Civil Rights

Gender equality ... the rest of the story

Over the weekend, I joined throngs of tourists to take in the Cherry Blossom trees along the Tidal Basin. Because of the unseasonably cold temperatures this year, visitors were bundled up in jackets and scarves, even hats and mittens. I was acutely aware of the extra layers of clothing because there is perhaps no better time to view today’s provocative “tweener trends” than tourist season in D.C. Come July, there is no shortage of young girls riding the Metro in too-short shorts, midriff-bearing tops and high-gloss lipstick.

Unless you’ve been living on the moon for the past decade, it’s hard to miss the fact that young girls today seem to be wearing less and flaunting more. (And companies like Abercrombie & Fitch, which recently released the “push-up triangle” bikini top for girls as young as age 7, certainly encourage these styles.) But given the ages of these girls, it’s hard not to ask: Who’s buying them this clothing?

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The war on women

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the authority to declare war, so I want to know: Who authorized the war on American women currently being waged in Republican-controlled legislatures around the country? Aided by some Democrats at the federal and state levels, extreme measures cloaked in lofty rhetoric about fiscal discipline and civil rights are being proposed and passed that undermine our status as equal Americans and take away our access to legal health procedures.
 
In Georgia, as a way to make sure women don’t “game the system” a measure would require a woman to prove that she had a miscarriage; and in his budget, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker bans insurance coverage for prescription birth control.
 
In South Dakota, a measure would redefine murder as “justifiable homicide” if the relative of a woman who’d decided to have an abortion kills the person who performed that procedure. There’s also a new law requiring a woman to wait three days after meeting with her doctor, and undergo a consultation at a "pregnancy help center" — to speak with counselors who oppose abortion.

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America's race progress

The Declaration of Independence proclaimed that all men are created equal, but looking through human history, we see examples of groups of people not treating other groups equally. As Americans, we act like “it only happens here,” for better or worse, and hear people all over the world berating America’s sordid, racially divided past. But guess what— most countries are much, much worse. Australia’s discrimination against Aborigines, France’s and Germany’s treatment of Muslim immigrants, Africans’ wholesale slaughter of fellow Africans from other tribes, China’s oppression of its non-Han minorities, Japan’s underlying prejudice against all gaijin, and so on and so forth.

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Racism and the fear of offending others

Racism is a funny thing, even though few find the humor in it. Publicly, everyone rebukes its, yet privately most unwittingly endorse it while thinking, "I'm not a racist."

A friend of mine from the Midwest told me how he was talking to an acquaintance from Southern California. "I can't believe how the Midwest and South treat African-Americans. It's a disgrace." The enlightened Californian followed that with, "All these damn wetbacks are ruining America." Of course, the man didn't think what he said was racist because in his mind racism is only between blacks and whites; plus, he was simply "stating the truth" about Hispanics.

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Mr. Kafka goes to Washington: TSA’s groping is torture

The TSA’s groin groping and full-porn scanning, championed by Obama’s lackluster Cheney, Joe Biden, enters the realm of dominance, intimidation and sexual threat and knowledge that goes to the core of total government control: totalitarianism. It is the sickly sister to torture; torture without the physical pain but with the humiliation and psychological disturbance and depersonalization and total dominance that is the essence of torture. It is the work of a government lost and disoriented like that in Kafka’s In the Penal Colony: a government sensing in a panic that its time in history is passing and it has lost control.

The purpose of torture in war, is total psychological dominance. When the Bush administration instigated this egregious policy during the invasion of Iraq, Americans, and Congress in particular, barely raised a peep. We had become a nation of zombies. The Bush administration understood that we Americans, and Congress in particular, had failed the test of citizenship and they would be allowed a free hand over there and over here. America had no courage to stop them.

It was because of these actions by Bush and Cheney that state sovereignty solutions first began to arise in New Hampshire and Vermont. A USA Today/Gallup Poll finds just about as many Americans want Tea Party-backed members of Congress to take the lead in setting policy during the next year as choose President Obama. The Tea Party will now bring an antidote to the zombie jamboree that is two-party politics under the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations.

 

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Feminists disappointed by women

Sexism really is still with us. On a recent episode of PBS’s “To the Contrary,” where I contributed as a guest, the discussion turned to the fact that women still lag behind men in achieving the highest leadership positions in politics and business. And some people think the statistics point to a problem with women themselves.

“Women need to learn to be much stronger” if they are ever going to reach “parity” with men, argued one commentator. Indeed, this activist complained that women are complacent, that “the real barrier now is not so much the external barrier, but the internal barriers that women have.”

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The NRA way

Polling suggests that House icon John Dingell is in trouble in his reelection bid, and to many conservative groups, an unlikely ally is likely to speed to his rescue — the National Rifle Association.

This will drive many conservative bloggers, writers and erstwhile leaders nuts, but as a former NRA lobbyist, let me state this clearly — the NRA owes nothing to the conservative movement or the Republican Party. It is the NRA’s job to protect the Second Amendment rights of all Americans, not just Republicans, independents, Democrats or non-participants, but for all Americans.

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Justice Department racial double standard

Last week, lost in the Colbert hoopla, Christopher Coates, a former head of the Department of Justice’s Voter Rights Division, testified, “Opposition within the voting section was widespread to taking actions under the Voting Rights Act on behalf of white voters in Noxubee County, Miss.”

Coates confirmed last year’s testimony by former DoJ official J. Christian Adams that the government was wrong to drop an open-and-shut case against the New Black Panther Party for claims of voter intimidation during the 2008 election.

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Don't give Islamic extremists another victory at Ground Zero!

It’s a holistic pride within human nature that desires to shamelessly document all of our greatest victories with a sign of success for the world to see. The American flag on the moon is one of these glorious achievements that will be enshrined in history forever. This sentiment, which has been used to cultivate pride among nations, is being used against America with the building of the Ground Zero mosque. 

Americans, and especially the families of innocent victims of the terrorist attack, have been tortured enough. No proud American should stand by to allow salt to be thrown into the wounds of our great nation and people again.

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Pragmatism over politics: Why building the mosque makes sense

I am not going to get into politicians and pundits waving their wet fingers in the air to get a sense of the wind on this one. Forget the vagaries of the silly season — three months before an election, as important as one might think that is. I am not going to get into local vs. national responsibility, where it should or should not be built — two blocks, 10 blocks, in another state. I am not even going to get into religious freedom or the First Amendment or the history of building churches and synagogues in this country.

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