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Marco Rubio Plays with Cuban Balls

Cuba Highlights (4 of 243)After more than fifty years of shear idiocy, President Obama has taken a giant step toward normalizing relations with Cuba. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida has publically opposed the action. He’s definitely got more chutzpa than I could muster even after my fifth Cuba Libre. He actually stands before the cameras and spews his rubbish with a straight face. It’s a performance worthy of an Academy Award or maybe even a seat in the U.S. Senate. He’s not alone. Other two-faced politicians (John McCain for one) have expressed opposition to the move.

“It rewards the oppressive and brutal dictatorial regime of the Castro brothers” sayeth the Rubio types. “We must intensify the embargo so they’ll move toward democracy” intones the straight faced senatorial comedian. “The people of Cuba want the same freedoms we have here and without the embargo, they won’t get them” he says.

His arguments carry a lot of weight with me because I know he stands firm in his conviction that we should not do business with countries that don’t have an appropriate level of freedom and democracy. Oppress your people and you’re not doing business with us. Continue reading

Six Weeks of Communists, Libertarians, Capitalists and Socialists

I’ll avoid the conclusions; they are for you to reach. I’ll just present the observations. Over a period of six weeks, I spent my time in roughly equal parts in Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Cuba proudly proclaims itself a communist state. For fifty years, it has delighted in being the booger on the lapel of Uncle Sam’s fine and festive coat. Billboards all across the island remind Cubans of their communist and socialist heritage and strength.

The Dominican Republic appears to be as libertarian as any state in our hemisphere. Government regulation is minimal. The regulation that does exist doesn’t seem to be strictly enforced unless it serves to protect the individual rights of those in power. The common man in the D.R. has individual freedom whether he likes it or not.

Puerto Rico is a “possession” of the United States and shares our capitalistic ethos, system of government and economic structure (whether the people want it or not). It is exactly as it is in any other part of the United States except that the climate and geography are completely different, the history and heritage bear little similarity the rest of the U.S., its culture, music, dance, food, etc. are Latin, it is more racially homogenous and the people speak a different language. Other than that, it’s Ames, Iowa all over again.

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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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Slapped by the Invisible Hand

We live in a capitalist society. I am a capitalist. I certainly don’t feel compelled to apologize for that belief. At the same time, I break with most of the “tea party” types and acknowledge that nonexistent, pure capitalism as well as our imitation of it are both flawed. Pure capitalism is like aqua regia, an acid so strong that it will dissolve anything and everything in which it comes in contact. It can’t long exist because nothing could contain it without itself being dissolved. So it is with pure capitalism.

In my thinking, the flaws of our system must be recognized and acknowledged, otherwise, they corrode our society. Unlike the demagogues of the right wing media and their tea party lemmings, I don’t view those who talk about the flaws and weaknesses of our culture as traitors. I view them as saviors. It is difficult to improve anything if you think it has already attained perfection.

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A Review of Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story”

Michael Moore, the leftist the right would like left behind, has done it again.  Capitalism: A Love Story is in theaters around the nation.  As much to annoy my right leaning friends as anything else, I attended opening night.  I’ve always enjoyed Moore’s work even if he did every now and again take a bit of literary license.  His intention has always been to be provocative.  Love him or hate him, you can’t deny he’s been successful at that.

Moore’s newest film differs from his previous documentaries in that it is more humorous and less focused.  The film is interspersed with plenty of the dry humor for which Moore has become known.  His attempts to make “citizen’s arrests” are laden with his trademark humor that has everyone laughing but the FOXites and the subjects of his jokes.  Although, in one instance, a New York Police officer can be seen putting forth a Herculean effort to keep from cracking up.  Regardless of your political views, the movie is worth seeing if for nothing more than the laughter in brings.

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Famous American Socialists

On her way to the King’s palace, Chicken Little met Henny Penny. Henny Penny said she was going into the woods to hunt for worms.

“Oh no, don’t go!” said Chicken Little. “I was there and the sky fell on my head. Come with me to tell the King.”

So Henny Penny joined Chicken Little and they went along and went along as fast as they could.

The moon-bats of denial who continue to doubt evolution can point to Chicken Little and thousands of Americans who haven’t evolved beyond the point of jumping to nonsensical conclusions with scanty evidence as proof evolution is a myth. Even worse are the minions that take the word of the fool and run with it as if it was cast in stone. Sadly, we are a nation, a world overflowing with people guilty of a gullibility of such immense proportions as to jeopardize our future existence.

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Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down this Wall!

On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan delivered his now famous “Tear Down this Wall” speech at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin.  It wasn’t long after that the wall came tumbling down.  Jingoists and myopic right-wingers declared the end of communism.  Many said capitalism had triumphed over communism and proclaimed the end of the Cold War.

There can be little doubt that communism had indeed suffered a failure of sorts, but only the foolish declared it dead.  I have been to Russia and have observed firsthand the products of the rise of Soviet communism and the mechanism of its decline.  Although I don’t pretend to be an expert on the subject, I feel confident in making two statements.

  1. Communism in its purest Guervarian form will not work.
  2. The failure of Soviet communism was in fact the result of capitalism, but not in the sense most people believe.

The brand of communism espoused by Che Guevara and others like him doesn’t work because it is an ideal, a concept, a theoretical condition.  It is a completely selfless system where everyone works hard for the common good.  In its purest, hypothetical form it is as close to a perfect system as can be imagined.  Unfortunately, it falls apart when you introduce one additional variable to the equation – humanity. Continue reading

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