions related to any possible illegal acts Donald Trump may have committed, according to ABC News’ senior investigative reporter Katherine Faulders and CNN’s Abby Phillip.
Judge James Boasberg, the chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, “outright rejected Trump’s executive privilege challenge, but ruled more narrowly on Pence speech and debate challenge,” Faulders adds.
The judge, apparently citing Pence’s “speech and debate clause” claim, said “that Pence can still decline to answer questions related to his actions on January 6 itself, when he was serving as president of the Senate for the certification of the 2020 presidential election,” CNN reports.
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NBC News reports Judge Boasberg “did, however, grant Pence a partial victory as to his argument that he was shielded from having to testify about Jan. 6 because of his constitutional role as part of the legislative branch.”
In what some legal experts dismissed as a faulty argument, “Pence’s legal team had argued that the Constitution’s ‘speech and debate’ clause should prevent special counsel Jack Smith’s prosecutors from eliciting any testimony about communications or activity related to Pence’s role as president of the Senate in presiding over the certification of the election results.”
Overall CNN calls it “another win for special counsel Jack Smith, who is investigating the Trump-aligned effort to subvert the 2020 election. Smith subpoenaed Pence for testimony and documents earlier this year.”
Pence can still appeal.
Watch MSNBC’s report below or at this link.
BREAKING: Former VP Pence has been ordered to testify in the special counsel’s investigation into former President Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. https://t.co/EuAAgB8ILO pic.twitter.com/wrYoKJcL0g
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 28, 2023
This is a breaking news and developing story.
This article has been updated to add video.
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
‘Taking Guns Away Is Not the Answer’: Scalise Encourages Prayer After Nashville School Mass Shooting
The official line from House Republicans on Monday’s mass shooting at a private Christian elementary school in Nashville is to encourage prayer and making schools “safer,” but “taking guns away is not the answer.”
GOP Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the second-most powerful Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, on Tuesday encouraged prayer, waiting for more facts, and looking into mental health option, despite his record of voting against them. Six people, including three nine-year olds and three adults, were shot to death after a shooter shot through the doors of Covenant Presbyterian Elementary School.
“The first thing in any kind of tragedy I do is I pray,” Scalise told a reporter Tuesday when asked if there’s anything Congress can do to reduce gun violence and deaths. “I pray for the victims. I pray for their families.”
On Monday, U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) also encouraged prayer over action. “We’re not gonna fix it,” he declared point-blank, while calling for a Christian “revival.”
READ MORE: Tennessee Governor Slammed After ‘Praying’ for Nashville School Community Without Mentioning Mass Shooting
Scalise was shot in 2017 in a rare act of left-wing gun violence by a man angry at then-President Donald Trump. He and House Republicans have repeatedly used that attack to target Democrats and their policies.
“I really get angry when I see people trying to politicize it for their own personal agenda,” Scalise continued, referring to shootings, “especially when we don’t even know the facts. There are facts coming out.”
“It looks like the shooter originally went to another school that had real stronger, much stronger security and ultimately went to this school,” Scalise said, which is false. According to a CNN report, the shooter had previously “scouted” a second location but had a detailed plan and maps of The Covenant School.
“Let’s get the facts,” Scalise insisted, suggesting no action should be taken before any investigations into this shooting are complete.
The Washington Post in a continually-updated report notes, “There were more school shootings in 2022 — 46 — than in any year since at least 1999.”
It adds, “There have been 376 school shootings” since Columbine, in 1999, and, “More than 348,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine.”
But Scalise urged Americans to “work to see if there’s something that we can do to help secure schools.”
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And he insisted reducing the number of guns in America, currently believed to be over 400 million – more than the total population of the country – is “not the answer.”
“We’ve talked about things that we can do, and it just seems like on the other side, all they want to do is take guns away from law abiding citizens, before they even know the facts. The first thing they talk about is taking guns away from law abiding citizens. And that’s not the answer, by the way. So why don’t we number one, keep those families in our prayers and see if there were things that were missed. Along the way, we’ve talked about the need to improve mental health in this country, and that’s been a driver of a lot of these shootings as well.”
But just last September, Scalise, along with all but one House Republican, voted against a bill that would “increase access to mental and behavioral health care.”
He also skipped a vote one week earlier on the Mental Health Justice Act of 2022.
Watch Scalise’s remarks in this clip, below or at this link.
Question: There was another terrible school shooting yesterday.. Is there anything Congress should be doing?
Scalise: First thing I do in any kind of tragedy is I pray.. pic.twitter.com/PW1r7qh2yQ
— Acyn (@Acyn) March 28, 2023
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