Category Archives: US News

Airstrikes Begin in Syria

Map of airsrtikes in SyriaThe first wave of United States attacks against ISIS and The Khorasan Group in Syria began early Tuesday morning.

The airstrikes hit 14 ISIS and Khorasan targets in Syria including command and control centers, supply caches and training facilities.

Aircraft from five Arab nations reportedly assisted with the strikes, but no European allies were involved.

The air assault began with cruise missiles, bombers, predator/reaper UAVs and fighter aircraft targeting the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria early on Tuesday.

U.S. officials said planes from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain and Qatar were also involved in the mission.

USS Arleigh Burke Fires Tomahawk missiles

USS Arleigh Burke fires cruise missiles on Sep. 23 – Pentagon

U.S. F-18s launched from the aircraft carrier U.S.S George H.W. Bush in the Persian gulf while the destroyer U.S.S. Arleigh Burke launched Tomahawk cruise missiles from the Red Sea.

All U.S. service personnel have been reported safe after this morning’s sorties.

 

 

 

Whitehouse Fence-Jumper Reportedly on Anti-Depressents

white houseOmar Gonzalez hopped the White House grounds fence, got into the building and reportedly even gained access to the Presidential Residence before Secret Service agents were able to stop him. What the reports downplay is that Omar was probably on anti-psychotic medications – just like several other recently dangerous events.

Mr. Gonzalez, 42, served his county in the U.S. Army from 1997 until medical retirement in 2008. While the Army won’t share member’s reasons for leaving the service, Omar’s wife did.

Omar’s ex-wife says he was medically retired due to plantar fasciitis (a foot disorder) and that he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). His ex-wife also confirmed that Omar had been prescribed medications for PTSD.

Traumatic events affect people in different ways. Some can wall-off the event(s) and carry on. Others are affected by the event(s) for long periods of time. For those haunted by past events, medications are often prescribed.

The most common medicines offered are SSRI’s, or,  Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitors. These are considered anti-depression medications.

What’s odd is how much the reports downplay the condition and the medication. While PTSD can often be treated with therapy and support, the rapid increase in the use of anti-psychotic drugs to treat conditions like PTSD and ADD is alarming.

This fence-jumping event is just the latest high-profile event to feature someone on anti-depressants. Columbine, Sandy Hook, the Navy Yard, the Aurora theater shooting, and many many more all were performed by men on anti-psychotic meds.

Recent reports have demonstrated that anti-psychotic medications re-arrange the brain’s architecture almost immediately. What could go wrong?

A single dose of a popular class of psychiatric drug used to treat depression can alter the brain’s architecture within hours. – The New York Times

Most Americans could not even fathom how they or a family member might react if their brain chemistry was suddenly altered. Pushing it on war veterans and troubled teens may not be all that responsible and worse, could be a factor in recent high-profile violence.

At some point, our leaders need to consider the role anti-psychotics play in violent events – so why don’t they?

Congressional members and the President are heavily lobbied by drug makers. Anti-psychotic drugs are a huge boon to drug-maker’s bottom lines. The math is not that hard.

Fox Outsmarts PC – Be Offensive, Get Banned, Get Paid

Poor, poor California just doesn’t get it, but Fox does

Fox has a brand new hospital drama coming out and to promote it they used characterizations of Octavia Spencer’s character to advertise the new show.

Buses throughout the the Los Angeles area had been painted with advertisements for the new Fox show, Red Band Society, that referred to the starlet as “scary bitch” just as the show will.

Not surprisingly, Los Angeles residents found it offensive and complained to city transportation officials.

Due to the public outcry, city officials confirmed that they would be removing the advertisements, but no time frame was offered.

Fox is now getting coverage in every newspaper, news show, online site, blog and entertainment magazine you can imagine.

I personally pat Fox on the back for using political correctness to its advantage. Honestly, had you heard of this TV show before the “scandal?”

 

AT Publishes A New Article Against Free Trade

The American Thinker, a conservative e-zin, has just published a new article whose author speaks out against suicidal “free trade” policies.

Predictably, a large number of pro-Fortune 100 shills flocked to the comments section and began peddling the Fortune 100’s corporate myths about why free trade, and in particular, trading with countries that cheat on the US, supposedly benefits America.

They falsely claim that:

a) trading with dishonest, cheating “trade partners” somehow benefits America and all parties involved;

b) jobs lost to these countries (shipped overseas by multinational corporations to countries where people work for slave wages and where labor, environmental, and construction regulations don’t exist) are somehow magically replaced with new, better-paying ones (the theory of “Creative Destruction”);

c) protectionism has failed, while “free trade” produces prosperity; and

d) protecting the US economy against unfair, dishonest foreign competition is a Big Government/socialist/crony capitalist policy and a violation of of the traditional conservative free market philosophy.

All of their claims are blatant lies. There isn’t a single shred of evidence supporting them.

Let’s start with myths a) and c).

It is “free trade” that has failed abysmally, while protectionism – protecting America’s industrial base – allowed the US to transform itself from a handful of states on the East Coast to the biggest industrial powerhouse in the world.

It is protectionism that allows countries to prosper and become economically powerful, while free trade is an economically suicidal policy. History provides irrefutable evidence of this.

EVERY country which ever became an economic power became one by protecting and actively supporting its industrial base: England under the Acts of Navigation and through the early 19th century, France under Colbert and Napoleon, Prussia under the Customs Union, unified Germany under Bismarck, the US from the 1860s to the 1960s, Japan since the 1850s, and China today.

Protectionism is the policy of ASCENDANT economic powers; free trade, the policy of descendant ones.

Trade surpluses add to GDP; trade deficits substract from it.

Just recently, France’s statistical office, INSEE, announced that the French economy grew by 0% in the 2nd quarter of 2014 – partly due to a large and persistent trade deficit, and partly due to low consumption and investment spending by consumers and entrepreneurs.

And the US, by trading with utterly dishonest, cheating partners, such as China, Japan, and Mexico, has amassed far, far greater trade deficits than France – deficits which helped cause the Great Recession and have prevented America’s recovery.

Trade surpluses add to GDP; trade deficits substract from it.

When a country exports goods or services (i.e. sells them abroad), it earns wealth at the expense of the importing country. Money is transferred out of the economy that imported the good or service in question, and to the economy that exported it. Thus, the exporting country’s economy grows.

More exports = more income.

But when a country imports goods or services (i.e. buys them from abroad), its wealth shrinks in order to pay the exporting country for the imported good or service. Money is again transferred out of the economy that imported the good or service in question, and to the economy that exported it. Thus, the exporting country’s economy grows – and that of the importing country shrinks.

There is no free lunch.

And trade with Third World countries that cheat on the US and suck American factories and jobs out of the US economy MOST CERTAINLY doesn’t benefit the US.

Since the passage of NAFTA in 1993, the US economy has lost 6 million well-paying manufacturing jobs and over 55,000 factories, not replaced by anything and never returning. Thousands and thousands of towns across America, such as Martinsville, VA, have literally been killed by free trade. Those 6 million Americans thrown out of work by companies outsourcing jobs are now permanently unemployed or forced to do poorly-paying jobs, either way ending up on the taxpayer’s dole, thus growing the federal, state, and city budget deficits.

Poor Americans and the middle class have not seen ANY real (after-inflation) wage increase, or increase in the median income, since the early 1970s.

Meanwhile, American shops, supermarkets, and department stores like Walmart have been flooded with cheap, dangerous crap from China and other Third World countries that breaks up the moment it is first used and contains poisonous elements such as lead.

Bikes that break up quickly, lead-painted toys, melamine-contaminated food – this is what the US consumer is now forced to buy, because the American makers of these goods are either undercut by the dumping practices of foreign consumers or have already been forced out of business.

The US, formerly the world’s largest industrial powerhouse, is now dependent on even the basic necessities of life.

No, free trade, especially with cheating countries like China, ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT benefits the US.

Nor does it benefit the workers in the Third World countries to which American factories have been moved. They work for slave wages in buildings that collapse on them and kill them and have to breathe poisonous, polluted air (vide China).

America’s trade with cheating trade partners only benefits those countries, such as China – which has used its massive trade surpluses to finance its military buildup – and the CEOs of the multinational corporations that have shipped jobs out of the US, cut their operating costs dramatically, and pocketed the difference.

As for crony capitalism accusations – it is FREE TRADE, not protectionism, that is a product of cronyism and lobbying.

The American people were vehemently opposed to NAFTA and all later “free trade agreements.” These were passed at the behest of the Fortune 100’s lobbyists on Capitol Hill and their financing of the election and reelection of obedient members of Congress. It is these crony capitalists whom you can thank for those “free trade agreements” – and all the disastrous consequences that followed.

Protectionism, OTOH, was the policy of the US federal government from the moment of its establishment in 1789. It was the official policy of the Washington and Jefferson Administrations and virtually all US governments until the Kennedy Administration.

Yes, protectionism was the policy of the Washington and Jefferson Administrations. And no one needed to bribe them, or any of the other protectionist administrations in US history, to adopt such policies.

Which brings us to the last claim of the free traders: that protectionism is a Big Government Policy and a violation of free market principles.

It is nothing of the sort. As even Adam Smith acknowledged, protecting a country against foreign predators is a perfectly legitimate government function. And trade cheaters ARE predators stealing American jobs, factories, and entire industries.

Protecting the US industrial base against foreign competition is a perfectly legitimate function of the federal government, written into the Constitution, Art. I, Sec. 8, giving Congress full and exclusive power “to regulate commerce … with foreign states.”

And this is the Constitutional power that virtually every administration from that of George Washington to that of Dwight Eisenhower used to protect America’s industrial base.

No, protectionism is not a Big Government policy.

In sum, all of the free traders’ claims are blatant lies. Free trade is a suicidal policy. It has brought about the decline of every country that ever indulged in it.

#furgeson Michael Brown shown in video as thief and assailant

It turns out that Furgeson, Missouri martyr Michael Brown is less the hero and more the perpetrator as police reports, witness accounts and images show “Big Mike” Brown to be a thug, bully and if nothing else, a criminal.

The following police report shows that Brown and an associate “Johnson” were involved in stealing from a convenience store during which the media darling and proposed civil rights martyr assaults the shop owner on camera.

Michael Brown attacks store clerk

 

Here’s the complete shoplifting camera video footage from the store showing Brown and friends accosting the store owner in order to steal a few cheap cigars. Trivial to Michael Brown, but inventory that would be key to revenue for the poor shop owner.

It would seem that the Black Panthers, NAACP, Al Sharpton and others have once again chosen their political agendas over what is good and right for our nation. It’s no wonder that many inside the community are speaking out against their ridiculous approach to fixing the issues of our day.

ObamaCare around the horn

Fibonacci Blue (CC)

Fibonacci Blue (CC)

In case you’ve been living under a rock somewhere, all the buzz is about the mainstream media cooling off when it comes to its hot and heavy love affair with Obama. What pushed them over the top? ObamaCare has been an abysmal failure, so it seems they can’t manage to keep up the lies for the president anymore. Of course the conservative media has been pointing this out for ages, but now the rest of the media is getting the point. But, that doesn’t mean all is forgiven! Conservatives really do need to continue avoiding liberal media – leave that to the evil bloggers Obama says everyone should be ignoring. Following is a collection of the “best of the best” for today, from the conservative or at least remotely close to unbiased outlets on the ObamaCare failures.

Lawrence O’Donnell opens mouth and inserts foot, comparing the ObamaCare website with F-22 fighter jets – It’s MSNBC, so what should one expect? Of course, the big question is, how did O’Donnell manage to learn anything about fighter jets? Either way, it’s not the most brilliant comparison one could make. For you military junkies, this should be moderately amusing.

Leno blasts ObamaCare rollout – For those that really don’t pay attention, you know it’s bad when Jay Leno picks on you, at least if you’re a Democrat residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue! Of course, Leno’s not the only one picking on the president on late night, but this one popped up today.

Ron Fournier thinks Sebelius should hit the road – Don’t let the door hit you in the…. Yet another rip on the administration on MSNBC, this one on Morning Joe.

Spend 4.5 hours on the phone, and still don’t get coverage – Remember it just like it was yesterday? Oh yeah, it was! The president told folks that couldn’t get through the infernal website to try calling to get ObamaCare. Well, one man took that advice, spent 4.5 hours on the phone, and still didn’t get coverage. At least that’s what ABC reports.

Even the Al Jazeera reporters can’t get through – Sure, Al Gore may have sold them their cable spot, but Al Jazeera seems to have gotten the short end of the stick from Obama. Their reporter tries to get on ObamaCare, and can’t.

Well, those were all from Washington Free Beacon today! Next time we’ll have to branch out some more….

Shooting at Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nev.

chadhawkinssparks

At approximately 7:16 this morning local time, 911 calls started being received over a shooting incident at Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nev. According to reports on Fox News, two individuals are dead – a staff member, and the shooter – the shooter apparently turned the weapon on himself. Others were injured, and transported to the hospital, according to a press conference statement by Lieutenant Chad Hawkins of the Sparks Nevada Police Department. Officers received information on the incident from both staff and students. Officers are starting a slow and methodical search of the school, going into investigative mode. The school and scene are secure. This is a developing story.

Update: Family of the teacher slain today at Sparks Middle School identified him as Michael Landsberry, a math teacher with over ten years experience as a teacher. The Reno Gazette Journal reports:

It came as no surprise to Michael Landsberry’s family that the Sparks Middle School math teacher is being called a hero for trying to get a student to put his gun down before being shot and killed.

“To hear he was trying to protect those kids, that he stepped up and tried to stop the situation, doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Chanda Landsberry, who is married to Michael’s brother younger brother, Reggie. “He could have ducked and hid, but he didn’t. That’s not who he is.”

“He was trained to help.”

A former Marine, the 45-year-old Landsberry was also a member of the Nevada Army National Guard.

Tom Robinson, deputy chief with the Reno Police Department told reporters at a news conference: “in my estimation, he is a hero. We do know he was trying to intervene.”

Former Speaker of the House Tom Foley dead at age 84

SpeakerFoley Tom Foley, the Speaker of the House from 1989 to 1995, died today at age 84. First elected to the House in 1964, Foley defeated Republican incumbent Walt Horan to begin a thirty year career on the Hill representing Washington’s 5th Congressional District. He was defeated in 1994, and reportedly then President Bill Clinton attributed the loss to Foley’s support of the Assault Weapon ban of that year. His leadership career on the Hill started in 1975 when he was named Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. In 1981 he became the House Majority Whip, then House Majority Leader in 1987. Foley picked up the Speaker’s gavel in 1989, and remained two heartbeats away from the presidency until 1995.

Born in Spokane, Washington in 1929, he was a 1951 graduate of the University of Washington in Seattle, where he also received his law degree in 1957. Foley ended his legal career in 1964 to run for Congress. While he ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination, he faced Horan, an 11-term incumbent in the general election. After his defeat in 1994, Clinton appointed him as U.S. Ambassador to Japan in 1997, where he served until 2001. He returned to legal practice after his appointment, until retiring in 2008. In 1995, the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service was established at Washington State University, Pullman. Their website features a simple statement from Foley, that summarizes his thoughts on public service:

“In a cynical age, I still believe that we must summon people to a vision of public service. For, in the end, this ethic determines more than anything else whether we will have citizens and leaders of honor, judgment, wisdom, and heart. These are the qualities this institute will nurture and advance, helping this nation become what it has always been destined to be, the best hope of a free people to live in an open and just society.”

After his retirement in 2008, Foley had been in fragile health due to hip and knee replacements, and Bell’s palsy. At the time of his death, he had been in hospice care for Aspiration Pneumonia.

Panhandling? You need a permit for that!

Dr. Colleen Morgan (CC)

Dr. Colleen Morgan (CC)

Down on your luck? Need some cash? Considering hitting the streets to beg? Well, after you’ve donned an appropriate outfit – ripped, soiled, and smelling like it hasn’t been washed in months – you’d better make sure to drop by city hall to get a free permit to panhandle. Don’t forget to bring your photo ID, because you’ll need that, too!

No, this isn’t a joke. Middle Township in New Jersey is going to require paperwork for “aggressive panhandlers.” Now, if you’re not planning on being aggressive, apparently you can still panhandle on the streets, without fear of being picked up by the police, or getting fined. It’s up to the police to determine exactly which is “aggressive” and “non-aggressive” in this situation.

Needless to say, this new law is at least a little confusing to residents – probably to panhandlers as well. If a panhandler is being too aggressive, it would be assumed that would at least merit a charge of disorderly conduct, if not some form of assault. That means the police already have the ability to put a stop to “aggressive panhandling” on the streets, and didn’t really need a new law, or the attached permit paperwork to accomplish ensuring the safety of the public-at-large. But this is New Jersey – bastion of liberal politicking, and over-regulation, right?

McCain equates Muslims with Christians on FoxNews

DonkeyHotey (CC)

DonkeyHotey (CC)


Sen. John McCain appeared on Fox News this morning, and apparently decided it was a good idea to compare Syrian rebels crying out “Allahu Akbar” after hitting a Syrian jet with an anti-aircraft missile to Christians calling out “Thank God” after doing the same.

Fox News Insider was quick to fire back:

Sen. McCain has no idea what he’s talking about.

Allahu Akbar is what the terrorists said before flying jetliners into the World Trade Center Towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

Thank God is what they said when Americans discovered their loved ones survived the attacks.

Allahu Akbar is what traitor Nidal Hasan said before American soldiers were slaughtered at Fort Hood.

Thank God is what they said when Americans discovered their loved ones survived the attacks.

Allahu Akbar is what the terrorists’ mother said after the Boston Marathon bombings.

Thank God is what they said when Americans discovered their loved ones survived the attacks.

Perhaps Sen. McCain should refrain from theological dissertation and do what he does best – carry President Obama’s water.

Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years

savebradley (CC)

savebradley (CC)


Bradley Manning, the source of documents leaked to WikiLeaks, was sentenced today to 35 years in prison. Additionally, he was demoted, and given a dishonorable discharge. As a result of his conviction on charges of theft, fraud, and espionage last month, the maximum sentence Manning could have received was 90 years.

USA Today reports:

The judge in the case, Army Col. Denise Lind, announced the sentence in a military courtroom in Fort Meade, Md.

Prosecutors urged the judge to sentence Manning to 60 years as a deterrent to others who might be tempted to leak secret documents.

“He betrayed the United States, and for that betrayal, he deserves to spend the majority of his remaining life in confinement,” Capt. Joe Morrow had said during the sentencing hearing.

Manning’s defense had urged the military to sentence Manning, who served as an intelligence analyst in Iraq, to no more than 25 years in prison.

Manning leaked secret documents, which included battlefield reports and State Department cables, to WikiLeaks, which posted them on the Internet.

The U.S. government said his actions jeopardized U.S. interests and exposed informants and sources to danger. Manning’s defense painted him as a misguided idealist who opposed the war in Iraq.

“He had pure intentions at the time that he committed his offenses,” defense attorney David Coombs said during the sentencing hearing. “At that time, Pfc. Manning really, truly, genuinely believed that this information could make a difference.”

In spite of WikiLeaks contending that this sentence is a kind of victory considering, Manning still received the longest sentence ever given for his crimes.

From Forbes:

Manning may be able to seek parole after serving one third of his sentence, and has already spent three years in jail since he was first identified as the source of the WikiLeaks releases. He was also credited with serving 112 days of his sentence after Judge Lind ruled that he was improperly treated during his detainment at a facility in Quantico, Virginia. That mistreatment included being kept in solitary confinement, forced to sleep naked nightly. Thanks to those possible shortenings of his prison term, WikiLeaks’ Twitter feed called Wednesday’s outcome a “significant strategic victory,” pointing out that he may be eligible for release in less than 9 years.

Even so, Manning’s sentence is far longer than any other Espionage Act prison term for releasing information to the media in U.S. history. “I don’t think there’s ever been a sentence remotely like this for a leak to the press,” says Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy & Technology Project. “This is the longest sentence by far.”

As for what effect this case will have on the future of members of the military revealing information to the press or organizations like WikiLeaks, only time will tell. It is also likely that the debate over whether Manning himself was actually a traitor, or a whistle-blower will continue, perhaps for years to come. And another issue that will need to be addressed is how the military and intelligence agencies can make the information they manage more secure. While prosecutors in this case were hoping for the court to make an example of Manning, the fact remains that the military needs to re-assess the protocols it uses to protect information, from the manner in which they perform background checks of personnel, to work assignment and job descriptions. Manning was a very low-ranking member of the military. Whether or not people on that level should be left with the ability to take information from military servers in the first place needs to be addressed.

Walmart drops expectations and so does everyone else

Walmart Corporate (CC)

Walmart Corporate (CC)


Walmart didn’t do as well as expected, so that has caused several other retail outlets to drop their sales and earnings expectations for the upcoming quarter. The result has been at least a little nervousness on Wall Street, and a less-than-rosy view of the U.S. economic recovery.

The New York Times reports:

“There is a certain segment of the population that is faring well in this economy and have seen their net worth rise sharply with stock and housing market gains,” said Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics. “Then there is the much larger segment of Americans that are working in low-wage jobs, part-time jobs, that are struggling to make ends meet and are living paycheck to paycheck. They are not spending beyond necessities.”

In a call with reporters Thursday, Walmart’s chief financial officer, Charles M. Holley Jr., said there was “a general reluctance of customers to spend on discretionary items right now.”

With the holiday shopping season on the horizon, the big question for retailers apparently will be “what do people consider ‘discretionary’ and what do they consider ‘necessities’ as far as holiday purchases are concerned?”

L.A. Sheriffs lost an M-16

316th ESC (CC)

316th ESC (CC)


The Sheriff’s Department in Los Angeles was given a cast-off M-16 by the Federal government. Unfortunately, they are not exactly sure where it is.

The L.A. Times reports:

In an internal email sent to department supervisors Friday, Assistant Sheriff Todd Rogers said the weapon’s disappearance was “embarrassing” and urged supervisors “to turn over EVERY rock to find this missing rifle.”

Department spokesman Steve Whitmore could not immediately say when the gun was misplaced but noted that the department has been suspended by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services from receiving excess federal property because of the mishap.

“I can’t emphasize enough what a big deal it is when we lose an assault weapon, especially one entrusted to us through” the OES, the email said.

“It’s wrong. It’s embarrassing,” Whitmore told The Times on Tuesday. “How could this have happened? Honestly, we don’t know.”

For whatever reason, because of where the weapon came from, the department apparently did not keep close tabs on the location of it. This situation is causing the department to re-examine their weapons handling procedures, and more importantly, documentation of the location of weapons in their possession.

Marijuana trafficking increasing in Colorado

Colleen Whitfield (CC)

Colleen Whitfield (CC)


According to a recent report, Colorado has been seeing a marked increase in the amount of illegal marijuana trafficking within the state, and exports to outside of it. The statistics cited do not include the time period since the legalization of marijuana for adult use. KDVR reports:

The most common destinations for the marijuana were Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Texas.

The size of the seizures also increased. From 2005 to 2008, the total average number of pounds seized was 2,220. From 2009 to 2012, it increased to 3,937.

Most of the marijuana came from Denver, Boulder and El Paso counties, the report found.

The report also found an increased number of people trying to mail marijuana through the U.S. Postal Service. In 2010, the Postal Service seized 15 packages with marijuana headed out of state. In 2012, they seized 158.

The report is compiled from voluntary reporting of marijuana seizures by law enforcement. One of the common arguments for legalization is a decrease in illegal trafficking. Since much of the illegal trafficking in Colorado is associated with exporting the drug out of the state, these statistics do not necessarily disprove the contentions of pro-legalization activists. The states where the marijuana was being sent have not legalized the drug, so they still have a viable black market for it.

Ariel Castro sentenced to life plus 1000 years

Ariel Castro, the man that held three women captive for a decade, was sentenced to life in prison, with no chance for parole. The sentencing procedure included the judge reading off hundreds of charges, as Castro sat in silence. Before that, the defendant made a statement, that implied that the women he had kept in his house by chaining them down, had actually consented to the treatment they had received. As part of the sentencing process, the judge did require that Castro affirm that he could not profit from anything to do with his crimes – and pointed out that the victims could benefit.

Of the three women, only one stood to speak with a victim’s impact statement. The other two were represented by family members. Michelle Knight, after getting hugs of support from others in the gallery, made her way to stand in front of the judge, her back to Castro, to make her statement about what her life had been like for the past 11 years. See her act of courage here:

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