An Escape from Fidel Castro-The Guy Bernie Said “Transformed Cuba”

During the last Democratic debate in New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders mentioned the word “Judgment” a number of times.  He is very right that good judgment is an extremely important quality in a President. However, he seems to have avoided the importance of Intent in the mind of a President. So, I thought it would be an appropriate time to discuss both Bernie Sanders’ judgment and rightfully question his intent.

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Charismatic calling for Revolution

History is riddled with lessons on how we should beware of charismatic potential leaders.  This is particularly the case when they call for “Revolution” of “The People”.  Gratefully, our forefathers had the good sense to give us a Democratic Republic with three branches of government to ensure that the “Revolutions” recorded by history can never occur in America. But still, every now and then, a charismatic person appears and promises a world he can never deliver, while thinking of his heroes. We have one in our presence today. As you can see in my previous post, “Bernie We Hardly Know Thee, But What We Know Is Horrible,” Bernie has many heroes in his mind. The Sandinistas and Ortega were “Impressive” to him. He visited Nicaragua to attend the Seventh Anniversary of The Revolution. He honeymooned in the USSR and sought out a “Sister City” to crown upon his return to Vermont. Today, the Communist and Marxist parties of the USA are thrilled to see him running for President.

Bernie also despised JFK. He said JFK “Made me sick”. The reason Bernie despised JFK had to do with one of his heroes: Fidel Castro. Bernie declared that Castro “Transformed Cuba”. Bernie was right. Castro sure did transform Cuba. Oh yes, indeed he did. Castro was just one more example of how easily Socialism “For The People” can evolve into Fascism under a “Charismatic” leader.

Our member “FLVoter” has taken the time to tell us a very important story. It’s the story of how a 4-year-old child and her family escaped Castro’s “Transformed Cuba”. As I read her essay, I could read between all the lines. I know you will feel the same way. It’s a cautionary tale that leads us to wonder about the man who likes to denigrate the judgment of others while his own is rather suspect.

I would like to thank FLVoter and her mother, with whom she collaborated. This couldn’t possibly have been easy to talk about or to write:

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The following is an essay by Member FLVvoter:

In 1967 my family consisting of two small children under the age of six, my grandmother and my mother and father left Cuba via the Freedom Flights to the United States. The process to leave Cuba began almost two years prior to our departure. The Cuban Government made emigration as difficult as possible. If you were going to emigrate you could not be employed from the moment you gave notice of your intent to leave to the moment you left. At the time you left you had to have the same amount of money in the bank that you had at the time you gave your notice to leave otherwise you were not allowed to leave. If it were not for my grandfather, we could have never left. It must have been incredibly difficult for my grandfather believing that he would never see his only son again, but knowing that life in Castro’s Cuba was impossible, to help us during those two years that it took the Cuban Government to allow our departure.

So what would push my family to leave everything behind, family, friends, culture and go to the great unknown United States? How many people today could leave behind the warmth of family and the familiarity of your homeland knowing that you could never return? It was a risk, but the greater risk was staying in Cuba. Life without freedom had made Cuba unbearable. Just stop and think, could you live your life not knowing if you would wake up in your bed the next morning, or if someone you loved and cared about just disappeared? Any life in a foreign country was better than how we were living in Cuba.

Prior to 1957 Cuba was a fairly international city, with a thriving business population and robust tourism. At that time the Cuban currency and the US currency were just about equivalent. Tourism was huge since Cuba boasted the most beautiful beaches in the world. Bautista was the current dictator, who overthrew the elected Cuban President, Carlos Prio Socorras in 1952. By 1957 Fidel Castro was already in Cuba fighting to overthrow Bautista and by New Year Eve 1958 Bautista and his cronies abandoned Cuba to Fidel Castro.

One of Bernie's Heroes

One of Bernie’s Heroes

At first the majority of the population was happy with Fidel Castro since Bautista was a dictator and who wants to live under a dictatorship? Castro promised a way back to democracy with his pledge of free and open elections. However, those free and open elections never materialized. Instead he chose to prosecute any and all people that he deemed part of the Baustista Government. Castro rid himself of the military leaders after mock trials and executed them publicly. And by publicly I mean televised. As you can imagine many people were horrified, who wants to see mock trials and public executions, with the favored method of execution being firing squads. After the initial outrage, Castro stopped the public executions and instead continued his reign of terror in private. Yes, hard to imagine, but mom and dad lived this way until we were able to leave. Just imagine a friend, a neighbor, a family member or you could just disappear overnight never to be heard from again. And of course let’s not forget Castro’s executioner Che Guevara who took particular pleasure in earning his nickname the Butcher of the La Cabana (a Cuban prison where political prisoners were held be they man, woman or child). Some members of my mother’s family had first hand experience of this prison. Many times prisoners were marched out thinking that they were going to die by firing squad only have the bullets fired above their heads. Or other times they would just be killed. Torture was an everyday occurrence, so death was not the worst thing that could happen.. For those not in prison but desperately searching for loved ones that had disappeared, there was no relief. You must assume the worst.
While I am no fan of guns and support gun control, it is important to note that one of the first things Castro did was to collect all privately owned firearms. In the beginning it was voluntary but if Castro’s police found you with a firearm you went to prison, no trial, no appeal, just prison.

After the Castro Revolution food became scarce, grocery shelves were empty, staples such as toilet paper, diapers, and shoes could not be found. There were no aspirins or any pharmaceuticals available. If some missing item did miraculously appear the lines were incredibly long with no guarantee of actually being able to buy anything. At Christmas, toys were scarce. My father waited in a line for two days in order to buy three toys for my brother and me. Yes, even though just about everything was scarce, nothing was free. Even in Communist Cuba there is no free ride. The first time my parents saw a US grocery store after being without food and staples for so long they were just overwhelmed. They had not seen so much since before Castro and to this day my mother still hordes food.

As to the day to day life in Castro’s Cuba the Communist Party assigned block leaders that oversaw each block. Those block leaders reported to others, so that the Communist Party always knew what you were doing. The block leaders had the right to search your belongings including anything coming in or out of your house. There was no privacy. When my parents gave the Cuban Government notice to leave, everybody in the neighborhood knew they were leaving even though they told no one.

My mother related to me so much more about how drastically life changed for us in Cuba after Castro. Eventually my grandfather’s clinic (where I was born) was confiscated. My grandmother risked her life just to obtain food via the black market that she would share with family and neighbors since if it was discovered that you had more than your rations would allow you would be imprisoned. So much to tell but I think by now you understand the desperation that we felt.

So how did Castro transform Cuba? Easy. He destroyed the economy, democracy, the judicial system, and personal freedom. In short he transformed Cuba from the jewel of the Caribbean to a third world country that enslaved its people.

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Uppity Note: I asked FLVoter if I could include the following email comment, just as a reminder to all of us that, no matter how bleak things look sometimes, we are very lucky to be in the USA.

This the first time my family has spoken in any detail about what it was like.  Throughout the years we always heard stories but no one cohesive account.  I ended up speaking to my mom for hours yesterday.  Like most Cubans of that era, we fully integrated into the US and kept our experiences private.  I do appreciate the anonymity of the FLVoter name since my family is still not 100% comfortable discussing our experiences in Cuba we still have some family left there and I would imagine that it will not go well for them if someone spoke out against the Cuban government.  Maybe paranoia to some people, but this is just part of the Cuban experience.

Survive And Advance !

The following is an Essay by Member William

That was a phrase used by former North Carolina State basketball coach Jim Valvano, when talking about the “one loss and out” NCAA basketball tournament. His point was that it didn’t matter how you won, how close it was, the mistakes you may have made in a game; all that mattered was winning somehow, and getting to the next round. This phrase became so famous in sports, because he and his team rode it to an almost unfathomable national championship in 1983. They kept squeaking out wins, and suddenly they were in the title game against a much better team, but they won that in the last second, and that was the national title.

Now, of course a presidential campaign is not “one loss and you’re out,” though the media will often try to make it look that way for candidates they don’t want to win. But that’s sort of how I felt about the very close Hillary win in the Iowa caucuses. We won, barely, but we won. Winning by even a few thousand votes is infinitely better than having lost by a similar amount. A win is a win. It heartens her supporters, who worked so hard in Iowa. It goes in the books as a win. And of course she got seven more delegates than did Sanders. So all in all, a rewarding night.And as we all know, delegates are what matters. In some sense, the Democratic primary set-up is an illusion. The DNC has it arranged so that no state is winner-take-all, and delegates are apportioned and divided up as the results come in. Actually, the so-called “Superdelegates” have the real power. And Hillary has about 300 more of those than Sanders does. So in terms of delegate count, Hillary is already in very strong shape. The media conveniently ignores that fact, in favor of their “horse race” narrative, which they believe sells viewing tickets for them. Of course Hillary needs to win primaries, and she will. She will have a real struggle in New Hampshire, which of course is contiguous to Vermont, and where the homogenous and often maverick voters often go for the underdog. Does anyone remember who won the New Hampshire primary in 1992? Try to guess before you see the answer! And Gary Hart won it in 1980, which didn’t do him any good when the bigger state primaries rolled around. Okay, the winner in 1992 was Paul Tsongas.

After New Hampshire, we have a much more favorable primary schedule. South Carolina, Nevada, and then soon after, Super Tuesday. We can take nothing for granted, but Hillary should do very well in those. Sanders will not go away; he’s got support from the Howard Dean wing of the party, and that group is always loud and vocal and virtually intransigent. And Sanders never concedes anything. I just hope that he will be decent enough to finally gracefully concede and support Hillary if it is apparent that she will win the nomination. But at this point, his supporters will continue with their all-out battle; and we have to maintain all our efforts, support–monetary and otherwise–and enthusiasm.

Last night, we heard that Sanders’ campaign was considering suing all sorts of people and entities. Microsoft, perhaps. They wanted a recreation of the caucus in 90 or so caucus sites, the all-time “do-over.” I am afraid that this is an extension of Sanders’ temperament, which apparently is to never concede anything, to turn everything into a battle; to threaten lawsuits left and right. This is not helpful to the Democratic Party in general. I do remember the eras where the conventions had floor fights about a party platform plank or rule. Are we going to see a series of massive floor fights because the Sanders people will never concede a defeat?

We will see how this continues to play out. It is interesting that in 2008, despite obvious massive rule-breaking at the caucuses by the Obama people; despite the DNC rigging the whole thing in favor of Obama, to the extent that he was given many delegates in a state where he was not on the ballot; and where some delegates which Hillary won were summarily given to him, Hillary and her campaign did not sue anyone. She put the party and the country ahead of herself. I was very disappointed that she did not sue, and fight at the convention, but that is not how she thinks or acts. She always sees the larger picture, and wants to do what the thinks is the right thing for the American people.

I will tell you that I feel rather happy about the Iowa results, which could have been better, but certainly could have been a lot worse. This is Hillary’s first ever win in a caucus. Caucuses are not good things, and they skew in favor of the more extreme candidates, particularly in states with homogeneous voting demographics. So winning Iowa was not an easy task, but Hillary did win there, in all important respects. And so all of us dedicated Hillary supporters came out winners, in the first of a long and grueling campagn which Hillary is prepared for, and for which we all must be as well.

And try not to let the media upset you too much. I know that they upset me, to the extent that I virtually never turn on the cable news networks. These people think that their own gloss on events is more important than the events themselves, and the obvious conclusions which people can draw from them. And either they are too stupid or too biased (take your pick as to which it is) to see it fairly and reasonably. No matter what the media might say, Hillary winning the Iowa caucus is a plus for her. It is hardly her strongest state, hardly her best situation. She didn’t win one single caucus in 2008, though she won most of the major primaries. But she won this caucus, making her 1-0 in caucus/primary results thus far! On to New Hampshire and beyond!

Breaking!! There’s A Shortage!

Yes, Breaking News!!! There’s a shortage in this country! Something must be done. Stat!

What’s that you say? Food? Water? Energy? No, no! It’s much, much worse than that! Brace yourselves……there’s a shortage of Grumpy, old white males running for president!

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Shock! Horror! Say it isn’t so! The humanity! What WILL we do???  I know, I’m surprised too.

Fear not, fellow citizens. One man. One brave, courageous man is stepping up to the plate. Michael Bloomberg. Yes, you read that right, Michael Bloomberg will save us. During a crisis of epic proportion! To combat an inexplicable and historic shortage of ego and testosterone. Michael Bloomberg will make the supreme sacrifice.

Washington (CNN) Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is seriously considering a possible independent presidential run and is looking at making a decision sometime in March, two sources familiar with Bloomberg’s thinking told CNN on Saturday.

 

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But we have a strong, intelligent and experienced Democratic candidate already running you say? Sec. Hillary Clinton!

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Tsk, tsk, she is just a mere woman, meant for running the ground games and doing all the hard work of getting grumpy old men elected. Plus, she can make sandwiches and get coffee for everyone too!

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So now add Mr. Bloomberg to the small but mighty list of potential grumpy, white male presidents of these here United States of America.

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His Entitleship Sanders of Hanolee aka:  “Puff”

 

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His Entitleship Trump of the Immigrants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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His Entitleship ‘Owhatshisname

 

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His Dynastyship Jeb “the smart one”!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lord of the Bridges Chrispy Cream

 

 

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Lord in Waiting, Joe of CreditCardLand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rest easy America. Tuck your children safely into their beds tonight. The White Male Privilege lives on!

 

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Make me a sammich woman!

I now return you to your regular programming……

 

 

Hey! I found the perfect song for Bernie’s next Sandernista Ad !

UnicornPoop

Unicorn Poop.

I’m sure most of  Bernie’s followers in All-White Fraternity Dude Nation know about and “Love That Rascal Puff” – as well as his bloc of 14 year-olds on Twitter. And they all LOVE LOVE LOVE the thought of living in the late 60s-Early 70s. Why, one of them tweeted that they are going to make Congress do whatever Bernie says by marching on DC  and campuses just like in the 60s. They’re gonna get them their free unicorn that craps gold nuggets or else!

Selfishly, the girls on campuses would catch a break if they did go on a massive march somewhere, as the campus rape rate will go way down. Otherwise, the girls, whom they respect as equals of course,  can come along and make the sandwiches.

Of course, nobody told my Sandernista tweeters who long for those Old Days about those National Guard people who showed up and ruined all the fun in the 60s with those big guns and powerful water hoses, but nevermind.  I did mention Kent State at one point, but I got this strange silence, the equivalent of a blank stare, I guess.

I did mention that our government has three branches for Checks and Balances, but they seem to think that’s no problem either, Bernie is just going to go around them.

All Righty then.

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Unicorn Selfie

If this isn’t the Twinkles Up OWS crowd that raped girls in their free LL Bean tents in between tossing paper airplanes at Wall Street, and who packed up and left their camp site the minute it wasn’t summertime any longer, then I’m Cleopatra.

If these aren’t the same lazy-assed OWS  freeloaders who complained when those Homeless freeloaders showed  up to eat their freeloaded food, then I can grow pineapples in New York. My only regret is not betting money that, when they said they would be back in the Spring, they wouldn’t.

The Revolution will begin again as soon as the weather is warm. As soon as my smart phone gets cracked, I’m Outta Here.

Ok then. Onto Bernie’s next ad model:

Hillary and the Jewish People

An Essay By Member William

This essay is not about Hillary Clinton’s consistently supportive positions on Israel, or about her strong support among Jewish voters. It is about scapegoating, something that they are both victims of; even though her history of being relentlessly scapegoated is of course a much smaller portion of time, and has had far less horrific effects.

I am not HIllary Clinton. I am not a woman. I do not really know what it feels like to be her, or of her gender; though I think that reasonable and intelligent people can empathize with other people who are not the same; and can to a meaningful degree understand the nature of someone else’s identity. Some might argue otherwise, but if it were impossible, then each of us would be an unfathomable island of one. In any case, I am Jewish, so I can at least presume to understand much of the essence of Jewish identity and history. And anyone who knows a little of it. will realize that the Jewish people have historically served as a convenient scapegoat for despots, demagogues, unhappy and bitter people of all races, and in all eras.

Ever since the earliest Christians, including of course the people who wrote the so-called Gospels about 90 years after the described events happened, were determined to proselytize people to join their new religion, and hence felt that they needed to demonize the Jews, this has gone on. In the Dark Ages, Jews were persecuted on the charge of having killed Jesus. In the Middle Ages, when the Bubonic Plague killed half the population of Europe, the Jewish people who were much less affected, almost certainly because of dietary laws, were said to be in league with Satan.

The Catholic Church hated the Jews, and Martin Luther hated the Jews; both for having a different religion, and for actually trying to think about philosophical matters, and not just be told what to think. In the 19th Century, the period of Nationalism, the Jews were accused of being unpatriotic; or as in the case of the wholly innocent Colonel Dreyfus, a traitor to their country. After WWI, the Jews were variously accused by Europeans of having been responsible for the war, or for any bad outcomes associated with it. After Hitler and his minions killed six million Jewish people in the worst event in the history of humanity, the world felt a little sorry for the Jews, so they let them have the state of Israel. But it didn’t take too long before Israel, which of course was an easy substitute for “the Jews,” was being blamed and demonized for trying to survive amid a few hundred millions Arabs who have vowed to destroy it ever since its inception. And of course the fashionable Left Wing of Europe, and even of this country, keeps declaring that it is not Jews that they hate and blame, it is “Zionists.”

What does this have to do with Hillary Clinton? Nothing, specifically. But scapegoating, which of course has its literal antecedents in so-called primitive times, is one of the most desperately held needs of humankind. Don’t blame yourself; don’t blame the complexity of the world; or your own biases; or what Freud called displacement, or reaction formation; blame someone else for your own unhappiness or failure. If you can get other people to join you in this, you can form your own self-sustaining company of scapegoaters. People are at their worst in this regard, when they can feel that they are part of such a group.

We have all heard the term “Clinton Derangement Sydrome.” It was first applied during the 1992 presidential election, and then the Clinton Administration. The hatred of Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary exceeded anything I had ever seen in politics, though I have read that the hatred of FDR was pretty virulent among certain people. It was not enough for people to blame Bill Clinton for economic views that one disagreed with, or his foreigh policy. He was described as the most awful and evil person in America by some of the right-wing devotees; a person who with his wife, ran cocaine up the border from Mexico; who killed seven or so people in Arkansas; who murdered his advisor Vince Foster, after which Hillary hid the body. As we all well recall, these were stories which got a lot of press, and which to this day, many people still believe.

And after Bill left politics, this has of course continued with Hillary Clinton. The hatred of Hillary has its own singular nature. Some of it of course has to do with her being a woman; but I believe it is more complex than that. It is part of the Clinton Derangement Syndrome. though it has a different coloration as applied to her. As with all scapegoating, it has no rational basis; it is a form of insanity. But of course masses of people can devotedly believe insane things, as history has too often shown us.

To say that Hillary is held to a double standard among political figures, is a major understatement. I have never seen anyone treated in this way by the media. Some would say “it is because she is the frontrunner,” as if this were somehow a viable rationale; as if the media’s goal is to make the race exciting for us folks, like a talent show. But I don’t think that is the reason. They really hate Hillary. I could not tell you why. I suppose for each of them it is a somewhat different reason. I know that their employers, the right-wing corporate media, doesn’t want Hillary to win, because they are inimical to her views. But the individual newspeople or interview show hosts seem to look for ways to spin every story in a way unfavorable to her, as if it is programmed in their brains, or some kind of weird religious ritual.

Isn’t it amazing that four years after the event, right before primary season, we see a host of ads for a movie all about Benghazi? “These men had the courage to do what was right,” the ad says. The implication is clearly that Hillary did not do what was right. Now, I have never seen a U.S. Secretary of State held responsible for an act of terror on foreign soil, but Hillary is. Despite the FBI investigation clearing her; despite ten or so hearings of the bogus Benghazi Commitee which found nothing, she is scapegoated for the tragedy.

Every utterance she has made in the last thirty years is pored over, to see if there are any inconsistencies. Every other candidate gets a pass on these; or if one is very rarely brought up, the candidate’s ignoring the question or passing it off, is seen as a fine answer. The unending pursuit of Hillary has taken on the aspect of a witch hunt, or another form of irrational superstition.

You know that if she is elected, the first day the stock market goes down, it is going to be blamed on her. Any negative occurrence, or even ambiguous one, is going to be her fault. It is going to be so bad, that I am just waiting for the faux-concerned article in Salon or Harper’s about how “maybe we shouldn’t elect Hillary, because she is just so polarizing that we cannot move ahead. It is a shame, but that’s how it is.” In sucn ways, Jewish people were kept out of fraternities, sororities, social organizations, because, “Well, it could cause a lot of tension, and some won’t like him/her, so maybe we should just not create the problem, and say no.” That is what the haters and fanatics want, of course. They create the polarization which is then used to rationalize exclusion or voting against.

The Jewish people have survived for many thousands of years, but they are of course still under siege. Hillary has survived. She is voted the most popular woman in the country, every year. But we need her to become President. And she’s got the Republican politicians against her; the billionaire owners of corporations; a great majority of the media, even the ones on the far Left. She’s got a cottage industry of people writing books full of lies about her, and desperately making movies to try to sway the public to turn against her. And it will without question get worse.

And does she gets accolades for standing up against all of this? Since everything she does is cast in a negative light, her standing brave is portrayed as “haughty,” or “indifferent,” or “stubborn.” Do you remember how in 2008, the Obama campaign and the DNC which was strongly on his side, kept urging Hillary to get out of the race; go away; give up; kneel at Sir Obama’s feet? She may have actually had more legitimate delegates then, but they weren’t going to let her have them. This time, if she is winning, do you think you will see any people urge Sanders to leave the race? The media will beg him to stay in, to run as a third party candidate.

The media hates Hillary so much, that they woluld rather see Trump, who scorns freedom of the press, win, and destroy the country, than see Hillary win. It is a madness, not that dissimilar in nature to the madness of anti-semitism which has infected the world for thousands of years. Looking for some shred of rationality behind it, is to give the insane and hate-filled far too much credit

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