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Croatia President, Prime Minister Condemn Violence At Gay Pride Parade

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Croatia’s President and Prime Minister condemned violence at a gay pride parade on Saturday, while a party leader pointed fingers at Roman Catholic priests’ messaging during the Pope’s recent visit as a catalyst for the violence against gays and lesbians and their allies.

 

Just one day after the European Commission green lighted Croatia for European Union admission in 2013, violence marred Split, Croatia’s first LGBT Pride March, instigated by at least 4,000 to include as many as 10,000 violent protesters, who pounced upon 200 LGBT marchers by throwing fists, firecrackers, bottles and rocks, some wielded cigarette lighters, threw tomatoes and tear gas by a virulently anti-gay opposition, who came prepared to disrupt the first gay event in the notorious nationalist right-wing stronghold of 1,700-year old Split, Croatia.

Croatia’s President Ivo Josipovic condemned the violence and was joined by Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty this morning, Josipovic, the first Croatian president to formally endorse nationanl gay pride and LGBT rights last year, said that Split protesters have “shown that there are some non-European parts of our society and that the violence in Split was “not Croatia’s real face.”

Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor warned that violence and hatred were “something that cannot be tolerated in Croatia.”

Last year, Josipovic  became the first president in Croatian history to endorse and express his support for the national LGBT Pride celebration.

The Split-Dalmacia police department announced in a press conference following the Pride event that 137 persons were arrested, including 25 minors, and eight people required medical attention for injuries sustained, mostly members of the working, press, including a RTL cameraman, who suffered a concussion when hit with a brick and called a “Jew”.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IyxbrPqqmg&version=3&hl=en_US]

News organizations are also reporting this morning in Croatia Green Party leader AljoÅ¡a Babic is calling for the resignation of Tomislav Karamarko, the Minister of Internal Affairs, “because of the shameful conduct of police and security during Split Gay Pride.”

Babic added, “The Croatian tax payers do not pay the police to witness the scenes we’ve seen today in Split. [These] events are the result of  recent homophobic statements which were communicated by priests during the recent visit of the Pope.”

UK Gay News reports several “Croatian bishops have condemned what they call “unnatural families,” their term for same-sex headed households.

Babic also criticized President Ivo Josipović and Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor for not condemning the Vatican’s homophobic messages which were reported by the media, according to Babic.

Croatia, a deeply devout Roman Catholic country has historically had a nearly symbiotic relationship with with the Church that dates back to its darkest chapter during World War II while under occupation by the German Third Reich. Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac, a known collaborator and supporter of the  “Ustashe,” a Croatian nationalist movement that served as brutal proxies for the Nazis. Despite his conviction for war crimes in 1946,  Stepanac was beatified by Pope John Paul II, putting him on th p ath to “sainthood” (more on the Ustashe later).

Aloysius Stepanac was convicted of war crimes in 1946 and served 16 years in prison at hard labor.

Also condeming the violence was Amnesty International, who was the first international human rights organization,who said the violence was unacceptable. “The Croatian authorities need to act to stop this happening in future,” said Nicola Duckworth, the human right group’s director for Europe and Central Asia, urging an immediate investigation and punishment for the attackers.

According to Pride organizers, the parade participants totalled 200 people, mostly from Split, who were supported by 30 marchers from Belgrade, Serbia; Ljubljana, Slovenia; the Netherlands, among other European cities.

With extensive police barricades in place along the parade route, police reportedly deployed 400 uniformed officers and unknown numbers of officers in plain clothes, although Croatian LGBT activists criticized the government agencies who were responsible for maintaining public safety.

Police in full-riot gear, were outmatched by thousands of full-throated opposition, many of whom screamed “kill the gays,” “kill the Serbs,” and “kill the gypsies,” repeatedly. Signs carried by LGBT activists said “Lesbians are okay,” Lesbians Against Fascism,” and “My Partner, My Lover,” among others were defiantly displayed by the small minority.

In a report by Croatian Nacional newspaper, Sanja Juras, of the Croatian Lesbian group, Kontra, addressed the audience from the rally stage near the Split waterfront and accused police of not adequately protecting the protesters, consequently people were injured.

“State institutions have not done their job properly, and today’s rally in Split reflects that LGBT rights are not  guaranteed legal rights in Croatia,” Juras said.

Also speaking at the rally were European Parliament member Marije Coruielssen of the Netherlands,  a member of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, Linda Frieman, co-chair of the European division of the International Lesbian and Gay Association, LGBT activists from Slovenia, the first and only Former Yugoslav republic to have joined the EU and, activists from Serbia, another Balkan country which has experienced at least a decade of violence against LGBT human rights activists who have yet to march, without significant violence occurring in Belgrade.

READ: Belgrade Gay Pride Marchers Attacked By Violent Anti-Gay Demonstrators In Historic Parade

The violence against LGBT people in Split, Zagreb, Belgrade and Sarajevo did not manifest from a vacuum.  Wars were fought three times during the 20th century in the Balkans which have planted seeds of deep emnity, transmitted intergenerationally by members of ethnic groups and religious faiths–leaving scars all around that remain tangible in the body politic and  cultural memory.

Croatia fought two wars in the 1990s, led by extreme nationalist Franjo Tudjman, who merged his rule with an insurgent and nationalistic Roman Catholic Church, against former Yugoslavia, eventually securing independence from Belgrade, long imagined and sought for throughout the 20th century. Croatia fought a bloody war against Serbia, eventually repelling Serb forces who invaded Croatia in 1991.

Croatia later joined forces with the Bosnian Muslim-Croat Federation. who had declared independence from Belgrade  in March 1992.  Croatia and Bosnia jointly fought the Serbs who were pushed to stop the war by American diplomat Richard Holbrooke.  The parties signed a peace agreement in Dayton, Ohio in 1995 . Many horrible war crimes, including genocide and crimes against humanity, rape, torture and enslavement, occurred during the course of these wars, committed disproportionately by Serbian, Bosnian Serb and Croatian military and paramilitary members, many of whom have been prosecuted by the International Criminal Tribunal of the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

READ: Bosnian Serb General to Stand Trial for Crimes Against Humanity

But the recent wars are emotionally layered and political charged by unresolved events that occurred during World War II.  Croat nationalists established the Croat Revolutionary Movement, also known as the “Ustashe” who committed some of the worst excesses of World War II in its heinous and banal collaboration with Nazi Germany’s Third Reich.  These sordid events transpired during the Axis Powers occupation and annexation of Croatia (including the Split area) and of Bosnia and Herzegovina as far east as Banja Luka, the present capital the Bosnian Serb entity.

According to many historical accounts, Archbishop Stepanac was a partner and collaborator with  the Ustashe government.  He supported the Ustashi Government from the beginning until the end. Indeed, even after Ustashi Croatia collapsed following the disintegration of Nazi Germany.  Stepinac was not only the Head of the Council of Croatian Bishops and of the committee which carried out a policy of forcible conversions, he was none other than the Supreme Military Apostolic Vicar of the Ustashi Army, which is a major symbol of the Roman Catholic Church.

When Ustashi Croatia fell in 1945 as a result of the defeat of Nazi Germany and Ante Pavelic, the leader of the government ran for his life, Archbishop Stepinac, in a futile effort to save the regime, succeeded him as leader of the Ustashi Croatia. Stepinac ordered special ceremonies in all the Catholic churches on Pavelic’s birthday, and he frequently invoked prayers for the Ustashi.

Marshall Tito, who led the Partisan communisist in a civil war against the Croats and the Serb Chetniks, of the Serbian Renewal Movement, eventually defeating both parties and supported efforts by Allied Forces who invaded Italy and drove the Nazis from the Balkans. Tito formed the Federal Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia that he governed until his death in 1980.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yydmw-V3OxI&version=3&hl=en_US]

Since 1995, Croatia has been working its way toward achieving peace, interrupted at times on its path to Europe, which took a considerable leap when Tudjman died in 1999.  Through a series of good fortune and electing less nationalistic governments (although corruption remains an endemic problem for Croatia and throughout the region) that rid itself of the hardline political party Croatian Democratic Union and has worked assiduously during the past six years toward achieving required legal and financial reforms necessary for European Union accession.

EU accession requires the decriminalization of existing sodomy laws and adoption of anti-discrimination laws, including  employment anti-discrimination protection. This leverage over the accession process has advanced LGBT organizing throughout hte Balkans to mitigated success.

But it has always been two steps forward, one step back for Croatia, whose efforts to arrest war criminals has been resisted by many in the populace, who view some of these generals as “heroes”. In April two former Croatian generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac were sentenced for war crimes committed in 1995.  Gotovina had been a fugitive for many years when he was arrested in Spain in 2006, although thousands turned out in Split in protest over his extradition to ICTY.

Thus last Friday, the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso announced that “today is a special day for Croatia and for the European Union.“  Barroso also said: “At this significant moment, I would like to applaud the Croatian authorities for their hard work over the last years. Even more importantly, I would like to congratulate the people of Croatia. Joining the EU family of nations is first and foremost your success!”

Tanya L. Domi is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, who teaches about human rights in Eurasia and is a Harriman Institute affiliated faculty member. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi worked internationally for more than a decade on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights, gender issues, sex trafficking, and media freedom.

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News

‘As a Father, He’s Done Nothing’: Herschel Walker Urged the Mother of His Child to Have a Second Abortion – NYT

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The mother of Herschel Walker‘s 10-year old son who reportedly had an abortion the former NFL star paid for, reveals he also urged her to have a second abortion when she again became pregnant. She refused, ended their relationship, and gave birth to a boy, The New York Times reports.

The woman, whose name is not being published for family and safety reasons, revealed this week the former NFL star now running for a U.S. Senate seat as a hard core anti-abortion Republican had urged her to have the first abortion, and paid for it when she did.

“As a father, he’s done nothing. He does exactly what the courts say, and that’s it,” she told The Times. “He has to be held responsible, just like the rest of us. And if you’re going to run for office, you need to own your life.”

READ MORE: ‘Nothing to Be Ashamed of’: Herschel Walker Says if He Paid for an Abortion He Would ‘Be Forgiven’

The Times reports “the woman said Mr. Walker had barely been involved in their now 10-year-old son’s life, offering little more than court-ordered child support and occasional gifts.”

Walker has publicly acknowledged his eldest son, Christian Walker, but months ago when The Daily Beast revealed he had a “secret son,” Walker’s campaign confirmed only the second child, but did not initially reveal that Walker had fathered an additional two children.

In their interviews, the woman “described the frustration of watching Republicans rally around Mr. Walker, dismiss her account and bathe him in prayer and praise, calling him a good man.”

“The fact that I had a choice” to have an abortion, and “now he’s in the public trying to say he wants to put a ban on abortion completely,” the woman said. “It appalled me.”

She also “said Mr. Walker hardly knew his 10-year-old son — she said he had ‘maybe only seen him three times’ — and had not spoken to her in years.”

Walker is running to unseat Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, a progressive pastor. Warnock has not directly commented on this latest Walker scandal, one of many Georgia voters will have to weigh when they vote. On Thursday he tweeted, “The people of Georgia have a clear choice to make about who they think is ready to represent them in the United States Senate.”

Also on Thursday, Walker repeatedly flatly denied the allegations. But he did say if he had paid for an abortion, it was “nothing to be ashamed of.”

READ MORE: ‘Train Wreck’: Herschel Walker Criticized for New Ad Claiming God Helped Him ‘Overcome’ His Mental Illness

The woman, who is not being named by the press, also spoke with The Daily Beast, which broke the original story earlier this week and revealed many of the details the Times reported Friday.

Meanwhile, once his strongest supporter, Christian Walker has now become his father’s harshest critic.

“I stayed silent as the atrocities committed against my mom were downplayed, I stayed silent when it came out that my father, Herschel Walker, had all these random kids across the country, none of whom he raised,” Christian Walker said in a video he posted this week, after The Daily Beast’s report was published. “And you know, my favorite issue to talk about is father absence – surprise – ’cause it affected me. That’s why I talk about it all the time, because it affected me.”

“Family Values people: He has four kids, four different women, wasn’t in the house raising one of them,” Christian Walker continued, lambasting his father. “He was out having sex with other women. Do you care about family values? I was silent lie after lie after lie. The  abortion card drops yesterday – it’s literally his handwriting in the card. They say they have receipts, whatever. He gets on Twitter, he lies about it. Okay, I’m done.”

He hasn’t tweeted since Wednesday, but Christian Walker’s last tweet reads: “Wear a condom, damn.”

READ MORE: Watch: Herschel Walker Says if Georgia Voters Don’t Elect Him They Won’t Even ‘Have a Chance to Be Redeemed’
 

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Dr. Oz Campaigned in Front of Hitler’s Car at a Fundraiser Hosted by Matt Gaetz’s In-Laws and Rick Scott’s NRSC: Report

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New Jersey celebrity doctor turned Pennsylvania Republican senatorial nominee, Dr. Oz, asked high-dollar donors for campaign cash Thursday night while standing in front of a car – emblazoned with a red swastika flag – that actually was used by Adolf Hitler. The fundraiser was hosted by U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz‘s in-laws and Republican Senator Rick Scott‘s National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).

Ironically, it was all predicted by “The Simpsons.”

Calling it “quite a choice,” Jezebel reports, “Dr. Mehmet Oz attended a $5,000-a-plate fundraiser hosted by sex pest Matt Gaetz’s in-laws on Thursday night at the Lyon Air Museum and stood in front of one of Adolf Hitler’s cars, which made it into the background of attendees’ photos.”

“The museum is full of WWII memorabilia, and yes, it is just a museum,” the website explains. “Twitter user Larry Tenney shared a screenshot from Instagram stories showing Oz standing on a small podium next to a TV monitor showing the logo for the National Republican Senatorial Committee and a hashtag #TheOzShow. Jezebel confirmed the image as coming from the account of Shane Mitchell, who attended the event.”

The NRSC is chaired by Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott, who has come under fire for somehow spending millions of dollars in donations, but not on Senate campaigns. Scott, the former Florida governor, was the head of a healthcare corporation that was forced to pay the largest health care fraud settlement in history.

READ MORE: ‘What I Saw Was Abuse’: Allegations of Dr. Oz’s Experiments Killing Hundreds of Animals Fact-Checked by Whistleblower

Oz is running against – and slightly behind – Pennsylvania Democratic Lt. Governor John Fetterman.

Jezebel has much more in its report, including that the “chair of the event, Palmer Luckey, is Gaetz’s brother-in-law and the billionaire founder of Oculus VR.”

“Luckey is a Donald Trump supporter and, in 2017, he was photographed with Steve Bannon and white supremacist Chuck C. Johnson, with both Johnson and Luckey flashing a white power gesture. Luckey claimed on Twitter that the gesture being a hate symbol was ‘fake news’ and that people do it to ‘playfully mimic Trump.'”

READ MORE: Dr. Oz Trounced in Newsmax Interview as Host Demands Explanation for ‘Wegner’s’ and ‘Crudité’ Ad

“Potentially not unrelated to his politics, Luckey is also the head of a military technology company called Anduril that makes surveillance equipment used on the US border and is now making drones. The company has multiple contracts with the Department of Defense and Gaetz, meanwhile, sits on the House Armed Services Committee.”

“Mitchell’s Instagram stories also showed that cancel culture warrior and incel king Jordan Peterson appeared at the event by video.”

“Dr. Oz began the week with a story about him killing puppies,” observes The Forward’s Jake Wasserman, “and now is ending it standing in front of Hitler’s car. Truly a landmark in the history of U.S. Senate campaigns.”

Sawyer Hackett, a communications strategist and advisor to former HUD Secretary Julián Castro noted “The Simpson’s” and Fetterman seem to have predicted this all.

READ MORE: ‘Depraved’: Rick Scott’s NRSC Slammed Over Fundraiser Asking GOP Voters ‘Where Do You Want to Send Illegal Immigrants Next?’

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Biden Names and Shames ‘Socialist Republicans’ Who Voted Against His Infrastructure Bill but Are Begging Him for Funding

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President Joe Biden spoke about the September jobs report praised by leading economists Friday afternoon, and took a few moments to criticize the “socialist Republicans” who publicly voted against the critical infrastructure legislation that is an important part of his economic agenda, while privately begging him for funding for their districts.

“There’s a report, you guys can, as they say, as my grandkids say, ‘Google it,’ but a report that came out on CNN that says, ‘Republicans called Biden infrastructure program socialist.’ Then they asked for the money,” the President said mockingly.

“And it goes through all the Republicans, the most conservative Republicans, who called it ‘socialism,’ and how they’re asking for it. A guy named Paul Gosar,” President Biden said, referring to far-right wing white nationalist U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, Republican of Arizona.

“He’s written three separate letters to the administration, asking for projects in his district,” Biden said, appearing to read from the CNN report. “He says they enhance the quality of life and ease congestion, boost the economy.”

Biden. leaning into the microphone, told supporters, “Voted against it, says it’s all socialism.”

“Go down the list. Kentucky Representative Andy Barr.”

Mocking the GOP lawmaker he mimicked him saying, “The biggest socialist agenda.”

“Three different projects he wants, citing the importance of safety and growth in his district.”

“Rand Paul,” President Biden continued. “I go down the list. Look it up,” he said waving the pages of the report.

“Socialist,’ he said mockingly.

“I didn’t know there were that many socialist Republicans,” Biden deadpanned.

“Think about it. I’m serious,” the President urged. “Let’s get serious about taking care of ordinary people. Regular people like I grew up. Folks, look, you can’t make this stuff up. You got to say, I got to say, I was surprised to see so many socialists in the Republican caucus.”

Watch below or at this link.

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