Irony in Estonia

There is no greater irony than an American president with Marxist beliefs who already brokered a deal with Russia telling the nations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania that he has their backs.

Here are some gems from his speech in Estonia today: “People want more control of their lives, not less.”; “Our commitment to your security is rock solid!”; and “I should have called the Estonians when we were setting up our healthcare website.”

Really? If he says he loves freedom, why are his policies here rooted in control and more government involvement? Why did he okay START II with Russia if he has the Baltics’ backs? Why should he and his administration be trusted if their foreign policy strategy is out of whack? Why would Estonia want to touch something like Healthcare.gov when that country, like many other formerly occupied countries under the USSR, already suffered under the wrath of socialized healthcare? It’s quite pathetic.

Here’s why you should be skeptical about the Obama administration backing the Baltics: During a 2004 trip to Ukraine, he and former U.S. Senator Dick Lugar told Ukrainian officials that their country should be disarmed of military weapons–at minimum, weakened militarily (meaning they are more vulnerable to Russian attack). Additionally, Obama essentially gave Putin via Medvedev the okay to do whatever that country wants in the name of “flexibility” in that infamous hot mic scandal before the 2012 election.

I have a vested interest in Baltic affairs because I have many family members back in Lithuania and friends in several of the Baltic states. (My mom is in Lithuania as we speak.) Given how the Obama administration has handled things domestically and foreign policy-wise, he’s not to be trusted. The Baltics need to take matters into their own hands and have the moral support of fellow freedom-lovers at their disposal.

Fail: CNN Confuses Baltic Republics with Balkans

During CNN’s “State of the Union” program this morning, Baltic ambassadors to the U.S. Marina Kaljurand (Estonia), Andris Razåns (Latvia), and Zygimantas Pavilionis (Lithuania) came on to discuss the impact Russia aggression will have on their three countries. (I thought Amb. Pavilionis was the most articulate of the three.)

Throughout the segment, CNN displayed the caption “Balkan states worry they are next?”:

The problem with this is that the Balkans and Baltics are two separate entities. I tweeted at CNN’s Twitter account to correct them about the caption error.

Then I offered them a geography lesson:

And this:

Earlier this week, CNN misspelled Boeing as “Bowing.”

Thankfully, a producer for “State of the Union” corrected the mishap:

Well done, mainstream media. Well done.  (Not.)

23rd Anniversary of Lithuania’s Day of the Defenders of Freedom

Picture Credit: LTUWorld

Picture Credit: LTUWorld

January 13, 2014, marks 23 years since Lithuania’s Day of the Defenders of Freedom.

LTUWorld has more on the event:

On this day in 1991, unarmed Lithuania struggled for its right to be a free, independent and proud country. 14 people were killed, about 1000 were injured as the Soviet occupation army and the KGB attempted to overthrow the legitimate government of the country and to seize the Lithuanian national radio and television building, the TV tower and publishing houses. The people of Lithuania demonstrated their inner strength, they defeated the Soviet aggression and defended their freedom in the spirit of truth and love.

We will never forget that tragic day. The anniversary of January 13 is a day of history, emotion, and reflection for most Lithuanians wherever they live. Over the last twenty-plus-years, this day has also come to symbolize the resilience, kindness, and unity of the Lithuanian people.

This anniversary is always commemorated with forget-me-not flower pins. More on this custom below:

The pins represent forget-me-not flowers and they are meant to mark the Freedom Defenders Day in Lithuania.

As an American of immediate Lithuanian descent, I happily acknowledge Lithuanian holidays that celebrate freedom. Lithuania was the first Baltic Republic to leave the Soviet Union. Soviet totalitarianism brutalized the Baltics and other formerly occupied countries. This is something that needs to be told.

Growing up, I’d hear my dad tell stories about his time building the famous Vilnius TV Tower that the Soviets tried to seize in 1991. My mom also reminds me that my uncle, her brother, stood alongside other Lithuanians during this important day. Although my parents were already in America by 1991 – the year I was born – they were proud of their fellow Lithuanians for standing up to Soviet bullies.

No matter the demands for big government, freedom will always trump collectivism. Freedom is contagious; spread it around!

Proud to Be An American and Conservative of Lithuanian Descent

Why am I conservative? I credit it to my Lithuanian heritage. Check out my first piece in LTUWorld below:

In the realm of politics, people are drawn to a cause by something greater than themselves. Some people are driven by issues, hardships, egos, or self-discoveries. In my case, I grew interested in politics – particularly American conservatism – because of my heritage and family history.

I belong to the group of nearly one million Americans claiming partial Lithuanian descent. As a first-generation American, I honor my Lithuanian roots in all that I do – particularly politics.

My family left Lithuania when it was occupied by the former Soviet Union. After spending two months in Italy, they came to America in January 1986. Both of my parents have roots in Lithuania. My father’s side is comprised of Litvaks (Lithuanian Jews), while my mother’s side is comprised of Lithuanian Catholics.

Both sides of my family were negatively affected by Soviet policies. On my mother’s side, her father -my grandfather Juozas Keblys – was imprisoned in one of Josef Stalin’s gulags at the Belomor Canal for 18 months for owning property and being Catholic. On my dad’s side, he and his family were castigated and discriminated against for being Jewish. My family hated seeing Lithuania suffer under socialism. As a result, they came to America to escape the nightmare plaguing their homeland.

My parents are ardent anti-communists who despise collectivism, so naturally they identified with American conservatism once they got here. They liked the notion of private property, free enterprise, constitutional rights, and religious liberty – concepts forbidden and discouraged in then-Soviet occupied Lithuania. As a result, their conservative views were passed down to me and my sister.

As a child, I was exposed to Lithuanian culture and customs. Whether it was yearly trips to the Lithuanian Fair in Los Angeles every October or mushroom hunting in the woods during summers, I learned to appreciate my Baltic roots. There was no escaping amber jewelry, cepelinai, or stories from the Old Country. In fact, I was able to experience Lithuania firsthand for three weeks when I was eight. I visited Vilnius, Klaipeda, Neringa, and Palanga; I also met relatives and explored old historical sites. (I hope to visit Lietuva again soon!)

As a young activist working in conservative politics, I’ve successfully made a name for myself by sharing my family’s story. Sadly, many Americans underestimate the rights and opportunities afforded to them here. As a result, I use the platform I have to encourage others to preserve America’s timeless values and heritage.
George Santayana famously opined, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I speak out against socialism in America because it inflicted harm onto my family and millions of others. I tell my family’s story to demonstrate why conservative values – not socialist ones – best ensure freedom and happiness.

Some “Lithuanians” were not happy that one can be conservative and of Lithuanian descent.
ltu scumYou can read more on this guy’s craziness here on Storify.

The Left is extraordinarily vicious when it comes to those boasting dissenting viewpoints.

I will continue to speak out and tell my family’s story.

 

Americans Can Learn from ‘Baltic Way’ to Protest Big Government

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Yesterday marked 24 years since the people of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania came together to protest Soviet communism. On August 23, 1939, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (Hitler-Stalin Pact) was signed – creating separate spheres of influence that led to the Soviet reoccupation of the Baltic Republics. Fifty years later, on August 23, 1989, people from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania came together to form the “Baltic Way” (Chain of Freedom) – a human chain spanning 600 kilometers (370mi)- to protest Soviet communism. It was the largest protest of its kind recorded in history. Today, every August 23rd marks Black Ribbon Day to remember the victims of Nazism and Soviet communism.

As a first-generation American of Lithuanian descent , I proudly flaunt my roots because the Baltic spirit taught me to be independent-minded and skeptical of big government. The “Baltic Way” exemplifies how individuals can unite in the name of freedom to reject socialism in a peaceful, effective manner. (Thanks to Legal Insurrection for documenting my tweets about the anniversary of the “Baltic Way.”)

We can apply many aspects of the “Baltic Way” to the modern day.  The Tea Party movement proved to be effective, and now the Defund ObamaCare movement is gaining steam.  Perhaps we can replicate the “Baltic Way” here in the U.S.? Why not create the “American Way” to protest big government?

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905

 

 

 

FreedomWorks International Youth Panel – College Fly-In – March 10, 2013

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On Sunday, I had the pleasure of speaking at FreedomWorks’ College Fly-In Summit at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Washington, D.C.

I participated alongside FreedomWorks’ Anang Mittal (India), Adam Brandon (U.S./England) , and Ana Puig (Brazil). We shared our respective stories about being first-generation Americans and/or immigrants who came to this country.

Below is the video of the panel discussion. Enjoy!