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!

Happy 28th Freedomversary, Mom and Dad!

Today marks 28 years since my parents came to the U. S. from then Soviet-occupied Lithuania. Grateful to them for instilling a love of freedom in me. They are the best Americans I know. Happy Freedomversary, mama and daddy!

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Read more about this anniversary at Storify.

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

baltic

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!

Lithuanian Independence Day: Learning to Cherish Freedom Through the Eyes of Others

February 16 marks 95 years since Lithuania gained her independence.

You might be asking yourselves, “what is Lithuania? Is it a made-up country?” Despite boasting an exotic name, Lithuania is a real country with a rich history.

From February 16, 1918, until August 23, 1939, Lithuania enjoyed freedom and prosperity until the Soviet Union grabbed hold of it through the so-called German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact (Molotov-Robbentrop Act). From 1939 until March 11, 1990 (reunification), Lithuania was subjected to endless bloodshed, tyranny, and death under Lenin, Stalin, and other brutal dictators. Religious and/or ethnic persecution of Jews, Catholics, Christians, Lithuanians, Russians, Poles, and those who didn’t agree with Soviet communism was witnessed. The horror exhibited under Soviet occupation is inexcusable and should be rightly condemned. (I would know – my family personally suffered.) Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that many Lithuanians craved freedom and were determined to depose the Soviet Union.

Regarded as the land of “beer, babes, and basketball” to tourists, Lietuva (Lithuanian for “rainy country”) is an untapped treasure in Eastern Europe. Castles, sandy beaches, forests prime for mushroom hunting, and amber jewelry are yet to be discovered by most.

Vilnius, capital of Lithuania

Lithuanian amber

Svyturys, Lithuanian beer

If you’re looking for a unique place to visit this year, make Lithuania your top 2013 destination. Just don’t plan to bring a mail-order bride back with you.

Hill of Witches  – Juodkrantė

yewtreenights.blogspot.com

Hill of Crosses – Siauliai

sacredsites.com

Palanga Amber Museum – Palanga

(pgm.lt)

Gediminas Tower – Vilnius

(lithuaniantours.com)

Ninth Fort – Kaunas

(richardbloomproductions.com)

Trakai Castle – Trakai

(hqworld.net)

Lithuanian Sea Museum – Klaipeda

(balticsea.travel)

Lithuania was the first Baltic Republic to declare its independence from the USSR on March 11, 1990. The rebelliousness that fueled this has inspired many to speak out against collectivism and tyranny.

Our fellow Americans should look to people like my parents and others who’ve escaped here to better appreciate the freedoms afforded to them here in the United States.

Happy Independence Day, Lietuva!

Smart Girls Are Armed, Conservative, and Fabulous: My “Youth in Action” Interview

smart girl

Teen conservative and Smart Girl Politics activist Bethany Bowra (@bethanybowra) interviewed me for the latest installment of Smart Girl Politics’ “Youth in Action” series profiling young conservative female activists. Those of you who know me are familiar with my hold-no-prisoners approach to conservative politics, anti-Communist tendencies, and desire to lure in more young people to our movement.

I hope my thoughts and sentiments in this interview inspire other freedom-loving youngsters to speak out and reject collectivism. Without a doubt, we must encourage more young conservatives…especially young conservative females.

Enjoy!

While Planned Parenthood and Democrat women in Congress claim to speak for all women, these young women have something to say about that. Contrary to popular belief, those groups do not speak for all young women— many young women my age have views that are quite the opposite. Below is my interview with conservative activist, Gabriella Hoffman!

Why did you get involved in politics?

I got involved in conservative politics because of my parents. My mother and my father are Lithuanian immigrants who escaped from Soviet communism 27 years ago. The Left’s policies remind them too much of the Old Country, so conservatism came naturally to them. Their stories and perspective on life really brought me to conservatism. Both sides of my family suffered immensely in the former Soviet Union. I’m in this fight to honor their memories and remind people that freedom must be safeguarded for future generations to come.

How did you get involved?

In 2006 when I was 15, I started writing a column in a local Orange County, CA community paper, The Coto Voice, called “Teen Beat.” I maintained this column for three years. I primarily focused on topics ranging from volunteering in high school to upholding traditional values. After I graduated from high school and moved onto college, I began to write about politics for The California Review, the conservative paper at UC-San Diego. From there, I went onto running a YAF chapter and hosting David Horowitz on campus- an event which landed on national news. After the event garnered a lot of attention, I started working for The Rick Amato Show as an Executive Assistant and landed a coveted role at Eagle Forum of San Diego as the Director of Youth Outreach.  I also started blogging for various websites and publications.

What issues have you been focused on since you became active?

I’m a firm believer in sound conservatism (social and fiscal conservatism), and I also believe in strong national defense. During my time at UC-San Diego, I heavily focused on support for Israel (I have family there and support a healthy U.S.-Israel relationship) and exposing militant leftists on campus. I also exposed radical feminism and openly condemned the Vagina Monologues. Now, I concentrate on a plethora of issues ranging from traditional values to Israel advocacy to media/leftist/campus bias to free enterprise.

Continue reading at Smart Girl Politics Action.

Former Soviet satellites, republics still pay homage to Ronald Reagan

Read my latest at WashTimesCommunities

Mention on FreeRepublic and cross-posted on RedState.

Back to the USSR? A Message From A Concerned American

My dad commented on the current state of affairs in America. This video is a must-see. Not only is it enlightening, it is rather troubling to hear how America’s fate is being jeopardized. Watch it below:

My dad and “spiritual adviser” Boris Hoffman gave a rousing speech at the Eagle Forum of San Diego’s February meeting. An immigrant from Lithuania (a country formerly occupied by the now defunct USSR), my father is disappointed with the direction America is going. He draws parallels of Soviet communism to Obama’s Marxist-Leninism currently plaguing America. He talks about the need for young people to wake up, for Americans to stop taking their country for granted, and for people to stop downplaying American Exceptionalism. Like any immigrant oppressed by communism, my father recalls the limitations he faced there. If you let America continue down this wrong path, we will be the next USSR. Obama, his agenda, and his cronies are not a joke.

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