Today in Havana

Matt Lauer’s in Cuba with the Today Show.

Henry’s liveblogging.

II only watched for a few minutes, but Matt has a penchant for contradicting himself: first he shows a jazzy powerpoint slide of how good Havana would look if only the USA would bring trade and prosperity, and then he mentions that nearly every other country in the world cn trade with Cuba.

Yet people only earn fifty cents a day. Why is that?

Matt just can’t seem to get it, so let me spell it out for him: Because COMMUNISM DOESN’T WORK, Matt!

I’ll be Captain Ed‘s guest in today’s CQ Radio with Ed Morrissey today at 3PM EDT. We’ll be talking about Matt.

Here’s a suggestion for Matt:

Nothing courageous in library film fest

To the editor:
I felt enough had been written about the Princeton Public Library’s recent “human rights” film festival. However, since three letter writers have chosen to keep the subject alive, a response is warranted.

One letter denounced “hard-right anti-Castroites” who protested the inclusion of pro-Cuba films. Well, if it is “hard-right” to loathe a dictator who brooks no dissent, jails political prisoners, and has clung to power for a half-century, I plead guilty.

A few questions for the writer: Does this make you a “hard-left pro-Castroite?”
Should you have mentioned that your wife organized the festival?
Among those “hard-right anti-Castroites,” do you include the elderly man who spoke about his years in Castro’s prisons?
Finally, does Cuba, which Human Rights Watch calls the “one country in Latin America that represses nearly all forms of political dissent,” really deserve to be lauded in a festival about “human rights?”

Festival organizers even embellished their films with a guest speaker:- a particularly noxious woman who would not even concede that Castro’s gulag is less than democratic. For the former prisoner, it was literally insult heaped upon injury.

Another letter praised the festival’s “courageous” pursuit of free expression. With apologies to Warner Wolf, give me a break! “Courage” implies steadfastness despite a threat of harm, such as daring to dissent in Cuba, or boarding a raft hoping to reach Florida.

In the case of our film festival, a few activists used other people’s money (taxpayers) to show films promoting their own world view. Attendees learned about the plight of the millionaire Dixie Chicks, whose “rights” were apparently trampled when radio stations refused to play their music.

At last year’s festival, we heard that corporations, by their very nature, are “psychopathic” and in need of therapy. Yet each year, festival organizers are praised by their colleagues, and letter writers commend their “courage.” My point is that ascribing “courage” to people who dabble in radical politics insults to those who actually deserve that adjective.

It is vitally important to mention that in the festival’s three years, there has not been one offering about the Muslim/Arab world, where “rights” are truly in short supply.

What about the right of a female to drive, to study, to avoid genital mutilation? The right of an Israeli teenager to have pizza without being vaporized by a suicide bomber? The right to publish cartoons mocking the “prophet” Mohammed? Not a syllable in three years. Is it because these “courageous” librarians are afraid to offend Muslims, who fight back with fatwas? Is it because condemning Islamic abuses doesn’t mesh with their world view, in which the West is the source of all evil?

If the festival organizers want “dialog,” let it commence. We might begin by asking whether Princeton’s overburdened taxpayers wish to subsidize a festival that is less about “human rights” than it is a pretense for promoting a political agenda. And, oh yes, those “psychopathic” corporations might consult their therapists about the wisdom of supporting people who loathe their very existence.
Paul J. Budline

Update, 4PM: Val Prieto and I were Captain Ed’s guests, and you can listen to the podcast here. We discussed the many inaccuracies and omissions from the Today Show, not the least of which are the imprisoned dissidents, like Vladimiro Roca and Oscar Elias Biscet, Coco Farinas (who’s protesting for access to the internet) and also dissidents like Martha Beatriz Roque Escabello and Ladies in White (wives, mothers, and sisters of 78 dissidents who were imprisoned for distributing books). Later in the program Dymphna and Ziva called in.
Great news for Maria Conchita Alonso fans, she’s producing a documentary and will be in a movie about Venezuela.

Related posts
Saturday at the Princeton Human Rights Film Festival
Jesus at the tobacco factory


The Princeton Human Rights Film Festival, part 2

In yesterday’s podcast with Captain Ed I mentioned how ironic it is to have pro-Castro propaganda films shown at the Princeton Public Library – which is headed by the head of the American Library Association – on the same week that Gustavo Colas Castillo, the Deputy Director of Independent Libraries of Cuba has been arrested.

In the podcast, Val Prieto and Ed mentioned that journalist Nat Hentoff had turned down an award from the American Library Association. Here is why:

Hentoff has spoken about the ALA earlier this year, in his article, American Library Association shamed

The American Library Association – the largest organization of librarians in the world – continually declares that it fights for everyone’s “Freedom to Read!” and its Library Bill of Rights requires its members to “challenge censorship.” Yet the leadership of the ALA — not the rank and file – insistently refuses to call for the immediate release of the independent librarians in Cuba – designated as “prisoners of conscience” by Amnesty International. They are serving very long prison terms because they do believe in the freedom to read – especially in a dictatorship.

Among the many organizations demanding that Fidel Castro and his successors release these courageous Cubans – who have opened their homes and libraries to offer books censored in the Cuban state libraries – are such groups as the library associations of the Czech Republic, Latvia, Estonia and Poland. All these librarians, finally freed from Communism, agree with their colleagues in the Polish Library Association, who say in their declaration, “The actions of the Cuban authorities relate to the worst traditions of repressing the freedom of thought and expression.”

Also calling for the liberation of Castro’s many prisoners of conscience, including the librarians, are the Organization of American States, Amnesty International and Freedom House.

However, the top officials of the American Library Association – as well as the majority of its Governing Council – speak derisively of these “so-called librarians” in Castro’s gulags.

It’s true that these prisoners, many brutalized and in failing health, in their cells, don’t have master’s degrees in Library Science; but as poet-novelist-educator Andrei Codrescu told last year’s ALA Midwinter Conference: “These people have been imprisoned for BEING librarians!” Why dismiss them “as ‘so-called librarians’ when clearly there is no one (in that dictatorship) to certify them.”

So bizarre is the ALA leadership, along with a cadre of Castro admirers on the Governing Council – in its abandonment of their fellow librarians – it refuses to post on its “Book Burning in the 21st Century” Web site the extensive, documented court transcripts of the “trials” that sent the librarians to prison. Those judges ordered the “incineration” of the prisoners’ libraries, including works by Martin Luther King Jr. and George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”

But these sentencing documents are verified on the Web sites of Amnesty International, the organization of American States, and Florida State University’s Center for the Advancement of Human Rights. Officials of the ALA – conjuring up a fake conspiracy by the Bush administration to overthrow Castro by using the independent librarians – disdain this verification of the book burnings. They insist, for example, that the Florida State University Web site is funded by grants from the U.S. government.

Yet, that Rule of Law and Cuba [link added] Web site project doesn’t get a dime from the U.S. government. Says director Mark Schlakman: “We place a premium on our independence.”

Read the rest.

But back to the Princeton Human Rights Film Festival hosted by the Princeton Public Library: The same people who praise Castro’s medics as “doctors” and play movies in their favor are the same people who refuse to support people who risk their lives by distributing books in Cuba.

Shameful, indeed.

Update, May 12 More at Gates of Vienna
Cross-posted at Heading Right


Today on Blog Talk Radio, at CQ Radio w/Ed Morrissey

Val Prieto of Babalu Blog and I will be Captain Ed‘s guests, starting at 3PM. We’ll be discussing the Princeton Human Rights Film Festival.

Update: We had a wonderful conversation talking about Cuba’s economy, including its dependence on foreign oil, the food shortages, and the medical and health care aspects. I was delighted to be talking with Val and with Ed, both of which I admire, and have had the pleasure of meeting in person.

You can listen to the archived podcast here.


NJ flooding hits Fausta’s blog but the Blog Talk Radio show goes on!

We’re being pounded with a storm since yesterday, and since my basement flooded (the modem was in the puddle) I have no internet connection. I’m blogging from Starbucks and blogging will be sporadic.

However, the excellent Siggy of Sigmund Carl and Alfred has gallantly come to the rescue and we’ll be having today’s scheduled Blog Talk Radio at noon.
blog radio
Siggy and I will discuss the issue of immigration, legal and illegal, in the USA.

Also on today, at 3PM I’ll be Captain Ed’s guest in his CQ Radio w/Ed Morrissey show.

Captain Ed has an excellent post on the Fairness Doctrine and Blog Talk Radio you must read.

Captain Ed‘s first guest today is presidential candidate Congressman Duncan Hunter, who I had the pleasure of meeting in Washington last month,

Join Siggy and I at noon, and then listen to Captain Ed’s at three. And remember to listen to the archived podcasts, which you can subscribe to.


Coming up in Blog Talk Radio

Great programs coming up on Blog Talk Radio:
blog radio
Next Monday April 16 at noon Siggy of Sigmund Carl and Alfred is back, and he and I will discuss the issue of immigration, legal and illegal, in the USA.

Also on Monday April 16, at 3PM I’ll be Captain Ed’s guest in his CQ Radio w/Ed Morrissey show.

A week from Monday, on Monday April 23 at noon, my guest will be Angela McGlowan, Fox News political analyst, Republican Strategist and President of Political Strategies and Insights. She’ll be talking about her new book, Bamboozled: How Americans are being Exploited by the Lies of the Liberal Agenda

I read her book and highly recommend it, and will post a review next week.

Angela will be on Hannity and Colmes to discuss her book Bamboozled as well as the Imus-Sharpton Controversy, Tonight (4/13) at 9:30pm EST. Her appearance will be followed up with an interview on The Alan Colmes Show at 10pm EST on XM 168 and Sirius 145.

Don’t forget to listen to the archived Blog Talk Radio shows. Just click on the icon to access them. If there are any shows you want to listen that don’t show on the page, email me.