Welcome to...Cubanazos.com

Cubanazos, established to provide nationwide U.S. news and political issues affecting the island of Cuba. We sincerely hope you enjoy the Cubanazos.com website and by all means post your comments/opinions by using the comments option below each post.

Artie Ayala & Omar "El Bombero" Fernandez



September 26, 2008

For All Cubans...

I grew up in a household where coffee, milk and sugar were part of a balanced breakfast.
I grew up in a household where my ADD and ADHD was treated with ‘en cuanto te coja te voy a Dar una paliza' instead Of Ritalin.*
I grew up in a household where all it took was just ONE look.
I grew up in a household where we loved white rice and fried eggs.
I grew up in a household where lentil soup was considered 'comida de preso’
I grew up in a household where Spanish was my primary language.
I grew up in a household where Spanish was my only language...
I grew up in household where I had to go to my school open house to translate for my parents.
I grew up in a household where my brother and I shared a room until I was fifteen.
I grew up in a household where music or TV was never played on Good Friday.
I grew up in a household where we ate 'bacalao' on Good Friday because all other fish was too expensive.
I grew up in household where we ate 'lechon' at Thanksgiving.
I grew up in a household where we ate 'lechon' at Nochebuena.
I grew up in a household where we ate 'lechon' at birthday parties. Come to think of it, I grew up in a household where we ate 'lechon' at every social function.
I grew up in a household where Tilo and Manzanilla were the remedies to end all ailments.
I grew up in a household where I could have cafe con leche for breakfast but I was too young for a buchito de cafe.
I grew up in a household where we watched la novela while we were having dinner.
I grew up in a household where I was not allowed to sleepover at anybody’s house but they could all come over to our house.
I grew up i n a household where we didn't need El Cable because we only watched El Canal 23.
I grew up in a household where the carpool was 'el ride', 'el carrito’ was the lunchman y 'la lonchera' was the lunch box.
I grew up in a household where 'la carne' was from 'la carniceria' and the groceries were from 'la bodega'.
I grew up in a household where meat and potatoes were literally ‘carne con papas.'
I grew up in a household where oxtail stew had the colorful name of ‘rabo encendido’ or a fiery tail.
I grew up in a household where people were either 'blanco, Negro, indio o chino.'
I grew up in a household where we drank Bustelo because El Pico was for Puerto Ricans.
I grew up in a household where we ate 'frijoles negros y colorados ', many times burned to a crisp by and exploding in la 'olla de Presion'!
I grew up in a household where the oven was used exclusively to store ‘Las cazuelas’ and the oil.
I grew up in a household whe re 'Los perros' was the dog track, 'Las Maquinitas' were slot machines and 'el juego' was anything related to Gambling.
I grew up in a household ran by Cubans.
I survived in that household ran by Cubans.
And I'm proud of it!!!
Damn, it's great to be CUBAN!

September 23, 2008

LA TRISTE REALIDAD CUBANA !

This was sent to me by my friend Eduardo Calcines in Tampa. The recording is that of a young woman in Havana sending out a plee to the Cuban goverment for help. Since it's a sound file and to my knowledge this type of file can not be hosted on a Blog I have uploaded the file to another server so that it can be heard right here with the windows media player. Just click the link to hear a plee directly from Cuba.



Ready to listen click here now !

September 22, 2008

Al-Qaida Threatens 'October Surprise' Attack

After two major terrorist attacks in Pakistan and Yemen — along with a new U.S. push at insurgent strongholds along the Afghan border — U.S. intelligence is worried about a massive "October surprise" attack geared to sway the U.S. elections.
America's military and intelligence agencies intercepted a series of messages from al-Qaida's leadership last month that seemed designed to warn local cells to prepare for imminent attacks. One such operation may have been the attack that brought down a Marriott Hotel in Islamabad where the newly inaugurated president of Pakistan was scheduled to dine.
The attacks would likely be at American bases or allies abroad, since most experts think the group’s ability to penetrate the U.S. homeland has deteriorated since 9-11. Still, al-Qaida is aggressively recruiting both North African and European operatives who may have a greater ability to enter the United States and blend in before launching an attack, according to U.S. intelligence officials.
“We are not aware of any specific, credible al-Qaida plot to attack the U.S. homeland, but we do receive a steady stream of threat reporting from sources of varying creditability,” said Ted Gistaro, U.S. national intelligence officer (NIO) for transnational threats. “As the election nears, we expect to see an uptick in such threat reporting — of varying credibility — regarding possible attacks.“
Other intelligence experts agreed, adding that a pre-election attack would probably occur overseas.
“There is an expectation that al-Qaida will try to influence the November elections by attempting attacks globally," said Roger Cressey, a former Bush and Clinton White House counterterrorism official.
An official familiar with the new intelligence told the The New York Sun that the intercepted messages amounted to “Be on notice. We may call upon you soon.” It was sent out through many channels, ranging from couriers to encrypted electronic communications to other means. There were no specifics as to where or when.
Though some might scoff at the quadrennial worry of the October surprise in U.S. elections, al-Qaida has attacked other nations on the eve of major elections. On March 11, 2004, the group carried out a series of bombings on Madrid commuter trains. Three days later, the party aligned with the Bush administration’s policy in Iraq was defeated.
But al-Qaida’s ultimate goal is to launch another major attack on the U.S. homeland — preferably with nuclear or biological weapons. Whether that hurts the Republican or Democrats seems beside the point, according to one expert.
Last year, Osama bin Laden labeled the entire American system a failure, Gistaro told a panel at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in August. He called on Americans to convert to Islam, and not cast a vote one way or the other in elections.
“He [bin Laden] claimed that there is no difference between Democratic or Republican candidates winning presidential or congressional elections so long as ‘big corporations’ support candidates,” Gistaro said.

THE 0-MAN -(Obama)

JACK WHEELER is a brilliant man who was the author of Reagan's strategy to break the back of the Soviet Union with the star wars race and expose their inner weakness. For years he wrote a weekly intelligence update that was extremely interesting and well structured and informed. He consults(ed) with several mega corporations on global trends and the future, etc. I think he is in semi-retirement now. He is a true patriot with a no-nonsense approach to everything. He is also a somewhat well known mountain climber and adventurer.

Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler
..............................................................................
The O-man, Barack Hussein Obama, is an eloquently tailored empty suit. No resume, no accomplishments, no experience, no original ideas, no understanding of how the economy works, no understanding of how the world works, nothing but abstract empty rhetoric devoid of real substance.

He has no real identity. He is half-white, which he rejects. The rest of him is mostly Arab, which he hides but is disclosed by his non-African Arabic surname and his Arabic first and middle names as a way to triply proclaim his Arabic parentage to people in Kenya . Only a small part of him is African Black from his Luo grandmother, which he pretends he is exclusively.

What he isn't, not a genetic drop of, is 'African-American,' the descendant of enslaved Africans brought to America chained in slave ships. He hasn't a single ancestor who was a slave. Instead, his Arab ancestors were slave owners. Slave-trading was the main Arab business in East Africa for centuries until the British ended it.

Let that sink in: Obama is not the descendant of slaves, he is the descendant of slave owners. Thus he makes the perfect Liberal Messiah.

It's something Hillary doesn't understand - how some complete neophyte came out of the blue and stole the Dem nomination from her. Obamamania is beyond politics and reason. It is a true religious cult, whose adherents reject Christianity yet still believe in Original Sin, transferring it from the evil of being human to the evil of being white.

Thus Obama has become the white liberals' Christ, offering absolution from the Sin of Being White. There is no reason or logic behind it, no faults or flaws of his can diminish it, no arguments Hillary could make of any kind can be effective against it. The absurdity of Hypocrisy Clothed In Human Flesh being their Savior is all the more cause for liberals to worship him: Credo quia absurdum, I believe it because it is absurd.

Thank heavens that the voting majority of Americans remain Christian and are in no desperate need of a phony savior.

His candidacy is ridiculous and should not be taken seriously by any thinking American.

September 21, 2008

PRESENTING HER THE SHIRTS OFF THEIR BACKS.......


This is particularly funny when you think about all the Latte sipping Liberals who are out to get her. They had better be careful not to anger her 'Friends'!!


September 18, 2008

The Princess of Cubanazos.com

A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on. ~Carl Sandburg



I recently posted one picture below but, being the proud Daddy that I am here's another one for those of you who frequent Cubanazos.com and wanted to see the Princess up close and in all her glory!

Thanks to all who have sent well wishes ...It's truly appreciated !

Cristina Loren Ayala

September 16, 2008

Open ANWR

Rep Don Young Urges Producing American Energy & Opening ANWR

Thank God They Can Still Maintain Their Sense of Humor Over There !





Cristina Loren Ayala

I am extremely happy to announce the birth of my daughter Cristina Loren. She was born today Sept 15th at 6:18 p.m. 6 lbs 12 oz and measured 20 inches.

September 15, 2008

Nothing Changes!

Click above to prove beyond any doubt that nothing has changed in 68 years!

 

September 14, 2008

Hurricane Ike in Key West

This video created by our very own...Omar "El Bombero" Fernandez.

September 12, 2008

Now More Than Ever!

Professionally produced ads for the candidates are just that, "productions". The video we show you here is as powerful as any Madison Avenue product ever made. I don't know who this young man is. But I do know his message is strong, sincere and the best reason we need McCain now!

The following comment was written by the producer.

"Some have suggested that the McCain Campaign paid for this ad. Nothing could be further from the truth. McCain would never use soldiers for political gain. He has honored them, but he will not use them.

Unlike the Obama who has used Tammy Duckworth to score political points. McCain has such reverance and respect for our military men and women, he would never use them as political posters."



Hon. James David Manning, PhD on Bristol Palin

The Hon. James David Manning, PhD Talks About Sarah Palin's Daughter Bristol.
You won't believe this ....Watch the video !

September 11, 2008

Remembering 9-11




In memory of all those we lost and for all those affected by the events of September 11th.
Visit the World Trade Center site and light a candle as a tribute to all who are no longer with us !

September 9, 2008

Palin Questions Biden's Record as 'Agent of Change'

COLORADO SPRINGS - Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin yesterday challenged the reform credentials of her Democratic counterpart, Joe Biden, contrasting his many years and many friends in Washington with her reputation as a reformist outsider.Yet as the McCain campaign attempted on its post-convention swing West to wrest the issue of "change" away from the Democrats, Barack Obama for the first time yesterday took a shot at Palin, scoffing at her boast that she's an anti-earmark "champion."Obama's former Democratic primary rival Hillary Rodham Clinton once again brushed aside questions about Palin yesterday as she marched with labor and stumped for Democrats in Manhattan and Staten Island. "This election is about issues," she said.With polls showing a close race with two months to go to the election, the McCain and Obama campaigns have focused on asserting that they, not their rivals, will bring the change needed to a Washington many Americans deplore as unresponsive.


At this moment of the campaign, who will you vote for in the 2008 presidential election?


Seeking distance from his unpopular president and party, GOP presidential nominee John McCain brought his "change is coming" message yesterday to Colorado and New Mexico.As another friendly crowd gathered at the local airport here, many to see the new GOP star, Palin went on the attack.Speaking in a hangar as thousands stood waving American flags, Palin noted that many say the choice of a vice president says a lot about a presidential candidate. Obama, she said, had chosen a "fine man." But she also cast the senator from Delaware, who was first elected in 1972, as a creature of Washington."Senator Biden can claim many chairmanships across many, many years in Washington. He certainly has many friends in Washington's establishment," Palin said."But most of his admirers," she said, "would not call him an agent of change." In contrast, she said, "Senator McCain has called us a ticket of mavericks."In Terre Haute, Ind., Obama yesterday told a friendly audience of 800 people "don't be fooled" by McCain and Palin."I know the governor of Alaska has been saying she's change, and that's great. She's a skillful politician," Obama said.But he added, "When you've been taking all these earmarks when it's convenient, and then suddenly you're the champion anti-earmark person, that's not change. Come on! I mean, words mean something. You can't just make stuff up."McCain has vowed to wipe out earmarks, funds for local projects lawmakers add to spending bills. Palin as a mayor and governor in Alaska successfully sought millions before coming out against earmarks.Palin took note of Obama's shot later yesterday at a rally in Albuquerque, saying she was surprised he had brought it up since he is responsible for "nearly $1 billion in earmarks in just three years ... that's about a million dollars a day." She paused. "Just wait until President John McCain puts a stop to that."Meanwhile, Clinton focused on supporting Democrats and pushing working-class issues yesterday.Joining other New York politicians for a breakfast with union leaders in Manhattan, she said the two party conventions had showcased vastly different directions for the country. "I heard nothing that suggests the Republican team knows how to fix the economy for middle class families, how to provide high-quality affordable health care for all Americans, how even to guarantee equal pay for equal work for women," she said.

September 8, 2008

Photos of Ike's Fury in Cuba





Only You Can Stop Them !!!!

They will do anything to destroy Sarah Palin.
They will do anything to elect Obama President
— the most leftwing candidate in history.

Dear Fellow American:

The far Left — the Obama campaign, the Democratic Party headed by Howard Dean and the major (liberal) media—are all working in overdrive to destroy and smear Sarah Palin.

They believe if they can destroy this courageous young woman and popular governor, they will end John McCain’s bid for president.

Just this week, commentator Bill Maher ridiculed Sarah’s baby son who has Down's syndrome. These people are absolutely despicable.

They have one goal: Put Barack Obama — the most radical left-winger ever nominated by the Democratic Party — in the Oval Office.

Because of this, I am urgently writing you on behalf of the Republican Majority Campaign PAC, one of the nation’s largest and most influential PACs.

We are fighting to expose Barack Obama’s radical agenda and defend Sarah Palin and John McCain from the liberal media.

We have plans to launch a multi-million dollar TV and online ad campaign to reach millions in the next two weeks, but we need your financial help.

We need it more than ever because Barack Obama will likely spend more money than any candidate in history to get control of the White House.

Make no mistake about it: Barack Obama has very powerful backers.

Obama promised he would abide by campaign finance limits, as John McCain has agreed to.

He lied. This week alone, Obama raised $8 million! He could easily spend $500 million during his whole campaign to buy the White House.

Worse, John McCain and Sarah Palin have their hands tied with public financing limits.

That’s why the Republican Majority Campaign needs your urgent help in our major national TV ad campaign to help John McCain and Sarah Palin.

PLEASE HELP EXPOSE THE REAL OBAMA - DONATE TODAY!
CLICK HERE


McCain A Proven Hero - The Right Choice for America !

Ike Over Cuba - Now Headed for Havana - Watch Video Report

Mark Avery, Lead Meteorologist, The Weather Channel
5:39 a.m. ET 9/8/2008
Hurricane Ike

Video Link

Hurricane Ike made landfall around 9:45 p.m. EDT Sunday evening, near Punto De Sama in the Cuban province of Hoguin with winds estimated near 125 miles per hour.
As of 5 a.m. EDT, Ike was located about 40 miles east-southeast of Camaguey, Cuba. Due to being over land for the last 6 hours or so, Ike as weakened to a category 2 hurricane with winds now near 105 miles per hour. Ike is moving west at 15 mph.

Hurricane warnings are posted for eastern and central Cuba. A hurricane watch is in effect for far western Cuba and the Florida Keys. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Andros Island in the Bahamas, western Cuba, and the Florida Keys. A tropical storm watch has been issued for the Cayman Islands and Jamaica.
Ike is expected to move to the west-northwest along the spine of Cuba through Tuesday, weakening considerably. If, however, the hurricane manages to stray over water--on either side of Cuba--less weakening would occur.
Whatever happens, extreme damage is likely in Cuba, along with deluges of rain that will produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
After slicing through Cuba, Ike is forecast to swirl into the southeast Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday afternoon or evening and in all probability, re-strengthen. Its course after that point remains uncertain, but residents all along the U. S. Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida should stay apprised of this dangerous storm.
Tropical Storm Lowell
Tropical Storm Lowell in the Eastern Pacific is located about 330 miles south of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (as of 2 a.m. PDT). Maximum sustained winds are near 60 miles per hour, with some slow strengthening possible in the next day or two. Lowell is moving to the west-northwest near 10 miles per hour and is expected to continue this motion, with a decrease in forward speed later today or tonight.

Deadly Ike rakes Cuba, could hit Havana head-on



Associated Press
18 minutes ago
CAMAGUEY, Cuba - Hurricane Ike roared across Cuba on Monday, tearing off roofs and sending waves crashing into buildings, as 900,000 Cubans fled to shelters or higher ground and Havana residents in decaying historic buildings prepared for a direct hit.


Ike made landfall as a fearsome Category-3 hurricane late Sunday night after raking the Bahamas and worsening floods in Haiti that have already killed 319 people. It has since been downgraded to a category 2 storm with 105 mile-per-hour winds.
It is expected to tear across almost the entire length of Cuba, then enter the Gulf of Mexico with Texas and Louisiana among the likely targets.
"We are preparing for a strong hit," Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage told state television.
Cuba's National Meteorological Institute said heavy rains were soaking the entire eastern half of the island of 11 million, and dangerous storm surges were threatening communities along most of the northeastern coast.



Ike's powerful winds sent huge chunks of debris flying over the streets of the central-eastern city of Camaguey, which was just 20 miles (35 kilometers) north of the eye at 8 a.m. (1200 GMT).


Diagonal sheets of stinging rain flooded the narrow colonial streets, which were further clogged with tree branches, metal grates and plastic sheeting.
A huge sheet of plastic roofing spun like a top in the wind above a traffic intersection. Streets were deserted, save for a lone, miserable-looking security guard taking shelter at a bus station.
State television earlier broadcast images of the storm surge washing over coastal homes in the easternmost city of Baracoa. It said huge waves surged over buildings as tall as five stories and dozens of dwellings were damaged beyond repair.



A tally of sporadic reports from six of the eight eastern provinces affected indicated at least 900,000 people had evacuated, and former President Fidel Castro released a statement calling on Cubans to heed security measures to ensure no one dies. Cuba historically has successfully carried off massive evacuations before hurricanes, sparing countless lives.
Ike had weakened to a Category 2 storm with top sustained winds near 100 mph (155 kph) and forecasters expected further weakening as it moved over central Cuba on Monday. It was moving west near 14 mph (22 kph).



Winds reaching as high as 160 mph (260 kph) damaged an undetermined number of homes in Holguin province. Roofs were ripped away and trees toppled across the region.
Foreign tourists were pulled out from vulnerable beach communities, including more than 9,000 from the resort of Varadero, east of Havana. Workers rushed to protect coffee plants and other crops, and plans were under way to distribute food and cooking oil to disaster areas.
Forecasters said Ike would likely hit Havana, the capital of 2 million people, early Tuesday. Morning skies were only cloudy, but schools were closed and domestic flights were suspended Monday.



On Florida's Key West, tourists and residents alike were ordered to evacuate and a steady stream of traffic filled the highway from the island. Ike was forecast to make landfall later in the week between the Florida Panhandle and the Texas coast — with New Orleans once again in the cross hairs.


The hurricane also slowed efforts to bring oil and gas production back online in the Gulf of Mexico following Hurricane Gustav.
In Camaguey, municipal workers boarded up banks and restaurants before heavy rain started falling. More than 100 people waited in chaotic bread lines at each of the numerous government bakeries around town as families hoarded supplies before the storm.
"There's no fear here, but one has to be prepared. It could hit us pretty hard," said Ramon Olivera, gassing up his motorcycle.
On the provincial capital's outskirts, trucks and dented school buses brought about 1,000 evacuees to the sprawling campus of an art school. Classrooms at the three-story school built on stilts were filled with metal bunk beds.
Mirtha Perez, a 65-year-old retiree, said hardly anyone was left in her nearby town of Salome.
"It's a huge evacuation," she said. "We are waiting and asking God to protect us and that nothing happens to us."



Strong gusts and steady rains fell at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay in southeast Cuba, where all ferries were secured and beaches were off limits. The military said cells containing the detainees — about 255 men suspected of links to the Taliban and al-Qaida — are hurricane-proof. But the base was spared the strongest winds.
Ike first slammed into the Turks and Caicos and the southernmost Bahamas islands as a Category 4 hurricane, but thousands rode out the storm in shelters and there was no immediate word of deaths on the low-lying islands.
In flooded Haiti, Ike made an already grim situation abysmal.
At least 58 people died as Ike's winds and rain swept the impoverished Caribbean nation Sunday. Officials also found three more bodies from a previous storm, raising Haiti's death toll from four tropical storms in less than a month to 319. A Dominican man was crushed by a falling tree.



Haiti's coastal town of Cabaret was particularly hard hit — 21 victims were stacked in a mud-caked pile in a funeral home there, including two pregnant women, one with a dead girl still in her arms.




September 5, 2008

McCain sketches policy blueprint



John McCain didn’t soar with his rhetoric, didn’t bash his opponent and didn’t sugarcoat the Republican track record of recent years.
But for the first time in the storm-shortened Republican convention, McCain attempted Thursday night to sketch a blueprint of what he would do about taxes, government spending, education, energy, trade and foreign policy.
Few of the proposals were new, and most of the concepts were vague.
McCain gave short shrift to some areas where Republicans have led. On free trade, he said only that he would “open our markets to new goods and services.” On education, he tossed out the standard lines about school choice and holding teachers accountable, but he did not propose any new educational platforms or programs.
The Republican was more specific on other fronts. Here’s a look at the top policy ideas he laid out in his nominating speech, with analysis from leading experts in those fields.
Taxes/economy
“Cutting the second-highest business tax rate in the world will help American companies compete and keep jobs from moving overseas. Doubling the child tax exemption from $3,500 to $7,000 will improve the lives of millions of American families.”
For all the red-meat tax-cut rhetoric, this particular idea does not dramatically distinguish McCain from Barack Obama on tax policy. Obama has also discussed cutting corporate tax rates and increasing the child tax exemption. Call this one a draw.
Although McCain has said before that he would extend the 2001 Bush tax cuts — even though he opposed them at the time — he didn’t mention such an extension in his speech. It was a startling omission because Republicans routinely tout those cuts as the signature fiscal policy success of the Bush administration. Obama has promised to keep most of those cuts, save for those benefiting the top 5 percent of wage earners.
“Like Sen. Obama's speech before his, Sen. McCain's speech had rhetoric on taxes and new proposals without much substance about how to implement or pay for them,” said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense. “The devil is always in the details. Will you close loopholes and breaks when you cut the corporate tax rate, will the child tax credit apply across the board or phase out? How will you pay and implement trade adjustment?”
McCain didn’t say on Thursday night.
Health Care
“My health care plan will make it easier for more Americans to find and keep good health care insurance. [Obama’s] plan will force small businesses to cut jobs, reduce wages and force families into a government- run health care system where a bureaucrat stands between you and your doctor.”
Republicans have long warned of the dangers of what they call “socialized medicine,” and McCain didn’t disappoint the base with this line. Yet he didn’t offer one word of explanation about how his plan would make it easier for more Americans to obtain health insurance.
According to his campaign website, McCain’s health care plan is similar to what the Bush administration has been pushing for years — $5,000 tax credits for families to purchase private health insurance, and incentives for creating health savings accounts to cover out-of-pocket health care costs.
The $5,000 tax credit, even if it were refundable, would not cover the average yearly cost of a family health care premium, which the Kaiser Family Foundation said was $12,000 in 2007.

Energy
“We're going to embark on the most ambitious national project in decades. ... We will attack the problem on every front. We will produce more energy at home. We will drill new wells offshore, and we'll drill them now. We will build more nuclear power plants. We will develop clean coal technology. We will increase the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. We will encourage the development and use of flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles.”
The opening line about the most ambitious project in decades on energy was dramatic, but the laundry list of general ideas for energy policy did not move the ball beyond the Republican energy package unveiled this summer.
McCain seemed to embrace the popular GOP “all of the above” approach to energy policy, saying the United States should try everything without putting a price tag on the ideas. Obama did promise to spend a specific amount — $150 billion in renewable energy — in his speech last week.
McCain did distinguish himself from Obama with his desire to push for more nuclear plants. Obama, like many other congressional Democrats, has started to embrace more offshore drilling.
“A year ago, the pollsters would have told you the term 'drilling' was to be strictly avoided, but tonight it headlined Sen. McCain's discussion of energy policy,” said Brian Kennedy, a senior vice president for the Institute for Energy Research, a conservative energy policy think tank. “I think that's a telling reflection of the dire straights many families find themselves in today as a result of skyrocketing energy prices. ... I think that part of the speech was very effective.”
Foreign Policy/National Security
“As president, I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War. But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threatens the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people.”
It’s hard to believe that the word “Iraq” appeared only twice in McCain’s speech, and one of those references was to an individual voter serving there. Afghanistan and Pakistan did not make the speech, and a week before the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the word “terrorism” made it just once — and then in a reference to Iran.
Instead, the Republic of Georgia got more play in his foreign policy section — an emphasis some critics found baffling.
“Overall, the foreign policy section was extremely light, vague and consisted of recycled statements from previous speeches,” said Adam Blickstein, a spokesman for the liberal-leaning National Security Network. “During an hourlong address, he devoted only three small paragraphs to national security and foreign policy.”
McCain’s position on Iraq — as well as his son’s service — is already well-known to voters, so perhaps he didn’t need to much further in explaining his vision for the war. . But McCain promised to be more aggressive than the Bush administration has been in dealing with Russia.
“He has a pretty visceral hostility to the Putin regime,” said Peter Beinart, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “But I can’t believe there are Americans voting based on his stance on Georgia.”

September 4, 2008

McCain Faces High Bar After Palin Speech, Democratic Theater



ST. PAUL — John McCain takes the stage Thursday night to accept the Republican presidential nomination buoyed by a newly energized convention fueled in no small part by Sarah Palin’s roundly praised speech the night before.

But McCain has a different bar to cross than Palin in his prime-time address to the nation — promoting himself as the best candidate at the top of the ticket and appealing to cross-over voters wowed by a high-impact Democratic convention a week earlier.

Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who had frequently been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate before Palin was picked, said she expects McCain most certainly will equal the reception given to Palin, and the duo will offer a one-two punch that can counter Democratic enthusiasm.

“I think he will match the enthusiasm level, but I don’t think he will try to be her. He’s going to be John McCain and I think the combination of those two will be a great package,” Hutchison told FOXNews.com.

The vice presidential candidate provided the electricity that many delegates in the Xcel Energy Center said was needed and desired to move the convention off the false start earlier this week that resulted from Hurricane Gustav’s landfall in the Gulf Coast.

Palin’s 44-minute speech, in which she slammed Democratic nominee Barack Obama while also offering a vision of McCain as a reform-minded man of the people, injected the extra energy to stir up convention-goers, many delegates said.

“The enthusiasm was absolutely palpable,” said Bill Stone, who was attending with his wife Judith from Burlington, Wis. “The expectations were high and she really surpassed them. She is one kickass lady.”

“It was the most electrifying, exciting speech she could have made,” said Mary Linnihan , a Minnesota delegate from Minneapolis, who along with fellow delegate Julie Sorenson from Lakeville, Minn., have decided to volunteer to help the ticket as a result of Palin’s performance.

In anticipation of McCain’s appearance, construction crews worked through the night to morph the stage for the main event. The center dais from which Palin spoke has been torn down and a catwalk out into the center of the arena has been built so McCain can walk out into the crowd.

“I think he is going to do what he does best, which is the ’straight talk’ format where he’s going to walk some and talk about the issues and start the process of educating the American people about what he would do as president and how he would differ from a President Obama,” Hutchison said.

But McCain must rely on more than stagecraft, said Howard Wolfson, a former Hillary Clinton spokesman and now a FOX News contributor.

“I still think John McCain has a lot of work to do tonight. I don’t think the Republicans have gotten any bounce out of this convention so far,” Wolfson said. “John McCain tonight has got to do something that no one that I’ve heard do in this convention so far. He’s got to distance himself from George Bush. The American people don’t want another four years of George Bush. And unless John McCain comes out in a roomful of Republicans and says ‘this is how I am different than George Bush’ I don’t think he’s going to get the bounce that he needs and that’s a very difficult line to walk.”

Indeed, the Obama campaign knocked Palin’s speech with its standard line about the Republican ticket being nothing but more President Bush.

“The speech that Governor Palin gave was well delivered, but it was written by George Bushs speechwriter and sounds exactly like the same divisive, partisan attacks we’ve heard from George Bush for the last eight years. If Governor Palin and John McCain want to define change as voting with George Bush 90 percent of the time, that’s their choice, but we don’t think the American people are ready to take a 10 percent chance on change,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton.

Between Palin’s address to the GOP convention and Obama’s acceptance speech delivered to 85,000 people at Invesco Field in Denver, McCain, who joined Palin on stage after her speech Wednesday night, now has a larger hurdle to mount.

Juan Pablo Sales, a reporter for Union Radio, a Spanish-speaking national radio network based in Miami, said Obama’s speech was “transcendent” and it will be difficult to beat.

“I suspect, by the end of the night, this is going to be an energized crowd, because they see Palin is a powerful tool, and tomorrow they will have a beautiful day with a lot of energy going around,” Sales said Wednesday night. “And if you ask me tomorrow my gut is going to be, yeah, something good is going to happen today, but I still have to say, Denver really surpassed what is happening here today.”

Delegates inside Xcel Center told FOXNews.com that efforts to try to compare the Republican and Democratic conventions are unfair.

“It was a different situation. It was historic, their nomination for president,” said Emily Beaty, a delegate from Tennessee. “I think they were very focused and fixated on the one issue, being the first African American nominee for president. And we’re focused on the issues.”

“There was a lot of glitz at the Democratic convention and a lot of movie stars, but that’s all like empty suits to me, and here, we have everyday folks,” said Bretiss Irene Zacek, a delegate from Virginia. “I’m just a regular person who believes in the Republican Party and what it stands for. I think Sarah Palin put a charge into everything and it’s really going to help.”

The crowd, which slowly filled the empty seats to capacity during the prime time speeches, was certainly warmed Wednesday night by the fist-pumping rhetoric of former presidential contender and New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who took on Obama most directly. Former McCain rivals Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney also helped raise the temperature of the room.

But not everyone said they thought Palin’s speech offered the verve needed to push the convention into high gear and give McCain the foundation he needed to appeal to voters.

“I think the energy level was high, it was a well written speech and it was delivered well. I think she was a strategic choice for John McCain,” said David Fisher, a delegate from Iowa, and supporter of Ron Paul. “I had hoped to hear a bigger focus on the traditional Republican Party principles.”

Palin provides a 'perfect populist pitch'




NEW YORK - With a forceful speech that served as her introduction to millions of Americans on Wednesday, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin seduced many on television who had spent days doubting her candidacy.

It wasn't just a home run, said CNN's Wolf Blitzer; it may have been a grand slam.

"A very auspicious debut," said NBC's Tom Brokaw.

It was a "perfect populist pitch," said CBS' Jeff Greenfield.

"Terrific," said Mort Kondracke on Fox News Channel.

"A star is born," said Chris Wallace on Fox.

"A star is born," Blitzer said.

"A star is born," said Anderson Cooper on CNN.

Palin combined jokes about being a hockey mom with searing criticism of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. It was a spur to a convention audience ready to get worked up, to a large extent because Republican leaders had pushed the notion that the news media was being sexist or too aggressive in questioning her qualifications for the job.
For a relative rookie on the national stage, however, she understood the nuances of speaking to a television audience better than the more experienced and fiery Rudolph Giuliani.
Cameras lingered on shots of her family in the audience — her dozing infant passed from her husband to a daughter, her pregnant teen-aged daughter gripping the hand of her boyfriend, her soldier son about to be dispatched to Iraq.
"I've learned quickly, these past few days, that if you're not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone," Palin said.
At that, some on the convention floor chanted "N-B-C, N-B-C."
Her speech was the main event Wednesday, and may prove the most important in the convention for the GOP. During its coverage, CNN ran a countdown clock in the corner of its screen, ticking down the hours, minutes and seconds to when Palin was due to take the stage in St. Paul, Minn.
"So far this week the focus has been on John McCain's running mate, perhaps because everyone loves a good mystery," Katie Couric said in opening CBS' prime-time coverage.
Former McCain rival Mike Huckabee, part of the undercard Wednesday, thanked the "elite media" for uniting Republicans behind its ticket.
"The reporting of the past few days has proven tackier than a costume change at a Madonna concert," Huckabee said in an applause line to the convention.
Republicans may have been betrayed by the giant video screen that has been an effective backdrop for convention speakers. Giuliani spoke in front of a New York City skyline rising out of the water, but in close-up shots it seemed he was backed by a wall of undulating mud.
The political infighting extended to the rapid Internet distribution Wednesday of an exchange, reportedly done after an MSNBC segment on the campaign with NBC News' Chuck Todd, the Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy, a former McCain aide. Their comments were caught on a live microphone but weren't played on the air; NBC News wouldn't comment on how the material became public.
The remarks could not be independently verified, but Murphy and Noonan appear to be critical of Palin's selection. Noonan is heard to question whether Palin was the most qualified choice, and says, "It's over."
But Noonan later wrote on The Wall Street Journal Website that her remarks were taken out of context, and the "it's over" comment did not refer to McCain's chances. She said questions about whether she was the most qualified were raised in her own mind Wednesday when she happened to see Texas Sen. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Noonan wrote that she suspected Palin's candidacy "will be either dramatically successful or dramatically not; it won't be something in between."
Obama planned to strike back against GOP criticism on Thursday with an appearance on Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor," cable news' top-ranked show. Not only will Obama face an audience crammed with Republicans, it will take time on Fox away from watching the final night of the GOP convention.
Host Bill O'Reilly acknowledged he's getting heat from his fans for the timing, and for his general tendency to ignore the convention podium (He was interviewing comic Dennis Miller Wednesday when CNN, MSNBC, PBS and C-SPAN were showing a speech by former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina).
"I would have rather had him on next week," O'Reilly said. "I might not get another shot at this so I better take it."
As has been the case throughout the campaign, Republicans are proving less of a television draw than Democrats. An estimated 21.5 million people watched the second night of the GOP convention on Tuesday between 10 and 11 p.m. The same night for the Democrats last week had just under 26 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.
An estimated 4.6 million black Americans watched the Democrats on Aug. 26, and 2.1 million watched the Republicans on Tuesday, Nielsen said.
For both the Republicans and Democrats, women are watching the political speeches in greater numbers than men, Nielsen said.

September 3, 2008

Palin prepares to introduce herself to the nation

Fred Thompson - The Courage and Service of John McCain

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Castro says Gustav hit Cuba like nuclear bomb

HAVANA (Reuters) - Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro said on Wednesday that Hurricane Gustav hit Cuba like a nuclear bomb and left authorities struggling to feed people on the hard-hit Isle of Youth.

In a column on the Internet, he said Gustav, which slammed into western Cuba with winds of 150 mile per hour (240 kilometres per hour) on Saturday, had damaged or destroyed 100,000 houses and dealt a blow to agriculture.
He said television shots from the Isle of Youth, which is 40 miles (64 km) off Cuba's southwestern coast "reminded me of the desolation I saw when I visited Hiroshima," referring to the Japanese city destroyed by a U.S. nuclear bomb in 1945 at the end of World War Two.
"Now the battle is to feed the hurricane victims," Castro wrote, saying that only two of 16 bakeries on the island were functioning.

The ailing 82-year-old, who has become a prolific column writer since giving up power to brother Raul Castro following undisclosed surgery two years ago, printed a letter from a friend from the Isle of Youth who said authorities estimated that 20,000 of the 25,000 houses on the island had been damaged.

On Tuesday, state-run news agency AIN said in a story quoting Cuba Vice President Carlos Lage that more than 90,000 homes had been damaged or destroyed in the mainland province of Pinar del Rio, which Gustav struck after raking over the Isle of Youth.

Pinar del Rio has about 750,000 residents and the Isle of Youth about 86,000.

No deaths from the storm have been reported.

Castro warned that recovering from Gustav would require sacrifice on the part of Cubans and that the cost would be high.

"A hundred million dollars means only nine dollars per resident, and we need much more. We need 30 times, 40 times that number only to cover our most elemental necessities," he said.

"Such effort must come from the work of the people. Nobody can do it for us."

Russia, which has been renewing ties with Cuba, its former Cold War ally, said it would send four planes loads of food and other items to the island starting on Wednesday, according to Russian news reports.

After crossing Cuba, Gustav moved into the Gulf of Mexico where its winds weakened to 110 mph (177 kph) and struck the central Louisiana coast on Monday.