Through two presidential campaigns and Obama’s first term, mainstream editors, editorial writers, and journalists served as de facto auxiliaries for the White House press office. Certain that they were serving a noble cause, they soft-pedaled bad news about the economy and ignored or played down the president’s gaffes. Aided by one-liners from late-night talk-show hosts, they attacked and ridiculed Fox News or any reporter, radio commentator, writer, or blogger not riding Obama’s bandwagon. They hounded and harassed Sarah Palin—author Joe McGinnis even moved next door to her home—determined to destroy someone they perceived as a threat to Obama’s power. They rode shotgun as Obamacare made its way through Congress. And they led the chorus of derision that greeted early reports of political corruption inside the IRS.
In the morning, those who have engaged in whorish behavior—or in this case, those rewarded with invitations to insider Washington parties and access to private e-mail lists—are somehow astonished by a lack of respect. Members of the media, including Associated Press reporters, after favoring and flattering Obama for years, were stunned to discover that Obama’s Department of Justice was treating them like tarts and had targeted the AP with secret subpoenas.
The end of the affair is always painful and poignant. Unaccustomed to sunlight, fleeing suspicions of malfeasance and outright criminality, the Obama administration is pleading guilty to incompetence and ignorance...
An independent press is a compass, a vital part of the American system of checks and balances. It can provide the ship of state with mid-course corrections. But a compass that swings any way the helmsman wants is worse than useless. It points the way to disaster.
The Obama administration, in the end, simply just didn't trust the media that was eating out of the palm of its unclenched hand ... even when it was making them feel so important and successful at their job of making his time in office a success.
And if reporters and investigative journalists dare to do what is true to their job description they are punished:
Cross-dressing Cuban woman who fought for Confederacy a rebel in more ways than one
She was an enigma wrapped in a riddle surrounded by an iron corset. Loreta Janeta Velazquez fought in the American Civil War as man, spied — perhaps for both sides — as a woman, and was denounced as one of the great literary hoaxers of the 19th century after she wrote a book about it. And a century after being erased from U.S. history, she’s back in a PBS documentary.
Rebel, airing Friday as an episode of the Latin history and culture series Voces, is the second television documentary in recent years involving the elusive Velazquez. She was one of several women who fought in the Civil War featured in the History Channel’s 2007 Full Metal Corset.
Rebel brings her into sharper focus, which paradoxically shows how little we really know about her. Born in Cuba, dispatched to New Orleans to learn to be a lady by a father determined to rub out her tomboy streak, Velazquez infuriated her relatives by marrying an American soldier rather than the Cuban aristocrat favored by her father.
For a time, she played the conventional roles of wife and mother. But in 1861, when she was just 20, outbreak of fever killed her three children and her husband, a Texan who had joined the Southern rebels when the Civil War broke out. And the now rootless Velazquez returned her tomboy ways and then some.
She strapped down her figure with a metal corset, donned a uniform and enlisted in the Confederate army. Two years later, when her ruse was discovered, the Confederates made her a spy. She eventually turned up in Baltimore, working for the Union’s intelligence forces. To which government she was really loyal is abundantly unclear.
In 1876, more than a decade after the war’s end, Velazquez published a 600-page account of her war exploits. It caused a sensation, not only for its scandalous gender-bending but its disputation of the Civil War as a heroic experience.
The Southern troops alongside whom she fought were not chivalrous but seedy, Velazquez wrote: “Self-seeking is more common than patriotism. And in camp, a spirit of petty jealousy is even more common than it is at a girls boarding school.”
And the leadership of both sides was dominated by war profiteers. “War corrupts, and few are innocent,” she declared. “May my words convey what war really is, such that good people will hesitate to solve anything with war again.”
Her revisionist view triggered furious denunciations by the Confederate veterans who might otherwise have verified Velazquez’s account. Her book was denounced as a hoax and largely forgotten — as was Velazquez, despite some minor notoriety years later as a firebrand advocate of Cuban independence from Spain. The date and manner of her death are lost to history, and we don’t even know where she was buried.
In an interview with imprisoned Cuban writer Angel Santiesteban, the independent journalist and dissident addresses the speculation that the Castro regime will only release him from prison if he accepts forced exile (via Punto Cuba - my translation):
"There are many who predict I will be offered freedom only if I go into exile, and at this moment my answer to that is a resounding NO; I will only leave [Cuba] if Fidel and Raul Castro are on that plane with me."
There may not be enough milk or food in Venezuela, and we all know there is a dire shortage of toilet paper. But there is enough resources in Venezuela to pay the Cuban military to restore decades-old missiles in preparation for a war against... of course, the enemies of the revolution!
Today, the Venezuelan government conducted the test launch of an Otomat missile, model MK2.
Eighteen of these missiles have been restored, thanks to Cuban specialists, for use by Venezuela's Bolivarian Armed Forces.
Venezuela's appointed leader, Nicolas Maduro, announced the launch (and Cuba's support) with much fanfare, as well as the upcoming restoration of AMX 3 light tanks and EE-11 Urutú armored personnel carriers.
What exactly is Cuba's dictatorship arming Venezuela, which currently even has shortages of toilet paper, for?
Over the past week or so, there have been several news articles showcasing new photos Beyonce and Jay-Z released from their vacation in apartheid Cuba. It is really astonishing to see how this extremely wealthy and powerful American couple allowed themselves to be used as tools by the repressive and racist, white dictatorship in Cuba. Obviously, musical talent and business acumen is simply not enough to prevent these two from acting and appearing like insensitive dolts.
The Cuba portrayed in Beyonce and Jay-Z's vacation album is the Cuba only tourists see. It is the Potemkin Village, the Castro zoo, where enslaved Cubans are displayed in their cages for tourists to gawk at and take pictures. It is the Cuba where champagne flows freely, every restaurant has steak and lobster, and the air-conditioning runs all day and all night. Beyonce and Jay-Z's Cuba is one typical Cubans can only imagine for they are prohibited by their white slave masters from enjoying. It is a Cuba where being black is the proverbial black mark, where white slaves are treated differently from the black slaves.
The real Cuba is a much different island from what Beyonce and Jay-Z limited themselves to seeing. It is a heinous and heartbreaking place where innocent victims, the majority of them black, are rotting in prison cells for speaking out against their enslavement. It is a place where slaves must struggle daily to find enough food to eat, risking arrest and prison if they are caught taking a scrap of food from a trashcan outside a tourist hotel. It is the place where dissidents are ruthlessly beaten, unjustly imprisoned, and brutally murdered.
This is the Cuba Beyonce and Jay-Z never saw, and apparently the Cuba they have no interest in seeing.
The real Cuba is the island where black rapper Yunier Ramon remains imprisoned in a Castro gulag for performing music that criticizes his white slave masters. He was already in prison when Beyonce and Jay-Z visited Cuba, but neither of them bothered to say a word about him, let alone visit a fellow artist in need.
You see, Beyonce and Jay-Z have no interest in the real Cuba; they only want to sip cognac and smoke Cuban cigars in air-conditioned comfort while in the company of the island's slave masters.
Jose Daniel Ferrer: Summary of activism out on the streets of Eastern Cuba
The leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba highlights the situation which a number of political prisoners of the mentioned group are facing, speaks about the repressive methods employed by the State against activists and affirms that activism and opposition out on the streets has only increased in the Eastern region of the country, attracting further solidarity from everyday people.
Protest marches, debates and the handing out of flyers with pro-freedom messages are occurring with much more frequency in different areas of Eastern Cuba. Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, former political prisoner and current executive secretary of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), points out that in the month of May these actions have increased as part of the Boitel and Zapata Live Campaign, where dissidents throughout the country pay tribute to martyrs Pedro Luis Boitel and Orlando Zapata Tamayo, both deceased after lengthy hunger strikes in prison.
On May 20th, Cuba’s Independence Day, two marches were carried out in Santiago de Cuba. One of them was led by 11 activists and finished in the Antonio Maceo Plaza, where police officials beat the demonstrators with helmets, sticks and other objects, all of this while everyday citizens were watching.
A second march was carried out by 16 dissidents who managed to walk down various blocks of the El Sueno neighborhood, shouting pro-freedom messages. The result was police persecution. “State Security and Rapid Response Brigade agents came and began to throw rocks and beat activists“, recounted Ferrer Garcia. The repressors also threw tar and tried to raid the home of Daniel Barriel, secretary of the “Zapata Lives” sector of UNPACU in that neighborhood, where the activists congregated after the march. But the police was not able to achieve their objective, considering that the civic protests of the dissidents only intensified, forcing the aggressors to leave.
Repression of independent journalists, opposition leaders and human rights activists increased. There were reports of an average of 400 short-term arrests each month and activists travelling from the provinces to Havana were frequently detained. Prisoners of conscience continued to be sentenced on trumped-up charges or held in pre-trial detention.
Rights to freedom of expression, association, movement and assembly
Peaceful demonstrators, independent journalists and human rights activists were routinely detained for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. Many were detained and others were subjected to acts of repudiation by government supporters.
In March, local human rights activists faced a wave of arrests and local organizations reported 1,137 arbitrary detentions before and after the visit of Pope Benedict XVI.
The authorities adopted a range of measures to prevent activists reporting on human rights including surrounding the homes of activists and disconnecting phones. Organizations whose activities had been tolerated by the authorities in the past, such as the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation, were targeted. Independent journalists reporting on dissidents’ activities were detained.
The government continued to exert control over all media, while access to information on the internet remained challenging due to technical limitations and restrictions on content.
In July, Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, one of Cuba’s most respected human rights and pro-democracy campaigners, died in a car accident in Granma Province. Several journalists and bloggers covering the hearing into the accident were detained for several hours.
Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez, founder of the independent news agency Let’s Talk Press (Hablemos Press), was forced into a car in September, and reportedly beaten as he was driven to a police station. Before being released, he was told that he had become the “number one dissident journalist” and would be imprisoned if he continued his activities.
A number of measures were used to stop or penalize activities by political opponents. Many attempting to attend meetings or demonstrations were detained or prevented from leaving their homes. Political opponents, independent journalists and human rights activists were routinely denied visas to travel abroad.
For the 19th time since May 2008, Yoani Sánchez, an opposition blogger, was denied an exit visa. She had planned to attend the screening in Brazil of a documentary on blogging and censorship in which she featured.
In September, around 50 members of the Ladies in White organization were detained on their way to Havana to attend a public demonstration. Most were immediately sent back to their home provinces and then released; 19 were held incommunicado for several days.
In October, the government announced changes to the Migration Law that facilitate travel abroad, including the removal of mandatory exit visas. However, a series of requirements – over which the government would exercise discretion – could continue to restrict freedom to leave the country. The amendments were due to become effective in January 2013.
Brazil Says They Will Not Hire Cuban Doctors; Turns To Spanish And Portuguese Physicians Instead
Brazil’s interior provinces are daunting for the uninitiated. They are remote, isolated and very, very poor. And though malaria, yellow fever and tuberculosis run rampant, Brazilian doctors often refuse to be assigned to areas like Pará, Goiás or Mato Grosso.
The Brazilian government, it turns out, has started looking for foreign physicians who would be willing to travel to these areas and provide the kind of medical care that is needed. Earlier this month, the government announced that they were in talks with ministries in Spain, Portugal and Cuba, who might be up for helping out in those regions where there are only two doctors per 1,000 inhabitants, according to the Spanish newspaper El País.
Brazilian Health Minister Alexandre Padilha made public a slew of requirements for potential incoming doctors: They would have to pass an exam, since there would not be an automatic transferal of degrees, and doctors from countries where there are less than 1.7 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants -- which is the rate in Brazil -- would not be accepted.
The project took a turn on Wednesday, when Padilha announced that Brazil would not be accepting Cuban doctors, since their qualifications are not comparable to Brazilian medical degrees. “We rejected doctors who have had less time than necessary to practice medicine, without specialization or residencies,” Padilha stated.
Padilha added that the focus would be on locating qualified doctors from Spain and Portugal, and he confirmed that the Spanish Ministry of Health was interested. “The Ministry has expressed interest in cooperating and exchanging professionals, as well as interest in cooperating in specific projects,” Padilha said to the website Terra Brazil.
We all know what the verdict will be before the trial even begins, but Cuba's Castro crime syndicate likes to put on a show. A Canadian businessman who ran afoul of the Cuban mafia, headed by the Castro crime family, will be joined by Canadian diplomats as the Cuban dictatorship puts on a show trial, which will eventually end in the former business partner being given a lengthy prison sentence.
That is, of course, unless the Canadian government offers to pay a ransom and "buy" their citizen back from the Castro mafia.
Cuba: Diplomats in courtroom as Canadian businessman’s corruption trial begins
After two years in jail with no charges, North York’s Sarkis Yacoubian now faces serious corruption charges that could get him 12 years in prison.
When Sarkis Yacoubian walks into a courtroom in Havana Thursday to face serious corruption charges that could send him to prison for 12 years, the North York businessman will have a high-powered diplomat keeping a close eye on his trial — Canada’s ambassador to Cuba.
As the Toronto Star revealed last week, Yacoubian, who ran a successful $30 million transport and trading company called Tri-Star Caribbean, was handed a 63-page indictment by Cuban prosecutors in April accusing him of three counts of bribery, ta
After almost two years in custody without charges, Yacoubian’s fate will be decided by a panel of five judges in a hearing that is expected to last no longer than two days at the Criminal Court of the Peoples’ Tribunal for Havana Province.
Other jailed foreigners and diplomats are nervously watching to see how far the Cuban justice system, not known for its transparency or independence, will go in pursuing a case that has become an international political flashpoint.
In an apparent signal about just how seriously Ottawa views the case, the Department of Foreign Affairs this week informed Julian Falconer, Yacoubian’s lawyer in Canada, that Ambassador Matthew Levin will attend both days of the trial along with the Consul General at the embassy.
“It is very rare for the ambassador to show up in a courtroom,” said Gar Pardy, a former director general of consular services for Canada. “It sends a message to the Cuban authorities: this is a case of direct interest to the government of Canada.”
Levin had previously visited Yacoubian at least four times while he was in La Condesa prison on the outskirts of Havana.
Yacoubian was arrested in July 2011 as part of the Cuban Communist Party’s highly-charged political campaign against corruption.
"To change the perception of reality of every American to such an extent that despite the abundance of information no one is able to come to sensible conclusions ... Most of it is done by Americans to Americans ... The time bomb is ticking ... You will have nowhere to defect to ... This is the last country of freedom and possibility."
Former Soviet KGB operative Yuri Bezmenov revealed 30 years ago the communist playbook on how to take over a nation...
Sound familiar? Very familiar? Evaluate what has happened to this country's MSM. Look at the current major scandals of the Obama administration that the MSM is sweating over to sweep under the rug so they can retain covering for this administration's wrong-doing. And these are just the scandals we know about. As Bezmenov stated, you can point all this out to those who refuse to believe, those who claim this is "tin foil hat" territory, show them the evidence to back-up the truth, and they still will not see it until it hits them and it's too late. The fact is, there is a percent of America that lingers just below the 50% mark that would view this video, and his others, and are completely unable to recognize we are far more than just in the middle of what he describes. We are past the middle and heading for the end game. Want to know how I figure that? Because I have friends and family that now want to hear what I have been warning them about for these last several years ... and I just don't know where to start. He's right. It is not only near impossible to bring people up to speed with all the information the MSM has kept from them, but to try to deal with the mind-set that has taken over their individual thought process in order for them to make the connections that have been obvious to most of the rest of us...
The poor hygiene threatens the health of the patient
The Julio Trigo and The Dependent Hospitals don’t offer full service. Doctors choose to give basic treatment to avoid complications due to lack of hygiene and the poor condition of patient rooms.
An unnamed doctor “Julio Trigo” says that he has been forced to send patients for home treatment. “I should not be so, but the hospital is horrifying conditions, cockroaches walking through walls, this is a disaster!” Says the doctor.
Julio Trigo Hospital is the main one for the municipality of Arroyo Naranjo and The Dependent Hospital is one of the main hospitals for the municipality of Cerro. They have lost the confidence of the residents of the two areas, according to the comments of delegates (one delegate from Cerro and one from Arroyo Naranjo) from each municipality, who did not want to be identified.
An unnamed doctor at “Julio Trigo” says that he has been forced to send patients home for treatment. “I should not be so, but the hospital conditions are horrifying, cockroaches walking along walls, this is a disaster!” Says the doctor.
Marielena Garcia, 45, accompanying a patient explains she was waiting for her mom to get better to take her from the hospital to finish the treatment at home. “I was sitting on the side of the bed and a cockroach dropped on my face. The beds are dirty, you even get the smell of urine, you have to bring several sheets to avoid complications of infection,” says Garcia.
An unnamed doctor at The Dependent Hospital says that all the patients who come to the hospital complain about dirt. “It’s a risk to send the patient home, but better than the complications with bacteria,” said the doctor.
Alfredo Gonzalez, 32, says that in the middle of 2012 he went to The Dependent Hospital with a deep machete wound and almost lost his leg to an infection acquired from instruments that weren’t disinfected.
Maria Rodriguez, 48, says she’s complained about the management, but never had the chance to see the hospital director in person.
The country has refurbished hospitals in the capital, but after a year many are back to the previous bad condition. The chairs, the beds and the drinking fountains reflect the care of the people and the workers.
Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas said in Miami that migration reforms that have allowed several high-profile dissidents off the communist island in recent weeks is a “trap” into which Europe has fallen.
Farinas said Cuban leaders “are trying to clean up their international image, including with left-wingers, who think that Cuba has a reactionary image, and they are cosmetically trying to change that. They are only looking for financing from the European Union and North America.”
Farinas is the latest member of the Cuban dissident movement to leave the island since rules allowing citizens to travel outside the country were loosened in January.
The reforms scrapped the need for exit permits, which Cuban authorities had for decades systematically denied to dissidents.
Cuban President Raul Castro’s government is only seeking “financing and investment” from Havana’s foreign critics, Farinas said in a joint event with the dissident Cuban group Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White) in Miami.
“They are negotiating to do away with the common position (of EU members on Cuba). The Europeans fell into the trap of letting us leave. It is the way that economic blocks can grant (Cuba) loans and investment,” Farinas said.
Farinas, who is well known for his hunger strikes and other forms of peaceful protests and was awarded the 2010 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament, said he was “a little bit surprised” that such change in Cuba has happened before “the natural death of Fidel Castro.”
“The fact that they have had to do it before that is because the economic, social and political situation is very bad for them. It is not out of goodness, because the Cuban government is cruel and inhumane,” he said. “It has been achieved because there is an internal opposition that has earned it an exile community that has not given up and an international community that has demanded it.”
Farinas said he had felt welcomed by exiles in Miami even though he feared criticism from its most militant members because his protests were peaceful.
“We realise that the government has bombarded our minds saying that you are different, that Miami is different from Cuba, and now one realises that it is not,” he said.
Pedazos de la Isla has a photo report of Monday's visit to Miami's Freedom Tower by a group of Cuba's Ladies in White:
Photos: Ladies in White at the Freedom Tower in Miami
This 20th of May 2013, Cuban Independence Day, Cuban exiles and other members of the community of Miami went to the historic Freedom Tower, where hundreds of Cubans passed through in the 1960?s when they arrived to the United States as refugees, to participate in a chat with 3 Ladies in White: Berta Soler (national representative of the group), Laura Labrada (daughter of Laura Pollan) and Belkis Cantillo (representative of the group in Santiago de Cuba). It was an event organized by Miami Dade College.
Before the chat, the 3 Ladies in White offered a press conference, in which dissident Guillermo Farinas also took part in. There, they responded various questions by the press and debated topics such as the constant repression they face in the island for trying to assist Sunday Mass, the fact that former political prisoners of conscience can’t travel outside of the country, the warm welcome on behalf of the Cuban exile community and the current situation of the youth on the island.
Soler called on young Cubans on the island to not leave the country and to stay and fight for it, while she also called on the children and grandchildren of the older exiles to keep supporting the struggle for freedom from wherever they are.
See the rest of the photos and the continuation of the report HERE.