Ellen Bernstein ->
from the Chicago Sun-Times
Michael Moore has always been controversial, but now he has the feds on his case.
The Oscar-winning filmmaker is being investigated by the Treasury Department for taking approximately 10 sick 9/11 Ground Zero rescue workers to Cuba to film a segment in his upcoming ''Sicko'' documentary -- expected to be a scathing indictment of the American health care system.''Sicko'' is scheduled to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival May 19 and open June 29 in the United States.
Prior to the release of Mikey's latest propaganda film we have the Princeton Human Rights Film Festival going on this Mother's Day weekend. This festival includes a film about Cuba that is in the same style and manner as a Michael Moore film. It is titled 'Salud! What puts Cuba on the map in the quest for global health at the Princeton Human Rights Film Festival. A blogger name Fausta attended this weekend, and here are excerpts of her report.
Leslie Burger, head of the Princeton Public Library and the American Library Association, opened by saying that she'd rather be working at her garden ( we had very good weather) than be at the PHRFF - which was organized and sponsored by the PPL - but she was there because she knew this was a controversial subject. She then introduced Ellen Bernstein, of IFCO/Pastors for Peace., who urged us to keep an open mind for what we were about to watch.
After sitting for 1 1/2 hrs of this there was a question-and-answer session with Ms Bernstein, who stated that she's travelled to Cuba "over fifty times", and urged us all to keep an open mind, again.
The most memorable member of the audience was Luis Abreu, a former political prisoner in Cuba, who spoke of how he had been sent to prison for trying to have the freedom to show films like this in Cuba. Mr. Abreu is executive director of the Commitee to Aid Human Rights Activists (CAHRA), and asked Ms Bernstein if she had met other Cuban doctors, like Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet. Ms Bernstein said she had heard of them.
A gentleman in the rear of the room pressured Ms Bernstein to answer whether she believed that Cuba was a democracy, something she apparently had stated in the past. She first avoided the question by saying, "In a democracy we all wait our chance to speak"; he then waited and the second time he pressed for a reply, she said that Cuba has had elections, and that we must study the situation with an open mind because it's not as bad as we think.
As a third-party observer I found it very insulting of Ms Bernstein to tell an audience where she knew there was at least one former Cuban political prisoner "to study the situation with an open mind". Obviously someone who spent over a decade in a concentration camp has had plenty of time to ponder the situation.
Of course, exiled Cubans in the audience (I'd say half the audience) were offended. One gentleman demanded that the film festival be called "the right to healthcare film festival" since Cuba and human rights have nothing in common.
I heard that a journalist, Nat Hentoff, turned down an award from the American Library Association. If you read one of his recent articles, then you'll understand why. Nat has a problem with the ALA refusing to protest against the treatment of librarians in Cuba. Here is an excerpt from Nat:
"The American Library Association — the largest organization of librarians in the world — continually declares that it fights for everyone’s “Freedom to Read!” and its Library Bill of Rights requires its members to “challenge censorship.” Yet the leadership of the ALA — not the rank and file — insistently refuses to call for the immediate release of the independent librarians in Cuba — designated as “prisoners of conscience” by Amnesty International. They are serving very long prison terms because they do believe in the freedom to read — especially in a dictatorship.
Among the many organizations demanding that Fidel Castro and his successors release these courageous Cubans — who have opened their homes and libraries to offer books censored in the Cuban state libraries — are such groups as the library associations of the Czech Republic, Latvia, Estonia and Poland. All these librarians, finally freed from Communism, agree with their colleagues in the Polish Library Association, who say in their declaration, “The actions of the Cuban authorities relate to the worst traditions of repressing the freedom of thought and expression.”
However, the top officials of the American Library Association — as well as the majority of its Governing Council — speak derisively of these “so-called librarians” in Castro’s gulags.
It’s true that these prisoners, many brutalized and in failing health, in their cells, don’t have master’s degrees in Library Science; but as poet-novelist-educator Andrei Codrescu told last year’s ALA Midwinter Conference: “These people have been imprisoned for BEING librarians!” Why dismiss them “as ‘so-called librarians’ when clearly there is no one (in that dictatorship) to certify them.”
A key ALA official, Judith Krug, heads its office of Intellectual Freedom. In my many years of reporting on the ALA’s sterling record of protecting American librarians from censorship, I often quoted her in admiration. But now, she said at an ALA meeting about supporters of the caged librarians, “I’ve dug in my heels ... I refuse to be governed by people with an agenda.” The Cuba issue, she continued, “wouldn’t die,” though she’d like to “drown it.”
The agenda, Ms. Krug, is freedom. “Every burned book,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson, “illuminates the world.” But ALA’s leadership refuses to bring light to the cages of these Cuban prisoners of conscience. The ALA’s membership booklet proclaims “the public’s right (everywhere) to explore in their libraries many points of view on all questions and issues facing them.
An issue facing all members of the ALA is their leaders’ shameful exception of the Cuban people’s freedom to read."
Leslie Burger, Ellen Bernstein, and Judith Krug are lefties that should not be called liberals. In fact calling them liberals is an insult to liberals. I remember liberals from the '60's. These were people who believed in liberty and freedom. They erred in believing that socialism and communism would bring the utopia they were looking for. The only ones left that come to mind are Nat Hentoff, Christopher Hitchens, and David Horowitz. Most of the lefties have morphed into this moral relativism and political correctness blather that blinds them from finding any fault in any leader or movement that HATES America. The buzzwords of people like this include 'keep an open mind', 'so-called librarians', and 'people with an agenda'. They keep their heads stuck deep in the sands like ostriches when they are challenged to stand up for freedom and liberty. These are the 'sickos' that support Mikey.