Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: “If We Are Not Helping People, We Should Go the F*ck Home”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has been laying into President Trump with some choice language in recent weeks, frequently dropping the “F” bomb, in a stark contrast to the 2016 campaign where Democrats lambasted then-candidate Trump for his language — and warned “our children our watching.”

Stop Pretending The ‘Anti-Sharia’ Movement Has Anything To Do With Empowering Women

“Anti-Sharia” rallies will take place in nearly 30 U.S. states on Saturday, according to the group spearheading the effort. 

ACT for America, a national grassroots anti-Muslim organization designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an extremist group, claims its “March Against Sharia” events are an effort to protect Muslim women and children from Islamic law. The group asserts that scattered incidents of honor killings and female genital mutilation in the U.S. are evidence that Sharia, a system of Islamic jurisprudence, is slowly creeping into American society.

“We must ensure that every woman and child enjoy the protection afforded by the U.S. Constitution,” the group writes on website.

The organization’s stated intent of “protecting” the country from Sharia law betrays a basic misunderstanding about what Sharia actually is, as well as the tireless work of Muslim activists to end practices like FGM in the U.S.

Spreading false information about Sharia actually has negative consequences for American Muslims ― including the “Muslim women and children” that ACT for America claims it is trying to protect.

HuffPost reached out to prominent Muslim American women to hear their reactions to ACT for America’s claim of having their best interests in mind.

‘These Individuals Cannot Speak Authoritatively About My Rights As A Muslim Woman’

“These individuals cannot speak authoritatively about my rights as a Muslim woman,” said Daisy Khan, executive director of the Women’s Islamic Initiative for Spirituality and Equality.

ACT for America claims to be “committed to protecting women and children,” but its tactics tend to have the opposite effect on Muslim women, said Rana Abdelhamid, founder of the Women’s Initiative for Self-Empowerment.

“Its rhetoric and actions empower bigots who target Muslim women and put us all at risk in the face of this type of extremist violence,” Abdelhamid said. 

“We want to feel safe,” she added. “We want to be able to walk down the street and not feel like our lives are at risk because we choose to practice our faith, a fundamental human right. We also want hate groups to stop using us as an excuse for their bigotry.”

If a fundamental shift is to occur in Muslim women’s rights, the initiatives undertaken must be bold enough to work within Islam and not in spite of it.”
Daisy Khan

Islamophobia isn’t just a social problem ― it’s a profitable business. A 2016 report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Center for Race and Gender at UC Berkeley found that the anti-Muslim propaganda industry is worth over $200 million. 

Act for American organizers reject the terms “Islamophobic” and “anti-Muslim,” saying their complaint lies only in extremist fringes of the faith.

“The left will try to make this about hate, saying this is anti-Muslim,” Scott Presler, one of the organizers of Saturday’s event, told right-wing news site WorldNetDaily. “No, who is affected by FGM more than Muslim women? We are working for human rights and to protect Muslim women everywhere.”

But Brigitte Gabriel, the group’s founder, has been quoted as saying, “Every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim,” according to The New York Times.

For Gabriel and other anti-Sharia “activists,” Islam, itself, is the problem.

Who gets to determine what Muslim women’s best interests are?”
Donna Auston

Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, founder of, said even the term “anti-Sharia” is little more than coded language for anti-Muslim bigotry. This rhetoric, she said, “motivates acts of hatred” against Muslim women.

“We are still reeling from the news of two Muslim children being harassed on public transportation when three non-Muslim allies intervened to their defense and had their throats slashed,” she said. “For ACT for America to claim that they have Muslim women’s best interest at heart is not even ironically humorous, it’s just perverse.”

Scholar and activist Donna Auston posed a fundamental question.

“Who gets to determine what Muslim women’s best interests are ― actual Muslim women, or known proponents of rhetoric and policies which do considerable harm to the lives of Muslim women in the U.S. and around the globe?” she said.

“I don’t need anyone to speak for me ― especially persons who do not have a fundamental respect for my humanity and my autonomy ― and neither does any other Muslim woman,” Auston said. “We speak for ourselves.”

Act for America and other hate groups profit from perpetuating the stereotype of the weak Muslim woman ― a tactic also used at times by Western media and American politicians

“People like Brigitte Gabriel depict Muslim women in America as oppressed and in need of help in order to serve their own political agendas,” said filmmaker Nadya Ali, whose 2014 documentary “Breaking Silence” addressed Muslim women’s experiences of sexual assault. 

The rhetoric of groups like ACT for America, she said, “reduces our sovereignty as individuals who are capable of making decisions for ourselves and our own communities.”

“I don’t need anyone to speak for me ― especially persons who do not have a fundamental respect for my humanity and my autonomy
Donna Austen

Ali noted that practices like FGM and honor killings, though present in some Muslim-majority countries, are rooted more so in culture than in religion. “Muslims that practice these horrific things may say that they are doing them because of religion. But when you reference the Quran, Hadith, and Shariah law, there is nothing to back up their claims,” Ali said. “These practices do not, in any way, reflect what Islam or Islamic law teaches.”

Khan noted: “If a fundamental shift is to occur in Muslim women’s rights, the initiatives undertaken must be bold enough to work within Islam and not in spite of it.”

‘If The Public Wants To Help Muslim Women, How About Actually Listening?’

Muslim women working to affect change in culture, politics and religion already know this to be true.

“There is no shortage of Muslim American women who do not need anti-Muslim zealots claiming to save us from a religion that has empowered us all to be who we are today,” said Linda Sarsour, an activist and one of the organizers of the historic Women’s March on Washington.

From “politicians like Ilhan Omar to academics like Dalia Mogahed to mental health providers like Kameelah Rashad to those working on women inclusion and integration in mosques like Sister Aisha Aladawiya and Hind Makki to vocal activists and survivors of FGM like Maryam Saifee to anti-racism trainers like Margari Hill to civil rights attorneys like Zahra Billoo,” Sarsour said, there are endless examples of Muslim women promoting their own empowerment without the help of ACT for America.

“If the public wants to help Muslim women,” Al-Khatahtbeh said, “how about actually listening to them?”

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Austria to Ban Burqas from October

VIENNA (AFP) – New Austrian legislation came into force Friday that will ban the full-face Islamic veil in public places from October 1.

Spain’s Catalonia Announces October Independence Vote

BARCELONA (AFP) – The leader of Spain’s Catalonia region, where a separatist movement is in full swing, on Friday announced an independence referendum for October 1 in defiance of Madrid. People will be asked to vote on the question: “Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state in the form of a republic,” Carles Puigdemont said in Barcelona. If Catalonia’s pro-independence authorities win, they have said they will immediately start proceedings to separate from Spain. But the central government in Madrid insists the procedure is not valid and the Catalan authorities face significant challenges to even hold the referendum. Catalonia, a wealthy, 7.5-million-strong region with its own language and customs, has long demanded greater autonomy. For years separatist politicians in the northeastern region have tried to win approval from Spain’s central government to hold a vote similar to Scotland’s 2014 independence referendum from Britain, which resulted in a “no” vote. And while Catalans are divided on the issue, with 48.5 percent against independence and 44.3 percent in favour according to the latest poll by the regional government, close to three-quarters support holding a referendum. – ‘I don’t want it’ – Catalan authorities have repeatedly been thwarted in their attempts

NOT GOOD: Trump still approving as many DREAMERS as Obama

There has been basically no change in the number of Dreamers approved in the Trump administration in its first quarter versus what Obama approved in his last quarter as President: CR – . . .

Trump Lawyer to File Complaint Against James Comey for Leaking

President Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz is set to file a complaint on former FBI Director James Comey, after he admitted Thursday that he orchestrated the leaking of his memos to the media.

Civil Rights Groups Sue To Block Missouri Voter ID Law

Civil rights groups are suing Missouri to block the state from requiring voters to show identification when they go to the polls in an upcoming election.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday on behalf of the Missouri NAACP and the League of Women Voters of Missouri, the Advancement Project and the American Civil Liberties Union argue that Missouri is not adequately prepared to implement the new photo ID requirement, which went into effect on June 1, for a July special election in St. Louis. Early voting in the election begins on Monday.

Voters in Missouri approved a ballot measure to require photo identification at the polls last year, but the state is also required to help provide free identification for voting purposes to anyone who needs it. Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (R) admitted earlier in June that his office wouldn’t be able to assist everyone who needed identification in time for the St. Louis special election.

The lawsuit says the law’s identification requirement should be delayed until Missouri can provide the free IDs to those who need them.

The Missouri law does allow people who show up to the polls to vote on a provisional ballot. Votes on provisional ballots are counted if the voter can return during polling hours to prove their identity or until election officials can verify the signature on the ballot with what they have on file.

The plaintiffs also said the law should be temporarily blocked because it hasn’t been sufficiently funded. A provision in the law says “if there is not a sufficient appropriation of state funds,” then the photo ID requirement “shall not be enforced.” The suit notes that while Missouri set aside $100,000 to help people obtain identification, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) has yet to approve the the $1.5 million the state legislature allocated for the law.

“This suppressive effect is magnified once the state fails to hold its end of the bargain. It is beyond unacceptable that the state of Missouri has launched a photo ID requirement while not sufficiently preparing, educating voters, or funding it. As a result, the burden is now falling on the backs of voters,” Denise Lieberman, a senior attorney in the voter protection program at the Advancement Project, said in a statement.

Maura Browning, an Ashcroft spokeswoman, said the secretary of state had no comment on the lawsuit.

Missouri officials have disagreed over how much money is needed to sufficiently fund the law. After it was passed, former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander (D) estimated it would cost $5.2 million to implement, but Ashcroft requested just $1.4 million for it. Greitens requested only $300,000. Advocates say that underfunding the law would be disastrous and only lead to confusion about who is eligible to vote.

“States are not allowed to make an end run around voting rights by forcing burdensome changes to election law and then failing to provide the required funding for proper implementation,” Sophia Lakin, an attorney with the ACLU’s voting rights project, said in a statement.

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Kirsten Gillibrand On Whether Donald Trump Has Kept His Promises: ‘No. F**k No.’

WASHINGTON — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) doesn’t mince words on the subject of whether President Donald Trump has kept his promises to the American people.

She raised the issue during a speech at New York University’s Personal Democracy Forum on Friday. According to Gizmodo reporter Hamilton Nolan, the senator said: 

Kirsten Gillibrand speaking at NYU just now on Trump: “Has he kept his promises? No. Fuck no.”

— Hamilton Nolan (@hamiltonnolan) June 9, 2017

Gillibrand, who is no newbie to using colorful language, also shared a candid message for fellow Democrats. 

“If we are not helping people, we should go the fuck home,” she said Friday.

“If we are not helping people, we should go the fuck home,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand tells audience of Dem Party at Personal Democracy Forum.

— Steve Peoples (@sppeoples) June 9, 2017

The New York senator had been considered a potential 2020 presidential candidate. However, she announced in May that she’s ruled out a run, saying she is “dedicated to serving our state as our senator, and I’m running for reelection so I can continue to be their senator.”

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Meryl Streep Dressed Like Diane Keaton For Diane Keaton’s AFI Gala

Just when we thought we couldn’t love Meryl Streep any more, she goes and dresses like Diane Keaton ― and now we don’t know who we love more, Meryl or Diane. Let’s just call it a draw. 

Streep honored her friend in the best way possible on Thursday night, by copying Keaton’s iconic style to celebrate the American Film Institute’s 45th Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute to the actress at the Dolby Theatre Hollywood.

Dressed in her signature black and white, Keaton was a delight as she posed next to Streep, also in black and white. Keaton rocked a hat and a wide belt over a black skirt and white coat, while Streep wore her own headgear and a black suit featuring an eclectic striped necktie. Both ladies wore glasses and huge smiles, of course. 

“Diane Keaton, arguably one of the most covered-up persons in the history of clothes, is also a transparent woman,” Streep told the crowd, according to The Hollywood Reporter, “even though she is famously the only member of the original cast of ‘Hair’ on Broadway who would not take off her clothes at the end of the show.”

The gals ― who were joined by Woody Allen, Reese Witherspoon, Al Pacino, Emma Stone, Morgan Freeman, Sarah Silverman, Rachel McAdams, Steve Martin and Martin Short at the special event ― have been pals for years, with Keaton even giving her own speech at Streep’s AFI tribute in 2004. 

“By putting life before art, Meryl Streep has made the choice of a trailblazing pioneer, and in the process became my generation’s genius,” Keaton told the crowd of the Oscar-winning actress. 

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. And man, nothing beats this: 

The Diane Keaton AFI Tribute will air on TNT June 15 and then on Turner Classic Movies July 31. 

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Trump Empowers States with Massive Permitting Reform in ‘First Step’ to ‘Renewing America’s Roads, Rails, Runways and Rivers’

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump wrapped up infrastructure week at the Department of Transportation on Friday, highlighting his moves to reform what the White House called a “burdensome regulatory system that has left American infrastructure crumbling.”