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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, which marks the 100th anniversary this year, finally gets a credible, proper observation from the United States.

Today, governments and non-profit organizations around the world, mark the 100th anniversary of  International Women’s Day, begun in 1911, inspired by the work of German socialist and  feminist Clara Zeitkin, a former member of the German Reichstag, who died in exile in Moscow in 1933. It was discrimination against women that brought out over one million women–and men–from the socialist movement onto the streets of Austria, Denmark, 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 the UN Year of Women, International Women’s Day was designated to be observed on 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 in 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 government 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 dramatically with the election of President Barack Obama.

To his credit, President Obama declared March to be National Women’s History Month and recognized the significance of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day in his proclamation, but more importantly he spelled out that empowering women and girls is a policy priority:

My Administration has elevated the rights of women and girls abroad as a critical aspect of our foreign and national security policy.  Empowering women across the globe is not simply the right thing to do, it is also smart foreign policy.  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 been the driving force behind the Administration’s elevated priority of supporting women and girls, especially abroad. Clinton, who declared in Beijing in 1995 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 enabled Clinton to become argubly the foremost powerful advocate on behalf of women and girls in the world today.

I happened to be working in Haiti and later in The Gambia 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, is leveraging her position and power to the maximum 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” were protested on International Women’s Day.)

Yesterday, at the State Department she  announced a new program entitled  “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 ceremony  recognizing the courage and work of 10 significant women, including  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 a five-year investment. Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman, announced at the State Department ceremony today that its program would achieve education of 5,000 women by summer.

Clinton, who has said publicly on many occasions that 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. It’s not only the right thing to do – and I see some heads nodding – because you’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 it’s also true that this is important if you want to alleviate hunger – 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 to 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 development funding agencies, the professionals know that by prioritizing the empowerment of women and girls, the investment will pay off exponential dividends in creating more stable societies and dynamic economies.  Countries can not achieve a good standard of living, by leaving more than 50 percent of their population behind. Much work remains to be done.

Former President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, said today that there has been “remarkable progress” since International Women’s Day was first celebrated a century ago. Bachelet, the new director of UN Women, the UN’s agency for gender equality and empowerment of women, which was officially launched in January this year, adds that gender equality remains a distant goal because women still suffer widespread discrimination and lack political and economic clout.

According to Clinton, today, 850 million women and girls are alive between the ages of 10 and 24 years old, the largest generation of women in the history of our civilization. Hillary Clinton, who declared women’s rights are human rights 16 years ago in Beijing, has miles to go before she leaves this important work to others.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Tanya L. Domi is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, who teaches about human rights in Eurasia and is a 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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‘Sodom and Gomorrah’: ND Republican Unleashes Anti-LGBTQ Christian Nationalist Rant Calling for ‘Christ Is King’ Laws



North Dakota state Representative Brandon Prichard, a Republican who co-sponsored legislation that was passed in to law that bans all gender confirming surgeries and medication for minors in his state, went on an anti-LGBTQ Christian nationalist tirade including a call for state ordinances to declare “Jesus Christ is King.”

“Every conservative state should put into code that Jesus Christ is King and dedicate their state to Him. Force RINOs to say no to Jesus and then brutalize them in elections. We need a government of Christians, not fakers,” wrote Rep. Pritchard Sunday evening.

Pushback came swiftly, from politicos including former Republican and former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, who responded saying, “Not in this country. Never. Our Constitution won’t allow it. And that’s a damn good thing. Shame on you.”

Rep. Pritchard’s remarks in recent days have taken on a similarly strong Christian nationalist theme.

READ MORE: ‘Part of the Authoritarian Playbook’: Trump’s Courthouse Rant Slammed by Fascism Scholars

“Here is a simple test to determine if you are conservative: Should the church of Satan or satanic temple be allowed the freedom to worship in the same way as Christians? If you answer yes, you need to rethink your claimed political identity because you are not conservative,” he wrote Friday.

Later that same day he added, “Real conservatives will never put the constitution above natural law. The constitution is only useful insofar as it forces our government to limit power and pursue objective truth. It is a powerful means to an end, nothing more, nothing less.”

Over the weekend Pritchard issued a call to ban pornography, saying it “serves no positive benefit in society, destroys men, and treats women as objects.”

A social media account that appears to be for the adult site Just for Fans mocked him, writing on social media, “If you want to cancel an account, please contact our customer service department.”

READ MORE: McCarthy ‘Could Be a Former Speaker by the End of This Week’: Report

Also over the weekend Pritchard called for any Republican who thinks children should be allowed to attend drag shows be “censured or expelled from the party.”

He then wrote he was “extremely disappointed” with North Dakota State University “over their decision to have two homecoming kings and NO homecoming queen. People will be mad when I introduce a bill next session to say that state-funded schools cannot pick homecoming royalty of the same sex, but I didn’t start the fight.”

Pritchard also declared, “All schools should have LGBTQ history taught and lesson one should be Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Monday morning the lawmaker claimed, “All I want is to buy some land, raise a family, and mind my own business. Everything changes when you realize the left is militantly against this existence and will do everything to destroy our families and religion. We must take power or risk being controlled, it’s simple.”

The North Dakota state constitution requires lawmakers to take an oath that reads: “‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of North Dakota; and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of _________ according to the best of my ability, so help me God’ (if an oath), (under pains and penalties of perjury) if an affirmation, and any other oath, declaration, or test may not be required as a qualification for any office or public trust.”



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‘Part of the Authoritarian Playbook’: Trump’s Courthouse Rant Slammed by Fascism Scholars



Inside New York’s State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Donald Trump unleashed his anger on the first day of Attorney General Letitia James’ $250 million civil fraud lawsuit that has already led to the judge ordering the ex-president’s business licenses be revoked and his businesses dissolved.

One of Trump’s rants was highly-criticized by a fascism expert who compared it to language used by authoritarian strongmen including “Mussolini, Hitler, Berlusconi, Erdogan.”

Trump told reporters Monday the New York fraud case “is a continuation of the single greatest witch hunt of all time.” He described Justice Arthur Engoron as a “rogue judge” and Attorney General James as a “racist attorney general” and a “horror show,” and the case against him “a scam” and “a sham.”

READ MORE: McCarthy ‘Could Be a Former Speaker by the End of This Week’: Report

Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a New York University professor of history and Italian studies, responded to Trump’s remarks, saying “the witch hunt/victimhood rhetoric is part of the authoritarian playbook and was/is used by the following corrupt leaders: Mussolini, Hitler, Berlusconi, Erdogan. If extended to the whole country being victimized, add Putin, Xi, and more.”

Fascism expert Federico Finchelstein, a historian and history department chair at New York’s New School for Social Research, responded to Trump’s comments: “Fascist lies are about the projection onto others of what fascists are/do. Trump today as usual displayed his wannabe fascist mindset.”

Sherrilyn Ifill, the former President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) exclaimed, “So he’s in the courthouse calling the judge ‘rogue’ and calling the prosecutor ‘racist.’ Not on the steps outside the courthouse (bad enough) but inside the very courthouse.”

READ MORE: ‘These Are Our National Secrets’: Democrat Slams GOP for Ignoring Trump Classified Documents Found ‘In the S——’

Trump also told reporters at the courthouse Monday that he’s been indicted because he’s running for president. Multiple reports have revealed he announced his White House run in an effort to avoid prosecution.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

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McCarthy ‘Could Be a Former Speaker by the End of This Week’: Report



At noon on Monday as the House opens for business U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) may file a motion to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy for crossing the aisle and working with Democrats to avoid a federal government shutdown just hours before midnight on Saturday.

The Florida lawmaker, who is blamed by his fellow Republicans for leading the shutdown charge, has very publicly blamed Speaker McCarthy for the crisis. On Sunday he vowed to end McCarthy’s leadership. McCarthy said he’s unafraid, but how he can keep his job without the help of House Democrats is being questioned, and if he does, how he governs his volatile GOP conference is also being questioned.

“Bring it on,” McCarthy said on CNN.

READ MORE: ‘Bad News’ for Sidney Powell as First Trump Co-Defendant in Georgia RICO Case Takes Plea Deal: Legal Expert

The Speaker also added, “let’s start governing.”

McCarthy’s call to “start governing” followed months of news reports detailing House Republicans’ infighting.

At the end of July, Axios ran a headline that read: “Congress gets a timeout after dysfunctional summer.”

“House members finally reached their August recess this weekend after a string of unusual, and at times contentious, incidents that clouded efforts to avoid a government shutdown,” the news outlet reported, pointing also to “January’s marathon speaker election to May and June’s close call on defaulting on the federal debt — not to mention conservatives’ unprecedented tactics to grind the House floor to a halt.”

On Tuesday, September 12, the House returned from its August recess.

“With less than three weeks remaining before government funding runs out on Sept. 30,” The New York Times reported Sunday, Sept. 10, “Congress has not cleared any of its 12 annual appropriations bills, though there has been more progress than in the recent past. Given the rapidly approaching deadline, leaders of both the House and the Senate agree that a temporary stopgap funding measure will be needed to avert a government shutdown beginning Oct. 1. But that usually routine legislation is facing major obstacles in the Republican-led House, making its path to President Biden’s desk unusually fraught.”

READ MORE: ‘Flying Monkeys on a Mission for the Wicked Witch’: Raskin Rips Republicans Over Impeachment ‘Inquiry’

Monday morning CNN’s Manu Raju reported, “McCarthy’s future could tested as soon as today. House opens at noon, and Gaetz could file his motion to oust him today. At that point, the speaker could try to table the motion — or kill it. That is what is expected. But if that fails, the motion to oust him would still be alive.”

The question may soon become, will Democrats save McCarthy’s speakership?

“One idea moderate Republicans are proposing to get Democrats on board with saving McCarthy is to revise the rules package that governs how the House operates – and discussing making changes to House Rules Committee,: Raju reports, adding House Democratic leaders are keeping their “powder dry,” meaning not indicating what they want their members to do.

Noting that the House is “lurching from crisis to crisis thanks to the dysfunction inside the GOP conference,” Punchbowl News Monday morning asked: “Can McCarthy survive?

Congressman Gaetz “acknowledged his effort is likely to fail, suggesting Democrats ‘probably will’ come to McCarthy’s rescue. Gaetz then criticized McCarthy for even considering the possibility of remaining speaker with Democratic support — despite the fact that Gaetz spent weeks courting Democrats in his bid to topple McCarthy.”

“Are we convinced McCarthy will get through this? No, not at all. McCarthy very well could be a former speaker by the end of this week,” Punchbowl News added.

Meanwhile, as questionable as McCarthy’s future is as Speaker, so is Gaetz’s future as a Congressman.

The Florida lawmaker faces a re-opened House Ethics Committee investigation into possible “sexual misconduct, illicit drug use and potential public corruption,” ABC News reported in July.

“House GOP members are seeking to quickly expel Gaetz if the ethics report comes back with findings of guilt,” CNN’s Jacqui Heinrich reported Sunday. “Following threats to vacate McCarthy, one tells me ‘No one can stand him at this point. A smart guy without morals.'”

Watch the videos above or at this link.


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