Mes: noviembre 2015

The Commission on Defense and National Security, an Alejandro Castro Corporation Juan Juan Almeida

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Este blog es genial. This blog is greatest!

The Voice of El Morro / English Translation

Alejandro Castro Espín (R) and Abel Enrique González Santamaría (L)

Juan Juan Almeida, 16 November 2015  — Bound by a peculiar loyalty based on the quasi-inbreeding of its members and located in a walled compound at the corner of 36th and 39th streets in Havana’s Nuevo Vedado, the Commission on Defense and National Security (not to be confused with the Council on National Defense), is a group with a disturbing profile but no legal standing, created with the intention of preserving the status quo.

Under the Constitution, which we are supposed to be revising but which is still in force, the National Assembly of People’s Power ranks as the highest institution of government, imbued with legislative and constitutional powers. Subordinate to it are the Supreme Court, the Attorney General and even the Comptroller General. It appoints the Council of Ministers and the Council of State.

But that’s only on paper…

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Four Unusual International Child Custody Cases

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Case #1. Edgardo Montaro, a Jewish boy taken from his family by the Pope. (Taken from Wikipedia.)

In June 1858, police arrived at the Bologna home of a Jewish couple, Salomone and Marianna Padovani Mortara, to take one of their eight children, six-year-old Edgardo, and transport him to Rome to be raised as a ward of the state. The police had orders from the Catholic Church’s Holy Office, authorized by Pope Pius IX.

In those days, the city of Bologna was ruled by the pope. Under church law, baptism may be administered to a person in danger of imminent death by anyone, man or woman, even a non-Christian, and is considered a valid baptism as long as it is done in the manner in which the Catholic Church baptizes. Originally intended as a relief for Catholic families suffering high infant mortality rates, it had not been intended to be used for Jewish families. This rule allowed anyone to perform emergency baptism so the infant would not die unbaptised. Its use in the case of very ill Jewish children was accepted by the Christian population.

As it turned out, six year old Edgardo had been baptized by a servant without his parents’ consent. After he was baptized, as attested by the girl, he was Catholic in accordance with Church law. This law said non-Christians could not raise a Christian child even if the child was their own.

Note: I read Steven Spielberg is working on a movie about this case.

Case #2. Taken from PBS and my own memory.

In November 1999 two Florida fishermen found a six year old boy, Elian Gonzalez, on a raft floating offshore some 60 miles north of Miami. Elian had been brought aboard the raft by his divorced mother, who died during the trip together with all the other adults.

His great-uncles Lázaro and Delfín González and his cousin, Marisleysis González, took him in, but they lacked custody. The father, who had remained in Cuba (and claimed he didn’t know the mother was taking Elian), claimed his son, as provided by international law. The case was fought by the grand uncle, and became a battleground between the Cuban exiles living in the United States and dictator Fidel Castro.

This case caused a very strong debate in my family. I supported the father’s case even though I hated Fidel Castro, while my mom, like most Cubans In the USA, wanted the boy to stay. It got so bad she wouldn’t talk to me at times.

The U.S. government had to see this case taken through US courts. As I recall (I’m going from memory) the battle included a hearing in a Florida family court, which declared it lacked the legal basis to award custody to the grand uncle, because there was no proof the father was incompetent.

The case was taken to a Federal judge, who decided in favor of the USA government, standing behind the father’s right to get his son back in Cuba (I think he may have been torn between seeing his boy raised as a free man, and his desire to see his son grow up, he also knew that, if he didn’t ask for the boy, Fidel would have his life torn to shreds).

Why did the USA government and courts back the father? Because Elian was a six year old illegal alien. Under USA law a six year old can’t speak for himself. Because the mother had died during the trip, she never had dry feet, and thus was never a US resident. This left the father as the sole remaining guardian. And Elian couldn’t become a US resident unless his dad asked for asylum on his behalf.

The case ended with a big splash, after the “Miami family”, backed by hundreds of extremists, refused to turn over Elian to US authorities. This led to a house raid by heavily armed federal cops, who took Elian and flew him to Washington DC, where he was handed over to his dad.

I decided to include his case because I read a newspaper report that Elian was in Miami. It seems he decided to take in the sights, although I understand he’s a committed communist and a high profile member of the Castro oligarchy.án-gonzález-9542365#profile

Case #3. Taken from YNET News.

In October 2015, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled in that a Palestinian Muslim who was born in Nablus and resided in Israel will continue to serve as the guardian of his twin daughters aged 5, but at the same time their (Jewish Orthodox) foster family will be responsible for how they are brought up.

The twins were born in 2010 to their Muslim father and a Jewish woman, who recently committed suicide.

A few days after their birth, the twins were transferred to the welfare authorities and were handed over to an observant Jewish foster family. The foster parents requested to adopt the children, but the father refused and asked to remain their guardian.

After a legal dispute lasting years, the Supreme Court ruled that the father will continue to be the guardian so as to retain his dignity, but the upbringing will be done by the foster parents who will also receive the status of guardians with broad powers.,7340,L-4707991,00.html

Case #4. This is a new case, about a mother who may lose her four children, who can stay in Australia as she’s deported back to Venezuela.

A Remarkable Letter By The OAS Secretary General to The Head Of Venezuela’s Electoral Board

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This is a must read post by Miguel Octavio. I would apreciarte it if you pasas it on.

The Devil's Excrement

Today, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, wrote the extraordinary letter above to Tibisay Lucena the Head of Venezuela’s Electoral Board.

Extraordinary, because for the longest time, Venezuelans have become accustomed to the cowardly and cynical and mercantile attitude of most Latin American leaders when it comes to the respect of human rights of Venezuelans and the way elections have been run in the country. Even when they criticize, they tend to do it meekly and indirectly, seldom addressing the issues directly.

Secretary General Almagro does an extraordinary job of doing it, without mincing any words and addressing the problems head on.

I personally would like to thank Mr. Almagro for doing his job and without avoiding the thorny issues that his predecessors and those in leadership positions in so many other countries and institutions in Latin America have done so for the last sixteen…

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Whenever I see Vladimir Putin in the news I think about corruption and what Russia could have been without it. I realize that Putin is just the top of the corruption pyramid, he´s the symbol of the rotten condition of things in Russia. And I also realize corruption isn´t unique to Russia. It seems to pervade the world everywhere.

Putin´s trip to Brazil received a lot of coverage because he´s trying to extend Russian influence in Latin America. The trip included stopovers in Nicaragua and Cuba (both nations are ruled by autocratic regimes which survive thanks to their status as Venezuela´s parasites.

Corruption in Russia isn´t unique, it´s highlighted because it´s so pervasive and because it drains so much potential from the Russian people, who see incompetent thiefs steal their money and take it abroad to buy football teams, mansions, super yatchs and super models.

An interesting point raised recently in the media is the fact that corruption in these countries seems to be associated with nationalism and/or ultra religiosity. People in corrupt nations accept corruption if these corrupt leaders mix capitalism, populism, and religion in the appropriate doses, and manage to keep the economy growing.

Putin emphasizes Russian nationalism, homophobia, and promotes the Russian Orthodox Church. In other nations, for example in Turkey, the government tends to peddle Islam as a cover for their corruption. Brazil´s Dilma Rouseff was trying to cover corruption building football stadiums and holding sports events. And this would have worked but she did fail to deliver a strong growing economy.

Her buddy the autocrat Nicolás Maduro peddles nationalism and a
the cult of personality of their dead Chávez. This may have worked and allowed chavista hyper corruption to continue, but the economy went to hell, and this has made Maduro so unpopular his own red cadres are getting ready to toss him out.

Who is really smiling in that BRICS group? Chinese “communists” have mixed corrupt and savage capitalism while invokiung the glory of ancient China, but they also deliver economic growth on the backs of an exploited working class. The Chinese people live with obscene pollution, human rights abuses, and 14 hour a day work hours…but they see the economy growing, and even though they realize the government is both corrupt and abusive they aren´t about to rock that boat too hard (for now).

The Lilliput Rebellion

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Generation Y

Gulliver being tied by the Lilliputians (CC) Gulliver being tied by the Lilliputians (CC)

14ymedio, Generation Y, Yoani Sanchez, 5 November 2015 – Calling for austerity while living in opulence has been common practice for Cuban leaders for more than half a century. Demands to “tighten one’s belt” are brandished about by officials with fat necks and ruddy faces, who for decades haven’t known what a refrigerator with more frost than food looks like. This contradiction undoubtedly annoys those who have to divide rationed bread with a family member, or cleverly cut up a bar of soap so it will last for several weeks.

The popular unease before the contrast between words and deeds could have led the journalist Alexander A. Ricardo to publish a metaphorical but accurate text in the opinion section of the Havana Tribune*. Under the title The Travels of Gulliver Junior, the opinion column refers to someone who “is seen in giant enjoyment…

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Manufacturing climate nightmares: misusing science to create horrific predictions

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Fabius Maximus website

Summary: Scientists and journalists bombard us with news about the coming climate catastrophe, described as certain unless we drastically change our economy. This has plunged many into despair. The hidden key to these forecasts is RCP8.5, the worst case scenario of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report — often erroneously described as the “business as usual” scenario. Understanding this misuse of science reveals the weak basis of the most dire warnings (which set the mood at the Paris Conference), and helps explain why the US public assigns a low priority to fighting climate change despite the intense decades-long publicity campaign.

“We’re going to become extinct. Whatever we do now is too late.”
— Frank Fenner (Prof emeritus in microbiology at the Australian National U); Wikipedia describes his great accomplishments), an interview in The Australian, 10 June 2010.

A glowing crystal ball held in two hands

In the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report four scenarios describe future emissions, concentrations…

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