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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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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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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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Plagiarism – The Highest Compliment

Rare as it may be, every once in a while someone lifts a line or two from something I’ve written and uses it without permission.  Some people suggest I should be offended my work has been stolen without consent.  On the contrary, I’m usually flattered and honored.  Just think of it.  Someone thinks enough of your work to actually go to the effort of pirating it.  If the thief makes a wheelbarrow full of money with it, I’ll reconsider.  But until then all I can say is “Thanks for the compliment.”

Hopefully, the author of this little piece feels the same way.  I would ask permission if I only knew the source.  It came to me via one of those circuitous email forwards that winds its way through email list after email list, some blind, some public.  Regardless of the source, it was just too cute to not steal.  I’m not the author.  I wish I was the author.  If enough time passes without the author stepping forward, maybe I’ll pretend to be the author.  But for now, I’m offering it to you like I’m peddling a set of hot hubcaps.  Take it and run.  (Incidentally, I stole the image too.  Once a thief – twice a thief.)

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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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