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February 6, 2014

Sandra Fluke declares candidacy for California State Senate

Sandra Fluke declares candidacy for California State Senate

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

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Women’s rights advocate and Georgetown University Law Center graduate Sandra Fluke announced her candidacy yesterday to run for the California State Senate.

Sandra Fluke (2012)
Image: nmogburn.

The Democrat previously stated she would run for a seat in the United States Congress being vacated by retiring Congressman Henry Waxman. She informed the Los Angeles Times that she decided to run for the California State Senate instead of the U.S. Congress because she felt she would be able to accomplish more for the people of California as a state Senator.

She will attempt to gain election to the seat currently occupied by Ted Lieu, a Democrat from Torrance, California. Lieu is currently in the beginning of his own campaign for Congressman Waxman’s seat representing California’s 33rd congressional district.

Cquote1.svg My entire career has been devoted to the public interest, whether representing victims of human trafficking or advocating for working families. Cquote2.svg

—Sandra Fluke

In a release to the press, Fluke said: “I am extremely moved by the outpouring of local and national support I have received since I announced that I was considering running for office. My entire career has been devoted to the public interest, whether representing victims of human trafficking or advocating for working families.”

She described her intentions for the California legislature: “I am committed to continuing that fight in Sacramento, working to protect our environment, ensure our access to health care, and create the jobs that are desperately needed. While I strongly considered offering my candidacy for Congress, I feel there is a better way for me to advance the causes that are important to our community.”

Cquote1.svg I am eager to get to work fighting for the causes that matter most to our future as a community, state and nation. Cquote2.svg

—Sandra Fluke

Fluke characterized herself as a new voice for progressivism: “I believe that the families and communities of this district — from West Hollywood to West L.A. and from Santa Monica to Torrance and beyond — deserve to have a fresh perspective from a new generation of progressive leadership in Sacramento, and I am eager to get to work fighting for the causes that matter most to our future as a community, state and nation.”

After graduating from law school, Fluke moved to Los Angeles where she used her skills as a lawyer to help improve conditions for individuals related to improving the living wage and advocating for better foster care for children.

Fluke was nominated as a candidate by Time magazine for their Person of the Year of 2012. Time concluded Fluke helped give U.S. President Barack Obama an edge in his 2012 presidential re-election campaign.

Fluke was a featured speaker on September 5, 2012 at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Fluke spoke to attendees at the convention about the consequences for women of electing Republican candidate for U.S. President Mitt Romney over incumbent President Barack Obama. Fluke campaigned with President Obama in his bid for re-election.

She was recognized April 22, 2012 with the Stand Up for Choice Award. Fluke was given the Stand Up for Choice Award at the “Third Annual Multi-Generational Brunch” of the organization NARAL Pro-Choice America which was held in New York City (NYC), New York in the United States.

Fluke received a nomination in March 2012 as a candidate for Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. The list is released annually as a special edition of Time magazine, titled Time 100.

She gave testimony to the US Congress on February 23, 2012 before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee at a hearing about women’s health and contraception. She also worked for Sanctuary for Families in NYC which worked to crack down on human trafficking and domestic violence.



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September 23, 2013

Wikinews interviews specialists on China, Iran, Russia support for al-Assad

Wikinews interviews specialists on China, Iran, Russia support for al-Assad

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Over the past week, diplomatic actions have averted — or, at least delayed — military strikes on Syria by the United States. Wikinews sought input from a range of international experts on the situation; and, the tensions caused by Russia’s support for the al-Assad regime despite its apparent use of chemical weapons.

File:Ghouta chemical attack map.svg

Map of areas affected by chemical weapons in Ghouta, Syria.
Image: FutureTrillionaire.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Tensions in the country increased dramatically, late August when it was reported between 100 and 1,300 people were killed in an alleged chemical attack. Many of those killed appeared to be children, with some of the pictures and video coming out of the country showing — according to witnesses — those who died from apparent suffocation; some foaming at the mouth, others having convulsions.

Amongst Syria’s few remaining allies, Iran, China, and Russia continue to oppose calls for military intervention. In an effort to provide a better-understanding of the reasoning behind their ongoing support, the following people were posed a range of questions.

Interviewees

  • Stephen Blank, Senior Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, D.C.
  • Kerry Brown, Professor of Chinese Politics from the University of Sydney, Australia
  • Farideh Farhi, an Affiliate with the Graduate Faculty of Political Science, and lecturer, at the ̣̣University of Hawai’i, Honolulu
  • Mehran Kamrava, Professor and Director of the Center for International and Regional Studies at Georgetown University in Washington D.C.
  • William Martel, Professor of International Security Studies at Tufts University near Boston, Massachusetts
  • Rana Mitter, Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at the University of Oxford, England
  • Walter Posch, an Iran expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin, Germany; and,
  • Sam Roggeveen, a fellow of the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, Australia

Wikinews Q&A

Iran, China, and Russia have remained as allies to the al-Assad government despite the alleged use of chemical weapons in Ghouta on August 21, 2013. Wikinews queried the listed subject-matter experts regarding the diplomatic relations between these nations, and the reasoning behind such.

China

File photo of United Nations Security Council Chamber in New York.
Image: Patrick Gruban.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png There are suggestions China wants to maintain its financial ties with Syria as its third largest importer in 2010. Would you agree with this?

  • Brown: I don’t think that is China’s key priority. China has a massive economy, and Syria is a very minor player in this. It has some, but not much, energy from Syria. Its real concerns in the current conflict are for stability, and geopolitical.
  • Farhi: China’s conduct in Syria has been similar to its conduct elsewhere. It has given support to Russia in international forum such as the UNSC [United Nations Security Council] and has acted opportunistically wherever its economic interest could be pursued. But, Syria is really not an area of interest for China. Its actions and support for the Russian position is derived from its general concerns regarding American imperialism and unilateralism.
  • Mitter: China will want, in general, to maintain financial ties with Syria as it does with many countries. China’s general position is that internal politics of countries should not interfere with economic ties.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you think China is talking from experience when it says that foreign countries shouldn’t get involved with Syria’s internal affairs?

File photo of interviewee Sam Roggeveen.
Image: Sam Roggeveen.

  • Roggeveen: That stance reflects China’s history as a weak, developing country with a host of territorial disputes with its neighbours. Beijing does not want to set international precedents that will allow third parties to interfere with, for example, the Taiwan issue, Tibet, the East China Sea or the South China Sea.
But increasingly, China’s stance will conflict with its growing strength and growing responsibilities on the world stage. China is already the world’s second biggest economy and a major strategic power in the Asia Pacific [region]; and, it will increasingly be expected to take up responsibilities that come with such power. Also, as we saw in the case of Libya — where China sent a fleet of ships and aircraft to evacuate its nationals — China has interests and citizens all over the world, both of which need to be protected.
  • Brown: It [China] has always stood by non interference of other counties in the internal affairs of sovereign states; though, this position has changed over time since it was formulated on the back of China’s experience of colonisation in the early part of the twentieth-century. Its main priority now is to not see the escalation of issues, as was seen in Iraq and Afghanistan; where it runs the risk of being sucked into lengthy conflicts with no real gameplan, and no clear outcome that is relevant to it. It does not see the Syria[n] conflict [as] one where there is a an easy, viable, alternative option waiting to govern the country. And, it is very sceptical about US and others’ claims that they can control this problem.
  • Farhi: Yes, rejection of interference in the internal affairs of other countries — particularly of a military kind — is a principled Chinese position in areas where China doesn’t have an over-riding interest.
  • Mitter: China has been a hardline advocate of strong territorial sovereignty for decades. This is, in part, a product of its own history of being invaded and occupied by other countries.

File photo of interviewee Rana Mitter.
Image: Rana Mitter.


Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png China abstained from a UN Security Council resolution on Libya — do you think they are trying to reprise what happened in Libya in terms of regime change?

  • Roggeveen: China and Russia suspect the ‘responsibility to protect’ doctrine, which was used by Western powers to justify the Libya intervention, was a smokescreen for regime change. So, they are wary of seeing something similar happen in Syria. China also prefers not to be on its own in the Security Council; so, if the Russians come down against a Libya-like resolution, [the] chances are that China will join them.
  • Brown: They felt there was clear mission-creep with Libya. What, however, has most emboldened them in opposing action in Syria is the position of Russia; which they have been able to stand behind. Diplomatically they dislike isolation, so this has proved the issue they have taken cover from.
  • Farhi: Libya has set a bad precedent for many countries who supported, or did not object to, NATO action. So, yes, the Libya example is a precedent; but, in any case, the Syrian dynamics are much more complex than Libya and both Russia and China — as well as Iran — genuinely see the attempt to resolve the imbroglio in Syria through military means as truly dangerous. In other words, they see the conduct of Western powers in the past two years as spawning policies that are tactically geared to weaken the Assad regime without a clear sense or strategy regarding what the end game should be. Particularly since at least part of the opposition to Assad has also elicited support from Islamic radicals.
  • Mitter: In general China is reluctant to take decisive action in international society, and [at] the UN. It prefers its partners, such as Russia, to take on confrontational roles while it tries to remain more neutral and passive.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you think a political solution is the only realistic means to resolve the Syrian issue?

File photo of interviewee Kerry Brown.
Image: Kerry Brown.

  • Roggeveen: At the moment, both sides [in Syria] evidently feel they can still obtain their objectives through force. Perhaps one of them will be proved right; or, perhaps there will be a long-term stalemate with Syria split between regime and opposition forces.
One important change is the chemical weapons agreement; which now makes it much more difficult for the US or Israel to intervene militarily. The deal also gives the regime some degree of status as a legal authority with which outside powers must negotiate. That weakens the hand of the opposition; but, it could open a door for an international diplomatic intervention to achieve — firstly — a cease fire. and perhaps then something more substantive.
  • Brown: There is no appetite for the kinds of expensive and very hard interventions [undertaken] in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, in any case, the US and its allies don’t have the money to fund this, and their publics evidently feel no case has been made yet for getting involved. People are weary of the endless arguments in the Middle-East, and feel that they should now be left to deal with their own issues. China, in particular, has tried to maintain as strong a […] network of benign support in the region as possible, while avoiding getting sucked into problems. There is no viable opposition in Syria that would make it easier to justify intervention; and, no easy way of seeing how this tragic civil war is going to be easily ended.
  • Farhi: Syria has become the arena for a proxy war among regional and extra-regional players and yes its civil war will not end until all key players and their external supporters develop a political will to end the conflict. For the conflict to end, the bankers feeding the conflict should agree to stop funding it.
  • Mitter: Yes. But, it will depend on Russia, China, and the US, being able to come up with a compromise solution. That looks [to be] a long way off.

Iran

Free Syrian Army soldiers involved in the civil war.
Image: Voice of America.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png For many years, Syria has been considered Iran’s “closest ally”. What vested interest does the Iranian government have in keeping Bashar al-Assad in power?

  • Kamrava: These interests are primarily strategic, with both countries sharing common interests in relation to Lebanon — particularly the Hezbollah group — and [as] deterrence against Israel[i intervention].
  • Martel: Iran’s interests align very closely with that of Russia in supporting Syria and opposing the United States. Further, during this last week, President Putin offered to help Iran build a second nuclear reactor. The policies of Russia, Iran, and Syria align quite closely; thus leading some — such as myself — to argue that we are seeing the rise of an “authoritarian axis” of states, whose policies are coordinated.
  • Posch: First, Syria was Iran’s only ally against Saddam Hussein and [an] indispensable partner in Lebanon since the early 1980s.

Kurdish supporters of Syria’s Democratic Union Party in Afrin.
Image: Scott Bobb.

Even before the fall of Saddam in 2003, Iran reinterpreted the basically pragmatic cooperation in the field of intelligence and security. Ever since Syria was part of a so called “axis of resistance” consisting of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the sole common strategic denominator of these different actors is hostility against Israel, which is always depicted as an aggressor against whom the Muslims should resist — hence, the [designation as an] “axis of resistance”. Of course, forming an alliance ‘officially against Israel’ serves another purpose too: to take a stand against Saudi Arabia without naming it. Much of the current crisis in Syria has to do with this scheme.
  • Farhi: Syria supported Iran during the Iran–Iraq war; and, that dynamic forged a long-standing relationship between the two countries that includes economic, political, and military cooperation. In more recent years, Iran, Syria and Hezbollah have self-identified as [an] axis of resistance against Israeli–American involvement in the region. Despite this, Iran initially mostly followed the Russian lead in the Syria. However as other regional players — such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, as well as extra-regional players such as the United States — began to see, and articulate the weakening of, the Assad regime as a first step to the weakening of Iran, this enhanced Iran’s threat perception, and gave it [an] incentive for further involvement in support of Assad.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Do you think Iranian support for the Syrian government is a way of standing up against UN sanctions imposed on them, and opposing American imperialism?

  • Kamrava: No. Iranian–Syrian relations are rooted in common strategic interests rather than in assumptions about US imperialism, or the role of the UN sanctions.
  • Martel: Both Iran and Syria share a strategic interest in undermining the influence of the US and the West.
  • Posch: Definitely not. The sanctions track is a different one, checking American “imperialism” — as you call it — is, of course. one aim.
  • Farhi: As has become evident in the past few weeks, the primary interactive dynamic regarding the Syrian imbroglio is being played out mostly in terms of US–Russian rivalry; and, Iran is following the Russian lead.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png The UN has “overwhelmingly” confirmed use of chemical weapons in Syria. Do you think both sides have used chemical weapons?

File photo of interviewee Mehran Kamrava.
Image: Mehran Kamrava.

  • Kamrava: It is undeniable that chemical weapons were used in Syria. But, I have not yet seen conclusive evidence for the responsibility of the use of chemical gas by one side or another. Until valid evidence is made available — proving who used chemical weapons — affixing blame to either the government forces, or to one of the fractious rebel groups, is only a matter of speculation.
  • Martel: I remain skeptical that anyone other than the Syrian government used chemical weapons. It is widely accepted that the Syrian government was behind the use of chemical weapons.
  • Posch: I think the Report is quite clear on that.
  • Farhi: I —as an academic, with no access to on the ground information — am in no position to know whether both sides have used chemical weapons.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Would you agree that part of Iran’s vested interest in Syria remaining under al-Assad is bound to two factors: religion and strategy?

Former President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmedinejad who stepped down earlier this year.
Image: Russian Presidential Press and Information Office.

  • Kamrava: No, I do not agree. Iran’s “vested interest in Syria remaining under al-Assad” is [a] product only of Iran’s strategic calculations.
While foreign policies anywhere may be expressed — and justified — through slogans and ideological rhetoric, they are based on strategic considerations and calculations. Despite common, journalistic misconceptions, religion has not played a role in Iranian foreign policy; whether in relation to Syria or anywhere else.
  • Martel: Iran’s vested interest in Syria is entirely geo-strategic. Iran’s support [for] Syria is designed to undermine US power and influence. For Iran, no policy objective is more important than to possess nuclear weapons. When the U.S. declared a “redline” if Syria “used or moved” chemical weapons, and then backed away from that redline, it is likely that Iran’s leadership drew one principal conclusion:
the US redline on Iran’s nuclear program is in doubt, the US commitment to preventing Iran from possessing nuclear weapons is in doubt,
and that Iran likely will test US resolve.
In strategic terms, doubts about the credibility of the US redline on Iran dwarfs any concerns about Syria’s chemical weapons.
The belief in Iran — that the US may not be willing to prevent Iran from possessing nuclear weapons — could lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. It is difficult to exaggerate just how dangerous a nuclear-armed Iran is for regional and global security.
  • Posch: No, it is strategy, and perhaps ideology. Religion doesn’t play too much [of] a role, even though the conflict has been thoroughly “sectarianised”. This happened a few years back when the Saudis baptised (if that term is appropriate) the “axis of resistance” to “shiite crescent”. The domination of the Syrian Baath Party by members of one sect plays no role in Iran’s security equation. Attempts to convert Syrian Alevites to Mainstream Shiites are initiatives of some individual Ayatollahs. I have already mentioned the strategic aspect, [an] axis of resistance against Israel and Saudi Arabia simultaneously; to this I would add Iranian concern over the Kurdish issue.
  • Farhi: The Assad government is a secular government, and Iran’s relationship with it has nothing to do with religion or religious affinities. The relationship is a complex one — and, as mentioned before — forged as a strategic bond during the Iran–Iraq War, when Saddam’s regime was deemed aggressively expansionist by both regimes.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Iran is home to the world’s most populous Shiite Muslim nation. The Syrian rebels are Sunni. Could this be a Sunni vs. Shiite alignment in the Middle East?

File photo of interviewee Farideh Farhi.
Image: Farideh Farhi.

  • Kamrava: No. While sectarianism may be the lens through which some of the Syrian rebels see their fight against the government, ultimately the contest is over state power and capitalizing on opportunities created by the Arab uprisings in general; and, the Syrian civil war in particular. Sunni–Shia ‘alignments’ have nothing to do with it.
  • Posch: Usually, the Sunni–Shia divide is something Iranians and Saudis play up in order to put pressure on one another; usually, they were also able to deescalate. Syria, however, is the game-changer — for the simple reason that nobody believes the Saudis would control the post Al-Qaeda Networks in Syria. What Iran fears is an increase of the most-radical Sunni anti-shiism, the so called takfiris, spilling over onto Iranian territory.
  • Farhi: The Sunni governments in the region are working hard to use sectarian tensions as an instrument to fan popular resentments, in the region, towards Shi’ite Iran. But, the rivalry is actually political; and, has to do with the fears rivals have of what they consider — I think wrongly — to be Iran’s hegemonic aspirations in the region.
Sectarianism is an instrument for shaping regional rivalries, and not the source of problems, in the region.

Russia

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, meeting Syrianan president Bashar al-Assad, on a visit to Syria in 2010.
Image: Russian Presidential Press and Information Office.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Russia is one of Syria’s biggest arms suppliers. Do you think this means Russia’s interest lies in economic benefit, as opposed to the humanitarian crisis?

  • Blank: Although Russia sells Syria weapons, Russia’s main interest has nothing to do with humanitarianism or economics.
Rather, its main interests are to force the US to accept Russia as an equal — so that Moscow has an effective veto power over any further American actions of a strategic nature there and elsewhere — and second, to restore Russia’s standing as an indispensable great power in the Middle East without whom nothing strategic can be resolved.
It should be noted that in neither case is Russia actively interested in finding solutions to existing problems. Rather, it seeks to create a bloc of pro-Russian, anti-American states and maintain simmering conflicts at their present level while weakening US power.

File photo of interviewee William Martel.
Image: William Martel.

  • Martel: Russia’s principal interests in Syria are twofold. First, Moscow’s support is geopolitical in design. It is designed precisely to undermine and weaken American influence in the Middle East and globally. The extent to which Russia can undermine American influence directly helps to bolster Russia’s influence. For now, Russia is such a vastly diminished power — both politically, economically, militarily, and technologically — that Russian policymakers are pursuing policies they believe will help to reverse Russia’s strategic decline.
Second, Syria is Russia’s strongest ally in the region, if not the world, while Syria is the home to Russia’s only foreign naval base.
  • Farhi: Syria is Russia’s only solid strategic ally in the Middle East. Syria, in effect, is a Russian client. Russia’s interests lie in maintaining that foothold, and perhaps extending it.
It also has a concern regarding the civil war in Syria spawning what it considers to be extremist Islamist activities, which it has had to contend with within its own borders.

File photo of interviewee Stephen Blank.
Image: Stephen Blank.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you believe Russia distrusts US intentions in the region — in the sense of countering the West on regime change?

  • Blank: It is clear that Russia not only does not trust US interests and judgment in the Middle East, it regards Washington as too-ready to use force to unseat regimes it does not like and believes these could lead to wars; more importantly, to the attempt to overthrow the present Russian government. That is critical to understanding Moscow’s staunch support for Assad.
  • Martel: Russia’s policymakers understand that American and Russia interests directly diverge. Russia seeks to undermine US geopolitical influence, and increase its own. It is using its support of the Syrian regime to accomplish that objective. American interests, by contrast, are largely to prevent the spread and use of chemical weapons.
Appallingly, Russia is supporting Syria despite the fact that all evidence points to Syria’s use of chemical weapons.
One would think that American policymakers would be more critical of Russia; which is directly supporting a regime that used poison gas to slaughter its own men, women, and children.
  • Farhi: It is less about trust and more about protection of geopolitical interests and prevention of even more dire consequences if Assad goes. It is true that Russia feels that the United States and NATO went beyond the mandate afforded to them by the UN Security Council in going after regime change in Libya.
However, Russia’s geopolitical, and economic, interests in Syria are much more important; and, the relationship between the two countries [is] much deeper.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The Russian Government accepts that chemical weapons have been used in Syria. How does it come to claim that the rebels are behind the attacks even though it is widely accepted that the al-Assad government has stocks of weapons?

A BM-14 multiple rocket launcher, similar to the type likely to have launched the M-14 munitions found by UN Inspectors on August 26.
Image: Vlad.

  • Blank: It [Russia] simply intends to defend Assad to the hilt; and is hardly unwilling to lie — especially as its intelligence service is notorious for fabricating mendacious and biased threat assessments, and is not under any form of effective democratic control.
  • Martel: Russia’s claims that Syrian rebels were behind the chemical weapon attacks is, frankly, inexplicable. Worse, Russia’s basic credibility is undermined by such statements.
  • Farhi: Russia claims Syria has presented it [with] evidence that the rebels have used chemical weapons; and Russia, in turn, has given the evidence to the UNSC. It has also called the UN report one-sided and biased. The bottom line is — the claim that the opposition to the Assad regime is at least as culpable in the violence being committed in Syria, opens the path for Russia to continue calling for a political solution [which] brings to the table all parties to the conflict in Syria, including Assad and his supporters; something the multi-voiced opposition has so far refused.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Would you agree that Russia’s vested interest in Syria remaining under al-Assad is bound to two factors: economics and ideology?

  • Blank: As I said above, Russia’s interest in Assad is bound to two geopolitical factors: maintaining the security of its regime; and, equally important, weakening America in the Middle-East — if not globally — and ensuring that Russia’s great power status is thereby ensured.
  • Martel: Russia’s vested interest in protecting Syria’s al-Assad is driven by geopolitics.
To support Assad, is to counter US policy and influence; which is precisely what Putin’s government seeks to accomplish. In many senses, Russia’s support for Syria is entirely secondary to Russia’s strategy of reversing its two-decade long decline in every measure of power. With its weak economy, dependence on petroleum for half of its national income, and increasingly authoritarian government, Russia has relatively little to offer the world — other than to oppose the United States as part of its strategy of reversing its decline.
While Russia’s geopolitical influence clearly increased as a result of its support for Syria, its long-term economic prospects remain quite dim.
  • Farhi: It is economic as well as political.
Syria is a customer of Russian arms and goods; hosting a naval supply base in Tartus. But, as mentioned above, Russia has serious concerns regarding what comes after Assad. For Russia, the current regime is better than chaos or control by Islamists.
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December 6, 2012

Sandra Fluke gives keynote speech at Nebraska women\’s health event

Sandra Fluke gives keynote speech at Nebraska women’s health event

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Women’s rights
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Women's rights
More information on Women’s rights at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
  • Women’s rights
  • Women’s health
  • Female education
  • Feminism portal

Women’s rights advocate and Georgetown University Law Center graduate Sandra Fluke was the keynote speaker at a women’s health event Tuesday night in Nebraska.

Sandra Fluke (2012)
Image: nmogburn.

Fluke was the headliner in Lincoln, Nebraska at the Rococo Theatre for the annual fundraiser of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, titled: “The Big Event: Courage — No Matter What”. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California with her fiancé and “Mr. President”, their pet dog. After graduating cum laude with her J.D. degree this past May, Fluke successfully took and passed the bar exam in July and is now an attorney.

Cquote1.svg It’s uplifting and heartening to see how many people really care about the issues I’m talking about. Cquote2.svg

—Sandra Fluke

In an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star, Fluke reflected on her role as a public figure and her ability to contribute to the contribute to the discourse about women’s rights, “It’s uplifting and heartening to see how many people really care about the issues I’m talking about.” Fluke observed, “I think it’s also allowed me to give a voice and shine a light on the work that a lot of people are doing.”

Fluke’s speech centered on women’s rights, women’s healthcare, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. She stressed the importance of women’s issues in the recent election for U.S. President: “This year, something changed in our national conversation about women’s health…. Before my time, women’s healthcare has never decided a presidential election. We really did make a difference this election.” She spurred on attendees of the event to become more active in supporting women’s rights: “It’s time for young women in this country to join the fight, because it’s our rights and our health that are at stake.”

Cquote1.svg She’s a voice of reason. I think she has raised the bar for rational conversation about a serious issue. Cquote2.svg

—Tari Hendrickson

Planned Parenthood regional development and planned gifts director Tari Hendrickson told the Lincoln Journal Star Sandra Fluke was her top choice for keynote speaker at the event: “Sandra was No. 1 on my list; I never had a No. 2. She’s a voice of reason. I think she has raised the bar for rational conversation about a serious issue.”

Cquote1.svg She is a wonderfully outspoken person on the affordable care act, women’s health and women’s rights. Cquote2.svg

—Susan Allen

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland Planned Nebraska communications manager Susan Allen told the Daily Nebraskan Sandra Fluke was the ideal person to serve as keynote speaker: “She is a wonderfully outspoken person on the affordable care act, women’s health and women’s rights. We decided she would be the perfect person to speak to Planned Parenthood supporters.”

Planned Parenthood intern and University of Nebraska-Lincoln student Emily Schiltz commented on landing Fluke as the keynote speaker, “She is definitely the biggest person we’ve had in a long time.”

“I feel like she walks the walk rather than talk the talk,” said Planned Parenthood intern and journalism student Audrey Nance.

Fluke indicated her intention was to persevere in speaking about issues she thinks important: “I think my ultimate goal is giving a voice to people who don’t always have one.”

She has been named as a candidate by Time magazine in a November 26 announcement, for their Person of the Year. Time concluded Fluke helped give U.S. President Barack Obama an edge in his presidential re-election campaign.

Fluke was a featured speaker on September 5 at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Fluke spoke to attendees at the convention about the consequences for women of electing Republican candidate for U.S. President, Mitt Romney, over incumbent President Barack Obama. Fluke has campaigned with President Obama in his bid for re-election.

She was recognized April 22 with the Stand Up for Choice Award. Fluke was given the Stand Up for Choice Award at the “Third Annual Multi-Generational Brunch” of the organization NARAL Pro-Choice America which was held in New York City (NYC), New York in the United States.

Fluke received a nomination in March as a candidate for Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. The list is released annually as a special edition of Time magazine, titled Time 100.

She gave testimony to the US Congress on February 23 before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee at a hearing about women’s health and contraception. She also worked for Sanctuary for Families in NYC which worked to crack down on human trafficking and domestic violence.



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November 30, 2012

Sandra Fluke nominated by Time magazine for Person of the Year

Sandra Fluke nominated by Time magazine for Person of the Year

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Women’s rights
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Women’s rights advocate and Georgetown University Law Center graduate Sandra Fluke has been named as a candidate by Time magazine for their Person of the Year.

Sandra Fluke (2012)
Image: nmogburn.

Sandra Fluke was the focus of media in February after attempting to testify before a Republican-controlled committee in the United States House of Representatives about contraception and women’s health. Kate Pickert of Time wrote in her profile, “Fluke … weathered the attention with poise and maturity and emerged as a political celebrity.”

Cquote1.svg Fluke … weathered the attention with poise and maturity and emerged as a political celebrity. Cquote2.svg

Time magazine

Time concluded Fluke helped give U.S. President Barack Obama an edge in his presidential re-election campaign: “Democrats gave her a national-convention speaking slot as part of their push to make reproductive rights a central issue in the 2012 presidential campaign — one that helped Barack Obama trounce Mitt Romney among single women on Election Day.”

Cquote1.svg Honored to be listed for Time’s Person of Year. Cquote2.svg

—Sandra Fluke

Fluke responded to the nomination via Twitter, and stated she was “Honored to be listed for Time’s Person of Year”. In the same statement she also drew attention to the scarcity of women on the list of candidates.

An analysis of Fluke’s candidacy by Peter Roff of U.S. News & World Report called attention to her role in the political phenomenon in the recent election cycle known as the “War on Women” which drew significant attention to issues of women’s rights. Roff gave advice to the Republican party on the way it relates to women, “Once the Republicans become comfortable talking about all issues as though they were women’s issues too — issues like unemployment, economic growth, job creation, education, and healthcare as well as the so-called social issues — they will be demonstrating that women have a home in the GOP. Until they do however it will be the Sandra Flukes of the world that continue to carry the day when it counts.”

Journalist Leslie Marshall observed some conservative political commentators were critical of Time for its nomination of Fluke for Person of the Year.

Cquote1.svg … she showed true strength over adversity. And she has since become a women’s health activist. For these reasons alone, she belongs on this list. Cquote2.svg

Leslie Marshall

Marshall argued Fluke belongs on the list: “She should be credited with reminding women on both the right and the left; that many of us agree on the issue of women’s reproductive rights. Although some of us might be Democrats and some Republicans, our gender unites us. She brought more women to the polls, reminding us of the decades it took to be where we are and what was at stake for women if we did not re-elect President Obama. In speaking at the Democratic National Convention, she showed true strength over adversity. And she has since become a women’s health activist. For these reasons alone, she belongs on this list.”

However, Marshall stated she wouldn’t be voting for Fluke’s candidacy, but would instead cast her ballot for Malala Yousafzai, a 15-year-old female education activist who survived a Taliban assassination attempt.

Fluke was a featured speaker on September 5 at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Fluke spoke to attendees at the convention about the consequences for women of electing Republican candidate for U.S. President, Mitt Romney, over incumbent President Barack Obama. Fluke has campaigned with President Obama in his bid for re-election.

She was recognized April 22 with the Stand Up for Choice Award. Fluke was given the Stand Up for Choice Award at the “Third Annual Multi-Generational Brunch” of the organization NARAL Pro-Choice America which was held in New York City (NYC), New York in the United States.

Fluke received a nomination in March as a candidate for Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. The list is released annually as a special edition of Time magazine, titled Time 100.

She gave testimony to the US Congress on February 23 before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee at a hearing about women’s health and contraception. She also worked for Sanctuary for Families in NYC which worked to crack down on human trafficking and domestic violence.



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  • Wikisource-logo.svg Author:Sandra Kay Fluke
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September 7, 2012

Sandra Fluke featured speaker at Democratic National Convention

Sandra Fluke featured speaker at Democratic National Convention

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Friday, September 7, 2012

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Women’s rights advocate and Georgetown University Law Center graduate Sandra Fluke was a featured speaker Wednesday at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Sandra Fluke (2012)
Image: nmogburn.

Fluke spoke to attendees at the convention about the consequences for women of electing Republican candidate for U.S. President, Mitt Romney, over incumbent President Barack Obama. Fluke has campaigned with President Obama in his bid for re-election.

Cquote1.svg I’m here because I spoke out, and this November, each of us must speak out. Cquote2.svg

—Sandra Fluke

She encouraged listeners to her speech to use their vote for the next U.S. President as a voice, stating, “I’m here because I spoke out, and this November, each of us must speak out.”

Fluke contrasted possible scenarios which could result from a Republican-controlled White House with that of President Obama’s administration’s support of women’s issues, and commented, “During this campaign, we’ve heard about the two profoundly different futures that could await women — and how one of those futures looks like an offensive, obsolete relic of our past.”

Cquote1.svg During this campaign, we’ve heard about the two profoundly different futures that could await women — and how one of those futures looks like an offensive, obsolete relic of our past. Cquote2.svg

—Sandra Fluke

She concluded her remarks by asserting that Mitt Romney would not place emphasis on women’s rights, observing, “And six months from now, we’ll all be living in one, or the other. But only one. A country where our president either has our back or turns his back.”

Fluke’s speech was well received throughout by the audience, and garnered her a standing ovation from the crowd. After her speech, Fluke took to Twitter to thank convention participants for the positive reaction she received, tweeting, “#DNC2012, THANK YOU for such a warm welcome! But thank you more for standing for #women!”

She was recognized April 22 with the Stand Up for Choice Award. Fluke was given the Stand Up for Choice Award at the “Third Annual Multi-Generational Brunch” of the organization NARAL Pro-Choice America which was held in New York City (NYC), New York in the United States.

Fluke received a nomination in March as a candidate for Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. The list is released annually as a special edition of Time magazine, titled Time 100.

She gave testimony to the US Congress on February 23 before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on a hearing about women’s health and contraception. She also worked for Sanctuary for Families in NYC which worked to crackdown on human trafficking and domestic violence.



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  • Wikisource-logo.svg Author:Sandra Kay Fluke
  • Commons-logo.svg Sandra Fluke
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August 30, 2012

Egyptian President Morsi makes state visit to China

Egyptian President Morsi makes state visit to China

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mohamed Morsi (left) pictured in June.
Image: Jonathan Rashad.

Egyptian President, Mohamed Morsi, began an official state visit to China last Tuesday. This is Morsi’s first state visit outside the Middle East since taking office in June this year.

The trip is seen by analysts as an attempt to forge stronger economic and diplomatic ties with Beijing, and to access Chinese capital and expertise. Events scheduled for the visit include meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao and prominent business figures. It is expected the two countries will agree to cooperate on a number of large infrastructure projects, including desalination and power generation — with this hoped to boost Egypt’s faltering economy. China has made an increasing number of foreign investments in recent years, in an attempt to increase its international standing. Trade between the two countries increased by 40% between 2008 and 2011 to US$ 8.8 billion.

Egypt continues to receive over US$ 1 billion annually in aid from the United States; however, the funds are believed to not come without conditions. Academic Peter Mandaville, of Georgetown University, suggested that Morsi’s visit was part of a “[…] broader effort by Egypt to signal that it’s going to diversify its portfolio of relationships”.



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April 25, 2012

Sandra Fluke receives Stand Up for Choice Award

Sandra Fluke receives Stand Up for Choice Award

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

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Women’s rights advocate and Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke was recognized Sunday, April 22 with the Stand Up for Choice Award. Fluke was given the Stand Up for Choice Award at the “Third Annual Multi-Generational Brunch” of the organization NARAL Pro-Choice America which was held in New York City (NYC), New York in the United States.

Sandra Fluke reading her prepared testimony
Video: Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Democratic Party (2012).

Cquote1.svg Sandra is a remarkable leader and a true hero in the reproductive-rights community. Cquote2.svg

Nancy Keenan, NARAL President

The organization’s president, Nancy Keenan, attended the event and had previously spoken in favor of Fluke in a press release announcing the award. “Sandra is a remarkable leader and a true hero in the reproductive-rights community. This event brings together women and men from many generations, and the one thing that unites us all is the personal stories that are the reason for our joining this cause. Without a doubt, many people have witnessed Sandra’s strength over these last few weeks and have been inspired to join her in standing up for women’s freedom and privacy.”

Chair of the NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Future Direction Committee Amanda Hirsh released a statement in support of Fluke saying, “we are thrilled to honor Sandra Fluke with the Stand Up For Choice Award at this year’s multi-generational brunch. Attempts to silence voices like Sandra’s have failed. Young leaders across the country are looking to Sandra as an inspiration.”

Cquote1.svg I was honored to receive it! Thank you! I’m very humbled by the inspiring stories women told of their own lives. Cquote2.svg

—Sandra Fluke

Fluke responded to a post on Twitter from NARAL congratulating her on receiving the award, stating, “I was honored to receive it! Thank you! I’m very humbled by the inspiring stories women told of their own lives.”

Fluke received a nomination in March as a candidate for Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. The list is released annually as a special edition of Time magazine, titled Time 100.

She gave testimony to the US Congress on February 23 before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on a hearing about women’s health and contraception. She also worked for Sanctuary for Families in NYC which worked to crackdown on human trafficking and domestic violence.



Related news

  • “Sandra Fluke named candidate for Time’s 100 most influential people” — Wikinews, March 30, 2012
  • “Sandra Fluke, Chelsea Clinton and Christine Quinn on women in politics” — Wikinews, March 29, 2012
  • Sandra Fluke insists she will not be silenced” — Wikinews, March 14, 2012

Sister links

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  • Commons-logo.svg Sandra Fluke
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April 4, 2012

On the campaign trail, March 2012

On the campaign trail, March 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

On the campaign trail, March 2012

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The following is the fifth in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail, a politician from outside the fifty states receives significant mention as a potential Republican Party vice presidential nominee, Wikinews gets the reaction of three Democratic Party candidates after the party strips delegates from two of their fellow challengers, and a minor third party removes its presidential nominee for fraud.

Summary

March 2012 opened with the unexpected death of citizen journalist Andrew Breitbart at the age of 43. Before he died, Breitbart had claimed to possess a video of President Barack Obama that would change the course of the election. The video, which was released shortly after Breitbart’s death, showed Obama as a law student at Harvard University speaking in favor of Derrick Bell, a controversial professor who had accused the American system of being racist. The video disappointed commentators such as Juan Williams, who expected a “smoking gun” from Breitbart.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney cemented his status as the Republican Party frontrunner with victories in Washington, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Wyoming, the US Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Illinois, and six of the ten Super Tuesday states including Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts, Ohio, Vermont, and Virginia. He also won the endorsements of former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, and Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Despite the successes, the specter of a brokered convention remained as Romney failed to win enough delegates to secure the nomination.

President Barack Obama discusses alternative energy in March 2012.
Image: Daniel Borman.

Romney’s closest rival, former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, won Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and three of the Super Tuesday states including North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. However, he suffered some missteps that cost his campaign: he called for English to be adopted as the official language in Puerto Rico as a condition of statehood, and later remarked that if Romney won the nomination and moved to the political center, “we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk of what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate for the future.” Santorum was alluding to comments from a Romney adviser that compared the campaign to an Etch A Sketch in that “[we] shake it up and we start all over again” for the general election. However, Santorum’s comments were interpreted as a suggestion that voters should favor the Democrat Obama over Romney, which Santorum later denied.

Meanwhile, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Congressman Ron Paul continued their campaigns for the GOP nomination. Paul finished second in Washington, North Dakota, Vermont, and Virginia, and won the popular vote, but not the majority of delegates, in the Virgin Islands. Gingrich focused his energies on the southern states. He won his home state of Georgia on Super Tuesday, and came in second place in Alabama and Mississippi. Most notably during March, Gingrich proclaimed he could reduce gas prices in the United States to $2.50 a gallon through increased oil drilling. President Obama used this statement to attack the GOP, arguing that they were playing political games. On energy, Obama called for further development of alternative fuels. Polls showed that high energy prices were negatively affecting his popularity.

Additionally, the Obama campaign attacked the GOP for the February comments of radio personality Rush Limbaugh that referred to Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke as a “slut” and “prostitute” after she testified about contraceptive coverage before a congressional hearing. The campaign alleged that the GOP was waging a “war on women” for its opposition to the mandate that contraceptives be included on the insurance plans of organizations regardless of their religious views.

Foreign affairs and missile defense also became an election topic after an open-microphone during a forum in South Korea captured President Obama tell Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, “[O]n all these issues, but particularly missile defense… This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.” Medvedev replied that he would “transmit this information to Vladimir [Putin]“. Romney criticized the comments, arguing “I think it’s very alarming for the President of the United States to suggest to Russia that he has a different agenda that he’s going to work out with the Russians after the elections”. He then labeled Russia as “without question, our number one geopolitical foe.” In response, Medvedev referenced the Cold War and advised the Romney campaign “to check their watches from time to time: it is 2012, not the mid-1970s.”

Might the GOP VP nominee come from Puerto Rico?

As Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney campaigned in Puerto Rico ahead of that territory’s March 18 Republican presidential primary, at his side was Puerto Rican governor Luis Fortuño. Fortuño had endorsed Romney for president, and has received mention as a potential vice presidential nominee. Commentators argue his presence on a ticket could draw Hispanic support to the GOP.

Fortuño was elected in 2008 as the first Republican governor in the territory since 1969. As governor, he sought government cuts and low corporate and individual tax rates in an attempt to improve economic conditions. Newsmax referred to his governorship as the “Puerto Rico Miracle” and labeled Fortuño a “Reaganite” whose “example should be followed in the United States”. Political analyst Larry Sabato proclaimed Fortuño “a godsend to the GOP”.

Luis Fortuño at a Florida CPAC event in September 2011.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Significant talk about Fortuño and the vice presidency started last year. A Wall Street Journal editorial labeled Fortuño a “fine choice for Vice President” and GOP operative Roger Stone also endorsed the idea, saying the selection of Fortuño would “bring charisma, star power and excitement to the campaign.”

Such speculation heightened as the 2012 presidential race shifted to Puerto Rico in March. Fortuño campaigned with Romney, leading both CNN and Real Clear Politics to label him as a potential running mate. Fortuño did not comment much on the speculation, but preferred to discuss Romney, saying he believed that as president, Romney would push for Puerto Rican statehood. With Fortuño’s assistance, Romney was able to win the Puerto Rican contest with 83 percent of the vote. In his victory speech, Romney commented, “I intend to become our nominee and I intend to get Latino voters to vote for a Republican.” According to Fortuño himself, one way to accomplish this would be to select an Hispanic as a running mate.

Political consultant Dan Judy of North Star Opinion Research agrees. He tells Wikinews, “I don’t think there’s any one silver bullet that will bring a majority Hispanic voters to the Republican side, but I think the selection of Governor Fortuno would help, particularly among Puerto Rican voters living on the mainland.” According to a Fox News poll from March, Romney receives only 14 percent of the Hispanic vote in a matchup with President Obama, and Judy says that Puerto Ricans vote Democratic at an even higher rate than other Hispanic nationalities. He explains, “a Puerto Rican on the ticket would at least cause them to take a closer look at the GOP candidate.”

However, Judy warns that Fortuño’s eligibility may be questioned since Puerto Rico is not a state. Because of this, he says more attention is given to other Hispanic GOP politicians such as Nevada governor Brian Sandoval, New Mexico governor Susana Martinez and Senator Marco Rubio. Nevertheless, Sandoval is pro-choice on abortion, Martinez may conjure memories of 2008 VP nominee Sarah Palin, and Rubio is Cuban American, a group that largely already supports the GOP.

Constitutional scholar Dr. Ronald Rotunda of Chapman University tells Wikinews that eligibility might not be a concern after all. “In 1917, Congress provided, by statute that people born in Puerto Rico are citizens of the United States” says Rotunda, “while we have no case directly on point, it is probable that a person born in Puerto Rico is eligible to become President or Vice President.”

Democratic Party strips delegates

In the Oklahoma presidential primary, President Obama won the counties above in black while Randall Terry won the counties in gold and Jim Rogers won the counties in red.
Image: William S. Saturn.

Anti-abortion activist Randall Terry qualified for delegates in Oklahoma after winning 18 percent of the vote in the state’s Democratic primary against President Obama on Super Tuesday. However, the Democratic Party has decided to remove the delegates from Terry because of his failure to file a delegate slate and for not being a bona fide Democratic presidential candidate. Former U.S. Senate nominee Jim Rogers, who also qualified for delegates in the primary after winning over 15 percent in some congressional districts, was similarly stripped for failing to file.

In a letter to Terry, the Oklahoma Democratic Party detailed its decision, describing a bona fide presidential candidate as a “Democrat whose record of public service, accomplishment, public writings and/or public statements affirmatively demonstrates that he or she is faithful to the interests, welfare, and success of the Democratic Party of the United States and will participate in the Convention in good faith.” It concludes that Terry did not fit this description because he was recently a member of the Republican Party.

At the March 24 Louisiana Primary, attorney John Wolfe, Jr. qualified for delegates after receiving over 15 percent in some congressional districts of the state. It is not known at this time whether these delegates will be seated at the Democratic National Convention in August, or if he will be subject to the same decision as Terry and Rogers.

Wikinews contacted Wolfe and fellow Democratic Party candidates Bob Ely and Darcy Richardson to ask whether they were concerned the Democratic Party leadership would strip delegates from them if they qualified, and award them to President Obama. All three candidates appeared on the Louisiana primary ballot and will appear with Obama on the Texas ballot in May. Only Ely and Richardson appeared with Obama, Terry, and Rogers on the Oklahoma ballot.

  • John Wolfe, Jr.: “The rules are the rules, and like it or not, the delegates are mine. I am an attorney well schooled in many Constitutional Law issues and will make sure that the right thing is done. But, I expect that they will do the right thing and let me have the delegates I have earned. I understand that the good folks at the top of the Louisiana party were surprised at the insurgency ( what with a number of Cajuns howlin’ for the Bayou Wolf), but even when there is an overwhelming incumbent in the Presidency, the duty of party officials is to remain neutral and enforce the wishes that the Democratic Primary voters have expressed through the ballot box. Anything else would be a travesty of justice, especially considering the incumbent’s huge advantage in every respect.”
  • Bob Ely: “The system is stacked against interlopers. For example, the only thing on which there is complete agreement amongst both parties is that there is no need for a serious third party. So, concerned? Yes. Surprised? Not at all. Indeed, I would be surprised if Randall Terry were surprised.”
  • Darcy Richardson: “I’m not too worried about it. In the unlikely event that I win any delegates in the remaining Democratic primaries, my campaign — unlike those of single-issue interloper Randall Terry and the grossly incompetent Jim Rogers of Oklahoma — would file the necessary qualifying paperwork for my delegates within the time prescribed by party rules or statute. There’s no reason either of them shouldn’t have submitted the appropriate district delegate paperwork by Oklahoma’s March 15th deadline. I have no reason to believe that I wouldn’t be treated fairly by the Democratic Party. Moreover, I wholeheartedly agree with the DNC’s contention that Randall Terry, a lifelong Republican, isn’t a “bona-fide” candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. He’s an embryo-obsessing publicity seeker and showboat who has publicly stated on more than one occasion that he intends to run as an independent candidate in several battleground states this autumn with the sole purpose of trying to siphon enough traditionally Democratic Catholic votes from President Obama to throw those states to whichever one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse happens to win the Republican nomination. From Mitt Romney, a pump-and-dump takeover financier to Ron Paul’s failed Austrian economics and his call for a trillion dollars in spending cuts in the first year of his administration, it’s a scary lot…each determined to impose draconian austerity measures on the 99% while securing even greater tax cuts for those at the top.”


Party removes presidential nominee

The membership of the Boston Tea Party (BTP) removed Tiffany Briscoe as the party’s presidential nominee after it was discovered that she misrepresented herself as a graduate and member of the Board of Trustees of Howard Community College. Briscoe is actually just a student at the school.

Following her nomination, Briscoe spoke with Wikinews and said she would “probably be able to appear on [the ballots of] 14 to 15 states throughout the country”. After the removal, she has not responded to inquiries about the future of her campaign. Wikinews was able to contact parliamentary activist and Libertarian Party (LP) presidential candidate James Ogle, who is listed as Briscoe’s running mate on her website. As reported last month, Ogle won a majority of the votes over uncommitted at the Missouri Libertarian presidential primary. He says he is in the process of securing a spot for himself and Briscoe as a write-in ticket on the Texas general election ballot. Ogle also plans to be the running mate for five other women candidates including comedienne Roseanne Barr of the Green Party.

As for the BTP, a new nominee is expected to be announced shortly. Chairman Darryl Perry says the party may be approaching “the brink of death” but he remains optimistic. Though he makes no firm predictions about ballot access, Perry expects “voters in more than a dozen States” to be able to vote for the BTP nominee, including through write-in eligibility. He argues that the BTP can move beyond the setback and become a major third party if members increase their activity and “the LP allows itself to be taken over by those who would redefine ‘libertarian’.”

The BTP was founded in 2006 as an alternative to the LP. According to its platform, it “supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.” In 2008, the party nominated boxing manager Charles Jay, who appeared on three state ballots and won a total of 2,422 votes.


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March 30, 2012

Sandra Fluke named candidate for Time\’s 100 most influential people

Sandra Fluke named candidate for Time’s 100 most influential people

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Friday, March 30, 2012

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Women’s rights advocate and Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke has been named as a candidate for Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. The list is released annually as a special edition of Time magazine, titled Time 100.

Sandra Fluke reading her prepared testimony
Video: Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Democratic Party (2012).

Time announced the candidates as part of a ballot process which began Thursday, and solicited votes from the public via the Internet. Visitors to its website were requested to select “the leaders, artists, innovators, icons and heroes that they think are the most influential people in the world.” The winner of the poll as selected by visitors to the Time website will be featured in the Time 100 issue, and the magazine’s editors pick those individuals showcased on the actual complete list of 100.

Cquote1.svg I would do this again, because these issues are that important to me. Cquote2.svg

—Sandra Fluke

In its entry for Fluke, Time characterized her as a “law student and political activist”. She gave testimony to the US Congress on February 23 before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on a hearing about women’s health and contraception.

When contacted by Time, Fluke commented that though she has faced attacks in the media, she did not regret her actions: “I would do this again, because these issues are that important to me.”

In addition to Sandra Fluke, other influential women named as candidates for the Time 100 list include Queen Elizabeth II; comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres; musicians Lady Gaga, Adele, Jessica Simpson and Lana Del Rey; Portlandia creator and star Carrie Brownstein; and actresses Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy of the film Bridesmaids.

Online voting for the poll winner closes April 6; Time will release the full list of Time 100 on April 17.



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March 14, 2012

Sandra Fluke insists she will not be silenced

Sandra Fluke insists she will not be silenced

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Health
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In an opinion piece published by CNN on Tuesday, Georgetown University law student and women’s rights advocate Sandra Fluke insisted she will not allow slurs from critics to silence her and other women from continuing to speak out on issues regarding women’s health and contraception.

Sandra Fluke (2012).
Image: United States Congress .

Fluke has faced slurs and personal attacks after speaking before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee in the United States House of Representatives about women’s health and contraception. She was called a “slut” and a “prostitute” by talk radio show host Rush Limbaugh. In response to these attacks, Fluke has received public support from women, members of the media, and politicians including the President of the United States.

Cquote1.svg Attacking me and women who use contraception by calling us prostitutes and worse cannot silence us. Cquote2.svg

—Sandra Fluke

In her piece for CNN, Fluke took the opportunity to thank her supporters, writing, “By now, many have heard the stories I wanted to share thanks to the congressional leaders and members of the media who have supported me and millions of women in speaking out.” She characterized the “opponents of reproductive health access” who issued personal attacks against her as being motivated by an attempt to change the topic of conversation away from a dialogue about women’s health, and “to silence women’s voices regarding their own health care.”

Sandra Fluke discussing her prepared U.S. Congressional testimony
Video: United States Congress .

Fluke wrote that the efforts by some to drown out women from speaking out about women’s health were unsuccessful. She came to this conclusion due to the multitude of positive comments and encouragement sent to her by both female and male individuals urging that contraception medication be considered a medical necessity.

Asserting that she would not remain silent on this issue of women’s health, Fluke wrote, “Attacking me and women who use contraception by calling us prostitutes and worse cannot silence us.”

She noted that a significant majority of women have utilized contraception medication, and commented that there exists a social disconnect between politicians attempting to make it more difficult for women to access this type of health care, and the views of society-at-large about the matter: “Restricting access to such a basic health care service, which 99% of sexually experienced American women have used and 62% of American women are using right now, is out of touch with public sentiment.”

Fluke concluded her piece by emphasizing that those in power should not govern based on ideology: “I am proud to stand with the millions of women and men who recognize that our government should legislate according to the reality of our lives — not for ideology.”

After being banned by Congressman Darrell Issa from speaking before a Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on February 16 which consisted mainly of male panelists, Fluke appeared before a meeting of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee convened by Minority leader of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi on February 23.

Fluke spoke to the committee about the need for contraception to be covered by health care plans offered by employers, as a matter integral to women’s health. She cited multiple cases where women take contraception medication as part of their health care for treatment of medical conditions unrelated to birth control, including two women who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome, a woman who is afflicted with endometriosis and another who takes contraception in order to prevent seizures.

Cquote1.svg Time and time again, women have been silenced in this discussion, a discussion about our own very personal health care decisions. Cquote2.svg

—U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen

U.S. President Barack Obama discusses his phone call to Sandra Fluke. (March 6, 2012)
Video: The White House .

Speaking before the United States Senate on February 17 along with fellow members Patty Murray, Kirsten Gillibrand, Barbara Boxer, and Charles Schumer, Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire expressed her support for Fluke. Like Fluke, Senator Shaheen pointed out the need not to silence the voices of women in the public government debate about women’s health care: “Time and time again, women have been silenced in this discussion, a discussion about our own very personal health care decisions.” Senator Shaheen concluded her remarks with an explanation as to why she believes women should have significant representation in discussions about their health care: “Women deserve a voice in this debate because, after all, in the end this is about our health and it is about a health care decision that is between women, their families, their doctors, and their own faith.”

President Barack Obama called Fluke on March 2 to express his support for her courage to speak out on issues of women’s health. In his first press conference of 2012 on March 6, he discussed his reasons for deciding to call Fluke.

The President cited his personal thoughts about his own two daughters: “And the reason I called Ms. Fluke is because I thought about Malia and Sasha [Obama’s daughters], and one of the things I want them to do as they get older is to engage in issues they care about, even ones I may not agree with them on. I want them to be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way. And I don’t want them attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens.”

President Obama went on to state that Fluke served as a positive role model for citizen participation in democracy and society: “And I wanted Sandra to know that I thought her parents should be proud of her, and that we want to send a message to all our young people that being part of a democracy involves argument and disagreements and debate, and we want you to be engaged, and there’s a way to do it that doesn’t involve you being demeaned and insulted, particularly when you’re a private citizen.”



Sister links

  • Wikisource-logo.svg Author:Sandra Kay Fluke
  • Commons-logo.svg Sandra Fluke
  • Wikiquote-logo.svg Sandra Fluke

Sources

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