U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Health and Human Service Secretary Alex Azar joined representatives from Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, and Uganda Thursday in a virtual ceremony to launch the “Geneva Consensus Declaration on Promoting Women’s Health and Strengthening the Family.”
During the Obama administration, U.S. foreign policy supported reproductive rights and LGBTQ equality, while resistance and backlash to those principles were being led by religious-right advocacy groups, often in partnership with the world’s most repressive regimes. But during the Trump administration, the U.S. government has been mobilizing the reactionary forces. Pompeo and Azar have been working for at least a year and a half to mobilize Thursday’s signing of the Geneva Consensus.
The anti-abortion and anti-choice language of the declaration is explicit while wrapped in broad language about supporting women’s health. It draws language from other international agreements about the need to provide children with “special measures of protection” and “safeguards … before as well as after birth.” Speakers from the sponsoring nations all insisted that they would oppose any effort by any United Nations body to assert that access to abortion is recognized in international human rights law. Pompeo praised the Trump administration’s “unprecedented defense of the unborn abroad” and said he hoped that the declaration’s “moral clarity” will embolden others.
The anti-LGBTQ agenda of the coalition is less explicit in the language of the declaration itself—which draws on language from the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights to reaffirm that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state.” But Hungary’s Minister of State for Family, Youth and International Affairs Katalin Novák was more explicit, denouncing international forces that she charged were trying to “weaken the traditional family” through a “culture of indoctrination and preaching” at the U.N. and the promotion of “gender ideology,” “ideological neocolonialism,” and sex education.
Novák said that the right-wing anti-LGBTQ governments of Hungary and Poland are playing a leading role in promoting and strengthening the “traditional family.” Uganda’s health minister, Jane Aceng, criticized international pressure to support policies that “may be contrary to our values” and called for “due respect for our values and sovereignty.”
Notably, the document affirms that “universal health coverage is fundamental” in achieving the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals while recognizing that governments will “determine their own path towards achieving universal health coverage”—in the U.S., that path seems headed in the opposite direction as the Trump administration urges the Supreme Court to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and strip health care coverage from millions of Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.
18 Months in the Making: Pompeo and Azar Organizing at the United Nations
The Geneva Consensus Declaration event was a culmination of the Trump administration’s intensive efforts to build opposition to any international recognition of a right to abortion—and Pompeo and Azar’s zeal to undermine international recognition of the rights of LGBTQ people while celebrating governmental enforcement of “traditional” religious values on gender, sexuality, and family. They’ve been working on developing this new coalition for about a year and a half.
Last July, Pompeo and Azar sent a letter to foreign governments asking them to “join the United States in ensuring that every sovereign state has the ability to determine the best way to protect the unborn and defend the family as the foundational unit of society vital to children thriving and leading healthy lives.” The letter warned that “ambiguous” terms like “sexual and reproductive health and rights” are associated with “anti-family and pro-abortion policies.” The July letter built on a statement distributed in May by the governments of the U.S., Brazil, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Haiti, Ghana, Nigeria, and Iraq making the same argument. Since then, the U.S. has been working to expand this coalition.
In September 2019, on the eve of Trump’s address to the U.N. General Assembly, Azar released a similar statement, this one endorsed by a larger number of nations: United States of America, Bahrain, Belarus, Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Poland, Republic of the Congo, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
Just a month later, the U.S. issued a statement arguing that governments could better worktogether to improve access to health care if they avoided “divisive” topics. “The United States firmly believes that we can do more for people by coming together on those broad areas of agreement on which we can achieve genuine progress, rather than pursuing divisive policies that promote abortion, diminish the role of the family, and compromise the sovereignty of nations by focusing on sensitive issues where we know consensus is not possible,” the U.S. statement said in part.
Comprehensive sex education, a target of the World Congress of Families and right-wing culture warriors around the globe, was also singled out by the U.S. government. “We remain deeply concerned that comprehensive sexuality education programs undermine the protective role of the family in such education and condone harmful sexual risks for young people,” the U.S. statement said. “We continue to be a stalwart defender of all women, men, children, and families and support programs to improve their health, life, dignity, and well-being.”
The Trump team’s organizing continued with a November session and statement released during the Nairobi Summit on the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development, which was first held in Cairo in 1994. And in December, the Department of Health and Human Services and the governments of Hungary and Brazil sponsored an “International Conference on Family Policy” that was attended by White House domestic policy director Joe Grogan. The event also featured anti-choice and anti-marriage-equality activists from the U.S. religious right.
In December, Hungary and Brazil cosponsored a public gathering at which HHS Special Representative for Global Women’s Health Valerie Huber—an abstinence education advocate—thanked countries that have demonstrated “political will” and “moral courage” and acted to “preserve our countries and this civilization as it should be.” Azar singled out Huber for praise at Thursday’s ceremony.
This year, on Jan. 16, Azar addressed a closed-door meeting of 35 nations at Blair House, on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House. “Together, we built a pro-life, pro-family, pro-sovereignty coalition that is a force to be reckoned with,” Azar declared of the 2019 organizing efforts. But, he added, “our informal coalition needs to grow and be more active.”
Joining Azar in January were Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway and representatives of two authoritarian leaders compared to and praised by President Donald Trump: Hungary’s Novák and Brazil’s deputy chief of mission] in Washington, Minister-Counselor Fernando Pimentel. Azar also read a letter from Uganda’s Aceng, whom Azar called “one of our strongest and most reliable partners.”
At that event, Azar encouraged countries to continue to build momentum by attending “an upcoming global women’s health conference” in Geneva, Switzerland, in May, just before the start of the World Health Assembly. That is where the consensus declaration was to be finalized, but COVID-19 derailed that gathering. Presumably with an eye on the U.S. elections, sponsors decided to push forward with the release of the statement before the group meets next year.
All this official business builds on the work being done by an extensive network of religious-right legal and political groups. Hungary’s Novák has met with representatives of the Alliance Defending Freedom, the religious-right legal giant that opposes LGBTQ equality in the U.S. and has defended criminalization of homosexuality in other countries. “We agree that there is a great need for closer cooperation among international pro-family stakeholders in defending #family values,” Novák tweeted last November.
C-FAM, which works relentlessly to promote anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ policies at the U.N., cheered Azar’s January remarks. And C-FAM’s Austin Ruse, was quick to put out a statement Thursday “heartily” congratulating the Trump administration and the 32 nations that have signed the new declaration.
This article was originally published at Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission
Image: Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar participate in signing ceremony of the Geneva Consensus Declaration. State Department photo by Ron Przysucha via Flickr
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‘Why So Much Hate From You?’: Mark Cuban Smacks Down Stephen Miller, Twice
A far-right wing pundit’s decision to go after a 29-year old woman’s TikTok video about her plans for a relaxing Saturday during a holiday weekend sparked a firestorm between billionaire businessman and TV personality Mark Cuban and former Trump White House aide Stephen Miller, with the woman revealing later some of the hate she received after being made a target.
It all started when “Theocratic fascist” Matt Walsh, as he calls himself, reposted a TikTok video on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, from a woman who says she’s “29 and single, and I don’t have kids yet.” The woman, identified by Mediaite as Julia Mazur, told her followers she slept in Saturday morning, woke up with a hangover and didn’t get up until 10:15 AM, after going to a Beyoncé concert the night before.
Mazur described her upcoming day, saying she enjoys not having plans, kids, a husband, or errands, and loves going wherever the day takes her. She was looking forward to watching some streaming shows on Netflix and Hulu, and possibly learning how to make shakshuka.
“I wouldn’t want to do anything else this Saturday,” she said happily.
Walsh responded to Mazur’s casual celebration of a joyous weekend by saying, “Her life doesn’t revolve around her family and kids so instead it revolves around TV shows and pop stars. Worst of all she’s too stupid to realize how depressing this is.”
“If you don’t have a family at least do something interesting with your time,” Walsh continued. “These people have absurd amounts of free time and they do absolutely nothing with it. Wasting their lives staring at little glowing boxes. Absolutely soul crushing.”
Her life doesn’t revolve around her family and kids so instead it revolves around TV shows and pop stars. Worst of all she’s too stupid to realize how depressing this is.
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) September 3, 2023
Cuban stepped in, snarking on Walsh: “Says the guy who’s life revolves around Twitter/X.”
“How do you know she isnt trying to make it her job ? She has really good engagement and increasing numbers,” Cuban added.
That’s when Miller jumped in.
“You have a large following,” Miller, the architect of the Trump administration’s family separation policy, began. “People listen to your advice. What would you say is a more fulfilling path for adults: starting a family, or sleeping late and watching TV? What advice would you give to someone who suggests they wish to be childless so they can stream more shows?”
“Thanks for asking Stephen,” Cuban said in his lengthy response, which included him saying Mazur having a family or not is “none of my fucking business.”
He also asked Miller, “what happened that causes you to hate so much. Seriously Stephen. Why so much hate from you?”:
“1. I wouldn’t give her advice unless she asked. 2. After looking at the comments to her posts, I would thank her for offering a place for people who can relate to her, to engage and have a conversation. She replies to the comments and based on that, people seem to appreciate it 3. From a business perspective, I would tell her that the Wellness Space is crowded but if she does this in addition to her job, she might be able to build a nice business. 4. As far as a family. I would tell her to do whatever she thinks is best for her. It’s none of my fucking business 5. If I had you both in a room , I would point at her and thank her for trying to bring joy to others and I would point at you and ask what happened that causes you to hate so much. Seriously Stephen. Why so much hate from you?”
The exchange didn’t end there.
“In the interests of time I will respond with two points,” Miller replied. “1. No society can succeed where the constant message from our elites leaders is do whatever the hell you want and don’t worry about children. Children are simply the most important thing in the whole world and the foundation of civilization and all human flourishing. 2. Could you be more specific with your crass (and, I think you would acknowledge, unprovoked) smear on point 5? The issue/work with which I’m arguably most associated, stopping human smuggling and trafficking, is quite literally about saving human lives.”
Cuban replied, in an even lengthier response that included saying, “What any individual does in terms of having children or not is their choice. Full Stop.”
“Maybe I’m wrong , but if one of those children is born to an illegal immigrant, my understanding is that you do not want to help them and you want to deport them ?” he added, calling that “hateful.”
Ultimately, Mazur posted another video, detailing some of the hate messages she’s received since Walsh’s initial post.
Walsh’s platform often revolves around attacking the LGBTQ community, including especially transgender girls and women, He has been included in reporting on white Christian nationalism, and “far-right media instigators.” He also recently warned, “whites are trending towards extinction in the United States.”
Mazur said Walsh’s followers told her, “I should actually die and never leave my house. I should be sexually assaulted,” she said, adding she was told, “I’m a whore.”
“These people were really really really riled up about my choices,” she said.
But Mazur concluded, “life’s too short figuring out what Matt Walsh wants us to do.”
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) September 4, 2023
Watch the videos above or at this link.
Image of Mark Cuban via Shutterstock
Liberal Fox News Co-Host Destroys Conservatives’ Claims the Right Holds the Majority Opinion on Culture War Issues
Fox News co-host Jessica Tarlov, the lone liberal on the the right-wing cable channel’s very popular afternoon show “The Five,” destroyed her conservative co-hosts’ talking points on a wide variety of culture war issues.
Behind a chyron of “Tyranny of the Minority” – related to remark made by Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy – Tarlov on Wednesday fed facts to the conservatives who tried to claim the majority of Americans oppose the right to choose an abortion, and the majority of Americans do not support transgender people.
“On the trans issue, for instance,” Tarlov offered, “our own Fox polling shows that 57% of Americans think that trans kids and their families being the target of political attacks, as in these anti-trans bills, is a major problem.”
“When you look at the actual numbers of kids that are, for instance, they have gender dysphoria, and they’re getting top surgery. How many kids do you think got top surgery last year?” she asked, not receiving a response from any of her co-hosts.
“Under 300,” answered Tarlov, who “holds two Master’s degrees in political science and public policy, as well as a Ph.D. in Government from the London School of Economics and Political Science,” according to Variety.
“Then think about an issue that’s really important to Democrats –” she suggested, trying to continue before co-host Greg Gutfeld interjected, asking: “Children?”
“Minors,” she responded, referring to the question of top surgery.
“That’s an atrocity,” Gutfeld declared. “But continue,” he added, laughing.
“But over 5800 kids were victims of gun violence, for instance,” Tarlov pointed out. “I don’t hear Republicans talking about that. Tyranny of the minority –” she again tried to continue before Gutfeld interrupted.
“Oh, what a false comparison,” he snarked.
“It absolutely isn’t,” responded Tarlov. “It’s a priority on the right to talk about trans issues, a priority on the left to talk about gun violence. Which affects more people?” she asked.
“Abortion is another instance of the tyranny of the minority,” Tarlov continued. “I get it, federalism – you send it back to the states where a group of elected officials have decided, for instance, in like Texas, Louisiana, that women should not be able to get abortions after six weeks. We have women that are bleeding out, going into sepsis. In Louisiana, a woman was forced to carry a baby that had no skull.”
Gutfeld, apparently outraged, screamed, “What does this have to do with this topic?”
“What are you talking about?” she replied. “This is, he says tyranny of the minority.”
“But that had to do with LGBTQ,” Jeanine Pirro interjected, “not with all of your favorite issues.”
“He’s running to be president of the United States of America,” Tarlov argued.
“But that’s not what we’re talking about, we’re talking about – I asked you specifically about pronouns,” Pirro complained.
“And I said he was wrong to act as if the GOP is the party of the majority opinion – they are not. They’re taking minority positions and running with them,” Tarlov explained.
An agitated Gutfeld again interjected, “Pro-life isn’t a minority position.”
“It is, actually,” she replied.
“What, are you gonna talk about the fact that it’s like 48%,” Gutfeld, hands raised, again snarked.
“No, I’m going to talk about the 69% – it’s the highest it’s ever been recorded – that now support abortion at least through the first trimester,” she replied. “And what’s happening then in Ohio and Kansas and Kentucky.”
“What’s the Democrat stance on abortion?” Gutfeld asked.
“That it’s between a woman and her doctor to make those decisions,” she said.
“No, what’s the what’s the cut off?” Gutfeld asked. “Is that what you call that tyranny of minority as well?”
Frustrated, Gutfeld added, “I think the logic here is that you’re slicing these issues –”
“Are you talking about, ‘we want to kill live babies’?” Tarlov asked, referring to conservative talking points.
“I didn’t say that,” Gutfeld replied.
“I’m just pointing out that this isn’t actually the right argument, but go ahead,” he offered, before Pirro took over and said, “I’d like to get back to the issue.”
Watch below or at this link.
You can tell Jessica Tarlov hit a nerve here by how Judge Jeanine and Gutfeld reacted — especially when she points out how out of step the GOP is on abortion and other issues while simultaneously railing about the “tyranny of the minority” regarding trans kids. pic.twitter.com/IY1tnmaGVP
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) August 16, 2023
‘That’s How Fascists Talk’: Matt Gaetz Slammed for Threat of Violence
According to an expert on authoritarianism, comments made by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on Saturday while standing with former president Donald Trump should raise flags as he promised to use “force” to create change in Washington, D.C.
Considering the former president was recently indicted for conspiracy related to the Jan. 6 insurrection that led to lawmakers fleeing for their lives, historian and author Ruth Ben-Ghiat called Gaetz comments alarming.
Speaking before a crowd at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday, Gaetz stated, “Mr. President, I cannot stand these people that are destroying our country. They are opening our borders. They are weaponizing our federal law enforcement against patriotic Americans who love this nation as we should,” before adding, “But we know that only through force do we make any change in a corrupt town like Washington, D.C. And so to all my friends here in Iowa, when you see them come for this man, know that they are coming for our movement and they are coming for all of us.”
Reacting to Gaetz’s proclamations, Ben-Ghiat told MSNBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin, “What he is saying is that they are not going to have change through elections or through legislation or through reform. They are going to have change through violence.”
“And that’s how fascists talk,” she added. “So, even if Trump is out of the picture, these are people who have adopted methods very familiar to me as a historian of fascism, that violence and corruption and lying that’s what the party is today.”
Watch below or at the link:
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