Simply put, the exigencies of the Cold War and the Monroe Doctrine no longer apply. Castro's Cuba long ago ceased being a dangerous client of the Soviet empire, one that ended up on the dustbin of history. There are no Russian intermediate range nuclear missiles and no combat brigades in Cuba. There is no Marxist dictatorship in Jamaica, and no "red menace" in Central America. There aren't thousands of Cuban troops fighting in Angola. (There are, however, Cuban doctors in West Africa, fighting Ebola.) And the thousands of Cubans who land on American beaches or cross over from Mexico aren't met with gunfire, but with the guarantee of a path to citizenship. Yet 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the United States maintains its anachronistic embargo that helps keep the Cuban people in tatters and Americans alone on the world stage.
Nevertheless, the usual suspects among the shrinking Cuban exile community and the conservative commentariat are still calling for regime change. Ted Cruz (R-TX), whose father Rafael fought alongside Castro's force against the Batista dictatorship before fleeing the island in 1957, called President Obama's diplomatic opening to Havana "a tragic mistake." His fellow 2016 GOP White House hopeful Marco Rubio (R-FL)?the same Marco Rubio who pretended his parents fled Cuba after Castro seized power?called Obama's move a "victory for oppression" and a "precedent" that "places a new price on the head of every American." (Apparently, Rubio was confusing Barack Obama with Ronald Reagan.) Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, the face of the large Cuban community in New Jersey, echoed those talking points in his USA Today op-ed, as you can read below the fold:
Significant emotional events, a term learned in a Sociology class, are instances in your life that change you. They are events that once they occur, you cannot go back to being the person you were before that event. Some of the significant emotional events I have experienced in my life have been being bullied in elementary and grade school, going through Army basic training, becoming a father, seeing my parents age and pass away, and going to Dachau when I was stationed in Germany.
As a child I grew up watching the sanitized version of war that was available on the meager channel selection of early cable TV. My dad loved watching westerns and war movies. The Longest Day, The Sands of Iwo Jima, Rat Patrol, Combat, To Hell and Back, Battleground ... the list goes on and on. Men died, but there was no blood. The Japanese were portrayed as savages, the Germans/Nazis were portrayed as efficient, but not really evil. The only time I ever had a hint of how evil the Nazis were was during an episode of the Twilight Zone, Deaths-Head Revisited, and even that left a lot to the imagination for someone who did not live through that time.
Follow below the fold for more.
There are some small signs that this might, just might, be happening. But too many people who are willing to vociferously condemn torture and brutality that has taken place not on our soil remain silent when it comes to denouncing what is happening every day behind bars. There are no rebellions in the streets or massive marches. Strikes by inmates themselves tend to be ignored, and the retaliation for their resistance that takes place afterwards does not usually make the nightly news.
It's not a secret. These practices have been denounced by major civil, legal, and human rights organizations for many years now. For example, consider the case of Latandra Ellington:A Floridian prison inmate wrote a letter to her aunt saying she feared a corrections officer might kill her while behind bars ? and ten days later, she was dead. The body of Latandra Ellington, 36, was found Oct. 1 at Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala. Now Daryl Parks and Benjamin Crump, the attorneys who represented Trayvon Martin's family, are calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the woman's suspicious death.
In the letter, written Sept. 21, Ellington expressed her fear that she might not make it out alive because of an officer she identified only as Sgt. Q, the Miami Herald reported."He was gone beat me to death and mess me like a dog,'' she wrote in the letter, obtained by the newspaper. "He was all in my face Sqt. Q then he grab his radio and said he was gone bust me in my head with it.''
A private autopsy paid for by the family shows that Ellington?who had seven months left to serve?died of blunt-force trauma to her stomach consistent with kicking and punching, according to the family's lawyer.Had she not written that letter, one wonders if there would even be an investigation. Help came too late for Ellington, but that does not have to be the outcome for countless others.
Follow me below the fold for more.
Church?s argument is double-barreled. First he argues we have no way of knowing if Santa is really there... there are some things our brains just aren?t capable of knowing. Maybe Santa is one of them.
But why does Church argue for making the leap to Santa belief, rather than standing pat with Santa agnosticism? Here Church brings in his second, pragmatic point. We should believe in Santa Claus because it will make our lives better if we do. Echoing Nietzsche?s defense of art, Church argues that we need poetry, romance and childlike faith to make life tolerable. Life without Santa is dreary and unromantic, and life with Santa is fun and magical. So we might as well believe in him. We also, according to Church, should believe in fairies dancing on the lawn, and an unseen world full of ?supernal beauty and glory.?
As a war reporter, Church saw mass slaughter carried out in the name of unseen ideals. He needed to believe in fairies, but we may balk at his Victorian tone with its creepy veneration of childhood and high-toned glurge. So it?s worth restating his point about the benefits of a belief in Santa in more modern, prosaic terms.'Scuse me a minute while I dig among the scraps of paper and left over bits of ribbon for my official Romper Room Magic Mirror. Ahh. I see teacherken, and skohayes, and greenbird, and I see a2nite, and xxdr zombiexx, and skillet, and el vasco, and I see dinotrac being grumpy, stop being grumpy, dinotrac, and I see all the other people who get up early on Sunday morning and read this series. And I see you too, Greg Dworkin, pretending like you're taking the day off then sneaking in here just because you think I'm going to screw up and forget to post the APR... like I did last week. Well I'm here. Go back to bed.
The rest of you go read Eric Kaplan's piece. And if I didn't get to your name, blame this mirror. It hasn't worked well since I stole it from Miss Judy fifty years or so back.
When you've finished your assigned reading, you can come inside. Otherwise I'm putting a check next to naughty...
Face The Nation: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD); Jeffrey Goldberg (The Atlantic).
This Week: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Roundtable: Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D), Bill Kristol (Weekly Standard), Republican Strategist Ana Navarro and Cokie Roberts (ABC News).
Fox News Sunday: Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI); Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)'; Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD); Roundtable: George Will (Washington Post), Judy Woodruff (PBS), Sociopath Liz Cheney and Juan Williams (Fox News).
State of the Union: President Barack Obama; Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
In July, Sen. Markey and 12 Senate Democrats asked for net neutrality.
Head below the fold to read the letter and to see who signed it. This doesn?t happen without the incredible effort of the netroots over the past year. Saving the internet is in sight.
Indonesian police have opened fire on peaceful protesters in Jayapura, with at least four gunshot wounds and one death. West Papuan activists and families have been forced to flee to the jungle for safety. Indonesian security forces are conducting scores of raids, sweeps and offensives against West Papuan civilians. The attacks are happening during the visit of National Police Chief General Sutarman with over 200 people arrested across West Papua. Journalists have also been attacked by Indonesian police according to Amnesty International...Read more at San Fransisco Bay Area Indymedia. The Indonesian Police chief says any plans to free Papua from Indonesia won't be tolerated, including Flag raising ceremonies on the West Papuan national Day, December 1st.
Calls for Independence by West Papuans have been made since the sham "Act of Free Choice in 1969". They have suffered a neglected genocide at the hands of the Indonesian military (2004) with continued Repression (2007). Thousands of Papuans took to the streets in 2010 and in 2011 rejecting special autonomy, demanding a referendum on independence. Indonesia plans to build 1,500 km of new roads in the next two years to accelerate ?development', increase military presence, and open up more illegal logging. Three Papuans highlighted the human rights abuses at the APEC meeting in Bali this year by scaling the Australian Consulate?s fence in the dead of night and hand-delivering a personal plea to open the Indonesian province to world scrutiny.
A new academic law and human rights report A slow-motion genocide: Indonesian rule in West Papua (PDF), details the extent of the genocide and abuse of human rights. (Review by Greenleft) Activists have called for Australia to End pragmatic complicity in West Papua in response to comments by new conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Imprisoned Papuan leader Selpius Bobii also responded saying, "We Live In Terror, Mr Abbott".
Related: Waging Nonviolence: Flotilla unsettles Indonesia?s occupation of West Papua | West Papuan National Day Goes Global | West Papuans to join commemoration of Eureka Rebellion in Ballarat More Information: West Papua media Alerts | Freedom Flotilla
Civil society organisations abandoned the COP19 climate change negotiations in Warsaw on mass. Members from Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF, Actionaid, Friends of the Earth, the International Trade Union Confederation (statement) and 350.org all started leaving the conference at 2pm. This is an unprecedented action, the first time several major civil society groups have staged a mass walkout.
Friends of the Earth International highlighted that the Warsaw Climate Change negotiations were failing, with Tension high in Warsaw talks as G77+China walk out. The role of Australia and reduced ambition of Japan have been widely mentioned. Australia and Canada are seen as the major wreckers, but there has been substantial intransigence from much of the developed world to progressing the negotiations forward on finance, ambition, and a loss and damage mechanism. Poland's Coal Summit has shown the fossil fuel corporatism entwined in this COP with widespread dismay at the coal powered negotiations of COP19 and at UNFCCC official Christiania Figueres who gave the keynote speech at the coal summit
Related: Democracy Now: "Nature Does Not Negotiate": Environmentalists Walk Out of U.N. Climate Summit in Warsaw | "Polluters Talk, We Walk": Civil Society Groups Abandon Warsaw Talks over Inaction on Global Warming | "We Have to Consume Less": Scientists Call For Radical Economic Overhaul to Avert Climate CrisisAnalysis: The Warsaw walkout and the Climate Movement
The weekend of 16th and 17th November saw tens of thousands of people in Canada and Australia out in the streets in over 260 protests against the climate policies of these countries. Australia and Canada are seen as the major wreckers in Warsaw at COP19.
The Saturday protests in Canada occurred from coast to coast to Repulse Bay, Nunavut on the Arctic circle, more than 10,000 people gathered in over 180 events co-ordinated by Defend our Climate. Many protests focussed on stopping further expansion of the Alberta tar sands and pipelines to move the bitumenous oil south to Texas, east through Ontario and Quebec, and west through British Columbia. On Sunday, more than 60,000 people attended climate protests across Australia, protesting the attempt to repeal carbon pricing and clean energy programs by the conservative Government lead by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, elected on 7 September this year, who denied any link between climate change and bushfires as unusually early and intense bushfires raged around Sydney.
Civil Society NGO and local Polish activists also staged a Climate Justice march in Warsaw in association with the COP19 climate change negotiations taking place. Super Typhoon Haiyan set the initial mood at the negotiations with Philippines negotiator Naderev Saño (Yeb Saño) saying "time to take action. We need an emergency climate pathway". There is widespread dismay at the coal powered negotiations in Warsaw with Japan and Australia being particularly singled out.
Related: Australia Indymedia - Tens of Thousands rally for Climate Action across Australia
Authorities of Tacloban City with a population of 220,000 and capital of Leyte province, gave an early estimate that perhaps 10,000 people died from this one city. Many people were surprised by the huge storm surge tidal waves that inundated much of the city. Many smaller coastal villages were also devastated with most buildings destroyed or suffering severe damage. According to the UN Reliefweb report on 14 November the number of affected people has increased to 11.8 million. The official death count from Typhoon Haiyan is currently 4,460 but with numbers still increasing. There were 921,200 people displaced and 243,600 houses destroyed. A total of 2.5 million people are in need of food assistance.
Related: Climate IMC: Typhoon Haiyan: This is a climate crime | Time for turning tears into anger says Walden Bello | Philippine groups demand action on climate finance, loss and damage in Warsaw climate talks | Ejected from COP19 for expressing solidarity to the Philippines | Youth observers expelled from UN climate change talks for Philippines Solidarity | Indybay: Super typhoon Haiyan is climate wake-up call | They destroy We suffer Statement on Yolanda?s AftermathNon-corporate Typhoon Haiyan Relief Efforts: Waves for Water | Haiyan NYC Relief Project | Doctors without Borders | Oxfam International
Climate Negotiations are over for another year with little progress in Doha by any one's measure as the scientific statements on climate change and the impacts we are already feeling as evidenced in record Arctic melting, and extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy and Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines, and Cyclone Evan in the South Pacific are growing much stronger.
Some of the latest scientific research shows:Sea Level rising 60% faster than IPCC projectionsMethane and CO2 in thawing Arctic permafrost a climate tipping pointCollapse of Siberia's Coastline is Releasing Huge Amounts of CO2Greenland Ice sheet suffers unprecedented surface meltIndian Monsoon more likely to fail as global warming acceleratesSouthern Ocean warming impact on Antarctic Ice Sheet Stability and sea level rise
Photos: Photos by World Resources Institute | Photos by Oxfam | The Verb: Climate March in Doha | The Verb: COP18 Actions Related: Deep emissions cuts urged at climate summit | Towards a Grand Compromise in the Climate Negotiations | COP18, another 'Conference of Polluters' | An open letter to governments and their negotiators | Climate compensation row at Doha | Forest Groups Protest False Solutions | IPCC's Planned Obsolescence: Fifth Assessment Report Will Ignore Crucial Permafrost Carbon Feedback! | Methane and CO2 in thawing Arctic permafrost a climate tipping point