Opening Statement



Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Rolling Stones in Toronto: Phoenix Rising 2005!

In another writer lifetime, I use to do concert reviews. In special commemoration of the Rolling Stones concert in Havana Cuba last week, I would like to repost this one here. It was one of my favourite Stones shows, of the 6 or so I've seen, since the Some Girls tour in 1978. I've adding some of the photos from then. Also some audio-video links which have since surfaced, including a full audio recording of the show @ HERE! . For news + links to the Stones Cuba Show, please see the Kulture Kult Ink section of my March news + Views blog @ HERE! Hope you enjoy the shows!



Stones at the Phoenix! More pix 2 come!

How was it?

In a word?

Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can't walk anymore. I can't talk. I can't hear. But I don't care. I've died and gone to heaven....................

Early afternoon Toronto time. I'm drenched. Walking south on Sherbourne Street in the summer down pour. Wet relief. The heat had finally snapped, if just for one unreal moment.



A Stones Club Show for $10?!? Cheap! Yup!

But I know. You don't want to hear too much more about the wild line up party that raged on with all our good Stones friends. About the mosquito drone of the media trying to suck us dry for another slow summer news story on-why-are-you-so-crazy?

About how the excited old man in the tacky poker suit, doing his Casino Boogie for the cameras, had peed his pants. About how the street wacko with the hand painted picture of Jesus on the Mount hit me on the head with it, then fled howling down the street. 

How I'd distractedly but in good natured manner, while trying to be helpful, told him he could go get it signed by Mick, who'd just arrived
at the gate. Apparently the message was supposed to be that we are facing eternal damnation for worshiping false gods... why I'll be damned!!! It's a hard call- who are the sinners, who are the saints, outside the gates of a Stones club gig?!? :-)



Pure summer Stones mayhem a la Sherbourne Street Toronto..... And the Phoenix was about to soar!

Suddenly the earth shook beneath my feet! The pagan gods had spoken! We were moving towards the door!

Security shook us down. We were about the 24th and 25th  through, from the line-up. There were already a significant number of good Stones friends, plus assorted "beautiful people" and other icky show biz types etc. etc. etc. already there.

We bellied up standing about three very tight steps back from our stage right. A proscenium stage with a short runway in the centre. Maybe 5 feet high. We were in front of Keith, just to the left of Mick.


How close were we? Keifer was grinning in our face as he and Ronnie stumbled out onto stage, and leaned into their thundering guitars. The Phoenix exploded to the heavy beat of "Rough Justice" [Video]. 

In the club setting I thought it was a damn fine little hard Stones summer rocker. From up on his mount Charlie smiled, held down a steady beat. Mick raced out onto the runway, with microphone in hand, growling out the lyrics. From below, I looked up, could see the fillings in his teeth.

Next came one of the best live "Live with Me"s" [VideoI have ever heard!!! Mick was absolutely demonic, as he strutted about like some crazed Nijinsky hind. Seething, Taunting. Sex. Keith coaxed and teased every note he could from his guitar. Effortlessly, it seemed, but with grace and satisfaction, like he'd been no doubt doing it all his life, but would never grow tired. It was pure, raw, undistilled rock and Rolling Stones!

Everyone, the Stones included, seemed to step back for just a moment, to catch our breath, as they then launched into a slow, and bluezy rocking "19th Nervous Breakdown", with the whole band, and of course the faithful in the audience, joining in the chorus. It was a fitting anthem, I thought, for my past week or so getting in here to be with the boys, to once again join in our communion of song. The Stones had arrived. The Stones are back!!!!!!

Next Mick cranked back up the Stones hot rock machine with a real rollicking over the top version of "She's So Cold" that actually sent a chill down my spine. This was the Stones in fine seventies form again, knocking out one of their hopeful hit single type songs, and this time
scoring. I've had some mixed feelings about this song over the years. A little trite? Not with this uninhibited rock and roll edge,
it really shined!


Mick pulled out his guitar for "Dead Flowers". The building heats up again. The air-condioner blows out a mist of condensation. I drift thru the guitar strings, back to the early seventies, as a teen, when this favourite first came out. Hunched up in the back of our family car, on summer vacation with good old mom and dad, who -God bless 'em, but not at the time, said, "If you gotta listen to that, all day long, put on your headphones!!!!!" 

In my minds eye, I'm still there, but it's 2005 now. We've gone over the top of the new millennium. Crank it up, I say! Every note, hanging above me, live,in the air. It's a swirl of great Stones country rock, with deep roots for me, a lifetime of memories................

Next Mick really surprised me, during "Back of My Hand". I thought he out did himself. When he usually pulls out his guitar on stage, it's often helped flesh out the sound perhaps, but never been especially interesting or spectacular. Tonight he treated us, by deftly doing some slide, to lovingly stretch out those powerful blues notes, throbbing, lingering in the hushed air of anticipation -what next?!?!?

Well, we got our Stones Motown Temptations pick o' the night, "Ain't Too Proud". The horns were really pumping, while Mick strut about, cocky as ever. I didn't need to be coaxed to join in singing on that one!


Keith treated us to the premier of "Infamy" A thoughtful, quirky tune. In his own gruff Keifer manner, he did it with grace and aplomb. It was risky in a way. It's harder for us, in the audience, to get a handle on a new song,
when most of us haven't heard it before. But I knew right away this moment would always flash back as a first, whenever I hear this new
Keith classic from now on. It was great!

The boys ratchet up the volume a bit with a rollicking version of "Oh No, Not You Again". Lots of fun interplay between Keith and Ronnie, as they joked about. Ronnie clowning with the different guitar parts, as they knocked together a weave. Kind of a toss off, but as a quickie throw away rocker, I think it still has potential. It will be interesting to see how they fine tune it live on stage in the months ahead. Maybe it will work, maybe not -but at an impromptu club off the cuff club gig like this, it was a neat one off to throw into the mix.

Now. I don't care what anyone else may say, or think, but for me, the next two songs were cathartic. They pushed me over the top. This was my defining moment, where one snaps at a Stones concert and goes over the top, knowing there's no looking back. All the tension to the build up, the loooooong waits, often hours, days, months, years, suddenly just breaks. It's over. I'm here with the Stones a few feet away. Yes, we've all survived. It's summer 2005, the big night I'll always remember, never forget, as a fan I'll take it to the grave.


It began as a trance with the Stones launching into what is definitely my Marley-Tosh favourite, "Get Up-Stand Up" [Video]. Keith cranking out the reggae rhythm, Ronnie’s bopping up and down plugging in the fills. Charlie and Daryl holding down the bottom end, the beat shaking the Phoenix to it's very foundations. Bernard and Lisa dance. Sway. Stick out their tongues. Pure delirium. Mick raises his hands in the air, beckoning us all to join in, clap along, chant the chorus. It becomes like a wave, washing back and forth, between them and us. Purifying whatever ails you. Real. Imagined. It no longer exists. Nothing does, only us and the Stones, now washed clean. It's transporting- like one doesn't even exist anymore. Stand up for your rights! The right to be!

There is only now; a total communion of heart and soul, united in music, friendship, the very moment. It is everything, the essence of our
humanity baby. It is us. We are it. We are all here. Together. Again. Well, perhaps I get carried away, but if you've ever been there, be it in a club, a concert, at a party, listening to their music, I think you'll know what I mean. After a Stones musical, nay-spiritual orgy like this, one is
never the same again!!!! ;-)

Of course it wasn't just this song, tho it happened to do it for me, but everything they played before hand carefully leading up to this moment, and everything that was to follow....


I was in complete stupefaction as Mick did his best Otis Redding -"Mr. Pitiful" [Videoindeed. The cocky swagger, the self depreciating supine heart on the floor pleading, of our soul brother number one. Otis lives! He's risen from the dead! He's strutting across the stage, a Jagger possessed. No doubt, Mick, like anyone else who's grown up with this song, knows every punchy nuance, every little quirk, and twist, and he is soul. 

Otis has taken over his body. The horns too, I betcha they've worn out every damn vinyl copy of that record they've ever had -it's note perfect in every sense. And we've got the feel too. Matter of fact I can feel nothing else. I swear to God there were periods here where I began to fade in and out, I no longer existed, I was just there, as I let go again, singing and dancing up a storm. Hallelujah, it's a soul revival time for me and the Stones and anybody else who cares to catch and share the vibe!!!!

At this point the Stones once again shifted into overdrive, if that is even
possible, they outdid outdoing themselves with back to back versions of "Tumbling Dice" and "Brown Sugar". Guitars cranked. Drums pounding. Horns blasting. Lisa and Bernard dancing up a storm. Mick jumping up and down driving these Hot Rocks home like a Stone reborn. Too familiar a choice? So what. It was primordial. The fans carried the songs, the rhythm, the chant, fists and hands in the air, waving in unison. It was like the boys were just riding the wave.


A wave? Shit it was like a tsunami, that came crashing down on us. Mick sprinkles his water bottle over the crowd. We are the anointed. And it keeps building, every note, word, chord. To come crashing down on us
full force. This is it -we are the Stones, and they are us, and they are ............ gone?!

Clap! Clap! Clap! We are in freefall……

 But of course they'll come back. A constant in our lives. Best in person, of course, and here they are again, as the boys rip into a kick ass "Jumping Jack Flash", Keith’s gritty, swirling guitar reverberating back and forth, from the past, and now once again into the future!

All hail the Rolling Stones!!! Rock and roll shaman and conquering heroes!!! In a Phoenix rising to pure rock and roll ecstasy!!!! A communion of souls, the faithful, the true believers..............

A Bigger Bang? Indeed! I'm totally Rolling Stoned!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)



You can buy an official download of the "Light the Fuse" show from the Stones website @ HERE!

COMMENTS

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Terrorist! Terrorist! Who's the Terrorist!

[Edited]



Here we go again! More terrorist madness! Our Canadian and other world leaders are once again falling all over themselves reacting to yesterday's startling attacks in Brussels! 

The furor even blew the good news from Cuba off the air. Regretfully, it's a non stop bombardment of nonsense, speculation and conjecture over what must have happened. Even more ominously, an explosion of non stop gibberish over what to do next?!? [1]

Here in Canada we can only wag our heads. Lament that we've been through all this nonsense before, even here in our own country. "Been there, done that!" as the saying goes.

It's a pretty nasty news jungle out there! Our Ontario teachers saw that during last year's "news" reporting of the ...ahem ... Collective Bargaining talks! You know it's wise to proceed with extreme caution in believing what we are officially told, read or hear! 

So, apparently Brussels is another diabolical terrorist attack. By those darn Muslim Jihadists who ... Grrrr! Grrrr! .... "hate freedom" and "our way of life" .... or ... or ... or, well, you can toss your own favourite red herring to describe whatever happened too. 

Of course, nobody really knows much yet, but no matter! We might as well just run for cover. Watch carefully, as the hubris from the latest tsunami of rhetoric ominously cascades headlong towards our Canadian shores for now!

Baby boomers will recall how much easier it was back during the Cold War! Remember school back then? Crawling under our desks to kiss our frigging butts good bye?

Hey Mr. Obama! Yes! You! Go back to Cuba! Now! Tell Mr. Castro that you changed your mind. The Cold War isn't really over yet! We'd like it back! Eh? He threatened to cut off your arm?!? OK. OK, well then don't do it! Jeez!


Say what?!?

Remember our Canadian "Terrorist" gunman who stormed Parliament Hill during 2014? When Prime Minister Harper used the incident to stoke the fires of madness and fear for the election year ahead? Canada was reportedly teetering on the verge of total chaos and destruction! As our jet fighters flew in to kill folks in Iraq and Syria, while Bill C51 torpedoed our Constitutional rights

At least one report slipped out that our big, bad "Muslim Jihad Terrorist" was actually just a crazed, delusional crack addict who had sadly slipped through the rips in our social safety net. The very ones that Harper couldn't afford to fix! Not with his neo con buddies great, big, truly sicko, corporate "austerity" cash grab going on! 

For crying out loud, the guy desperately needed to be committed for help at a detox or mental health centre! Barring that, maybe he even very badly wanted to get shot?! Somewhere! Anywhere! In Syria? Hell, with the passport delays, even Ottawa would do! 

Of course, that news story somehow got lost in the mad shuffle! Have you forgotten about it That's easy to do, buried as it was under all the terrorist hubris![2]

Yes, Canada was under attack, so to speak! However, the finger of blame should've been pointed at Mr. Harper, our biggest Canadian "con man" of them all, for exploiting the sorry situation!



Harper: What the duck? Eh?! It isn't a duck??? Well, I don't give a F....

It's true that we don't live in a very safe world anymore. Shit does happen! But what's not so clear is figuring out whom, is really doing what, and to whom!

Canadians need to learn from our mistakes. It's foolish to jump to hasty conclusions. The media is not an accurate reflection of reality! Hopefully, both Canada's domestic and foreign policy towards the War on Terror will be much different under Mr. Trudeau! And what of C51; our anti terrorism act? The world is definitely in desperate need of some better leadership examples. Let's see what Canada can do!

In Solidarity!

David C ;-)

FOOTNOTES

1] Read what Prime Minister Trudeau and the other world leaders say @ Global

2] Check it out again here @ Vancouver Sun

OTHER LINKS

See my blogs from at the time of the Ottawa shooting spree @ Pt 1 and @ Pt 2!

New: Gwynne Dyer: Brussels -a little perspective please @ Telegram

UK politico George Galloway blames the Brussel attacks on a Frankenstein monster created by the failed foreign policy initiatives of western leaders going back to Margaret Thatcher @ Express

COMMENTS:

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Obama in Cuba: Baseball, Terrorism + A Big Speech!

Continued: Notes + News Links From March 22, 2016


Que Pasa?!? It's Obama's "Speech to the Cuban People"!

LINK

Here's a full transcript of Obama's televised "Speech to the Cuban People", including the Spanish bits @ VOA You can also watch the speech @ Latin Times

Here's a useful guide to Obama's key points in the speech @ Guardian

NOTES

Obama's speech openly acknowledges that US Foreign Policy mistakes were made in the past. He promises that the US Embargo will end, that the Cold War with Cuba is over. This is surely a huge, monumental apology and reassurance for Obama to make, both for his Cuban and American audience, though the latter might view it differently. 

Obama also totes the virtues of American style electoral democracy, free speech and human rights. "Profound differences" will exist, but he explains, it will be up to the Cuban people to seize the opportunity for change, especially via his much hyped US style free market initiatives. Not to worry! The US will respect their differences and not try to change Cuba. According to Obama, that is something they must do for themselves. 

Fine words? Maybe! They also overlook a profound realpolitik effect of the US embargo that won't be so easily resolved with such simple, perhaps well intentioned bromides, should the "Cuban government", or more importantly the "Cuban people" as Obama delineates, agree to his interpretation of what these glittering generalities mean. He overlooks the following: 

The 1961 US embargo, by accident or design, defacto served to remove the political, economic, cultural centre of Latin America from Havana to Miami. It also allowed the Revolution to effectively purge Cuba of the US Neo Colonial yoke of influence, subservience and control. The changes that resulted have been very profound. Ironically, as such, the US Embargo served both Cuba and US nationalist objectives very well!

Across the America's, the US continues to exercise it's self proclaimed "Manifest Destiny" using it's sheer military, economic and cultural influence and control. That includes Argentina, the next stop on his trip, as well as other South American countries like Bolivia, Columbia and Venezuela, much of Latin America and the Caribbean. The list goes on and on. Despite the many, tempting, material advantages of the American World Order now coming back on tap, Cuba will need to partake with extreme caution to protect it's hard earned independence. 

Pat, happy endings are for story books! The final Cuban verdict on the American brand of "change" that Obama is offering and the form that change will take, is still far from certain or clear, even despite Obama's fine words and seemingly, good intentions. Which way will it go? In the excitement of this historic moment nobody can really tell for sure, but as food for thought I offer a link to my blog from last years CSP trip, when I asked the teachers and students at the Cuban schools "What Do You Think?" @ HERE!



Play ball!

LINK

Brussels is attacked by a series of bombings that rock the world news @ Globe

The Castro's and the Obama's attend a baseball game, both countries Great National Sport. It's a Havana exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and a Cuba National Team. Mid game, Obama is grilled by sports announcers from ESPN on criticism that he didn't immediately fly back home to deal with the latest, world crisis. He discusses terrorism, his visit and Cuban baseball prospects @ Awful Announcing and @ ESPN

Tampa Bay defeats the Cuban National Team 4-1! Details @ MLB

NOTES

Regretfully, much of today's coverage got lost in the endless speculation and conjecture over the attack reports from Brussels. Cuba quickly fell off the news map for now at least, as "terrorism" again rears it's ugly head.

Alas! There was a very important, scheduled meeting between Obama and some of the Cuban dissident groups. They included the "Ladies in White" arrested in the human rights protest prior to his arrival, which might've been very insightful to see. I will include the links later, when more become available. Any other "best of" backgrounders or analysis on the topics covered, when these are more readily available too.

Obama's US critics, mostly Republicans on the primary, campaign trail are very adamant in their criticism that he shouldn't stay for the baseball game as a part of his historic visit to Cuba in light of this latest, particular, "terrorist attack". It seems a very American moment, strictly for domestic consumption, that somehow assumes it is the US prerogative to again act as the world policeman in deciding what really happened and what is to be done. 

Obama blows them off, countering with the argument that terrorism's goal is to make people afraid so as to disrupt our ordinary lives. As President, he won't do that. It is a handy, often quoted and seemingly reassuring terrorism analysis, one which stupidly ignores the more important, and bigger terror goal of tempting the "leader" to rashly make an ill advised, strategic error out of panic and sheer anger. We have often seen the US trip up accordingly on the world stage since the 9/11 attack. Fortunately, we watch as a seasoned president, nearing the end of his second, final term doesn't rise to the occasion, hopping as prompted out of his front row seat in error for another, possible, terror, fly ball. 

Mid game, Obama explains to ESPN the great importance of baseball to his visit. It represents "good will" and shows that "people are people". Indeed, as an appropriate final note to this trip, Obama points at his daughters sitting side by side happily chatting away with Raul Castro's grandchildren. For the US and Cuba, the world is changing. Surely, where that leads will ultimately be determined by the next generation as the curtain begins to fall on this final, long, unfortunate and outdated chapter of the Cold War @ Guardian

SOME FINAL LINKS

President Obama considers the Major League Baseball exhibition game in Cuba "something extraordinary" in his interview @ ESPN

Obama's visit leaves at least "three glaring holes", or "unfinshed business", including US immigration policy, Guantanamo Bay abuses and the illegal Blockade @ Telesur


Cuba remains in the "digital dark ages", as far as internet service goes. There are hopes that will change with the normalization of relations. There is an "intranet", which the author here praises. She seems to think it can be adapted and kept in place, pretty much business as usual. However, I'd argue the restrictions are a quite unacceptable form of censorship, as far as free speech goes, which will be totally unacceptable once the State of Emergency can be finally lifted @ Sujatha Fernandes

Day 3 in photos @ Medium



COMMENTS:

Monday, 21 March 2016

Obama in Cuba: The News Links!

Here's a compendium of news links to Obama's March 2016 trip to Cuba. Follow me on Twitter for regular updates #davidchiarelli



In God We Trust .... nobody else will .....

SUNDAY MARCH 20: Backgrounders + Arrival

A summary of Obama's official goals in visiting Cuba @ The White House

The official Cuban primer on Obama's visit @ Granma

Here are six overall "key issues" or "sticking points" in US Cuba relations, for both sides, that still need to be substantially addressed for "normalization" to occur @ BBC

The "minute by minute" Cuban online coverage of Obama's visit is @ Granma

The New York Times is providing extensive coverage of the visit from Cuba @ NYT

Professor Ted Henken's "class guide" aka Ten Keys To Grade the Symbolism and Substance of Obama's Historic Visit is well worth a read @ Huff

Obama and Fidel Castro are not expected to meet @ NYT

It's a big week for Cuba! Both Obama and the Rolling Stones are on their way @ LA Times



Nope! "Ladies in White" are not Toronto BLM or US Trump rally protesters getting busted!

News reports that dozens of the "Ladies in White" [Damas de Blanca] are arrested in a democracy and human rights protest prior to Obama's arrival @ RT and @ NYT

The US State department and the US media often basically remain quiet about human right abuses in friendly Latin and South American countries like Honduras @ Vice

No Wall Here: US openly welcomes Cubans who flee to Cuba illegally but not economic and human right refugees from other other Latin America countries @ Telesur

Citizens of the socialist, sovereign state of Cuba have suffered under a crippling US Economic Blockade since 1961 @ These Times



Fidel in livelier days as Jose Marti watches!

Here's a useful history of US Cuba relations since the revolution in 1959 @ Telesur

Obama arrives with his family for the first visit of a US president in 88 years. Critics are quick to jump on President Raul Castro's absence as Air Force One lands on the tarmac in Havana. However, the White House has been quick to state, since the outset, that he was not expected from the outset @ Yahoo

These Cuban news videos of Obama's historic arrival are definitely worth a gander @ Youtube

Not prepared to get let the facts stand in the way, US Republicans, including Donald Trump at a Florida campaign stop, indignantly denounce Castro's "no Show" @ Time and @ Telesur

Obama's first stop is at the newly opened US Embassy in Havana. He jokes that it took him three hours on a plane, whereas his predecessor President Coolidge arrived in three days travelling on a battleship @ USA Today



Don't leave home without it! The "Beast" visits Havana! For a US President, it's no JFK joyride anymore, no way! Though compared to most places, Cuba is still very safe for visitors today! 

Perhaps Obama's unaware of the irony of arriving onboard the humongeous Air Force One and in now driving around Havana in his huge limo nicknamed the "Beast", along with an entourage of 1200 aids, business figures and politicos. Regretfully, for others, the US power imbalance in the America's hasn't changed much since Coolidge's 1928 visit @ NYT

Cuban news reports ignore any possible US grandstanding. Rather, in this brief notice of protocol, it focuses on the Cuban Foreign Affair Minister and the Ambassador to the US welcoming Obama upon his arrival @ Granma

Obama and family tours historic Old Havana, a World Heritage site @ Telesur

Here's a visit of the Obama family touring Old Havana in the torrential rain @ Guardian



Michelle, Sasha + Malia at Havana Cathedral

Obama meets with Cuban Archbishop Ortega in The Havana Cathedral to thank him for the Catholic churches help in the breakthrough in normalizing diplomatic relations. Pope Francis was instrumental in the reaching the US "Cuban Thaw" @ CatholicHerald

A Picture Tells a 100 Words? Perhaps -here's a summary of Day 1 in photographs, a sort of a best of @ Medium

These Cuban news videos of Obama's historic arrival are also worth a gander @ Youtube

MONDAY MARCH 21: Meetings + A State Dinner



Obama in Revolution Square: Every GOP's worst nightmare!

Obama gets caught in an iconic photo of Cuban Revolutionary Hero Che Guevera, who the CIA once reportedly hunted down and shot, during his visit to the seat of Cuban government in Revolution Square, Havana. Much controversy ensues on all sides @ Atlantic

The New York Times grapples with the significance of Cuban National Founding Father Jose Marti after Obama presents a wreath in his honour an Revolution Square @ NYT

Here's a video clip of Obama's arrival ceremony at the Palace of the Revolution as he meets up with Raul Castro @ Guardian

A Must Read for Yourself: Here's an actual, full transcript of Obama and Castro's Joint Press Conference after their meet at the Revolution Palace @ Time

Here's a video of their Joint Press Conference @ Latino USA



Raul: "And we might just cut this off if you're B.S'ing us ......" ;-)

Here's an interesting summary and analysis of their comments and statements with further links @ Guardian

Cuban President Raul Castro emphasizes Cuban demands that the US must lift the economic embargo and return the occupied American Naval Base/ Prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. Critics argue that detentions and torture at the base, not to mention attacks on US protesters at the Trump rallies stateside, create a double standard in US outrage over human right violations in Cuba @ Global Research

The US doth Protest Too Loudly? Here's a another rather interesting backgrounder on the American Naval Base at Guantanamo and the Human Rights issue @ Telesur

Obama tells Castro that the embargo will end @ CNN and @ Video

Here's a video of Castro defending Cuba's record on human rights. He denies there are any "political" prisoners. Castro is critical of the US human rights record. He points out that Cubans enjoy the universal right to health and education unlike many other countries @ Daily Mail

Obama and Castro sparred over human rights. Castro does not view the prisoners as legitimate "dissidents", a serious bone of contention, especially considering outside US political interference and agitation in the past, under Cuba's 50 year State of Emergency during the US embargo. CNN just basically blew Castro's off arguments as simply rhetoric in it's coverage this afternoon. We get a bit more clarification of the complexities that will still need to be unraveled and addressed @ BBC

Here is a very detailed, extensive list of America's alleged human right abuses @ RSN

Did Obama set Raul up for the human rights question? I'm not completely convinced of this interpretation of what went down during the press conference, as far as Obama's intentions go, but it's worth further consideration @ Politico



Kerry: "... usually just don't get it?!? Who? Us???"

Cuba facilitates a meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and the FARC rebels from Columbia as a part of the peace process during Day 2 of the trip, highlighting the new, enhanced and constructive role Cuba can now exercise politically and diplomatically in Latin and South American affairs @ Telesur

Might Obama's huge big, business entourage on the trip in fact represent a new US Economic Invasion of Cuba? More @ Popular Resistance

Obama attends a meeting between US business interests and Cuba's entrepreneurs during the afternoon. The New York Times seem unaware that Cuba has allowed small family businesses since the economic collapse during the "Special Period", with Revenue Canada coming in to help with the taxing arrangements. Often it's been a case of two steps forward, one step back as the Cuban Politboro has moved towards a mixed economy, with Raul Castro, perhaps ironically, once one of the hardliners opposed to the reforms. Anyway, here's how the Times views them from an American perspective @ NYT



Here are some details on the food, drink, cigars, dress and protocols, along with video and photos, of tonight's gala State Dinner back at the Palace of the Revolution @ Daily Mail

Meanwhile back in the US, first generation anti-Castro hardliners and more progressive, second generation Cuban Americans are divided in their support for normalizing relations with Cuba. As hard as it might be for many Americans to understand, throughout the "other" America's there is widespread admiration for Cuba having stood up to and resisted the US's imperialist thrust @ Telesur

Day 2 Photos: Here's a Best of @ Medium

TUESDAY MARCH 22: Obama's Big Speech/ Baseball is @ HERE!!!

COMMENTS:

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!
See below ...

Youtube Bar: Afrika Bambaataa!

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Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

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Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?
A careful analytical study!

Help! I Have No Arms!

Help! I Have No Arms!
Please scratch my back.

I can't find my underwear!.

I can't find my underwear!.
Have you seen them!

Weee! I can fly!

Weee! I can fly!
Look! I can crawl thru walls!

I have a headache!

I have a headache!
And a broken nose.

I have a square hole in my bum!

I have a square hole in my bum!

Here try this, it's very good!

Here try this, it's very good!
No. You have a bird face.

I have an ugly baby!

I have an ugly baby!
No I'm not!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!
OK but I need a new hand too!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

You don't look well.

You don't look well.
No. My head hurts +I have a sore chest.

Would you like a bun?

Would you like a bun?

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!
The Temple of Kukulkan!

Gotta love it!

Gotta love it!
Truly amazing!

Under Reconstruction!

Under Reconstruction!

Temples + Snakes!

Temples + Snakes!

The Snake!

The Snake!
It runs the length of the ball field!