August 7, 2013

Need an Iconic T-Shirt Design

Miami, Fla. -- Felix Rodriguez seems fated to be linked to Che Guevara. This is not entirely just. Rodriguez loves freedom, and has worked tirelessly for it; Guevara loved tyranny, and worked tirelessly for it. "Two sides of the same coin," some people say. Maybe -- but only in the way that light and dark are two sides of the same coin.
Great story of a true Cuban freedom fighter: The Anti-Che
Posted by John Kranz at 9:37 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Wow. Where was his chapter in my high school history texts? I guess it's because in his lifelong anti-communist war, he never won. Save, maybe, the Dominican.

Posted by: johngalt at August 7, 2013 6:14 PM

July 3, 2012

Unlikely Sharanskyite

Or, "No wonder they kicked him out or NPR!"

Juan Williams pens a perfect and beautiful piece on the WSJ Ed Page today. I hesitate to excerpt, but the ThreeSources Style Guide is pretty explicit on this point.

Williams supports the US decision to refuse Castro an invitation to the Summit of the Americas, by tying freedom to prosperity and tyranny to privation, with the latter underscored by a visit to his hometown of Colon, Panama.

Secure markets are necessary for successful trade policy, and investment cannot take root when dictators can usurp property rights. Real, vigorous trade also leads to global investors and an educated workforce--all of which threaten dictators' power. That is why the U.S. stance on Cuba is so important for the region.

This spring brought a personal reminder of how important it is. I was born in Panama, in a poor city, Colon. For my birthday this year, I walked around there for the first time since my mother brought three children, including me (as a 4-year-old), to Brooklyn, N.Y. No joke, we came to this country as added freight on a banana boat.

I was never quite sure why I waited so long to go back to Colon. My wife and sons also accompanied me and, ever wiser than his old man, my youngest son, Raffi, said my reluctance to visit might have had something to do with the fear of the intense, ugly poverty that eats up people


Juan? The token prog on FOX? It is beautiful. This link should be free for seven days for non-subscribers.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2010

Fools Rush In

I do have a Johnny Mercer tune queued up for the virtual coffeehouse on Thursday, but it is not "Fools Rush In."

I am going to foolishly rush in, however, on the TEA Party contretemps of the day. It is alleged that an African American Congressman was spat on and called a name last Sunday as he walked through a crowd of protesters who opposed the health care reform bill.

Curiously, this happened in the midst of hundreds of video cameras and none captured anything untoward. Dana Loesch offers video that she claims debunks the accusation. Not that there is really an accusation. A reporter claims to have heard the N-word.

I am glad for a certain sensitivity, but Merciful Zeus, when did we become so fragile?

I offer a racial slur I do believe happened. In the land of free health care, the peaceful march of a group of "Thirty women walking with gladiolas" was broken up by the Castro Government.

Wednesday's procession—one of seven days of protest to mark the anniversary of the mass arrests—included the mother of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, the 42-year-old human rights activist who died in a Cuban prison last month. Reina Tamayo is becoming something of a national icon, and she described her Wednesday experience this way to the Cuban Democratic Directorate in Miami:

"They dragged me, I am all bruised. They beat me. They called me a [racial slur; she is black]. They will know this mother's pain. When I get to my home town of Banes in my home province of Holguin they will have to bury me with my son. But my people will remember me. They will remember me. . . . The Castro brothers cannot be forgiven. They cannot be forgiven."


I’m truly sorry if a US Congressman was called a racial slur. But the key words are “U.S. Congressman.” I cannot compare it Reina Tamayo. Nobody can.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2009

The Third Source

"During my long journey through the world of evil, I had discovered three sources of power: the power of an individual's inner freedom, the power of a free society, and the power of the solidarity of the free world."-- Natan Sharansky, "The Case for Democracy"

Cuban punk rocker Gorki Aguila credits the third source for his freedom after his arrest for "pre-criminal behavior" and "social dangerousness." What a great and sad story:

Hat-tip: Instapundit. Professor Reynolds nails it with "Compare to the “rebel” posers here in the States . . . ."

Posted by John Kranz at 12:12 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

I liken it to 'Footloose' with a different tyranny. File under "Freedom on the march."

It has to be highly unlikely that this fellow has read Atlas Shrugged, or even heard of it. And yet, he says that the most important thing for the future of Cuba is "Freedom, obviously. Individual freedom is very tied into development."

Could it be that the longing to be free is a universal innate trait of human beings? [Tongue>cheek] "Naah, couldn't be since Iraqi's aren't "ready" for freedom."

Viva Ricardo.

Posted by: johngalt at October 14, 2009 1:21 PM
But jk thinks:

Si. But don't forget about all that great, free, healthcare!

Posted by: jk at October 14, 2009 2:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, Gorki did neglect to mention that. I suppose he forgot to acknowledge the healthcare utopia because he is young and healthy.

Posted by: johngalt at October 14, 2009 2:49 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Is freedom an absolute, as in you have it or you don’t? I would think we all have some freedom, it is how much that makes the difference. Iraqi’s had some freedom under Saddam and the Afghans some freedom under the Taliban. Of course some was small and it was not equally distributed or guaranteed. It was you johngalt who said profoundly several years ago that for freedom to work it must be the most important value, above religion, family, tribe, etc. (And people say liberals and conservatives can’t listen and learn from one another) I have always thought the biggest problem in Iraq and Afghanistan is that the people are not ready for central government. They are still deep down a tribal culture. We still haven’t come to grips with the fact that boundaries were drawn often by outside forces and that the people within those boundaries do not think of themselves as part of the group that their border attributes to them.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at October 17, 2009 10:37 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Wow, your memory is better than mine Silence. But that does sound like something I would say.

Geopolitical boundaries is an interesting subject. Whether drawn by external or internal forces, they are drawn by force nonetheless, i.e. those with the power to do so. But these boundaries are only oppressive if the rights of individuals within them are not respected. When America's Constitution has been respected there was greater harmony amongst her citizens. When its restrictions on government power are strained and in many cases ignored we hear ideas like "secession" and "revolution" in the popular discourse. (And it was a dispute over the power of central government, not slavery, that precipitated America's Civil War.)

I'll also dispute your dichotomy of central government versus tribal rule. Tribalism is the most primative form of collectivism with the members of the tribe choosing to associate with those whom they are most similar to and acting to advance their collective causes at the expense of those who are different from them. The same principle lives in modern society with trade unions, retirement associations, race groups and religious associations. All of these entities thrive under a powerful central government because the attendant concentration of power simplifies the practice of currying favoritism.

Posted by: johngalt at October 18, 2009 1:54 PM

July 1, 2009

Birds of a Feather

Even if you've already seen this one you'll appreciate it again:

toon063009.gif

Indeed. If you aren't already familiar, here is the real story on the "military coup" in Honduras.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:59 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

The WSJ Ed Page did a nice piece as well.

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2009 12:51 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Excellent. It's refreshing to see major sources pointing out that this was not a real coup, but the removal of a proto-dictator. What does it tell you when Chavez and the UN insist that someone be returned to power?

Billy Hollis at QandO has been publishing stuff from his friend in Honduras. Must-read.

So now you know, when U.S. and AFP news talk about "protestors" battling with police, whose side the protestors are actually on. And think about what will happen if Zelaya returns. He'll virtually flood the streets with the blood of his opponents, making Robespierre look like Mother Theresa.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 1, 2009 1:40 PM
But jk thinks:

'nother good cartoon

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2009 2:07 PM

April 14, 2009

A Cuban Kumbaya?

When WaPo columnist Eugene Robinson and The Refugee agree down the line, can hand-holding, misty eyes and singin' 'round the campfire be far behind? Under the heading "say it ain't so," this column from Robinson brings the two of them together.

Robinson makes two assertions: 1) the Congressional Black Caucus was duped during its recent visit to Fidel's Island Paradise and made fools of themselves, and 2) lifting the embargo is the fastest way to bring down the current regime. As Robinson points out, Cuba is still a racist nation and Fidel harbors no good will toward America. He is also correct that the embargo has outlived its usefulness. The embargo made sense when trying to prevent Fidel from acquiring military means and forcing the Soviets to expend valuable resources propping up a parasitic client state. Those conditions no longer exist, and The Refugee believes that Fidel/Raul would never be able to maintain Chinese-like control in the face of a capitalist onslaught 90 miles away.

What we should do is lift the embargo, which Obama hasn't disturbed, and end the travel ban for everyone. That would put the onus on the Cubans to somehow keep hordes of American capitalists and tourists from infecting the island with dangerous, counterrevolutionary ideas. But we should take these steps with our eyes open, seeing Cuba as it is, not as we might want it to be.

...

It is in Castro's interest to sabotage any genuine movement in Washington toward normalized relations, because any lessening of tension would destroy the government's stated rationale for denying Cubans basic political freedoms: that any opening would be exploited by the imperialist enemy to the north.

It's enough to make The Refugee break out into song.

Hat tip: realclearpolitics.com

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:26 AM | Comments (1)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The WSJ has a nice opinion piece on this topic:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123993439111128025.html

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 17, 2009 11:15 AM

January 7, 2009

Viva la Revolucion!

Things have really loosened up since Raul Castro came into power. He famously made cell phones legal -- imagine that! Of course, they're not really affordable:

Tatiana González stood transfixed before the glass display case watching a single cellphone spin around and around on a carousel at the government-run store. It was a Nokia 1112, a simple, boxy gray workhorse of mobile telecommunications technology--and González was in love.

She coveted that phone. She confessed she had dreamed of that phone. But she would have to wait just a little longer before she could cradle it to her ear. How much longer? "I hope a year, no more," said González, who toils as a manager of medical records in a hospital, earning $21.44 a month.


Tatiana (is that not the prettiest name?) has the satisfaction of providing that great health care that Michael Moore raves about -- I'm sure that's consoling. And the famed Cuban literacy rates come in to play too as lucky cell phone owners text to avoid 65 cents a minute charges on voice. Tatiana will be able to buy 33 minutes of local service with her month's salary or three-and-a-half minutes to Europe!

Yet the incoming administration still claims that free-market capitalism has been discredited.

Rules & citations & recursive hat-tips: the excerpt is from the Washington Post, it is included in a Reason Hit&Run post (linked) and was linked by Instapundit. Got it? Good.


Posted by John Kranz at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

January 1, 2009

Happy Castroversary

Yesterday was 50 years. The NYTimes commemorates with a sobering account. It begins with a woman who fled 14 years ago awaiting DNA testing to see if a decomposed, shark-eaten body pulled out of the ocean near the Keys is the son she left behind.

Fifty years ago today, many Cubans cheered when Fidel Castro seized power in Havana, and even now, the revolution attracts many fans — as evidenced by the Canadian tour agencies advertising trips “to celebrate five decades of resilience.”

But the bodies speak to a different legacy.


The son who stayed behind spoke multiple languages and tried to influence Cuba from within as a journalist -- until he was fired and targeted.
Mr. Garcia’s relatives said that on the night of Aug. 15, he climbed aboard a boat with no motor and seven or eight other people, pushing off from an area near Havana with hopes of reaching Florida within a few days.

The pace mattered; the sea was churning. By early Monday morning, Tropical Storm Fay had moved through Cuba into the Florida Straits, bringing nearly a foot of rain, swells of several feet and winds that would strengthen to 60 miles per hour.

Ms. Garcia, 64, a home health aide, said she was not sure if her son had known the storm was coming. Even if he had, she said, “he was desperate and needed to go.”

She said her son had done all he could to change Cuba from the inside. “How can Cubans confront the government, with rocks and sticks?” Ms. Garcia said. “Everyone has nothing, and the people are afraid.”


As my interest in weather has piqued of late, I have spent too much time (any non-zero amount) looking at local TV news. You can put me down as extremely tired of the defeatism and hopelessness surrounding "this economy" and "these tough times." I'm sorry your 401K has lost value and feel for those who have lost work. But if you woke up this New Year's Day as a free citizen in America, I really don't want to hear a lot of bellyaching.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 4:41 PM | Comments (0)

December 29, 2008

Quote of the Day

Hollywood hotshot Benicio Del Toro is not a stand-up comic, but he seemed to be playing one earlier this month when he said he found the role of Cuban Revolution hero Ernesto Guevara, in the new film "Che," like Jesus Christ.

"Only Jesus would turn the other cheek. Che wouldn't," Mr. Del Toro explained. Right. And Bernie Madoff is Mother Teresa, only she wasn't into fraud. -- Mary Anastasia O'Grady


The entire editorial is a good refutation of the new wave of crap we will have to hear from Hollywood as they "celebrate" the 50th Anniversary of the Castro Revolution.
The miserable Argentine was killed in 1967 in the Bolivian Andes while trying to spread revolution in South America. But his vision of how to govern lives on in the Cuba of today. It is a slave plantation, where a handful of wealthy white men impose their "morality" on the masses, most of whom are black and who suffer unspeakable privation with zero civil liberties.

There is something rich about the supposedly hip, countercultural Hollywood elite making common cause with Cuba's privileged establishment in 2008. Its victims -- artists, musicians, human-rights activists, journalists, bloggers, writers, poets and others deprived of freedom of conscience -- would seem to deserve solidarity from their brethren living in freedom. Instead, the ever-so avant-garde Soderberghs side with the politburo.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:09 PM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2008

Che was an inspiration to me

I think ThreeSourcers will dig this:


“Che was an inspiration for me,” D’Rivera tells reason.tv. “I thought I have to get out of this island as soon as I can, because I am in the wrong place at the wrong time!” D’Rivera did escape Cuba, and so far he’s won nine Grammy awards playing the kind of music Che tried to silence.

Paquito D'Rivera's 100 Years of Latin Love Songs is an album for the desert island, though some might prefer some of his more energetic stuff. What a treat to find a great artist who appreciates freedom.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:39 PM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2008

And They Can Call Their Doctor for Free

That socialist paradise 80 miles south of Key West is trying to do the 80s and 90s in one big gulp:

Raul Castro: Cubans can have cell phones

HAVANA - First microwaves, now cell phones. Is this the new Cuba? Raul Castro is revolutionizing his brother's island in small but significant ways — the latest in a decree Friday allowing ordinary Cubans to have cell phone service, a luxury previously reserved for the select few. The new president could be betting greater access to such modern gadgets will quell demand for deeper change.


I will call it a free country when they are allowed to have boats.

Posted by John Kranz at 8:19 PM

February 19, 2008

Adios, Fidel

... after 49 years, we hardly knew ye.

Oh wait.

We did.

Posted by AlexC at 12:58 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

¡Si!

Posted by: jk at February 19, 2008 1:47 PM
But jk thinks:

Big deal, 448,000 atrocities -- what about the free health care?

Posted by: jk at February 19, 2008 1:49 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Viva Literacy!

It's easy to achieve when there isn't much you're allowed to read.

Posted by: AlexC at February 19, 2008 2:13 PM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Hey, he has a model for us right there. Universal health care (kill the sick), 100% literacy (kill the failures), 100% voting record (kill the dissidents). No wonder the leftists love him.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at February 19, 2008 2:17 PM

Castro Update

CNN is reporting the Fidel Castro has resigned as president. While I am a bit surprised that this announcement precedes that of the announcement of his death, I sincerely hope that this will result in a free Cuba in the near term.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 12:54 PM | Comments (2)
But AlexC thinks:

I wouldnt count eggs.

As we learned in Iraq, a broken people don't have the energy or initiative to free themselves.

... Cuba lived under Castro twice as long as Iraq under Hussein.

Maybe if some ex-pats head back and kick-start the freedom. or if American tourism picks up.

We'll see.

Posted by: AlexC at February 19, 2008 1:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Does anybody here really believe he's still alive?

Posted by: johngalt at February 20, 2008 1:39 AM

September 20, 2007

POW Habeas Corpus

It really breaks my heart when bills in the Senate can't hit the supra-constitutional 60 vote cut off.

Really, it does.

The Senate on Wednesday rejected legislation that would have allowed terrorism suspects held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to petition federal courts claiming that they're being held in error.

The 56-43 vote in favor of the bill fell short of the 60 votes needed to cut off Senate debate, blocking the legislation. Both Washington state senators voted for the measure.

The bill, sponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa., would have given military detainees the right of habeas corpus — the right to challenge one's detention in court, rooted in English common law dating from before the Magna Carta of 1215 — which serves as a check on arbitrary government power.

Posted by AlexC at 1:51 PM | Comments (3)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Actually, I would support such a measure: even "enemy combatants" should be allowed to prove, if they can, that they're innocent. There's evidence that some were turned over to U.S. forces by their neighbors, because of family feuds.

But on the flip side, if we prove we captured them for a good reason, we should just execute them summarily.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 21, 2007 3:21 PM
But jk thinks:

They deserve some process, which I understand that they get. But the full panoply of the US understanding of habeus corpus is too much.

We cannot allow a captured, foreign terrorist to demand to learn how evidence against him was collected and to see the full evidence. For an American citizen, this would and should be required.

You nail the alternative -- if the hallal rice pilaf at Gitmo is not up to epicurean standards, enemy combatants can always be (quite legally) shot. Wanna reconsider, Ahmed?

Posted by: jk at September 21, 2007 3:41 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

It wouldn't have to be the full process, just a military tribunal where they can present evidence and, if they were seized in a raid, find out what the evidence was. Not all were captured on the battlefield, and I'm troubled because some circumstances were questionable. If a neighbor rats you out as a terrorist, is it true, or the result of a feud? So I think we should give them a good chance to prove their innocence, even if it demands they question how we knew they were terrorists.

On the other hand, I don't think any process should be given to anyone captured in battle -- American citizen or not. John Walker Lindh should have been shot where he was found, and it would have saved us a lot of headaches.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 22, 2007 10:55 AM

April 15, 2007

Victories

If you deliver a propaganda victory to a communist nation, does that make you a) a fellow traveller b) useful idiot c) pinko symp?

Filmmaker Michael Moore's production company took ailing Ground Zero responders to Cuba in a stunt aimed at showing that the U.S. health-care system is inferior to Fidel Castro's socialized medicine, according to several sources with knowledge of the trip.

The trip was to be filmed as part of the controversial director's latest documentary, "Sicko," an attack on American drug companies and HMOs that Moore hopes to debut at the Cannes Film Festival next month.


I'm interested in finding out how many were "cured."

Posted by AlexC at 10:11 PM

August 1, 2006

Castro's Demise?

So, it would seem that Cuba's Fidel Castro is berry berry ill.

    The Cuban leader said he had suffered gastrointestinal bleeding, apparently due to stress from recent public appearances in Argentina and Cuba, according to a letter read live on television by his secretary, Carlos Valenciaga.

    "The operation obligates me to undertake several weeks of rest," said the letter. Extreme stress "had provoked in me a sharp intestinal crisis with sustained bleeding that obligated me to undergo a complicated surgical procedure."

    Castro said he was temporarily relinquishing the presidency to his younger brother and successor Raul, the defense minister, but said the move was of "a provisional character." There was no immediate appearance or statement by Raul Castro.


With that world quality socialized health-care we've been hearing about, he's bound to live another decade or two.

However, should he meet his maker in the coming days or weeks, a big question remains unanswered. How will Cuba look without him?

The conventional wisdom is that Cuba will go democratic in someway. Perhaps dissident Floridians providing the seed money, if not human capital.

But what if Venezuela's Hugo Chavez decides to get involved? He's pretty interested in sticking to the United States in anyway possible. Being right off shore with his own puppet, would be an excellent way. He's been influencing or attempting to influence Latin American politics lately. Why would Cuba be any different?

Let's not forget China either. China is interested in Cuban oil reserves in the Gulf... and already has some leases purchased. Wouldn't a Democratic Cuba perhaps want to entertain other offers for their oil?

Could oil politics get in the way of a free Cuba?

Posted by AlexC at 12:32 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Sadly, the Communist machine he leaves behind will cling to power -- it's never been a gimme that his death will move the country forward. You're spot on that Venezuela or possibly China could come in and prop up Cuba's economy to keep leftists in power.

I'm reading Michael Novak's "Spirit of Democratic Capitalism." A Catholic theologian, Novak recognizes the Church’s complicity in inculcating Socialism in Latin America. He encourages clergy to embrace more classically liberal economies and polities. Review Corner coming, but it is germane to this discussion as he enumerates the predilections toward collectivism in those societies.

I wish we had no embargo, it would give us far more power to assert democracy in a post-El-Jefe Cuba. Plus we could get their coffee, which is very good.

Posted by: jk at August 1, 2006 11:38 AM