TOWN HALL: ‘Congressional Candidate Tina Ramirez: ‘Where’s Women’s March for Women of Afghanistan Right Now?”

When it comes to President Joe Biden’s mishandling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, congressional candidate for the 7th district of Virginia Tina Ramirez told Townhall that these past two weeks have motivated her even more so to run. She’s running as a Republican to unseat incumbent Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), whose responses to the withdrawal Ramirez finds particularly lacking.

Ramirez’s work to do with international religious freedom has brought her to many nations around the world. Seeing firsthand what terrorist groups do to young women, such as ISIS’ female victims in Iraq and Afghanistan, Ramirez is certain the Taliban will continue to mistreating the women of Afghanistan. She phrased it as a not if, but when situation.

Ramirez lamented that “I know what will happen in these countries, I know what will happen in Afghanistan,” as she shared “my heart goes out to them.”

She called it “just absurd” for “our government to have literally handed the keys over in a reckless manner, that was completely unnecessary, to the Taliban, to reverse 20 years of progress that we’ve made on human rights and on women’s rights in Afghanistan.”

Ramirez was more than willing to call out those so-called champions of women’s rights who fail to call out the Biden administration. “Where’s the Women’s March or the Me Too Movement for the women of Afghanistan right now,” she questioned.

There’s also the example Ramirez offered of an American woman and her young daughter she spoke to, who were only able to get through to the airport and to another country because the woman’s Afghan husband helped them push through the crowds. Ramirez wanted to know where women’s rights groups were for them.

Townhall has covered the assurances the Biden administration has given when it comes to expecting the Taliban to do right by people, which amounts to an international statement headed by the United States. Sec. of State Antony Blinken spoke to that during his Sunday appearance on “Meet the Press”:

..We have more than 100 countries, 114 countries who signed onto a statement we initiated making clear the international community expects the Taliban to make good on a commitment to let people continue to leave the country after August 31st. That freedom of travel is essential to the international community’s expectations of the Taliban going forward. And working with other countries very closely, we’re going to make sure that we put in place the means to do that…

Nothing has been promised to the Taliban. To the contrary, we have made very clear, and not just us, country upon country around the world have made clear that there are very significant expectations of the Taliban going forward if they’re going to have any kind of relationship with the rest of the world. Starting with freedom of travel, but then going on to making sure that they’re sustaining the basic rights of their people, including women and girls, making sure that they’re making good on commitments they’ve repeatedly made on counterterrorism and having some inclusivity in governance.

Ramirez dismissed the idea as “a joke” that the Taliban could be trusted on the world stage, including to allow for freedom of travel, when they’re the ones preventing people from getting to the airport.

The candidate took other issues with the administration as well as her opponent, criticizing them for “constantly leading from behind” and declaring “we need better leadership.”

Ramirez called White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s framing of the issue “really offensive to a lot of people” when it comes to placing the blame on people who want to leave Afghanistan but can’t.

She also referred to the president’s press conference last Thursday as “an absolute disaster,” with Biden being someone who was “incoherent and incompetent,” and “who blames the former president, instead of actually taking full responsibility for the fact that he didn’t have a plan, he didn’t communicate the plan, and he used the State Department versus the military.”

That Spanberger previously worked for the CIA as an operations officer, and even worked on projects that involved intel gathering on issues like terrorism is not insignificant.

While the congresswoman has tweeted out offers of assistance for those in Afghanistan seeking it, she has not so much taken a stance on the failures necessitating people needing such assistance.

Ramirez directed Townhall to a statement Rep. Spanberger and Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) brought to the Problems Solvers Caucus, which was ultimately endorsed:

“As Democrats and Republicans, we stand united in our commitment to protecting U.S. citizens, diplomats, intelligence officers, and our foreign partners who are currently attempting to flee Afghanistan. In this time of tremendous danger, politics must be put aside to advance our common goals. From this week’s bipartisan Member briefing, it is apparent that the Administration’s set date for departure from Afghanistan on August 31st does not provide enough time to evacuate all American citizens and our partners. We respectfully call on the Administration to reconsider its timeline and provide a clear plan to Congress that will result in the completion of our shared national objectives.”

Ramirez referred to the statement as “a very generic response” and one which “did nothing to hold Biden accountable for this debacle.”

FOX NEWS: ‘GOP House hopefuls come out swinging at vulnerable Dems: ‘Retire Nancy Pelosi,’ ‘Put a check on Joe Biden”

Virginia’s Tina Ramirez and New Jersey’s Tom Toomey are looking to unseat Democratic Reps. Abigail Spanberger and Mikie Sherrill

EXCLUSIVE: Two new Republican challengers eying vulnerable Democratic House members are announcing their candidacies Thursday morning.

Virginia’s Tina Ramirez, the founder of the international human rights group Hardwired Global, and New Jersey’s Tom Toomey, a longtime businessman and self-styled political outsider, are looking to unseat Democratic Reps. Abigail Spanberger and Mikie Sherrill, respectively.

Left-wing regulations, cancel culture and woke ideologies have run amok, according to the candidates, and, as Ramirez put it, the GOP needs to retake the house in order to “retire [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi and put a check on President Biden.”

“We need someone going to Washington to champion our conservative values and the freedoms that I fought for my whole life,” Ramirez told Fox News Tuesday.

Spanberger, she argued, is just a “rubber stamp for Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden.”

Ramirez’s nonprofit fights for the release of political and religious prisoners abroad, lobbies foreign dignitaries for human rights and consults on potential new legislation. She said left-wing programs she sees being pushed domestically and in schools have horrified her.

“We’ve seen them teaching race and teaching Marxist ideas or critical race theory in our schools, indoctrinating our children,” Ramirez said. “We expected our children to be taught how to think, not what to think. When we look at our economy, we see the government basically telling business what they can and can’t do, shutting businesses down over the past year.”

With the push for critical race theory, Toomey said “freedom of speech is under attack.”

“People are saying, you cannot say this, you cannot say that,” he said. “That’s not what this country is about.”

Ramirez said the extent to which U.S. progressives have embraced Marxist, socialist and authoritarian ideas has alarmed her and made it fear for her daughter.

“I was in Iraq seven years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter, about five months pregnant, and this woman I met, this woman escaped from ISIS, but she had a gun to her head,” she said. “She had had a 4-year-old daughter with her at the time. They told her, you can go, but you need to leave your daughter with us. And so she was either going to be killed or she was going to lose her daughter. So she lost her daughter. She escaped. And when I met her, I cried with her, prayed with her. It was horrifying to think of what happens when you lose your freedom. And that story motivates me every day to get out there and fight for our values. Because what I am seeing in America today is more resembling of authoritarian countries that I’ve worked in than the ideals that this country is founded upon.”

Although they’re campaigning in vastly different states and on different core issues, both said the Capitol could use a reminder of its founding principles.

And with President Biden and Democrats hoping a post-COVID recovery will lift their prospects to retain power, Toomey pointed to the lagging economy as a major issue that he said a GOP-controlled House could help fix.

“We have inflation that is through the roof,” Toomey said in a Wednesday interview. “We have gas prices that are through the roof. We have the costs of goods like lumber that are through the roof. And parents are still struggling to get food on the table for their kids.”

Toomey, who got his business start working for a small New Jersey caterer and later managed a billion-dollar program at Samsung before moving on to industry startups,

“I have, from top to bottom, from as small as it is to as big as it is, an understanding of how businesses work,” he said.

And that kind of understanding is what the country and New Jerseyans need in Congress, he added.

“Over the top spending is definitely a big thing we need to fix, but that’s not the only thing,” he said. “We need to get rid of regulations that are crippling small business. We need to lower taxes.”

“Let the American business owner run their own business,” he said. “That’s the American dream here – I own my own business, I can run it how I want to.”

Their official campaign launches come after they’ve already begun fundraising.

Ramirez had racked up around $80,000 as of Wednesday evening, and Toomey pulled $35,000.

THE HILL: ‘Racist ‘Uncle Tim’ slurs are a leftist attack on intellectual diversity’

Last week, Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) delivered an impassioned rebuttal to the President’s first address to a joint session of Congress. Scott centered his remarks on themes of coming together and finding common sense solutions to the problems Americans face. In response, Scott was attacked on social media by leftists, causing an ugly racial slur, “Uncle Tim,” to trend on Twitter for hours. This is, unfortunately, not surprising anymore, as the radical left has made it abundantly clear that, as far as they are concerned, nothing short of full compliance to their ideological standards is expected from those that belong to the demographics that they inexplicably believe owe fealty to the Democratic Party.

As Scott said in response to the trending slur, “you cannot step out of your lane according to the liberal elite left.” Biden made this clear during his campaign, when he said on a radio show that if you don’t support him and the Democratic Party, “you ain’t black.” This attitude has been present for years and is not limited to politicians. It is present in even the most innocuous instances, such as when Chance the Rapper posted “Black people don’t have to be Democrats” and was met with the same kind of hateful response that Scott is currently experiencing. It is clear that leftists expect entire cultures, such as Black Americans, to exist as monoliths and to reject intellectual diversity in lieu of strict adherence to leftist ideology. This is a racist mentality and is simply un-American.

Disagreement and productive (if contentious) discourse are essential to progress and invaluable to the American character, but the derisive posts and vitriolic comments directed towards Scott had nothing to do with his rebuttal itself, nor did they factor in the quality of the senator as a person. To his opponents, it did not matter that in his remarks he was urging unity and optimism across partisan lines. It did not matter that in the wake of George Floyd’s death he introduced a police reform bill that would have funded body cameras, made lynching a federal crime and addressed use of force and de-escalation practices in police interactions. It did not matter that he is one of three black U.S. Senators in America. No, what leftists focused on was neither the strength of his arguments nor the unassailable content of his character: what they focused on was the color of his skin.

As a single mother to a young daughter, I do not teach my daughter what to think, but rather how to think critically. I am working to raise an independent thinker who arrives at her political beliefs by testing them against the rigors of analysis and logic. That I am Hispanic and Caucasian, and that her father is African are of course important aspects of what makes her who she is. But I will never let her feel confined to a predetermined set of beliefs based on her race. It is appalling and astonishing to me that anyone would presume to be the arbiter on what my daughter is allowed to believe for any reason at all, but especially based on superficial factors that are entirely outside of her control.

At its core, this is more of the same judgement of people based on identity politics metrics that has been the modus operandi of the far left in recent years. As I wrote about recently, we are seeing this in our schools with the dangerous critical race theory that is becoming pervasive in our schools and which is rooted in Marxism and teaches our children to categorize everyone as “oppressed” or as an “oppressor” dependent upon external features. This racist indoctrination is literally teaching people to judge those around us as being morally superior or inferior based on the color of their skin.

But more broadly, we are witnessing an attack on intellectual diversity as a whole. The heinous and racist language directed at Scott was an attempt to silence dissent and to reject open and thoughtful discourse. And of course, we have seen much of this from the far left in recent years as well. We see it in the cancel culture, such as in the case of the recent firing of actress Gina Carano, which came about after she posted about being hated for her political beliefs. We see it in the Big Tech companies censoring conservative voices.

As the founder of a non-profit organization that defends human rights in oppressive regimes around the world, this type of silencing and suppression of intellectual diversity is what I’ve fought against my entire career. Our nation is built upon the premise that we are all created equal and all have inherent rights by virtue of our humanity, not our race or political ideology. And we fought to make these values universally accepted as human rights after witnessing the Stalin purges and horrors of the Holocaust. That is why we must come together again as Americans and reject the attempts to divide us.

Tina Ramirez is the Virginia chair of Maggie’s List and was a candidate for Congress. She is the president of Hardwired Global, a human rights organization, and was the founding director of the bipartisan International Religious Freedom Caucus in Congress.

THE HILL: ‘A permanent Trump ban has grave implications for global free expression’

As the Facebook Oversight Board prepares to either reinstate or permanently banish former President Donald Trump from the social media platform later this month, their decision will impact more than the fate of a single voice. Countless individuals depend on the site to hold human rights abusers accountable and instigate justice for the oppressed in the court of public opinion. They are waiting to see if the board sets a new global precedent, at least in the court of public opinion, for who or what can determine how and when people can use their voice, if at all.

In today’s world, where social media often serves as the primary vehicle for how people communicate with one another, the board’s decision could have dangerous implications on the freedom of speech, expression and conscience worldwide.

In the social media universe, moderators and algorithm creators in Facebook and other platforms are already functioning as the sole arbiters of what constitutes acceptable speech.  They wield complete control over the largest networks of human communication and their judgments effectively determine what opinions or ideas are valid or noteworthy and which do not adhere to their arbitrary standards.

Many Facebook users live in societies where they are not free and the platform may be the first space where they have experienced the freedom to express themselves in a marketplace of ideas and robust public forums where truth claims are vetted, challenged, and accepted or rejected.

And this space is shrinking globally. We have seen it firsthand at Hardwired Global through our work in countries where freedom of conscience and expression are most at risk.

Harassment and other hostilities against people on the basis of their thought, conscience, belief or expression have been reported in more than 90 percent of countries. In some cases, governments explicitly and unashamedly restrict these freedoms in their laws and policies. Others misuse or impose what they call limitations to these rights in an effort to control or restrict diverse or opposing opinions and increase their control over the public.

Cyber censorship is the newest frontier for human rights violations, particularly on freedom of conscience and expression. Information is power and social media is integral to information sharing in the digital age. Now, more than ever before, the public can access and share information across boundaries and borders through mechanisms that were unimaginable to previous generations.

Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms have become a lifeline for millions of people around the world whose voices were otherwise silenced by their own governments.

In Sudan, Hardwired-trained lawyers and advocates leveraged social media to advocate for the release of Mariam Ibrahim, a Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy, in 2014. Years later, in 2019, activists documented the protests that would ultimately end the nearly 30-year reign of President Omar al Bashir, an indicted war criminal.

In India, lawyers, advocates and activists used social media to document police brutality against Muslims, a historically marginalized community in the country. More broadly, Indians took to Facebook and Twitter to broadcast their protest against inherently discriminatory citizenship laws.

In Saudi Arabia, secular blogger Raif Badawi challenged the theocratic rule of the country and documented human rights violations.

In Myanmar, the world is witness to the military crackdown in large part through social media posts from activists and advocates on the front lines of the protest against the regime.

The marketplace of ideas has gone global and access to information has democratized, much to the dismay of governments and authorities that would rather not share that power with their publics. As a result, social media and the internet more broadly, have become the battleground between governments and their citizens.

In an effort to contain dissent or disagreement and maintain authority, governments apply censorship with a broad stroke, often justifying their actions by misusing the limitations of freedom of expression enshrined in international law.

The Government of Sudan regularly cuts off internet access to its citizens in an effort to contain and extinguish the protests that ousted Bashir.

In February of this year, India unveiled new internet regulations that force news and tech entities to comply with government surveillance and censorship efforts.

Badawi was charged for insulting Islam through electronic channels and sentenced to 10 year in prison and 1,000 lashes.

Myanmar’s military continues to shut down the internet in an effort to contain protests and regulate information coming out of the country.

Free societies require space for discussion, disagreement and dissent. They require protection for the conscience of every person – whether they are right or wrong.  When this freedom is respected, societies flourish. When it is not respected, societies fracture and ultimately fall.

In Hardwired’s work within diverse cultural contexts, expression and debate are essential for any meaningful dialogue about the deeply rooted bias, fears and misconceptions groups may have of one another. It is in this space that people can discern fact from fiction, determine what they believe and ultimately how they behave and who they become.

Protecting freedom of expression in this space provides the best chance for people to find and follow the truth according to their conscience. Any ban on “fringe” or opposing opinions will ultimately create a proverbial black market for these ideas elsewhere. Imposing limitations or restrictions on expression in the public cyber-square to avoid division or disagreement can encourage the very siloed thinking and association fueling tension across the country and more broadly, around the world.

History has proven time and again that controlling what people think and believe always ends badly for freedom loving people.

Tina Ramirez is the Virginia chair of Maggie’s List and was a candidate for Congress. She is the president of Hardwired Global, a human rights organization, and was the founding director of the bipartisan International Religious Freedom Caucus in Congress. Lena Abboud is director of Programs for Hardwired Global and oversees the organization’s legal and education training initiatives around the world.

THE HILL: ‘Abusers and oppressors will rejoice the death of the Second Amendment’

As a group of House Democrats pushed the presidential action on gun control, a group of House Democrats are pushing the Senate to vote on House-passed gun control bills. In either case, the result would be dangerous and make Americans more vulnerable. When the right to keep and bear arms is suppressed by a government, the doors to oppression and abuse are opened. I know, because I’ve seen it.

Hardwired, the global human rights organization I founded, fights against the oppression of religious communities of all faiths in countries around the world. Among these countries is Nigeria, where Fulani herdsmen have been waging a war against Christian farmers for the past decade, but in recent years it’s grown much worse. The Fulani herdsmen are attacking farmland throughout the region to force Christian farmers out of the area and take over their land. The attacks typically increase in the spring and are carried out with AK-47s and machetes.

In Nigeria, the law does not permit citizens to own firearms. As a result, the Christian farmers are sitting ducks. They have no recourse.

Not only will their government not protect them, their government is preventing them from protecting themselves. Herdsmen attack entire villages, burning churches, killing pastors and worshipperskidnapping and forcibly converting young children and destroying homes, business and crops.

And the Nigerian government is not only silent, it is complicit. The illegal sale of weapons in Nigeria is a global concern but it ignores the real issue. The government is not only to be condemned for their silence about attacks on Christians, but also for their apparent complicity in leaving the Christians defenseless.

As a result, the conflict in Nigeria’s Middle belt states continues to worsen.

As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

The situation in Nigeria is a perfect example of what happens when innocent civilians are unable to defend themselves. And why our founding fathers made a point to secure the right to bear arms second only to the freedom of speech and religion. Because you cannot have one without the other.

I have seen this happen elsewhere. When ISIS militants stormed into northern Iraq, within hours they decimated and took control of entire villages. The police fled and the people could not defend themselves. And as a result, hundreds of thousands of families were forcibly displaced overnight. Yezidi men were taken and shot to death, lining mass graves with their bodies. And then ISIS took the women to areas where they raped and tortured them, before selling them into sexual slavery.

This is what happens when people cannot defend themselves and their families, when their government fails to protect them, or worse — are complicit by suppressing their rights.

After ISIS moved into northern Iraq, I met a woman named Aida whose four year old daughter was taken from her at gunpoint. She was told she could leave the child or she would be shot. She cried and pleaded for help as she recounted the last moments with her daughter.

As a mother and person of faith, I can’t imagine living in Nigeria, Iraq, or any other country where I do not have the right to arm and protect myself and my family against horrors like this. I can’t imagine being forced to watch my child raped and tortured and have no way to defend her.

It’s so easy for those of us living in freedom to take for granted the simple freedoms we enjoy by virtue of living in this great nation. I am amazed at how easily we will give up our freedoms without understanding the consequences.

Condoleeza Rice has described herself as a “Second Amendment absolutist”. She explained that growing up in the late 50s and early 60s in Birmingham, Ala., her father and his friends would deter the Ku Klux Klan members that came into her neighborhood by firing their guns in the air. She astutely noted that had “Bull” Connor knew where the guns were, he surely would have rounded them up. Even in America, the Second Amendment has been crucial to the self-defense of those who have not always been protected by the government. It’s astonishing that we would consider taking this away.

Even leaving aside the long history of governments disarming their citizenry as a means of oppression, the right to defend ourselves against any existential threat is among the most basic rights, which is why our founders fought so hard to protect it. In my own life, I am the single mother of a young daughter. This means that all of the parental duties have fallen to me for all of my daughter’s life and this includes being her sole protector.

I pray that my daughter or I are never in a situation where we need to use a gun to protect ourselves from an attacker or my own government, but having seen the repercussions firsthand, I will always stand against any move to force us into defenselessness.

Tina Ramirez is the Virginia chair of Maggie’s List and was a candidate for Congress in Virginia’s 7th district. She is the president of Hardwired Global, a human rights organization and was the founding director of the bipartisan International Religious Freedom Caucus in Congress.

FOX NEWS: ‘Tina Ramirez: Critical race theory divides families – what this mom with a biracial child wants you to know’

Advocates of critical race theory have gone too far. Last week, in Loudoun County, Virginia, a group of teachers and education officials were publicly exposed for conspiring to attack parents who challenged abhorrent lessons designed to teach their children to discriminate against groups based solely on their external traits.

The radical ideology these teachers are pushing, known as critical race theory, essentially establishes a new metric for human value, one rooted in Marxism. It’s based on the idea that some people have more worth than others merely because of certain characteristics like race and gender identity rather than their intrinsic human nature.

As a single parent who lives in the Virginia suburbs, it’s important that my daughter is around people who reinforce the values I’m trying to teach her. And as the mother of a biracial child, that includes the value of treating people with inherent dignity and respect.

But that is not what is happening in our public schools.

Critical race theory teaches our children to treat people differently based on their external characteristics. For instance, it would teach my daughter that I am an oppressor by nature of my Hispanic-Caucasian heritage, despite the fact that I’ve defended human rights throughout my career. And that her father, who left her before she was born, is morally superior solely because of his race.

Any parent can see how confusing this is for our children. But for a little girl who is being taught to hate the single parent who has loved and cared for her based on the color of her skin is absolutely repugnant and absurd.

Worse still, this ideology would have my daughter hate and deny a part of herself. This must be stopped in our public schools.

For the past 20 years, I’ve taught human rights and constitutional values. I have seen firsthand the transformation these values have in children and I know what works. And critical race theory, the dangerous and hate-driven academic movement being forced on our children, doesn’t.

These ideas are not new, and I have witnessed the atrocious impact of this thinking before: this is the type of logic applied by authoritarian regimes of the nations in which I have spent much of my life fighting for basic human rights.

In Northern Iraq, the organization I founded, Hardwired, is training teachers how to teach children to think for themselves and value the dignity and freedom of others. I have seen what happens when children challenge the ideas of hate and intolerance imposed on them by ISIS terrorists: they are able to defend people who are different from them and reject violence.

Open dialogue, challenging ideas and allowing robust intellectual diversity are the only healthy ways to build cultures of respect.

To rescue these children from recurrent violence, they must become resilient against hate and intolerance. That will never happen if they’re brainwashed by prejudice and bigoted thinking. Rather it will happen when they’re trained to think critically and to value the freedoms of others.

Critical race theory would tell these children that because of the oppression they endured, people who shared their ethnicity are inherently superior and of more value than those who shared ethnic traits with the perpetrators of the oppression.

According to the logic of critical race theory, Yezidis and Christians in Iraq should condemn all Muslims as oppressors because they share the same faith as members of ISIS. Critical race theory would reinforce hate and violence between groups; it would do nothing to help children overcome the intolerance they’ve been taught.

The same holds true in our schools. As a former schoolteacher, I taught children how to think and treat others with the respect and dignity upon which our nation was founded: that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. I taught my students about the U.S. Constitution and how to think critically. I taught my students how to think, not what to think.

Open dialogue, challenging ideas and allowing robust intellectual diversity are the only healthy ways to build cultures of respect. Silencing dissent, as critical race theory advocates are doing, is no different than the brainwashing methods of ISIS and every other authoritarian regime in history. And instead of unity, it creates greater divisions.

While Virginia’s schools shame parents who oppose critical race theory, dividing families and communities, leaders such as Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida are removing it from schools. It is time the rest of the country follows suit.