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Lawsuits filed to determine Effectiveness of Women in Combat

The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has filed two different Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits in different federal district courts to obtain results from testing women for direct combat roles. One lawsuit was filed against the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, and the 2nd lawsuit was filed against the Department of Army in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Both lawsuits were filed on behalf of Elaine Donnelly and the Center for Military Readiness (“CMR”) to obtain records related to the effectiveness of women in direct combat roles which should have been provided as a result of previous Freedom of Information Act requests.

Thomas More Law Center Files Two Lawsuits to Obtain Military Documentation on Effectiveness of Women to Close-In and Kill the Enemy

Since the founding of CMR in 1993, Elaine Donnelly, as its president, has been researching and reporting on various aspects of social policy in all branches of military service. TMLC’s Senior Trial Counsel, Erin Mersino, has been assisting Donnelly’s efforts by filing numerous FOIA requests on all branches of military service. Commenting on the two lawsuits filed yesterday, Mersino stated, “Adherence to the FOIA is crucial because it allows the public access to our government.  The documents we requested under FOIA are time sensitive.  Permanent decisions regarding women in the infantry are projected to be made as soon as January 2016.  The public should be informed of such important matters that directly affect our national security.”

CMR has already prepared an analysis of the study conducted by the British Ministry of Defense, which tears to shreds the case for women in ground close combat.  One of the findings of the study was that under conditions of high intensity close quarter battle, “team cohesion is of such significance that the employment of women in this environment would represent a risk to combat effectiveness and no gain in terms of combat effectiveness to offset it.” The entire analysis can be found at:

http://cmrlink.org/data/sites/85/CMRDocuments/CMRPolicyAnalysisFebruary2015.pdf

In January of 2013, the Obama administration announced its decision to make female military personnel eligible for assignment to direct ground combat units, including the infantry, by January of 2016.  Since then the various departments of the military have been collecting data concerning the safety and effectiveness of women on the front lines. TMLC has submitted numerous FOIA requests on behalf of Elaine Donnelly and the CMR in an effort to obtain information prior to the conclusion of the military’s studies in January 2016.  The recent FOIA requests to the Army and to SOCOM were part of that concerted effort.

Although a small group of service women initially volunteered for tests, that number has dwindled.  Obtaining the documents asked for in the lawsuits will allow Elaine Donnelly to analyze the safety and effectiveness of allowing women in the infantry and provide its findings and analysis to the public and to the military at a crucial point in time.

Of particular interest to the Law Center is the attempt by the Pentagon to insert women into the one of the most grueling training regimens in the entire military establishment, the U.S. Army Rangers.  The deep concern now is that the Pentagon will reduce the physical requirements so that women will pass.

Richard Thompson, TMLC’s President and Chief Counsel, commented:

“The question is not whether women should serve in combat, they already do, and admirably. The question is whether women should purposely be placed in situations where they must close with the enemy in extremes of physical endurance, climate and terrain, brutal and violent death, injury, horror, and fear, just to satisfy the feminist agenda. Too many generals in the Pentagon know better, but they succumb to political pressure acting more like politicians than true military leaders. They already know that the end result will be compromised standards, destruction of the effectiveness of units like the Rangers and Navy Seals, and disruption of the warrior spirit and ethos so carefully nurtured over the years.”

Overdue Recognition: Investigating Shariah Courts in the UK

British MPs and Peers may now have abandoned Parliament to campaign in our impending elections, but in doing so, they left one rather gaping hole in terms of public policy on counter-extremism.

The Parliamentary session was supposed to have broken with a new counter-extremism strategy having been published. It was to be put in place in order to ensure that the new government and Parliament will have a template on how to deal with one of the key issues of our time.

However, there have been a series of frustrating delays, and the full strategy is yet to be launched. This week, a key part was finally revealed. A cursory examination of this shows it encompasses many of those things which a counter-terrorism strategy really has to cover. But it crucially also included the proposal of something potentially more contentious: launching an investigation into the activities of sharia courts in the UK.

Hitherto the UK government has focused primarily on the violence problem. Yet now, a significant shift has occurred so that officials must also consider the extent to that there is also a non-violent problem. Women in the UK in the 21st century being subjected to sharia law is now to be appraised as part of the problem. People being taught to live segregated lives is now a criteria to consider as part of the problem. It has taken a long time to acknowledge this.

For years the presumption has been that stopping bombs is the role of counter extremism but that stopping the emergence of a divided and parallel society within our society is not. But violent extremists do not come from nowhere. They come from a place which encourages their us-and-them mindset, a mindset which portions of society have not only tolerated but even encouraged.

There are many fights left to win and many problems which remain to be addressed. Fortunately we now have one fewer to contend with.

A Canadian Woman On The Frontlines With ISIS

INCREASING NUMBERS OF FEMALES

Last week the Toronto Sun reported on two women from Montreal who apparently left to join Daesh (ISIS) in November. While these are not the first Canadians who have travelled for this purpose, this definitely points to an emerging trend in that the individuals were female. What draws women to join one of the most notorious terrorist organizations on the face of the planet? Perhaps we think that women (in some cases teenage women) are less susceptible to recruitment or radicalization. Realistically, though, that simply isn’t the case and Canadian women are, more and more, coming up on the radar as engaging with and travelling to support ISIS.

For More on Female Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq

For More on TRAC Focus On France: Female Foreign Fighters (Jihadist)

Tracking a Canadian Woman's Involvement with ISIS

Case in point, iBRABO began monitoring a female, whom we’ll call L.A., shortly after publishing our story on the New Zealand jihadist, Mark Taylor. Based on his tweets about his experiences in the “Islamic State,” we were able to track him through Syria through his twitter geo-location. One of the benefits of tracking terrorists through geocoded tweets is they are like a virtual trail of breadcrumbs. While surveilling ISIS strongholds in Syria and Iraq, our analysts observed another social media account of a Western ISIS supporter that concerned us.   In this case, the twitter trail that we were able to follow led us directly back to a female account in Toronto. L.A. had been actively moving about throughout Toronto and broadcasting her location up until the 23rd of November 2014. At that point she disappears and isn’t seen again until her Android phone starts broadcasting on the 8th of December from Ar Raqqah, Syria (below). Ar Raqqah is one of the major stronghold cities for ISIS and for that reason is intensely monitored by several organizations.

THE PATH TO ENGAGEMENT WITH VIOLENT EXTREMISM

So how is it that a Canadian woman ends up in the heart of what ISIS calls the “Islamic State”? Some of the answers for this lie in her Twitter page (vetted below).

Twitter Profile of Female Canadian ISIS Supporter

L.A.’s Twitter background image is a picture of an ISIS beheading from  al-Furqan Media Foundation from the Video Althought the Unbelievers Dislike It. To see the full video refer to the conclusion. The image was identified through the Al-Furqan media icon in the upper left corner of the image (below).

For More on Detailed Analysis of Islamic State (ISIS) Video: Although the Unbelievers Dislike It – A Story of Expansion and Beheadings

Al-Furqan Media Foundaion - iBRABO

Image: Al-Furqan Media Foundation logo.

RETWEETING PROPAGANDA AS PREDECESSOR TO RECRUITMENT

While viewing propaganda imagery in and of itself doesn’t mean a person has radicalized (we have watched more than our fair share), we have found that individuals who then go on to rebroadcast or adopt those images as their own in social media are posting a potential red flag. Another predictor relates to peer influence, and in that regard social media has changed the traditional need for direct peer interaction. Looking at the peer network L.A. has built on her twitter account, there are several dozen ISIS fighters and supporters she follows and engages with. This past week several of those members were suspended in a mass cull by Twitter, who was looking to eliminate some of the thousands of ISIS accounts on its platform.

L.A. makes numerous references to her support for ISIS in her twitter feed stating, “God bless those who live on His path and who die on His path”. As well as defending ISIS against arguments by others that they are Khawarij (a derogatory name many in the Arabic world now use for the group)

THE FIRST DOCUMENTED CASE OF A FEMALE ON THE FRONTLINES WITH ISIS

GEO-LOCATING L.A.’S ACTIVITIES SINCE ARRIVAL

Perhaps the most damning evidence of her involvement with ISIS are her activities once she arrives in Syria. Unlike the typical “domestic” role that is described in Institute for Strategic Dialog’s recent article “Becoming Mulan”L.A. appears to take a very active role with ISIS. Examining her Twitter geo-location track L.A. has travelled on numerous occasions to virtually every major city that ISIS controls. To put this in perspective, L.A. has travelled across more ISIS controlled territory than any other ISIS account we have monitored. Some of these travels include Ar Raqqah, Dier ez Zur, Mosul, Aleppo and the embattled town of Kobane (lead photo). On the 25th of December 2014,  L.A. travelled to the frontline in Kobane when ISIS was starting to take on major losses inflicted by both coaltion strikes and the fight with the Kurdish YPG. Typically, ISIS takes the position that it does not allow women to be involved in fighting. It is possible that with the severe loses ISIS was experiencing they needed the ability to gather intelligence using women, and thus allowed L.A. to penetrate into Kobane (below). While on the frontline in Kobane she comments on her interaction with the fighters, “I did not see in their actions, anything but the utmost of respect for me as a sister.”

L.A. in Kobane December 25

L.A. then travels to the ISIS controlled city of Mosul in Iraq on the 9th of January 2015 before continuing on to Aleppo where she stayed from January 11-16 (Below). While in Aleppo she spends all of her time in territory controlled by ISIS’s enemies including: Regime opposition and YPG controlled areas. Given her previous trip to Mosul and her attendance directly in Aleppo, a reasonable inference would be that L.A. may have again been facilitating surveillance for ISIS during her time in Aleppo. Previous reports have discussed the use of the al-Khansa Brigade, “an ISIS unit – predominantly foreign – of women who handle security and intelligence in Raqqah“. This unit is also trained on and regularly carries AK-47’s. ISIS has had its eye on Aleppo since its push into Syria and the timing of L.A.’s visit would be consistent with reports of ISIS’s advances on the city and attacks on Jabhat al-Nusra (JN).

For More on Al-Khansaa Brigade

 L.A. in Aleppo Syria Jan 11th - 16th  (Battlefront map from PDC LLC)

Guardian . . . of what?

The Guardian, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, does for the reading public what Common Core books, also supported by the Gateses, do for American students – it provides a wealth of misinformation with an agenda.  In its Global Development section, writer Liz Ford wrote of the role of girls and women under Islam, specifically Palestinians, and the violence to which they are subjected in their society.

quran 2Because her itemization was inaccurate and lacking references, I can provide some specifics about their driving force:

  • Koran 4:34 Allah has made men superior to women and, therefore, women must be obedient or be admonished and beaten.
  • M10-12 If the wife is rebellious, the man may warn her, follow with hitting, and beating but not breaking her bones or damaging her face.  He may even imprison her in a room and withhold food and clothing.
  • M10:4 A man may forbid his wife to leave the home.
  • 022:1 Women may never become judges (they are not equal)
  • L10:3 A woman’s value is half that of a man, because her “mind is deficient.”  A woman should receive half the money of a man in an indemnity case, because women lack in intelligence and religion.
  • 2:282 Her testimony is worth half the man’s.
  • Bukhari 7,722,229  Deals with female genital mutilation and is compulsory.  The term “circumcision” deceptively applies to both men and women, but what they do to women is indeed severe mutilation.
  • 012.6  Extra-marital relations are forbidden, and the penalty for women is stoning to death; it is also recommended in “honor” killings.  Men are held blameless.
  • Bukhari 7,62.18  It is lawful to take a child bride.  Mohammed was 51 when he proposed to six-year-old Aisha.  Recently it was announced that a man may marry an infant who is still being breastfed.

woman in burqaThe Palestinian National Authority Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA) is acknowledging its gender issues in order to work toward developing a Palestinian state. According to a report published by the Palestinian Authority in 2011, culture and tradition were often the main justifications for violence against women in “Palestine.”  Each of the reasons for humiliation and cruelty towards women is included in the Koran, some of which are noted above.

Despite the report’s admission that specified Islamic culture and tradition as the cause of abuse toward women, the Guardian’s writer, Liz Ford, has chosen to blame Israel – the only country in the Middle East where all its citizens live in freedom and with equal rights.  She has also called Israel an “occupier,” when, in fact, the territory is “disputed.”  The territory has been Judea and Samaria for thousands of years, and Jordan annexed the area for a mere nineteen years (1948 – 1967) after the aggressive war against the new Jewish State.  Thus, Ford’s information was incorrect, misleading and inflammatory.  The mistreatment of women by Arabs and Muslims began at least 14 centuries earlier.  Note, too, that if we delve into the times of Jews in restricted areas (ghettos),  in the Middle East, Spain, Italy and Eastern Europe, a loving Jewish family life is what kept them stronger under duress.

Another study in the same report, conducted by UN Women in 2009, blamed the men’s violence against women on the stress they felt after Israel’s military strikes on Gaza in December, 2008.  With that reasoning, Jewish men who suffered post-traumatic stress syndrome from the preponderance of Palestinian rocket fire on Israel or sudden attacks on the street should have been equally violent, but there are no reports of comparable familial abuse in Israel.

Through World Wars I and II, we heard of no abuse between husbands and wives who were fleeing for their lives from the impending horrors.  If anything, families were protective and more caring of each other.  And, despite the constant conditions of war from neighboring Islamic states, Israelis were rated among the happiest people in the world – not stressed from spousal abuse.  In fact, it is highly unlikely that Israel’s medical, technological, and other creative innovations and advancements could have been made by abused, unhappy, depressed individuals.

Are we to believe that Palestinian men have no self-control following military strikes on Gaza?  By now, we have learned that Palestinian men have no self-control, period.  In several previous articles, I have reported how the children are taught to hate and abuse animals, practice with weapons and hope to be shaheeds(martyrs), continue their training to behead live animals and captured humans, and increase their propensity for violence with staged “days of rage.”  They cover their faces uniformly, hiding human expression, thereby hindering camaraderie and bonding, and developing an insensitivity to others. They celebrate death with distributed sweets when a son is killed while murdering Jews.  Men gather in plazas to relish stoning someone’s wife to death.  They have been robbed of all kindness and there is nothing left for even their own family members.  Clearly, Islamic Sharia law, destroying freedoms and the sanctioning of hate, victimization, abuse, and killing, leads to dehumanization, pain, contempt, and despair.

Another Guardian writer, Angela Robson, blamed the blockade for her husband’s job loss and consequential beastly behavior.  Ohio was fifth in the U.S. for job losses (more than 303,000) attributed to the non-oil trade deficit in 2007.  Michigan lost 319,200 jobs, 7.5 percent of total employment lost.  California ranked first in terms of actual job losses, 696,000.  The Economic Policy Institute reported four million jobs lost nationally in the U.S. in 2007, 70 percent of the displaced jobs in the manufacturing sector.  America had no comparable increase in spousal abuse.

The Guardian has been repeatedly responsible for “news reports” that are nonsensical, but insulting and destructive, propaganda that appeals to the ignorant.  It makes one wonder how they can benefit from lying about a democracy while supporting a tyrannical regime.  Is the Guardian welcoming the Islamic takeover in the UK?  Does it welcome an ever-growing welfare role of immigrants who will never assimilate, but who will amplify violence on the streets of England’s fair cities, and ultimately impose Sharia laws on the land?  The average citizen is alleged to be apolitical and unaffected.  It makes one wonder just how many people in Merrie Olde England have lost sight of any lessons from WW II and are choosing to slumber again.

James Madison, of English descent, wisely said, “The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.

New York Daily News: “The hijab is hot!”

This fatuous New York Daily News puff piece and the even more repulsive project it covers both glorify a primary vehicle for the oppression of women. It’s also remarkably ignorant: there are three photos accompanying the article, and all three show women wearing niqabs, not hijabs, yet the article and the project organizers speak only of hijabs. The article also sounds the predictable victimhood chords, as we’re told that one of the project organizers got yelled at as soon as she donned a hijab.

But what about the women who have not just been yelled at, but threatened and even murdered for not wearing one? Women and girls such as:

  1. Aqsa Parvez, whose Muslim father choked her to death with her hijab after she refused to wear it;
  2. and Amina Muse Ali, a Christian woman in Somalia whom Muslims murdered because she wasn’t wearing a hijab;
  3. and the 40 women who were murdered in Iraq in 2007 for not wearing the hijab;
  4. and Alya Al-Safar, whose Muslim cousin threatened to kill her and harm her family because she stopped wearing the hijab in Britain;
  5. and Amira Osman Hamid, who faces whipping in Sudan for refusing to wear the hijab;
  6. and the Egyptian girl, also named Amira, who committed suicide after being brutalized for her family for refusing to wear the hijab;
  7. and the Muslim and non-Muslim teachers at the Islamic College of South Australia who were told that they had to wear the hijab or be fired;
  8. and the women in Chechnya whom police shot with paintballs because they weren’t wearing hijab;
  9. and the women also in Chechnya who were threatened by men with automatic rifles for not wearing hijab;
  10. and the elementary school teachers in Tunisia who were threatened with death for not wearing hijab;
  11. and the Syrian schoolgirls who were forbidden to go to school unless they wore hijab;
  12. and the women in Gaza whom Hamas has forced to wear hijab;
  13. and the women in Iran who protested against the regime by daring to take off their legally-required hijab;
  14. and the women in London whom Muslim thugs threatened to murder if they didn’t wear hijab;
  15. and the anonymous young Muslim woman who doffed her hijab outside her home and started living a double life in fear of her parents,
  16. and all the other women and girls who have been killed or threatened, or who live in fear for daring not to wear the hijab.

When is the New York Daily News going to run a piece on them?

“The covered-girl look is great, say two Upper West Side artists who think NYC women should give the hijab a try,” by Justin Rocket Silverman, New York Daily News, October 13, 2014 (thanks to Pamela Hall):

The hijab is hot!

That’s the message two Upper West Side artists want to spread by encouraging women around the city to put on the veil and snap a selfie.

“Women who wear a hijab by choice are in complete control of their sexuality,” says Saks Afridi, who started the #DamnILookGood campaign with project partner Qinza Najm. “Here in New York, it’s very brave for a woman to wear one out in public.”

Najm had started wearing a hijab around New York City as an experiment, just to see what it would be like. Though she was raised in Pakistan, she and her family members do not wear the traditional head covering worn by some Muslim women. But one day she put on a hijab in her Lower East Side art studio and went for a walk around the neighborhood.

“Someone started screaming at me to ‘Go home!’ ” Najm recalls. “I was surprised because I figured people in New York would have more tolerance.”

She spent the next week wearing the hijab around town, and encountered more angry New Yorkers on the streets and subways. This aggressive reaction to a garment that’s quite common in many Muslim cultures prompted Najm and Afridi to do the project.

They launched it at the DUMBO Arts Festival last month, where hundreds of women put on the head covering and posed for selfies, posting them to sites like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #damnilookgood.

“A selfie suggests you are feeling confident and good about yourself,” says Najm, who put her hijab back on for the project and posed with the other women.

The hijab project is called ‘an exercise in tolerance,’ aiming to help people see what it’s like to wear one. #DamnILookGood The hijab project is called ‘an exercise in tolerance,’ aiming to help people see what it’s like to wear one.

Almost none of the women who participated in the #DamnILookGood project had ever worn a hijab before.

Some, like Erin Zeitler, 25, from the Upper West Side, had always assumed that women in hijabs were being forced to wear one, and not doing it as a fashion statement.

“It was mind-opening to put one on,” she says. “It was like looking at the world through someone else’s eyes.”…

RELATED ARTICLES:

Beheadings, Amputations, Eye Gouging, Sharia, Jihad: Witnesses Describe Horrors As ISIS Seeks To Overtake Kobane

Islamic State (ISIS) states its Quranic justification for the enslavement of women and sex slavery

The UK has effectively given up trying to stop jihadists from being created

FrontPage Mag: The Diversity of Islam? A Response to Nicholas Kristof

Ladies and gentlemen I offer you some good ‘Gun Sense’

With more and more women and men arming themselves with the latest tricked out versions of the AR-15 (the AR stands for Armalite, the company that originally manufactured this rifle), it is time to make sure you are using “good gun sense” when selecting a self defense weapon to defend your home and family.

Ladies and gentlemen I ask you: Will your home invasion self defense plan protect you from a Democrat prosecutor?

I have some tips.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of VolkStudio Blog.

Kimberly talks violent crime and her right to self-defense

Kimberly Weeks is a survivor of violent crime. As a college student she was brutally attacked in her apartment. Kimberly was overpowered and defenseless against her attacker. After her horrific experience, Kimberly got her concealed carry permit for self defense.

When Kimberly was assaulted she had to plead with her attacker to spare her life during her harrowing ordeal. Later on when she testified before the Colorado legislature, she pled with lawmakers, who were considering legislation to ban concealed carry on college campuses, not to strip her of the right to carry on her college campus. She didn’t want to be left defenseless again.

Kimberly is now standing up to Michael Bloomberg and his gun control efforts. Listen to her call Michael Bloomberg out on his hypocrisy and say, “Mr. Bloomberg you do not have the right to tell me how to defend myself.“

See more at: MeetBloomberg.com/Videos

Equal Work? Government Has No Idea What That is

“Equal pay for equal work!” the mantra goes. “Women get only 73 cents on a man’s dollar!” These are oft-heard slogans, and we may well hear them again during the fall campaign with the War on Women afoot. Now, going beyond the rhetoric, it’s not widely known but nonetheless true that the intersex pay gap is attributable to different career choices men and women make: women tend to choose less lucrative fields (e.g., soft sciences instead of hard ones), work shorter hours even when “full time,” are more likely to value personal fulfillment and job flexibility over money, are more inclined to take time off, generally have less job tenure and more often decline promotions. But while I’ve examined these factors at length in the past, the topic today is something more fundamental. This is that there would be a problem with even a well-intended equal-pay-for-equal-work scheme:

Hardly anyone knows what equal work is.

And the government hasn’t the foggiest idea.

Recently I mentioned how women tennis players now receive the same prize money as the men at Grand Slam events (Wimbledon; and the US, French and Australian opens) and how this is hailed as a victory for “equality.” Yet since the women still only play best of three sets but the men best of five, this actually means the men must work longer for the same pay. Even this, however, doesn’t truly illuminate the issue: what actually constitutes “equal work” in professional tennis?

I’ll introduce the point with another example. The top 10 female fashion models earned 10 times as much as their male counterparts in 2013. Is this unequal pay for equal work? Not really.

While I don’t know if women models’ job is more labor intensive, I know they don’t get paid because they’re capable of posing, wearing clothing, standing under hot lights or parading down runways. It’s because their “work” helps to satisfy a market — and it satisfies a bigger market than the men’s work does.

Note here that while people today frown upon discrimination based on innate qualities, integral to doing the women models’ work is being female. If the male models were women, they might be able to do the same “work” and satisfy the market equally.

Likewise, does the “work” in tennis directly have to do with number of sets played? As an aspiring 12-year-old tennis nut, I’d sometimes play 10 sets a day under the sweltering summer sun, but no one thought of compensating me and I never felt oppressed. Professional tennis players earn money because they satisfy a market, and the men’s “work” does this more effectively than the women’s. And how would we characterize this more valued work?

It is success on the men’s tour — people want to see the grandest stage in the game.

Thus, the only way a woman in tennis could do work equal to that of Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal is to compete on, and succeed equally on, the ATP Tour. Of course, a woman who could would not only enjoy the same prize money (it’s greater in men’s tennis overall), but would become a sporting sensation and might very well receive endorsements dwarfing the men’s. So her “work” then could actually be greater.

There are endless more mundane examples. A woman gynecologist I know will only hire female assistants because she believes it makes her patients more comfortable. Not only is this an example of why sex discrimination is often justifiable, but what if she was forced to hire a man? If the patients were indeed less comfortable — and, therefore, perhaps less likely to visit her practice — would that man truly be doing “equal work”?

Now consider female police officers. Forget for a moment that standards on forces were long ago lowered to accommodate women based on “disparate impact” theory and that Eric Holder is currently suing the Pennsylvania State Police for treating women equally. Imagine a study found that people in general, and the criminally inclined in particular, found male officers more imposing and therefore were more likely to mind their p’s and q’s around them. Would, then, even a highly competent female officer be able to perform “equal work”? And if not, and reflecting the phenomenon with fashion models, wouldn’t being male (or at least appearing so, to head the “transgender” argument off at the pass) be integral to the “work” of policing?

What of a female reporter in male athletes’ locker rooms? Not only wouldn’t it be allowed if the sexes were reversed, but if those men were less comfortable and less likely to be forthcoming in their comments — or even if they just had to modify their behavior — could her “work” really be equal to that of a male reporter’s?

Next, my local hardware store provides knowledgeable workers, all men, who render valuable advice on products and how to perform various home repairs. If it was determined that people found a female in that role less credible and were then not quite as likely to buy from the establishment, would even a highly competent woman be able to do “equal work” in that capacity?

What about the little West Indian restaurant, with all-black workers, I loved when I spent a few weeks in Tampa? If hiring a white person made the eatery seem less authentic and negatively affected its appeal, would that individual be able to do “equal work”? The same, of course, could be asked about a black person working in a German restaurant. In these cases race would be integral to the “work.”

And what of a homosexual Boy Scout troop leader? If his presence made parents less likely to enroll their boys in the organization, could he be capable of “equal work”?

Of course, one knee-jerk reaction here is to say that people “shouldn’t” view female cops or hardware specialists, or homosexuals differently than anyone else. But this is a moral argument of questionable morality, as it applies a bias in selectively objecting to market biases. People take little issue with gynecologists or day-care centers that won’t hire men, with male models being paid less or with ethnic restaurants hiring only non-whites. But try only hiring only male cops or employees; compensating a male hardware specialist more handsomely; or, as with Abercrombie a few years back, valuing employees who don’t wear hijabs over those who do. You may have an experience with the DOJ or EEOC that’ll make a dance with the IRS seem pleasant.

We could also talk about how we “should” value work. If we were deific or at least angelic, we would certainly value a mother-of-four’s labors or Mother Teresa’s loving charity more than Facebook and completely devalue rappers’ vulgarity. And even though I earn less than mainstream-press profferers of pablum, I consider my work infinitely more valuable. But flawed though market determinations may be, they’re still the best guide available.

Even within this worldly context, though, some may say there’s more nuance to the matter of work than my examples express. They may contend, for instance, that female police and hardware specialists might have strengths that counterbalance or even outweigh their weaknesses. And guess what?

I agree.

My examples could possibly be lacking.

And this just buttresses the point: virtually no one — if anyone — can properly assess what constitutes equal work in every situation.

This is yet another reason why the matter of work and pay is none of the government’s business. Are bureaucrats, politicians and judges qualified to determine what equal work might be in the thousands of professions in America? Government isn’t God; it’s not even the market, which can be defined as economic democracy expressed through purchasing decisions. When it intrudes into the economy it’s more like Hitler trumping his generals during WWII and deciding on military strategy: an autocratic agency as incompetent as it is arrogant.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of students and teachers uniting on the streets to protest for equality. Picture Credit

Report: Muslim Woman Secretly Films Life in Raqqa, Syria under the Islamic State

A Syrian woman agreed to carry a hidden camera to film how life is like inside Syria’s northern city of Raqqa, which has been under the control of the Islamic State (a.k.a. ISIL or ISIS).

The Clarion Project has published a report titled “Women’s Rights Under Sharia: An overview of the lack of equality and oppression of women under Sharia – the position of women in Muslim majority societies.” The Clarion Project reports:

Sharia law is an Islamic legal system which provides an Islamic alternative to secular models of governance. Women in societies governed by sharia have far fewer rights than women in the West.

Muslim-majority societies have varying degrees of sharia integrated into their law codes, but almost all use sharia to govern family affairs. Sharia courts also exist in a number of Western countries, particularly to adjudicate family law for Muslim citizens.

There is no one overarching authority which determines sharia, nor is there one conception of how women’s rights fit into sharia law.

Different interpretations and laws depending on which of the four schools of Islamic Jurisprudence is being used, and the customs of the sects and country in question.

The report was aired on France 2. It shows some French women who decided to move indefinitely to Syria while abandoning their previous lives in France.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is from the Facebook page of a Muslim woman living under shariah law. Photo courtesy of  The Clarion Project.

Liberal BBC Asks, “Is Sport Sexist?” While Promoting Inequality

It long ago became clear to me that, despite all the pretense, protesting and politicking, no one who has ever seriously thought about equality actually believes in it. When making this case, one could point to how Eric Holder’s DOJ is currently suing the Pennsylvania State Police for treating women equally (how dare they!), but there’s perhaps no better example than a recent BBC writer who asks, “Is sport sexist?”

The author, Aimee Lewis, poses the question because there are still sports where the women’s categories don’t precisely correspond to the men’s; for example, she mentions how women gymnasts and swimmers don’t always compete in the same kinds of events, the no-contact rule in women’s lacrosse and how in tennis, “While men play five sets at Grand Slams, women can only compete over three sets.”

Now, the last example well illustrates the convoluted thinking underpinning much of the equality movement. Is the correct way of framing this that “women can only compete over three sets”?

Or it is that men must compete over five?

This is especially relevant since the equality police long ago lobbied for, and succeeded in getting, equal prize money for women at the Grand Slams (Wimbledon, French Open, U.S. Open, Australian Open). In other words, the male players must now work longer for the same pay and thus are actually earning less per hour than the women.

Equality?

The head of the Women’s Tennis Association, Stacey Allaster, was asked about this recently, called it “an old discussion” and said, “[W]e’re ready, willing and able to play five sets if that’s what they’d like us to play.”

Question: Years ago, did Allaster merely say, “We’re ready, willing and able to accept equal prize money if that’s what they’d like to offer”?

No, she zealously lobbied for it.

Why isn’t she lobbying now for equal work for her players’ equal pay? Sure, it’s human nature to want the benefits others have but not their liabilities. But if you really believe in Equality™, you don’t just shout the word in an effort to institute a different model of inequality, one that benefits you or your agenda.

Having said this, I agree with Lewis’ implication: sport is “sexist.” After all, there is a separate realm of athletics that’s protected from the best competition and is only available to one sex. It is, of course, called women’s sports.

This isn’t just snark. There’s a simple answer to any feminist complaint about inequality in sports: You want the men’s money, exposure, standards, respect or something else?

Compete in men’s sports.

And women have the opportunity. Golfers Annika Sorenstam and Michelle Wie have received “sponsor’s exemptions” to play in PGA (men’s) events. Women have tried out for the NBA and have attempted to work their way up to baseball’s major leagues through the farm system. The door, Ms. Allaster, is open — you just have to be ready, willing and, most importantly, able to walk through it.

The point is this: It’s silly and hypocritical to lobby for equality within an inherently unequal system while simultaneously supporting that system. And if you do, do you really believe in equality in principle? Or only as ploy?

To arbitrarily say that female athletes should earn the same as male ones is like saying that lightweight boxers should have the same purses as heavyweights. It’s like saying the best handicapped “differently abled” athletes (as in the Special Olympics) should not only get paid, but they should earn the same as the able-bodied. And what of elite high-school athletes? The mile record for 15-year-old boys is better than the women’s world record, and the boys’ American high-school record is considerably better. And with some variation, these gaps hold across sports, yet most of these hard-working male athletes will never succeed in the men’s professional ranks and will never earn even what the women do. Should these young sportsmen not only be paid but be compensated as handsomely as the pros?

The answer is simple: If the market — which is just economic democracy expressed through purchasing decisions — valued events for the handicapped or juniors as highly as it does professional men’s sports, those arenas would command the same revenues. The same is true of women’s sports, of course, but in that case we’re expected to offer a special dispensation from the market forces that apply to anyone and everyone else. We’re also supposed to ignore professions in which women are paid more, such as modeling, in which 2013’s 10 top-earning female models commanded 10 times as much as their male counterparts.

Equality?

The reason why heavyweight boxers have always received more money and exposure (satisfied the market more) than lightweights is because the heavyweight world champion is the world champion. This is the same reason men’s professional sports command greater revenue and exposure than athletic arenas for juniors, the handicapped or collegians — or for women. The best male athletes are the best athletes. Other sports categories exist to provide other people with opportunities to compete, have fun and build character. They are not jobs programs.

The truth is that not just sport but all of nature’s and man’s world is a place defined by varying degrees of quality, not equality. This is no doubt why the Bible barely mentions the notion, except when referring to weights and measures. It’s also why I tend to doubt that anyone who has ever pondered equality deeply actually believes in it. It sure is a great rallying cry, though, when trying to overturn the status quo and institute a special-interest-group favoring system of inequality.

For this reason it actually would be beneficial to eliminate sex-specific categories in sports, let everyone compete together and allow the cream to rise to the top. After all, to use a twist on Lincoln’s observation about laws, the best way to eliminate a bad social movement is to apply its tenets strictly. If we actually had to live with the reality of “equality” instead of just its rhetoric, lobbying for equality might go out the window really, really fast.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

Liberated Women and the Traditional Family

Photo from Best of Feminist Memes.

My generation, born in the late 1930s and the 1940s, has witnessed a dramatic change in the role and the rights of women in America. A significant result of the women’s liberation movement is a change in the role of traditional marriage that was reported in early September.

If you count a generation as spanning 20 years,” wrote Terence P. Jeffery, an editor of CNSNews.com, “then approximately 36 percent of the American generation born from 1993 through 2012—which has begun turning 21 this year and will continue turning 21 through 2033—were born to unmarried mothers.”

By comparison, Jeffrey noted that “Back in 1940, only 3.8 percent of American babies were born to unmarried mothers. By 1960, it was still only 5.3 percent.” There was a time when being a single mother was regarded as a reflection of the woman’s moral values. How a society deals with issues affecting the family as its single most important factor reflects its attitudes regarding marriage.

“It is a statistical fact that the institution of the family,” wrote Jeffrey, “has been collapsing in American over the past 45 years.”

Another statistic has significance as well. Today 51% of the U.S. population is single. A new generation of Americans, men and women, have decided that a committed relationship holds little allure.

The call for women’s rights has a long history. In 1794, Mary Wollstonecraft wrote “A Vindication of the Rights of Women.” She would have felt at home in today’s society. After affairs with two men, giving birth to a daughter by one of them, she married William Godwin, one of the forefathers of the anarchist movement. She died ten days after giving birth to a daughter, Mary Shelley, who grew up to be the author of “Frankenstein.”

Militant political action in Britain began with the formation of the Woman’s Social and Political Union in 1903. Following World War I when women participated in the war industries and support services, they were granted the right to vote in 1918, but it would take until 1928 for the age to be lowered to 21. In the United States in 1848 Elizabeth Cady Stanton led a Women’s Rights Convention followed in 1863 of the Women’s National Loyal League by Susan B. Anthony who wrote and submitted a proposed right-to-vote amendment in 1878. It would take until 1920 for it to be ratified as the 19th Amendment.

feminist-meme23

Photo courtesy of Best of Feminist Memes.

The women’s rights movement as we know it gained momentum in the 1960s. It was led by a feminist, fellow writer and friend, Betty Friedan, who was also a committed Leftist and, in 1966, she would help create the National Organization for Women (NOW). In 1971, the National Women’s Political Caucus emerged, led by Bella Abzug, Shirley Chisholm, and Gloria Steinem. Other groups were created as well. The effort to secure an Equal Rights Amendment, however, failed.

Aside from political rights, the issue that most concerned feminists was reproductive rights with the repeal of laws against abortion being the priority. The issue was decided, not by Congress or the states, but by a 1973 decision of the Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade, that ruled 7-2 that the 14th Amendment extended a right of privacy and by extension the right of a woman to opt for an abortion.

That decision freed women both within and outside of marriage to abort an unwanted child. Unforeseen by the Court, was the rise of single-parent families led primarily by women.

As Jeffery noted “In the latest annual report to Congress on “Welfare Indicators and High Risk Factors,” the Department of health and Human Services pointed to the high rate of births to unmarried mothers, saying ‘data on non-marital births are important since historically a high proportion of welfare recipients first became parents outside of marriage.’”

We have reached a point in just over a few decades in which the government, through bad economic policies and a myriad number of programs, Medicaid, food stamps, public housing, and others, has produced 109,631,000 people receiving benefits. They represent 35.4 percent of the overall population.

That’s a long way from the traditional family and it means that half of the working population is providing the funds for those who are unemployed or have stopped looking for work thanks to a stagnate economy.

The single-parent family led by women has denied generations of the young men they are raising the male role models they need to understand that being a father is as great a responsibility as being a mother.

Men have become dispensable except as sperm donors.

Male values of courage, comradeship, and leadership have to be learned from sources outside the single-mother unit.

Then, too, the feminist goal of being in the workplace also frequently means that pre-school children’s early formative years are handed over to strangers in childcare centers whether they come from one or two-parent families. The economy has required that both parents have to work—if work can be found in a society where more than 92 million Americans are unemployed or have, as noted above, ceased looking for a job.

This is not a screed against women’s rights. It is a look at the consequences of the goals feminists have fought to achieve over the past decades.

It’s not about their right to vote or to secure an education to achieve success in the business sector.

It’s about generations of young men and women growing up in a society where a “father” is not an integral part of the “family” and the price our society pays for that.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is from the Best Feminist Memes.

Sarasota, Florida hosting Female Wounded Warriors Retreat on September 16-19, 2014

“Women veterans are increasing in numbers for military service and will continue to do so….”

Georgie Alfano-Cronk

Georgie Alfano-Cronk

Annually the Sarasota County Veterans Commission (SCVC) recognizes the Veteran of the Year, Woman Veteran of the Year and Auxiliary Person of the Year. In 2010, the Female Veteran of the Year Award went to Ms. Georgie Alfano-Cronk.

Far too often, when someone receives an award they tend to quietly return home and place their award on a shelf to just collect dust. But not so with Alfano-Cronk. Alfano-Cronk is a U.S. Army disabled woman veteran.

Alfano-Cronk states, “We have many ‘women warriors’ that need our recognition and assistance in transitioning back into their communities or back into the work force”. Alfano-Cronk has become a passionate advocate for America’s women veterans.

Alfano-Crock notes, “No matter where our female veterans are in their lives; whenever they need help navigating the VA system or just need an ear to listen to one of their concerns, they dial my phone number. As a former police officer and retired New York State Correction Sergeant I can easily look at a veteran’s life and view their problems without passing judgment on them.” She knows how hard the road of life can be because she herself has been there and done that.

By 2011, she had convinced the SCVC that a special committee should be named and formed to assist woman veterans after military service. She was nominated for and became the Chairwoman of this newly formed committee.

Fast forward from November 2011 to the present when Alfano-Crock discovered a not-for-profit organization, which loves veterans and their families as much as she does, and partnered with them. This organization is the Professionals Assisting Military Families & Friends (PAMFF). Working together the SCVC and PAMFF decided to have a free retreat for America’s women warriors. The retreat allows women wounded warriors a safe environment to share their transitional concerns and receive free counseling and access to support groups after the retreat is over.

Then there was that little problem of fundraising for the retreat.

SCVC and PAMFF knew early on that they wanted to make this a totally free event. The PAMFF committees, without any major contacts or knowledge of grants or fundraising, began to solicit donations from veterans’ organizations and community members. But would that be enough financial support? As the applications starting rolling in from women veterans across America, the PAMFF selection committee, decided that none of the women veterans should be turned away and so the original number of 10 applicants allowed to participate in the event increased to 15 women veterans. There is still a waiting list and applications are no longer being accepted.

The reaction from women veterans clearly shows a need to support, recognize, and help them as much as there is for their male counterparts.

Alfano-Crock notes that since women veterans were trained to be strong and independent, like their male counterparts, that often a women veteran will not ask for help until she is in a full blown, major crisis. And often they do not know where to find the proper resources to help them or to move ahead. Women veterans have a tendency to fall through the cracks of an already saturated VA health care system.

Alfano-Crock is adamant that female veteran’s needs are “totally different” than the needs of our male veterans and wounded warriors.

Women naturally process life’s ups and downs differently than men do and need a different type of an environment to vent and must have a trust system in place with a counselor prior to sharing their personal stories and unique concerns.

From Tuesday, September 16th to Friday, September 19th, 2014 fifteen “woman warriors” will share their lives with each other, and with PAMFF’s licensed clinicians and female community volunteers and form “battle buddy relationships” that will hopefully blossom and grow. “After all,” says Alfano-Crock, “the most therapeutic sharing sessions are those that are done in a nurturing environment with other veterans present who have gone through the same sequence of events and realize the type of traumas that often accompany military life and war. No one understands a veteran better than another veteran who has ‘walked the walk’.”

RETREAT INFORMATION:

Event Title: “A Season of Change – You Can!” 1st Annual Retreat for Female Veterans.
What: Topics for discussion will be: MST, TBI, PTS, Balance in One’s Life, Heeding the Red Flags, Interviewing and Job Hunting Techniques, Meditation, Resources, and many more.
When: September 16th – 19th
Where: Christian Retreat Conference Center in Bradenton, FL

EDITORS NOTE: Applications are closed for this retreat. For any additional questions or information you may contact Georgie Alfano-Cronk at (941) 266-2769 or PAMFF at (941) 224-1094. PAMFF still needs financial assistance to keep the retreat free for the 15 attendees. PAMFF must secure approximately $400.00 per person in donations. If you wish you may send a donation to PAMFF, P.O. Box 2171, Sarasota, FL 34230. The featured image is of Ladda Tammy Duckworth an American woman wounded warrior and politician who has been the U.S. Representative for Illinois’s 8th congressional district since 2013.

Nothing Essential About Essence

I wrote a column three years ago titled, “Black Women No Longer Have Their Essence.” My point was that Essence, the pre-eminent magazine for Black women, had become irrelevant and an embarrassment to the Black community.

Unfortunately, Essence has continued its decent into irrelevancy.

For 20 years, Essence has sponsored an annual party during the July 4th holiday known as the Essence Music Festival (EMF). According to their website, the EMF, “known as the party with a purpose, is an annual music festival which started in 1995 as a one-time event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Essence, a magazine aimed primarily towards African-American women. It is the largest event celebrating African-American culture and music in the United States.”

According to media accounts, “…In 2008, for the first time since its 1995 inception, the festival was not produced by the original producer team. Instead, Essence Communications, owner of the festival and the Essence magazine, contracted Rehage Entertainment Inc. A new main stage facelift was designed by production designer Stefan Beese.” Essence Communications and Essence Magazine are no longer Black-owned, they are owned by Time Inc.

Maybe this would explain why EMF contracted with Rehage Entertainment Inc. and Stefan Beese to produce the event and to build a new stage. They couldn’t find a Black firm capable of taking on these contracts? If they need some referrals, I would be glad to send them a list of Black people who could do the job, if they are truly interested in the “empowerment” of the Black community as they claim.

There was also no diversity in the programming. Of their 86 “empowerment” speakers during their various daytime panels, all were media personalities, journalist, or liberal politicians. There were maybe three people who one could argue were businessmen, but that’s a stretch. As far as I can tell, there were no Republicans invited to participate, as though Essence has no Black female Republican readers?

One panel was about the hair texture of Jay Z and Beyoncé’s baby. Yes, you heard me right; Essence had a whole panel to discuss a child’s nappy hair. One news account said, “Essence Magazine recently hosted an Empowerment Beauty of Confidence panel to comment on the backlash [over the child’s hair]. Essence asked Cynthia Bailey, Kim Kimble, Chenoa Maxwell, Tomiko Frasier Hines, Soledad O’Brien and Wendy Raquel Robinson to comment on the backlash.”

There were no empowerment panels on the women who work in the White House for Obama being paid less than their male counterparts; there were no empowerment panels on why Obama never interviewed a Black female lawyer for the two Supreme Court nominations he made to the Court; there were no empowerment panels on the number of Black kids languishing in the foster care system while Obama wants to throw billions of dollars to support children coming to this country illegally.

In essence, Essence’s continued march towards irrelevancy has nothing to do with them being White-owned. They were well down that road before they were sold. One could make the argument that the articles in Essence have become less substantive after Time Inc. assumed leadership, not that substance was ever their hallmark. How can you talk about “empowerment” without talking about Lynn Hutchings, a State Representative in the Wyoming legislature? She is the first Black female Republican to serve in the state’s history.

How can you talk about “empowerment” without talking about J’Tia Taylor, who has a Ph.D in nuclear engineering from the University of Illinois; she started college at the age of 15. How can you talk about “empowerment” without talking about Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, the State Department’s Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs? Ambassador Jenkins has a Ph.D. in international relations from the University of Virginia, an LL.M. in international and comparative law from the Georgetown University Law Center, an M.P.A. from the State University of New York at Albany, a J.D. from Albany Law School; and a B.A. from Amherst College. She also attended The Hague Academy for International Law.

You have such accomplished women – Democrats and Republicans – yet Essence is talking about the texture of a child’s hair.

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