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On the Failure (Success) of Cuban Communism

The first time I visited Cuba, I was just three years old. A young man named Fidel Castro had just graduated from college with a degree in law. Carlos Prío was president of a corrupt Cuban government. Bautista had not yet taken power. Even though I was a small child at the time, I still have some vivid memories of the Cuba of 1950, the narrow streets, the open stores and markets with meat hanging overhead, the sandy beach and a friendly police officer who carried me on his shoulders. This early experience in Cuba undoubtedly had a great impact on my lifelong love and intrigue with this beautiful Caribbean island.

Less than twenty years later, I had embarked on a career as a news reporter, writer and broadcaster. Thanks to the acrimonious relations between the United States and Fidel’s communist Cuba, I could no longer visit the island. Propagandists on both sides of the fence painted lurid pictures of their evil neighbors ninety miles away. As a reporter, I learned pure, unbiased, objective reporting was sometimes a noble goal, but was impossible to obtain. As often as not, it wasn’t even the goal. The news was and continues to be distorted with intent by the government, corporate sponsors and biased news reporters. I can guarantee you that our views of Cuba, the embargo and the people of Cuba are colored by the lenses we’re forced to look through as we try to interpret the island that has been taboo to Americans for more than fifty years.

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The Tea Party’s Assault on the 1st Amendment

You really have to love these guys. Well, maybe that’s pushing it a bit. But you have to admit, if they weren’t so inept and dangerous to our nation’s wellbeing, members of the Tea Party would be fun to watch – sort of like a kid with a feather and honey. They’re drawing a lot of attention to themselves with some pretty nonsensical and destructive behavior. The problem is they’re dragging more rational, clear thinking people into the maelstrom they’re creating. Blinded by their anger and deafened by their din, they rail against one cause after another.

The latest bit of pure insanity involves the issue of “net neutrality”. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t fully comprehend the significance of the issue and many don’t care because they believe the issue doesn’t impact them directly. Believe me, it does. It is one of the biggest issues facing our nation today. It threatens to undermine our entire concept of freedom.

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Sucker Words – Wealth Redistribution

In the grand tradition of famed propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, talking heads in pulpits across the nation corral the great American sheep with their invisible staffs of fear. Preachers like Limbaugh and his clones cart their millions to the banks with glee on their faces and profits in their hearts. They delight every time they see Americans react to their rhetoric like a school of lemming turning in unison to every little source of fear, real or imagined.

American propagandists constantly take otherwise innocent, benign words and phrases and paint them with dark, insidious overtones and watch as society’s shallow thinkers, such as members of the Tea Party, turn them into weapons and unwittingly do the bidding of the propagandists themselves. Is it any wonder Limbaugh, Hannity, Palin and others of their ilk are often seen with the smirk of a prankster? Consider these evil terms, “liberal”, “socialist”, “gay”, “atheist”, and “illegal immigrant”. The list is lengthy, but you get the point. All are words or terms that have been vilified by the talking heads. Reactionaries reflexively recoil in horror when they hear them.

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And justice for all

I have a confession to make. I have gone to great lengths to avoid jury duty. For years, I ran a business. With all humility aside, it was dependent upon me personally. I was the creator of the product. I had employees in need of direction and training. I had customers demanding immediate decisions. Bills had to be paid. Marketing questions demanded instantaneous answers. Someone had to keep the toilet paper in the bathroom. The company could ill-afford my absence, especially for an extended time.

When the envelope would arrive, it was clearly marked. I was being called for jury duty. I would be obliged to spend possibly weeks away from my job, commuting one hundred miles per day. I would try to focus on the details of some civil dispute between two neighbors over a dog crapping on the wrong side of a lot line while I imagined the demise of the company I’d spent years building. I wasn’t going to do it.

I knew it was a crime to avoid jury duty, but to the best of my knowledge, it wasn’t a crime to not open junk mail. And when I squinted as I looked at the envelope, it sure looked like junk mail to me. Those sly direct mail merchants were clearly trying to make their solicitous rubbish look like official business. I almost fell for it. It went directly into the trash container. If the authorities came knocking on my door, I could honestly say, “I never saw the letter.” I wasn’t sure how I’d respond if they asked, “Did you see the envelope?”

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The Arizona Republic Takes a Stand!

I came to Arizona this week to participate in the big May Day celebration at the State Capitol. I wanted to show my vehement opposition to the short sighted, self defeating and yes, racist legislation recently signed by Arizona’s bimbo-in-chief, governor Jan Brewer. I wanted to be present for the demonstration both personally and financially. You can interpret my opposition to the bill not as much as support for the Hispanic community, but a defense of something I hold dear, the U.S. Constitution. For those of you that have read it, you may remember references to lofty concepts such as a guarantee to “equal protection under the law” and the prohibition against “unreasonable search and seizure.” You might even remember them as the 14th and the 4th Amendments to the Constitution.

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But It’s a Dry Heat

Dry as it might be, the sometimes scorching Arizona heat seems to take its toll on the sanity of some of the State’s residents. Arizona has a long history of putting nut-cases in positions of leadership. It is the land of Ev Mecham, a former Arizona governor and loose cannon who represented only “the good people” and looked down his nose at others he referred to in derogatory terms like “pickaninnies”. The shortest path to the governor’s office in Arizona seems to be to run for Secretary of State where you can lie in wait for the impeachment of the elected governor.

Arizona has a well documented history of filling the State legislature with bigots and imbeciles that make observers from the civilized world conclude the heat may be dry, but insidiously destructive to brain cells. Russell Pearce and Sheriff Joe Arpaio are two of the State’s reining bigots making national news on a regular basis. J.D. Hayworth, a crazed hate peddler is currently running against John McCain and has driven McCain babbling incoherently off the cliff into a world of senile delusion.

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Shaving Israel with Ockham’s Razor

Does a bad child’s behavior reflect on its parents? Most agree an ill behaved child reflects a lack of parenting and discipline. It appears Israel is becoming our delinquent child. With each passing day, more and more people are beginning to believe it’s high time for a little discipline. Spare the rod and spoil the child. Time for some tough love.

Israel is our ally and we are hers. There can be no question about that. America was the midwife at the birth of Israel as a nation. Our cultures are inextricably intertwined. Israel is an important economic ally. She is of critical importance to America strategically. She is our canary in the mine shaft in the Middle East. The Jews are a well spring of culture, intellect and creativity. Our histories are so tied together as to be inseparable. The Jewish culture has survived and prospered for 3,000 years. I have no doubt that when the curtain is finally drawn on this great play we call civilization, the Jews will be the last to leave the stage. Israel’s survival and prosperity are not only in their own best interests, they are in the interests of all freedom loving Americans. We cannot turn our backs on Israel any more than we can disavow our relationship with a brother or our own child.

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