Thursday, February 16, 2017
No, Elizabeth Warren Is Not a Feminist Icon
What did she do? Did she lay down in the street to protect the voting rights of women? Did she take a stand against sex trafficking and female exploitation?
No. She knowingly and flagrantly broke a long-standing rule of the Senate. And for this, the left made her a hero.
The rule that Warren broke was Section 2 of Rule 19, a century-old prohibition on senators from attributing conduct or motives “unworthy or unbecoming” to another senator.
If applied, it requires the offending senator to “take his (or her) seat,” meaning they cannot speak for the remainder of the debate.
When Warren came to the floor to speak against the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., for attorney general, she embarked on a floor speech that painted Sessions—still her colleague in the Senate—as an unhinged racist.
Several minutes into her remarks, Warren called Sessions “a disgrace to the Justice Department” and stated that “he should withdraw his nomination and resign his position.”
It was this statement—not the reading of the letter from Coretta Scott King, as the media has repeatedly reported—which triggered the chair to warn Warren that she was dangerously close to violating the tenets of Rule 19.
Warren was either unmoved or confused about the rules of the Senate, because she continued to slander Sessions, stating that “he has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens.”
While Warren was referencing a statement from King, she was not quoting from it. (And furthermore, this claim against Sessions has been repeatedly debunked.)
Warren’s wanton and blatant disregard of the Senate’s standing rules is what triggered the application of Rule 19. Warren promptly appealed, but the Senate, by a vote of 49-43, determined that the rule had been correctly applied.
Meanwhile, the left was at work making a martyr of Warren for her deliberate disregard for the rules of the institution in which she serves. The hashtag #ShePersisted popped up within minutes—a reference to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s comment that Warren had been warned, but persisted in violation of the rules.
Feminists on Twitter fomented outrage that Warren had been “silenced,” that she had been shut down by the Senate patriarchy, that this was somehow representative of the struggle of women everywhere to be heard.
For her part, Warren stood outside the Senate chamber, bravely reading the statement that ran afoul of Senate rules, and then promptly called in to MSNBC to claim she’d been “red carded” in the Senate.
The left fell over themselves in martyrdom ecstasy. Such bravery, such courage, such resistance in the face of deep institutional oppression. (Not to be left out, even Hillary Clinton got in on the drama.)
The problem here, in case anyone hasn’t noticed yet, is that this “Elizabeth Warren, Feminist Hero, Courageous Victim” narrative is completely misplaced.
The Senate rules are gender-neutral. Explicitly so. Warren knowingly violated them, either because she just doesn’t care, or because she doesn’t know the difference between what’s allowed at a rally and what’s allowed on the Senate floor.
And for that, she’s a feminist icon? Please, spare me.
Raising Warren up as a hero of feminism because she knowingly broke a gender-neutral Senate rule not only belittles the actual achievements of feminist heroes like Alice Paul, Sojourner Truth, Shirley Chisholm, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony, it relegates women —again— to the status of victims, which they are most certainly not.
This is the problem with the left’s narrative about women. In seeking to make martyrs out of women like Warren (and Clinton, for that matter), they implicitly sell women on the idea that they are still kept down, still oppressed by the insidious forces of patriarchy in a society that’s set against them.
This isn’t an empowering philosophy. It’s a degrading one.
Women have made incredible strides in the face of tremendous odds. And because we have had true feminist heroes that have triumphed in the face of real oppression, we live in a time where women are Cabinet secretaries, CEOs of major corporations, senators, presidential contenders, leaders in their fields—even outnumbering men at universities.
Why does the left continue to tell women that they are still victims? This shamefully dismisses the accomplishments of women generations over who have sacrificed everything to create a society in which women are promoted for their accomplishments, and recognized for their achievements, rather than their gender.
Do women continue to face difficulties in modern society? Yes. Discrimination, exploitation, and harassment are very real issues faced by women across America, and ones that deserve very real attention.
But does what Warren faced in the Senate rise to that level? No. Profoundly, no.
For the left to equate the two—to make Warren a martyr to a belief that women are somehow still the most victimized class in society—is a shameful attempt to make women believe they still can’t reach the top tiers of society, that they’ll always be fighting some nebulous, unidentified patriarchal conspiracy designed to silence them, instead of pouring their energies into pursuing their dreams.
Warren consciously broke a 100-year-old Senate rule. A true feminist—one who prizes being treated equally regardless of gender—would own up to the issue and accept the consequences like every other member of the Senate, not wave the flag of victimhood in the face of American women who continue to achieve, break barriers, and reach the heights of their potential every single day.
Merkel Will Pay Migrants Millions To Leave Germany
Chancellor Angela Merkel is setting aside €90m (£76m) in taxpayers’ money to create a fund which will pay migrants to withdraw their asylum applications and leave Germany voluntarily.
The handouts will form part of a 16-point plan to speed up the removal of rejected asylum seekers, after Tunisian migrant Anis Amri murdered a Polish lorry driver, hijacked his vehicle and drove it into a Christmas market in Berlin while awaiting deportation.
U.S. president Donald Trump told The Times that Merkel made a “catastrophic mistake” when she opened the doors to an unlimited number of migrants in 2015. Her vice-chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, later admitted that his superior had underestimated how difficult it would be to integrate migrants on such a grand scale, and that Germany had been plunged into a kulturkampf, or “cultural war”, as a result.
Germany rejected 170,000 asylum claims in 2016 but, according to the Mail, just 26,000 were repatriated. 55,000 more decided to leave voluntarily – apparently leaving 81,000 bogus applicants unaccounted for.
“We rely heavily on voluntary departures,” admitted Chancellor Merkel, who was announcing the package after falling behind the Social Democrats in polls for Germany’s upcoming elections.
Martin Schulz, the former President of the European Parliament who has been nominated as the Social Democrat challenger to Merkel, said he backed the proposals to speed up deportations.
Schulz has previously insisted that “the people who are arriving [in Europe] are refugees who have been threatened [and] we should welcome them” – a statement which is at odds with the Vice-President of the European Commission’s admission that at least 60 per cent are economic migrants.
As a leading figure in the European Union, Schulz was a strong supporter of the compulsory migrant quotas. These were forced through by the bloc despite strong opposition from central and eastern European member-states, which did not agree with Germany’s unilateral decision to throw open the borders.
Schulz hit out strongly at these countries in 2015, accusing them of “national egotism in its purest form”.
Polish interior minister Mariusz Blaszczak described at Schulz’s words as “an example of German arrogance”.
Charlottesville city parks to be redesigned, renamed along with Lee statue removal
Moments after the Charlottesville City Council voted 3-2 to relocate the city's statue of Robert E. Lee, as people celebrated or stewed over the decision, the council unanimously agreed on two other measures that could bring even more change downtown.
Councilors voted to rename Lee and Jackson parks and tasked staff to begin the process of hiring a professional design firm to redesign them, as well.
The recommendations came from a panel the council convened last year to explore what the city should do about its statue of Lee, as well as one of Confederate Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.
In November, the panel recommended the city keep the statues in the city, though two options were presented: move them to McIntire Park or re-contextualize them in their current locations. The explicit and final recommendation to the council was to consider both options, but seven of the nine panel members voted in favor of relocating the Lee statue.
Staff members are expected to recommend to the council within 60 days new names for Lee and Jackson parks, and to provide direction on how and where the city can move the Lee statue.
"I have put forth before you today ... another resolution to pretty much complete the recommendations that were made by the Blue Ribbon Commission [on Race, Memorials and Public Spaces] for the other parts of the North Downtown Historic precinct," Councilor Kathy Galvin said before publicly introducing the motion Monday night.
The hired design team, which will create design plans for the Historic North Downtown and Court Square districts, also will be responsible for replacing a plaque that recognizes the former slave auction block near the Albemarle County Circuit Courthouse. The team also will create a new marker for the site of the former Freedmen's Bureau downtown.
Particularly in Jackson Park, where the statue of Jackson will remain, the resolution calls for the commissioning of a new monument to honor the city's enslaved population.
"The point of this resolution is to acknowledge the fact there'll probably be a delay in actually relocating the [Lee] statue because of the litigation that will ensue," Galvin said, alluding to threatened lawsuits over the proposal to remove the Lee statue, which many consider to be a war memorial that's protected by Virginia statute.
"Having that status quo remain in those parks I don't think is acceptable to anybody. So this was an opportunity to begin moving in that direction to get some tangible change in the parks to begin telling that clearer, more honest narrative of racial history in the city of Charlottesville," she said. "That's why I feel there's a need to act on this at the same time as we're acting on the statue relocation. This will probably come out of the gate quicker and sooner."
Altogether, the council agreed to allocate up to $1 million for the development, design and implementation of whatever master plan it adopts. Once a project contract is signed, the city or the design firm will provide a timeline to finish the project within 12 months.
Before voting on Galvin's resolution, Mayor Mike Signer said landscape architects have told city officials that the city can utilize approximately $1 million to complete the entire project and build a modest memorial. If it goes over budget, the resolution says the city could seek private donations or grants to complete the project.
The $1 million pegged for the project is twice the amount the council has resolved to put toward implementation of whatever it decided to do on the matter.
In December, the council decided it would use up to $500,000 of a $6 million surplus the city ran in the last fiscal year for implementation of the project. City officials have estimated that moving the Lee statue could cost about $330,000.
"This is real dollars toward a real serious commitment to transform downtown," Signer said about that allocation and the estimated cost of the redesign project.
While the future home of the Lee statue is not yet known, councilors expressed confidence in Galvin's plan.
"I want to highlight that Lee Park would be redesigned, independent of the Lee statue," Signer said, alluding to explicit language in the resolution. He said the redesigned park "has to have its own integrity and has to retain its ability to function as a community gathering space."
In addition to all of the resolutions that the council passed Monday, Councilor Wes Bellamy read a proclamation announcing that the city will now recognize March 3 as Liberation and Freedom Day to recognize the day in 1865 when the Union Army entered Charlottesville.
Dutch election hopeful Geert Wilders slams `TOTALITARIAN' EU & warns of `Islamisation of Europe'
GEERT Wilders has branded the EU a "totalitarian organisation" and claims "we will cease to exist" if Europe does not introduce more immigration restrictions.
Dutch far-right leader Wilders was speaking to Newsnight ahead of next month's general election, where he is hoping the global wave of populism following the Brexit vote and Donald Trump's election will propel him to become the Netherlands' next leader.
A longtime critic of Islam, Wilders wants to capitalise on fears over immigration, growing Euroscepticism and anti-establishment sentiment.
He said: "We are facing an existential problem here. "If we allow our borders to be open, if we are allowed to ignore the problems that we are facing today, let alone later in the century with the demographic situation in Africa, we will cease to exist.
"The more that we import Islam. I'm not saying that all the people are extremist people, but the ideology and freedom are incompatible.
If elected Mr Wilders, who is Christian, has promised to deliver a total 'de-Islamification' of the Netherlands.
Over two years he travelled around the Middle East and began to form the anti-Islamic views that have defined his political career.
The Dutch Freedom Party (PPV) leader went on to attack the EU amid surging poll ratings which suggest the Netherlands are keen to get out of the crumbling Brussels bloc.
In the interview, Wilders was asked if he felt President Trump's bid to put "America First" had taken us back to the political climate at the outbreak of the Second World War.
He responded: "We made another totalitarian organisation dominant which is called the European Union. "I am not saying it is totalitarian to all the citizens of the European Union, but it is totalitarian towards the member states.
"People are equal - ideologies, values, are not equal. Religions are not equal.
"Cultural relativists who say Islamic culture is the same as Christianity. don't demand [Muslims] to integrate and assimilate."
He blasted: "This is the worst thing that has happened to us!"
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.