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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Veteran Nazi hunter who tracked down Klaus Barbie running for German presidency

Beate Klarsfeld, 73, and Jewish husband Serge have devoted their lives to privately tracking down Nazis who took part in the Holocaust.

By DPA Tags: Jewish World Holocaust Nazis
BERLIN - Germany's opposition Left Party Monday nominated veteran Nazi hunter Beate Klarsfeld, who tracked down Klaus Barbie, as its candidate in next month's presidential election.
Klarsfeld, 73, has no real chance of beating Joachim Gauck, 72, in the two-horse race. Gauck has been nominated by Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition together with two opposition parties. The appointment is to be made by an assembly of 1,240 public figures, including all the Bundestag.
Beate Klarsfeld German Left Party's presidential candidate Beate Klarsfeld, Germany, on Oct. 13, 2011.
Photo by: AP
Klarsfeld and her husband, Serge, have devoted their lives to privately tracking down Nazis who took part in the Holocaust but returned to postwar life without being brought to justice, tipping off the authorities so they could be arrested.
In Paris, Klarsfeld described the nomination by the Left Party national executive as "wonderful."
"I've just told that the nomination was unanimous," she said. The party said on its website that two other potential nominees had withdrawn. The presidency, a largely ceremonial post, is vacant after Christian Wulff resigned because prosecutors were investigating whether he accepted favors as state premier from a wealthy businessman.
Gauck, a former Lutheran pastor with a strongly anticommunist, pro-freedom message, is practically assured of election on the first ballot, with the opposition Social Democrats and Greens supporting him and only the Left publicly opposed to his election.
The Klarsfelds' most celebrated success was to track down Klaus Barbie, a former Gestapo officer known as the "Butcher of Lyon," who was living in Bolivia in the 1970s under an alias.
In 1983, he was arrested and extradited to France, where he was convicted of crimes against humanity in occupied Lyon between 1942 and 1944. Barbie died of leukemia four years into his life imprisonment.
Klarsfeld was born in Berlin and moved to Paris in 1960 as an au pair, where she met her future husband Serge, who is Jewish and whose father was deported to Auschwitz during World War II.
In Germany, she shot to prominence when she publicly slapped West German Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger in 1968. Klarsfeld accused him of having been a Nazi propagandist.
She was sentenced to one year in prison for the attack but that was later commuted to a four-month suspended sentence.
Klarsfeld spoke of her "great satisfaction" that, despite her strong pro-Israeli views, she had won the endorsement of the Left, which has been critical of Israel.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Female Witness Hits Back at Issa: "I'm a Woman Who Uses Contraception, That Makes Me Qualified" to Testify

Darryl Issa is a traitor, and unAmerican.
And those are his good qualities.
He has propagandizedon behalf of Hamas, and now he is going after women.
But women in America, unlike Arabia, will not be silenced by such people.

Democrats on the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee held a special hearing Thursday morning in response to the GOP’s decision to prevent women from testifying in support of an Obama administration rule requiring employers to provide birth control without additional cost sharing. The committee invited just one witness, Sandra Fluke, the third year Georgetown Law student, who House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) dismissed as an “energized” “college student” who was not “appropriate and qualified” to testify before his committee.
Democrats received over 300,000 requests for women to testify on the issue, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said during today’s hearing, and the GOP’s male-only contraception hearing was widely spoofed in the press and on late-night comedy shows. Fluke herself responded to Issa’s snub in jest, noting, “Well, I will confirm that I was energized, yes” she said to laughter from the committee, “as you can see from the reaction behind me, many women in this country are energized about this issue.” “I’m an American woman who uses contraception, so let’s start right there. That makes me qualified to talk to my elected officials about my health care needs,” she added.
In her testimony, Fluke reiterated the story of her friend who was denied contraception coverage from Georgetown, despite technically qualifying for an exception that provided students who use birth control for health reasons with the benefit, and had to undergo invasive surgery. She also highlighted the confusion such policies cause, noting that while Catholic employers may claim that their insurance plans include loopholes for women who use birth control for non-reproductive purposes, beneficiaries still interpret the policy as a blanket exclusion of reproductive health benefits. One woman, for instance, did not seek medical treatment after being raped because she believed Georgetown did not provide coverage for women’s “sexual health care”:

FLUKE: One student told us that she knew birth control wasn’t covered, and she assumed that’s how Georgetown’s insurance handled all of women’s sexual healthcare, so when she was raped, she didn’t go to the doctor even to be examined or tested for sexually transmitted infections because she thought insurance wasn’t going to cover something like that, something that was related to a woman’s reproductive health.

Pelosi criticized Republicans for denying her request to have Fluke’s testimony covered by House-operated TV cameras and argued that the GOP was seeking to silence women on the issue in order to frame the discussion as a matter of religious liberty. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) pointed out, however, “if this was a hearing on prostate cancer and there was a lot of women and no men, I guarantee you men would not have stuck around.”
By Igor Volsky | Sourced from Think Progress

Posted at February 23, 2012, 10:38 am

Friday, February 17, 2012

Darrell Issa refuses to let woman speak at hearing on 'religious freedom' to deny birth control

Issa hearing
Because Republican Rep. Darrell Issa's hearing "Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?" is a very serious matter that is all about religious freedom and not at all about birth control, no siree, it can only feature the testimony of very serious religious persons whose freedom is important. And when Darrell Issa's running the hearing, only men who agree with Darrell Issa deserve a platform to speak about their freedoms.
As Kaili Joy Gray wrote yesterday, "Issa won't be hearing from any of the nearly two dozen religious groups who have no problem with the Obama administration's new health care policy to require insurance coverage of birth control." That list of the uninvited includes "representatives from the Catholic Health Association, which is run by a woman and actually runs the Catholic hospitals, nor Catholic Charities, both of which said Friday they supported the president’s plan."
Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the Oversight Committee, asked to invite a witness, but, as Cummings recounts:
When my staff inquired about requesting minority witnesses for this hearing, we were informed that you would allow only one. Based on your decision, we requested as our minority witness a third-year Georgetown University Law Center student named Sandra Fluke. I believed it was critical to have at least one woman at the witness table who could discuss the repercussions that denying coverage for contraceptives has on women across this country.
In response, your staff relayed that you had decided as follows:
“As the hearing is not about reproductive rights and contraception but instead about the Administration’s actions as they relate to freedom of religion and conscience, he believes that Ms. Fluke is not an appropriate witness.” [...]
Instead of inviting Ms. Fluke to testify, your staff informed us that you planned to invite a different witness who was no longer available after being informed of your decision to limit the minority to a single witness. Compounding this insult, this afternoon you added two more witnesses of your own, in violation of Committee rules requiring three days notice for witnesses called by the majority.
Fluke had been chosen to talk "about a classmate who lost an ovary because of a syndrome that causes ovarian cysts. Georgetown, which is affiliated by the Catholic Church, does not insure birth control, which is also used to treat the syndrome." But that's unrelated to the topic of the hearing, at which women don't count because it's not about birth control, it's about the religious freedom to deny birth control coverage, and that's different. Religious organizations that support the administration's position don't count because ... well, they don't.
8:41 AM PT: Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) walked out of the hearing in protest, and Holmes Norton "told reporters in the hallway outside the hearing that she marched out because it was being conducted like an 'autocratic regime.'"

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Talks Constitution, Women And Liberty On Egyptian TV

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 Appearing on Egyptian television before concluding a four-day trip in Egypt, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg extolled the virtues of the U.S. Constitution but urged Egyptians to look to other countries' newer constitutions for guidance as they craft their own in the coming months. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo's website noted in a Feb. 2 release that Ginsburg concluded her trip to Egypt "following four days of discussions and programs in both Cairo and Alexandria with judges and legal experts as well as law faculty and students." She had intended to "'listen and learn' with her Egyptian counterparts as they begin Egypt's constitutional transition to democracy," according to the embassy. Yet while Ginsburg's interview, posted on YouTube on Wednesday, lauded the Founding Fathers' "grand general ideas that become more effective over the course of ... more than two sometimes-turbulent centuries," she also said she "would not look to the United States Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012," given its original exclusion of women, slaves and Native Americans. Since World War II several other models have emerged that offer more specific and contemporary guarantees of rights and liberties, she said, pointing to South Africa's constitution, which she called a "really great piece of work" for its embrace of basic human rights and guarantee of an independent judiciary. She also noted Canada's charter of rights and freedoms and the European Convention of Human Rights. "Why not take advantage of what there is elsewhere in the world? I'm a very strong believer in listening and learning from others," she said. Among those currently sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court no other justice has publicly advised another country on the creation of a constitution. In 1960, eight years before he became a justice, Thurgood Marshall traveled to Kenya to draft its bill of rights, which he modeled after the European Convention on Human Rights. Unlike the U.S. Constitution, the Kenyan document guarantees rights to education, health, welfare and a right to work. Nevertheless, Ginsburg spent most of the 18-minute interview spelling out all the ways the Egyptians could take inspiration from the United States' Constitution, from the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech and a free press to the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause that she, as a lawyer in the 1970s, convinced the court to expand to protect women's rights. "We were just tremendously fortunate in the United States that the men who met in Philadelphia were very wise," Ginsburg said. "Now it is true that they were lacking one thing," she continued with a chuckle. "And that is that there were no women as part of the Constitutional Convention." "It's a very inspiring time -- that you have overthrown a dictator and that you are striving to achieve a genuine democracy," Ginsburg told Al Hayat TV. "I think people in the United States are hoping that this transition will work and that it will genuinely be a government of, by and for the people." Jan. 25 marked the one-year anniversary since the start of the Tahrir Square protests that toppled President Hosni Mubarak's nearly three-decade regime. When asked by her interviewer how best to draft a constitution and protect it from contemporary political pressures (perhaps alluding to Islamic parties' dominance in the new parliament's lower house), Justice Ginsburg answered, "A constitution, as important as it is, will mean nothing unless the people are yearning for liberty and freedom." "If the people don’t care, then the best constitution in the world won’t make any difference," she said. "The spirit of liberty," she continued, "has to be in the population." This Story Appeared Earlier on The Huffington Post Posted

Irv Rubin and Earl Krugel