Tag Archives: Cuban Americans

88 years for a U.S. president to travel 90 miles; Cubans still have more to lose

President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez as first lady Michelle Obama stands behind, right, upon arrival to the airport in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, March 20, 2016. Obama's trip is a crowning moment in his and Cuban President Raul Castro's ambitious effort to restore normal relations between their countries. (Cubadebate/Ismael Francisco via AP)

Associated Press photo

The caption for the AP news photo above reads: “President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez as first lady Michelle Obama stands behind, right, upon arrival to the airport in Havana, Cuba, [today]. Obama’s trip is a crowning moment in his and Cuban President Raul Castro’s ambitious effort to restore normal relations between their countries.”

The caption for the AP news photo below reads: “A poster features portraits of Cuba’s President Raul Castro, left, and U.S. President Barack Obama and reads in Spanish, ‘Welcome to Cuba’ outside a restaurant in Havana, Cuba, [on Thursday]. Obama is scheduled to travel to the island [today], the first U.S. presidential trip to Havana in nearly 90 years.”

Steps Obama has taken to ease US restrictions on Cuba

Associated Press photo

If I can’t say much that’s positive about the Obama years — and I can’t* we at least can note that today Barack Obama historically became the first sitting U.S. president in 88 years to visit our island neighbor of Cuba. (Before today, Calvin Coolidge last visited Cuba, in 1928...)

It is pathetic that the United States remains so largely inimical to a nation only 90 miles away from it, but the history of Cuba and the United States (and Spain, too) is, um, complicated.

In its report on Cuba for 2015, Human Rights Watch noted:

The Cuban government continues to repress dissent and discourage public criticism. It now relies less on long-term prison sentences to punish its critics, but short-term arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders, independent journalists, and others have increased dramatically in recent years. Other repressive tactics employed by the government include beatings, public acts of shaming, and the termination of employment.

There are elections in Cuba, in which those 16 years and older may vote, but as only the Communist Party is allowed to exist, these elections are fairly bullshit; Cubans are allowed to chose only from those who pay fealty to the Communist Party (again, the only party that there is).

That said, here in the United States of America we have elections, but since the corporations give most of our elected officials obscene amounts of campaign cash and other monetary rewards to do their bidding instead of to act in the public good, and since this treasonous bullshit has been going on at least since the first (and hopefully the last) President Clinton, our corporately owned and controlled parties have become pretty indistinguishable — the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party, I think of them lovingly — and so our so-called democracy is pretty fucking hollow, too.

For all intents and purposes, we Americans pretty much have one-party rule, as do the Cubans.

How else to explain that the lives of us American commoners never get better? If we had an actual democracy — a socialist democracy — instead of a corporatocracy/kleptocracy, our lives would actually improve.

Wingnuts, who want to turn Cuba into a wage-slave capitalist nation like the United States is (and who also, of course, want to turn Cuba into an island resort for wealthier Americans, as it used to be), routinely uber-hyperbolically claim that the Castro regime routinely executes its political opponents, but I see no mention in the Human Rights Watch report on Cuba linked to above that executions continue there.

(And, of course, our buddy Saudi Arabia continues to execute people — by public beheading, no less — and we Americans are perfectly fine with that, because we want fuel for our gas-guzzlers.

Also, I should add, the Cuban government since 2001 has had a moratorium on capital punishment, from which it made one exception in 2003, when it executed three people. The United States executed 22 people alone in 2015. [Texas is the most bloodthirsty state, having executed more than 525 people since 1976, whereas since 1976, 16 states have executed fewer than eight people each.])

Wikipedia does report that in the early years of the Castro regime there apparently were executions, with estimates ranging from around 220 executions from 1959 to 1987 (per Amnesty International) to many thousands (most of these latter accusers are anti-Castro wingnuts with an ax to grind, I surmise).

Wikipedia notes that

The Cuban government justified such measures on the grounds that the application of the death penalty in Cuba against war criminals and others followed the same procedure as that seen in the trials by the Allies in the Nuremberg trials.

Some Cuban scholars maintain that had the government not applied severe legislation against the torturers, terrorists, and other criminals employed by the Batista regime, the people themselves would have taken justice into their own hands.

and that

The vast majority of those executed following the 1959 [Castro] revolution were policemen, politicians and informers of the [Fulgencio] Batista regime accused of crimes such as torture and murder, and their public trials and executions had widespread popular support among the Cuban population.

Scholars generally agree that those executed were probably guilty as accused, but that the trials did not follow due process.

Fulgencio Batista, the U.S.-backed, right-wing dictator whom Fidel Castro and crew overthrew in 1959, is credited with having executed anywhere from 1,000 to 20,000 of his political opponents, but because he was right-wing, the right wing doesn’t talk about that.

Besides, to the wingnuts, right-wing dictators aren’t really dictators, since they are right-wing — as long as they obey American capitalists, that is (usually, this means handing over their nations’ natural resources [and human resources, in terms of very cheap labor] to American corporations for their profiteering, no matter how much this harms the host [“host” as in the victim of a parasite] nations) — and surely the left-wing rabble whom right-wing dictators have slaughtered had it coming.

So Cuba has a long way to go in terms of human rights — it must move to allow freer speech and political dissent, including allowing the existence of opposition parties and holding real, meaningful elections — but I understand, I believe, why the Cuban government is so closed off and so authoritarian: It knows that if the capitalists from the north can get their greedy fingers on the island and turn it into a wage-slave nation in which only a few prosper while the working-poor masses suffer from the obscene profiteering of the few, they will.

For this reason, as I have written**, while I welcome at least some opening up of Cuba (where I’d like to visit one day), I fear for the people of Cuba, too, lest the virulent pestilence that is anti-democratic wage-slave capitalism (masquerading as “democracy” and “freedom”) infect their sovereign island nation from the north.

The Cuban people would fare worse as wage slaves to American (and other) corporations than they fare now. 

Capitalistic oppression is no better, in terms of what it does to the human spirit, than is (big-“C”) Communist oppression.

*As I’ve noted here a million times, he had the opportunity and the political capital in 2009 and 2010 to push through a progressive agenda, and he spectacularly declined to do so, and once the Repugnican Tea Party traitors took back the House in 2010, that meant gridlock for the remainder of Obama’s presidency (and “Obamacare,” his “signature” “achievement,” contains virtually nothing that the for-profit health-insurance industry didn’t want it to contain).

**I wrote back in December 2014:

One of U.S. President Barack Obama’s best moves is his decision to open diplomatic relations with the government of Cuba after more than 50 years of a pointless cold war with the island nation.

For all of the selfish whining of the tiny but loud minority of Cuban-American wingnuts — who always have been a bunch of fucking ingrates who believe that they should control U.S. foreign policy — ironically, Cubans have a lot more to lose than do Americans should the United States and Cuba ever become super-cozy.

The typical Cuban, after all, has better access to higher education and health care than does the average American. The typical Cuban’s life expectancy is close behind the typical American’s and Cubans’ life expectancy ranks No. 1 among the Latin American nations.

Cuba has universal health care (yes, health care is a human right, and shouldn’tbe an opportunity for profiteering) and Cuba’s literacy rate of 99.8 percent beats the United States’ rate of 99 percent.

Not that Cuba is perfect, perhaps especially on the measure of freedom of speech, but, of course, the United States, which, among other things, calls torture “enhanced interrogation” (someone recently remarked that that’s like calling rape “enhanced dating”) and slaughters scores of innocent civilians by drones in the name of “democracy,” isn’t exactly a paragon of human rights itself, is it?

However, would it benefit most Cubans for American corporations to muscle back into the nation and turn most Cubans into wage slaves, like most Americans are? (Capitalism is, after all, wage slavery that of course creates insane socioeconomic inequality.) Are Cubans really just itching for such wonderful imported American “freedoms” as crushing student-loan debt, wage slavery and bankruptcy from insane health-care costs?

You’d think the rabidly wingnutty Cuban Americans would salivate over the idea of turning Cuba into a cash cow for the corporations again, as it was when darling-of-the-right-wing dictator Fulgencio Batista, who couldn’t sell out the people of Cuba enough to American corporations for his own benefit and the benefit of his fellow elites, was in power.

But what’s up the right-wing Cuban-American ingrates’ asses is that they expect the U.S. government to maintain a cold war with Cuba on their behalf for eternity. They believe that their bitterness against Fidel Castro, who overthrew dictator Batista in the Cuban Revolution of the 1950s, should be reflected by U.S. governmental policy toward Cuba in perpetuity.

(Batista, by the way, fled Cuba on January 1, 1959, with hundreds of millions of dollars he’d taken through obscene corruption and after having slaughtered as many as 20,000 of his political opponents. This is the kind of man, like murderous Chilean dictator Agosto Pinochet, who gets the support of the right wing.

If you think that I’m full of shit, know that President John Kennedy said of Batista that his was “one of the most bloody and repressive dictatorships in the long history of Latin American repression” and that Kennedy wrote this:

I believe that there is no country in the world including any and all the countries under colonial domination, where economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation were worse than in Cuba, in part owing to my country’s policies during the Batista regime.

I approved the proclamation which Fidel Castro made in the Sierra Maestra, when he justifiably called for justice and especially yearned to rid Cuba of corruption.

I will even go further: to some extent it is as though Batista was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the United States. Now we shall have to pay for those sins.

In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban revolutionaries. That is perfectly clear.

Um, yeah.)

To open diplomatic relations with another nation is not to agree with everything that nation does and has done. Certainly the U.S. government and the governments of China and Russia don’t agree on everything, but they maintain diplomatic relations nonetheless.

The teeny-tiny minority of right-wing Cuban-Americans and their supporters (including, of course, the craven politicians who want right-wing Cuban-Americans’ money and votes, such as right-wing Cuban-American scumbags U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida) need to shut the fuck up and put the greater good of the American people and the Cuban people above their own selfish political agendas, and they need to wake the fuck up and stop expecting the rest of us, the vast majority, to maintain their insane cold war of more than five decades.

I support diplomatic relations with Cuba because Cuba has much to teach the United States, which, of course, just might be just what the Cuban-American wingnuts fear most.

But, again, it is Cubans, not Americans, who have the most to lose in significantly close ties between the two nations.

The specter of Cubans once again being oppressed by the craven corporate America is, in fact, the only reason that I would or could oppose diplomatic relations with Cuba.

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Robo-Rubio repeats nauseating, vastly overrated talking point ad nauseam

Rubio comes under withering criticism in Republican debate

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made mincemeat of Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio during last night’s Repugnican Tea Party presidential debate, which is ironic, given that Christie very most likely won’t be the party’s nominee but that thus far Rubio, whose retrograde rhetoric greatly appeals to the party’s adherents, has been polling the best against both Billary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in general-election match-up polls. 

General-election polls this far out from a presidential election can be only so accurate (that is, probably not all that much), but nonetheless the Repugnican Tea Party traitors probably should be shaken, not stirred, that Chris Christie last night did to Marco Rubio what the Hulk did to Loki in “The Avengers” and what Joe Biden did to Paul Ryan in the 2012 vice-presidential debate.

Rubio, for all of his flaws (such as his complete lack of real substance and his apparently just having stepped out from a time machine from at least as far back as the 1950s), was doing better in the polls against both Billary Clinton and Bernie Sanders than was any other Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabe.

Real Clear Politics’ average of general-election match-up polls (polls conducted before last night’s debacle) right now puts Rubio at 5 full percentage points above Billary and even 1.5 percentage points above Bernie.

Rubio is the only top-three (Rubio, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz) Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate whose RCP averages show beating Bernie, in fact; Bernie beats Cruz by 1.5 percent and he beats Trump by a whopping 7.7 percent.

(Billary, on the other hand, not only does worse against Rubio than does Bernie, but she also doesn’t do as well against Trump or Cruz as does Bernie; Cruz beats her by 1 percentage point in RCP’s current average of match-up polls, and she beats Trump by 4 percent to Bernie’s 7.7 percent. Take a look yourself.)

Before Chris Christie, who won’t win his party’s presidential nomination, last night went Hulk on Loki Rubio, Rubio’s shtick of being the next (albeit Latino and Repugnican Tea Party) Barack Obama apparently had been working, given the fact that he had been doing better in the presidential match-up polls than anyone else in his party.

I’m not sure what happened to Rubio last night, and I didn’t watch the debate (having watched all five Democratic debates has been torturous enough, mainly because of the repetition and because of Billary Clinton’s plethora of lies, deflections and triangulations, made with her voice that is like fingernails dragging along a chalkboard), but Rubio widely has been described as having been in last night’s debate like an animatronic feature at Disneyland that, because of a glitch, kept repeating the same line.

The first time he said it, per TIME.com’s transcript of last night’s debate, Rubio said this:

“And let’s dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world.”

He immediately added:

“That’s why he passed Obamacare and the stimulus and Dodd-Frank and the deal with Iran. It is a systematic effort to change America. When I’m president of the United States, we are going to re-embrace all the things that made America the greatest nation in the world and we are going to leave our children with what they deserve: the single greatest nation in the history of the world.”

Then Christie spoke, and among the things he said was this:

“I like Marco Rubio, and he’s a smart person and a good guy, but he simply does not have the experience to be president of the United States and make these decisions. We’ve watched it happen [with Obama], everybody. For the last seven years, the people of New Hampshire are smart. Do not make the same mistake again.”

In his response to that, Rubio bizarrely repetitively stated (in part):

“But I would add this. Let’s dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He is trying to change this country. He wants America to become more like the rest of the world. We don’t want to be like the rest of the world, we want to be the United States of America.

“And when I’m elected president, this will become once again the single greatest nation in the history of the world, not the disaster Barack Obama has imposed upon us.”

Christie devastatingly responds (in part): “You see, everybody, I want the people at home to think about this. That’s what Washington, D.C., does: The drive-by shot at the beginning with incorrect and incomplete information and then the memorized 25-second speech that is exactly what his advisers gave him.

“See, Marco — Marco, the thing is this: When you’re president of the United States, when you’re a governor of a state, the memorized 30-second speech where you talk about how great America is at the end of it doesn’t solve one problem for one person.

“They expect you to plow the snow. They expect you to get the schools open. And when the worst natural disaster in your state’s history hits you, they expect you to rebuild their state, which is what I’ve done.

“None of that stuff happens on the floor of the United States Senate. It’s a fine job, I’m glad you ran for it, but it does not prepare you for president of the United States.”

Quite bizarrely, Rubio responds to Christie a third time with the Obama thing; he says, in part, “Here’s the bottom line: This notion that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing is just not true. He knows exactly what he’s doing.”

Christie immediately responds, “There it is. There it is. The memorized 25-second speech. There it is, everybody.”

Unfazed and undeterred, Robo-Rubio goes on for a fourth iteration of the same point: “Well, that’s the — that’s the reason why this campaign is so important. Because I think this notion — I think this is an important point. We have to understand what we’re going through here. We are not facing a president that doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows what he is doing. That’s why he’s done the things he’s done.

“That’s why we have a president that passed Obamacare and the stimulus. All this damage that he’s done to America is deliberate. This is a president that’s trying to redefine this country. That’s why this election is truly a referendum on our identity as a nation, as a people. Our future is at stake. …”

Just: Wow.

Donald Trump later in the debate took issue with Robo-Rubio’s repetitive asssertion that the evil Barack Obama knows exactly what he’s doing by stating, “I think we have a president who, as a president, is totally incompetent, and he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

Two very different views from two individuals who claim the same party.

I agree that Barack Obama didn’t have enough experience to be president. He’d only been a U.S. senator for four years before he ascended to the White House and had never been a governor or even a mayor, of course.

That he spent — squandered — his first two years in the nation’s highest elected office acting as though he were so special (a second coming of Abraham Lincoln or something) that he could unite the two parties in a rousing rendition of “Kumbaya” demonstrated his utter lack of experience in D.C. (and his hubris).

The Repugnican Tea Party traitors in D.C. never were going to cooperate with Obama, not only because he uses the label of Democrat but also because he’s half-black. In fact, it’s anachronistic of me to write that the “Repugnican Tea Party traitors” in D.C. never were going to cooperate with him, because the “tea party’s” creation, circa 2009, was a reaction to the election of another Democratic and our first non-all-white president.

The “tea party” surge of 2009 and 2010 lost the Democrats control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2010, and therefore any progressive agenda that Obama might have tried to push through for the next six years was pretty much dead on arrival.

And I blame Obama’s lack of political experience and his pride for that, for his apparent belief that he’s so great that his merely being president would solve all of the nation’s problems (and its wounds, such as its long-standing problems with racism) to the point that he didn’t need to even try to push through a progressive agenda in 2009 and 2010, when he still had a shitload of political capital, including both houses of Congress in his party’s control.

But I voted for Obama in November 2008, so I have to own that. It was a shot in the dark, I knew, to put this relative neophyte into the White House, but he ubiquitously and relentlessly was promising “hope” and “change,” and sometimes these things work out well. It was, I’d figured, worth a shot.

I digress, as I so often do, but I will note that while the Repugnican Tea Party’s complaint against Obama is that he has gone too far to the left, my chief complaint against Obama is that he hasn’t gone nearly enough to the left.

But the larger point that I want to make is that so often the style and not the substance (such as it is) of Marco Rubio’s nationally televised appearances is analyzed.

For instance, there was some criticism that the substance of Rubio’s nationally televised response to Barack Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address was overlooked because on live TV he’d grabbed a water bottle and taken a swig from it — as though we couldn’t see him do that on live national television. It was a rather bizarre moment.

“Yes, let’s look at the content of Marco Rubio’s speech,” I blogged then, and I concluded that Rubio’s central shtick is to pretend that we’re still living at least as far back in the 1950s, when, as least the mythos goes, anyone could make it in the capitalist United States of America if he or she only tried — so if you’re struggling right now, it’s entirely your own fucking fault as a patently defective individual, because the American socioeconomic system is perfect, is a perfect meritocracy.

This was the origin of my nickname of “Bootstraps” for Rubio, although that might have been supplanted now by “Robo-Rubio.”

Rubio, like his fellow Cuban-American fascist Ted Cruz, mindlessly spouts the antiquated, bullshit rhetoric of the Cuban fascists whom the much more egalitarian Fidel Castro decades ago induced to flee to the United States, where their treasonous, right-wing, fascist, pro-capitalist/pro-exploitation/pro-plutocratic/anti-populist philosophy could thrive.

(I concluded my blog post on Rubio’s response to the 2013 State of the Union address:

And I agree wholeheartedly: It’s not about the little water bottle that Marco Rubio grabbed during a live national television address.

It’s about the fact that no one who asserts that we still live in a time that, if it ever existed at all, ceased to exist decades ago, is fit to lead.

You can lead only if you are planted firmly in the present and in the problems of the presentnot if you’re still stuck in an episode of “Leave It to Beaver” or “The Andy Griffith Show.”

I stand by every word of that.)

If the “substance” of Rubio’s response to the State of the Union address was lost amid the shallow discussion of his on-air parchedness, I’m also not seeing a discussion of the “substance” of the “point” that Rubio thought was so damned clever and so fucking insightful that he kept repeating it over and over and over and over and over again last night, even after Chris Christie had just slammed him for only standing up there and repeating it mindlessly.

So let’s examine Rubio’s first iteration of it:

“… And let’s dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world.

“That’s why he passed Obamacare and the stimulus and Dodd-Frank and the deal with Iran. It is a systematic effort to change America. When I’m president of the United States, we are going to re-embrace all the things that made America the greatest nation in the world and we are going to leave our children with what they deserve: the single greatest nation in the history of the world.”

First and foremost, I see in Rubio’s words his constant hearkening at least as far back to the 1950s; anything that Obama or any other president might do that doesn’t keep the United States of America firmly trapped in amber for eternity is bad. It threatens “the single greatest nation in the history of the world.”

And those words evoke Robo-Rubio’s second theme, which is that of American “supremacy,” which to me is way too aligned with white American supremacy, but you can get away with alleging American supremacy because that can be cast as patriotism rather than as racism and bigotry.

But Robo-Rubio’s words are awfully loaded: “Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world.”

What Rubio very apparently is evoking, especially within his older, whiter and richer voters, is the specter that their exploitative, exclusive, Elysium-like existence has been threatened!

Americans’ quality of life, in which even most poorer Americans still have it better off than do billions of other human beings around the globe, and which comes at the expense of those billions of other human beings around the globe, might be threatened — by global equality! Global equality! Did you hear me? I said: GLOBAL EQUALITY! HORRORS!

What if our wholly unsustainable, materialistic, overly consumeristic lifestyles were threatened? What if we actually had to live like responsible citizens of the planet? What if we actually had to scale it back so that other human beings and, indeed, the planet itself, could survive?

One shudders to contemplate the consequences of us Americans surrendering even a modicum of our abject selfishness — even when our abject selfishness is to the point that it is threatening even our own continued survival, such as with extreme weather events and the spread of diseases to warming environments, such as the Zika virus.

Rubio’s “vision” for the Unites States of America is fairly clear: “Obamacare” bad. Not because it doesn’t go far enough, not because “Obamacare” contains in it nothing that the wealth-care — er, health-care industry didn’t want in it — which is my criticism of it — but because to help anyone with health care at all is bad.

The stimulus — bad, because, as we have just established, helping anyone out (except, of course, the weasels of Wall Street and other corporate weasels) is bad. (Bootstraps! Pick yourself up by them! Oh, you don’t have any boots? That’s because you’re lazy!)

Dodd-Frank, which was just a Band-Aid on the dam that is Wall Street, the dam that regularly bursts, is bad, because the Wall Street weasels should be allowed to do whatever they please. (Why do you hate freedom?)

The deal with Iran — bad, because, a la George Orwell’s 1984, we must always have an enemy. The treasonous rich (the true enemy, within) can continue to rape, pillage and plunder us commoners much more easily if we commoners always have an enemy from without to focus upon.

So, as president, Robo-Rubio would make sure that we commoners don’t get adequate health care — or any assistance at all, because, you know, bootstraps — and he would return Wall Street to the freedom-loving weasels who keep ruining our nation’s economy but whom we keep bailing out nonetheless (bootstraps don’t apply to the Wall Street weasels, you see; I mean, when have you ever seen a weasel wearing boots?). And for our diversion, a President Bootstraps would ensure that we were at war with some other nation at all times.

And the last thing that a President Bootstraps would allow is global equality, a grave evil that only Satan himself could have conjured.

Because Robo-Rubio has vision!

If you think that I’ve misrepresented Robo-Rubio’s “vision,” here is another of his many iterations of the same point last night:

“… I think anyone who believes that Barack Obama isn’t doing what he’s doing on purpose doesn’t understand what we’re dealing with here, OK? This is a president — this is a president who is trying to change this country. When he talked about change, he wasn’t talking about dealing with our problems.

“Obamacare was not an accident. The undermining of the Second Amendment is not an accident. The gutting of our military is not an accident. The undermining of America on the global stage is not an accident. Barack Obama is, indeed, trying to redefine this country. We better understand what we’re dealing with here, because that’s what Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders want to double down on if they are elected.”

Well, yes, Obama has tried to change the nation, very incrementally, too incrementally (as Billary now proposes to do), but with change you have to ask who benefits from it and who doesn’t. Of course Robo-Rubio’s target audience — the mostly older, richer, whiter set — benefits the most from the status quo. The majority of the rest of us Americans, and the rest of the world, do not.

Again, Obamacare was but a Band-Aid on the severe problem that the United States spends more per capita on health care than does any other nation yet has worse health-care outcomes than do many other nations that spend much less on health care — and this is because health care is so widely for-profit here in the U.S.

Yes, we need to change our health-care system. Obamacare didn’t go nearly far enough, but Bootstraps and his treasonous ilk claim that it went way too far.

The Second Amendment is not endangered. Most Americans still may quite easily purchase a weapon that is far more lethal than anyone thought weapons ever would be when the Second Amendment was adopted.

Our military has not been “gutted.” This graph, titled “Top five countries by military expenditure in 2014. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies,” is from Wikipedia’s article on global military spending:

If the United States of America halved its military spending, it still would exceed No.-2 China’s by a significant amount.

So when Robo-Rubio claims that “When [Obama] talked about change, he wasn’t talking about dealing with our problems,” who, exactly, is “our”? Because the things that Bootstraps wants to reverse and/or to continue — such as maintaining a bloated-beyond-belief military budget and perpetrating perpetual warfare; refusing to help Americans with health care, even in a token way, such as via Obamacare (while bailing out the Wall Street weasels who should receive prison sentences instead of welfare); and ensuring that gun massacres continue to happen on a regular basis (because Second Amendment!) are things that are harmful to us commoners.

I will, however, agree with one statement that Robo-Rubio made last night: Bernie Sanders, if elected as president, probably would “double down” on trying to create the change that Barack Obama promised but very mostly has not delivered, the kind of change that Bootstraps Rubio and his fascist ilk absolutely abhor: the kind of change that benefits not only the most Americans as possible, but the most human beings on the planet as possible — instead of keeping the relatively tiny few safely atop their treasonous, oligarchic perches of stolen wealth and power and privilege, from where they shit and piss upon the rest of us, the masses, and from where they conspire even to destroy the entire planet itself, because their short-sightedness, selfishness and greed know no bounds.

P.S. I just found this news photo via Yahoo! News:

MR12. Londonderry (Usa), 07/02/2016.- People depicting robots mock Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio's performance at the 06 February Republican debate; outside a Rubio campaign event at Londonderry High School in Londonderry, New Hampshire, USA, 07 February 2016. The New Hampshire primary will be held on 09 February 2016. (Estados Unidos) EFE/EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

EFE (Spain) photo

Its caption states: “People depicting robots mock Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio’s performance at the February 6 Republican debate, outside a Rubio campaign event at Londonderry High School in Londonderry, New Hampshire, [today]. The New Hampshire primary will be held on [Tuesday].”

Yup. Methinks that his debate performance last night is going to harm Robo-Rubio on Tuesday. Right now he’s polling at a distant second to Donald Trump in New Hampshire, but now, I’m thinking, he’ll come in no more than at third place.

Rubio’s chance of winning the nomination suffered a serious blow last night, and he probably was the best presidential candidate his party had in these shallow times, where legions of low-information voters decide so many elections.

Thank you, Chris Christie!

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My money is on ‘Bootstraps’ Rubio for the Repugnican Tea Party nomination

Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Sen. Marco “Bootstraps” Rubio of Florida has a thirst for power that the party’s primary voters just might quench by making him his party’s 2016 presidential nominee. But I don’t see enough Latino voters, most of whom are Mexican American, falling for the bait and switch (Rubio is a right-wing, pro-plutocratic, anti-working-class Cuban American [which is fairly redundant]) and putting Rubio into the White House in November 2016.

Now that Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin wonderfully has tanked, I agree with the many pundits who now eye Marco Rubio as the most likely 2016 Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate.

Now that the 40-something Walker — the anti-labor-union one-trick pony who once actually compared members of labor unions to terrorists in the Middle East (because everything comes back to destroying what little is left of our labor unions) — is out of the picture, the 40-something Rubio now gets to be the “fresh face” of the Repugnican Tea Party presidential field.

I use quotation marks there and I have nicknamed Rubio “Bootstraps” because of the 1950s-era if-you’re-not-rich-it’s-your-own-damned-fault-because-you’re-probably-lazy-and-refuse-to-pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps bullshit political rhetoric that spews like poison from this right-wing Cuban American’s fangs as though he had just stepped out of a fucking time machine.

So now Rubio, at 44, is the youngest of the bunch of fascistic presidential wannabes, and so I expect the Repugnican Tea Party ultimately to view him as Their Latino Answer to Barack Obama. (U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the bat-shit insane reincarnation of Joseph McCarthy, is less than a year older than Rubio, but he seems older than that…)

Of course, when you look at the two Latinos who are vying for the Repugnican Tea Party presidential nomination, both of them, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, are Cuban-American, which makes sense, since most Cuban Americans are to the right. Most of them are rich white (European-stock) Cubans who fled Cuba some decades ago because their plutocracy and their kleptocracy and their advocacy of insane income inequality (since the inequality benefited them) didn’t fly under the new, much more egalitarian Castro regime — and are the progeny of these former Cubans who have passed down their wingnuttery to their progeny. (Rubio’s parents, it should be noted, immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba in 1956, a few years before Castro’s rise in 1959, but Rubio, representing Florida, is wholly on board with the right-wing, anti-Castro Cuban Americans who believe that although they relatively are a tiny minority, they should dictate U.S. policy in regards to Cuba.)

While white supremacists don’t differentiate Latinos — a Spanish surname is a Spanish surname, and these racists tend to believe that all Latinos are “Mexicans” (or that, at least, it’s just easiest to just call Latinos “Mexicans” rather than try to sort them all out [much like how Middle Easterners attacked us on 9/11 and Iraq is in the Middle East — close enough!]) — it’s important to note that in 2010, 63 percent of Latinos in the U.S. were of Mexican descent, and only 3.5 percent of Cuban descent.

So Cuban Americans are not representative of most Latinos in the United States, so neither Rubio nor Cruz is representative of most Latinos in the United States.

But again, such distinctions don’t matter to those of the Repugnican Tea Party, who probably ignorantly and cynically will view Marco Rubio as their best shot at trying to reverse at least some of the damage that El Trumpo has done to the party with the Latino demographic.

Most Mexican Americans won’t buy it; the majority of them are quite through with the Repugnican Tea Party, and of course most of them are acutely aware, unlike whitey, of the differences between Mexican Americans and Cuban Americans.

But why do I predict Rubio and not Cruz? Because Cruz is so much of a nut job and a douche bag who can’t win a national election that even most of those in his party recognize that fact, that’s why. Perhaps to a lesser extent it’s also because his state of Texas will continue to be tarnished for a while because the last president who hailed from Texas was so fucking abysmally awful. That George W. Bush was the governor of Texas certainly harmed former Texas Gov. Prick Perry’s two bids for the White House, although Perry himself, like Cruz, is a shitty candidate, so in the cases of Perry and Cruz you can’t put all of the blame on Texas.

Let me list others who can’t and won’t win the 2016 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nomination: Lindsay Graham, Bobby Jindal, Prick Santorum, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee and Carly Fiorina. None of them (along with Cruz) is averaging even 7 percent in recent nationwide polls. Fiorina is a bit of a darling for the moment, but once more information is released about her — trust me, she ran for the U.S. Senate here in California in 2010 (and lost, of course), and her record and her character are seriously bad — she’s toast. She’s having her Michele Bachmann moment right now. Let her have it, as it’s all she’s going to get. (Well, no, she might get the veep spot. After Sarah Palin, anything is possible.)

So this easy elimination leaves us with Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Jeb! Bush and Marco Rubio, whose average nationwide polling right now is in that order, first through fourth.

It’s not impossible for Trump to emerge the victor, of course, but I doubt that he will. His campaign has money but no substance, and the party establishment wants him eliminated, so I can’t see Team Trump not sputtering out eventually. As some have posited, Trump might make some noise at the Repugnican National Convention, but it’s unlikely that he’ll win the party’s presidential nomination. Again, Trump has flash but no substance, and flash has a short shelf life.

Of course Ben Carson won’t win the nomination. Even if the party’s voters could get over his race in enough numbers to win him the nomination, no president in my lifetime of more than four decades had not been at least a U.S. senator or the governor of a state before ascending to the Oval Office, so that hurts Carson (as well as Trump). Of course, Carson very apparently has been in this only to sell his brand of life-advice bullshit anyway.

Jeb! not only has the Godzilla-sized albatross that is his brother’s presidency around his neck — it’s interesting that Jeb! says that Gee Dubya “kept us safe” when almost 3,000 Americans died in September 2001, the month that followed Gee Dubya’s receipt of the U.S. presidential daily brief titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”; when almost 4,500 of our soldiers have died in the illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War (more than 3,500 of them combat deaths); and when almost 2,000 Americans were killed by Hurricane Katrina when there had been at least two or three days’ warning before it made landfall that the hurricane could be absolutely devastating — but Jeb! is only mildly more charismatic than is Scott “Dead Man” Walker.

I mean, the use of “Jeb!” perfectly encapsulates Jeb!’s problems: He runs away from the surname of Bush because it’s so politically toxic, and he has to use an exclamation point! in order to try to gin up some excitement for himself.

Even if Gee Dubya’s stolen presidency had been much, much, much better than it was, we Americans never would put three people from the same fucking family into the White House, so it’s unlikely that Jeb! ever was going to break the previous record of two U.S. presidents from the same family (the Adamses, the Roosevelts and the Bushes are the record holders).

So we are left with Marco Rubio, whom the Repugnican Tea Party will view as the perfect 2016 presidential candidate: He’s young and he’s not Anglo, so he’s the Barack Obama of the Repugnican Tea Party. He is Latino, but he’s the “right” kind of Latino — right-wing, pro-plutocratic, anti-working-class, light-skinned Cuban-American. And again, after El Trumpo has bashed the party like an elephant piñata, the party needs all the help with the Latino vote that it can get, so the cynical fronting of a right-wing, pro-plutocratic, anti-working-class candidate with a Spanish name will be mighty tempting.

Rubio — unlike Trump, Carson and Fiorina — has been a U.S. senator or the governor of a state, so he has that going for him, too.

Rubio, like Ben Carson, is a wingnut but can pass (for the low-information/“swing”/“independent” voter) as a fairly sane and decent individual, so there’s that factor as well. (As I noted, Cruz can’t pass for decent and sane, and neither can Jindal, Santorum or Huckabee, or Paul, to a lesser extent.)

And Rubio’s state of Florida is an important swing state; recall that Florida and its 25 electoral votes were pivotal in the stolen 2000 presidential election, when Jeb!, who then was governor of the state, worked with former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris and others to steal the presidential election in the state (and thus the presidential election for the nation) for his brother.

All in all, the stars align for Marco Rubio to become his party’s champion for this presidential election cycle.

Could he win the White House?

I don’t think so. The Democrats and those who lean Democratic won’t vote for him, of course, and I don’t think that Rubio’s presidential candidacy could fool enough Latino voters, as much as they would love to see one of their own finally in the White House. Not just because the sulfurous stench of El Trumpo probably still will be lingering enough to damage the Repugnican Tea Party come November 2016, but also because Rubio’s socioeconomic and political philosophy in and of itself is pretty fucking odiferous.

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Cubans have much more to lose in closer ties with the United States

FILE - In this July 31, 2004 file photo, Cuba's President Fidel Castro, left, and his brother, Minister of Defense Raul Castro, attend a Parliament session in Havana, Cuba. The 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union devastated the Cuban economy, but the country limped along, first under Fidel and then, after he fell ill in 2006, under his brother Raul, head of the Cuban military. On Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, the U.S. and Cuba agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking a historic shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island after a half-century of enmity dating back to the Cold War. (AP Photo/Cristobal Herrera, File)

Associated Press photo

The 88-year-old Fidel Castro won’t live forever, and Cuba is about a lot more than Fidel Castro. (Castro is shown above in 2004 with his brother, Raul Castro, who took over as the leader of the island nation in 2008 due to Fidel Castro’s failing health.) The United States should have restored diplomatic relations with Cuba decades ago, and the tiny but loud minority of right-wing Cuban Americans need to shut the fuck up and for once put the greater good of Americans and Cubans above their own bitterness and selfishness — and humble themselves and remind themselves that the majority of the American people twice elected President Barack Obama to represent the United States on the global stage.

One of U.S. President Barack Obama’s best moves is his decision to open diplomatic relations with the government of Cuba after more than 50 years of a pointless cold war with the island nation.

For all of the selfish whining of the tiny but loud minority of Cuban-American wingnuts — who always have been a bunch of fucking ingrates who believe that they should control U.S. foreign policy — ironically, Cubans have a lot more to lose than do Americans should the United States and Cuba ever become super-cozy.

The typical Cuban, after all, has better access to higher education and health care than does the average American. The typical Cuban’s life expectancy is close behind the typical American’s and Cubans’ life expectancy ranks No. 1 among the Latin American nations.

Cuba has universal health care (yes, health care is a human right, and shouldn’t be an opportunity for profiteering) and Cuba’s literacy rate of 99.8 percent beats the United States’ rate of 99 percent.

Not that Cuba is perfect, perhaps especially on the measure of freedom of speech, but, of course, the United States, which, among other things, calls torture “enhanced interrogation” (someone recently remarked that that’s like calling rape “enhanced dating”) and slaughters scores of innocent civilians by drones in the name of “democracy,” isn’t exactly a paragon of human rights itself, is it?

However, would it benefit most Cubans for American corporations to muscle back into the nation and turn most Cubans into wage slaves, like most Americans are? (Capitalism is, after all, wage slavery that of course creates insane socioeconomic inequality.) Are Cubans really just itching for such wonderful imported American “freedoms” as crushing student-loan debt, wage slavery and bankruptcy from insane health-care costs?

You’d think the rabidly wingnutty Cuban Americans would salivate over the idea of turning Cuba into a cash cow for the corporations again, as it was when darling-of-the-right-wing dictator Fulgencio Batista, who couldn’t sell out the people of Cuba enough to American corporations for his own benefit and the benefit of his fellow elites, was in power.

But what’s up the right-wing Cuban-American ingrates’ asses is that they expect the U.S. government to maintain a cold war with Cuba on their behalf for eternity. They believe that their bitterness against Fidel Castro, who overthrew dictator Batista in the Cuban Revolution of the 1950s, should be reflected by U.S. governmental policy toward Cuba in perpetuity.

(Batista, by the way, fled Cuba on January 1, 1959, with hundreds of millions of dollars he’d taken through obscene corruption and after having slaughtered as many as 20,000 of his political opponents. This is the kind of man, like murderous Chilean dictator Agosto Pinochet, who gets the support of the right wing.

If you think that I’m full of shit, know that President John Kennedy said of Batista that his was “one of the most bloody and repressive dictatorships in the long history of Latin American repression” and that Kennedy wrote this:

I believe that there is no country in the world including any and all the countries under colonial domination, where economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation were worse than in Cuba, in part owing to my country’s policies during the Batista regime. I approved the proclamation which Fidel Castro made in the Sierra Maestra, when he justifiably called for justice and especially yearned to rid Cuba of corruption. I will even go further: to some extent it is as though Batista was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the United States. Now we shall have to pay for those sins. In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban revolutionaries. That is perfectly clear.

Um, yeah.)

To open diplomatic relations with another nation is not to agree with everything that nation does and has done. Certainly the U.S. government and the governments of China and Russia don’t agree on everything, but they maintain diplomatic relations nonetheless.

The teeny-tiny minority of right-wing Cuban-Americans and their supporters (including, of course, the craven politicians who want right-wing Cuban-Americans’ money and votes, such as right-wing Cuban-American scumbags U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida) need to shut the fuck up and put the greater good of the American people and the Cuban people above their own selfish political agendas, and they need to wake the fuck up and stop expecting the rest of us, the vast majority, to maintain their insane cold war of more than five decades.

I support diplomatic relations with Cuba because Cuba has much to teach the United States, which, of course, just might be just what the Cuban-American wingnuts fear most.

But, again, it is Cubans, not Americans, who have the most to lose in significantly close ties between the two nations.

The specter of Cubans once again being oppressed by the craven corporate America is, in fact, the only reason that I would or could oppose diplomatic relations with Cuba.

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Patriot Ed Snowden evokes Nuremberg in his ongoing fight for freedom

Snowden wants Russia asylum, lawmaker says

Associated Press image

American patriot Edward Snowden during a press conference at a Moscow airport today stated that he has been following “the principle declared at Nuremberg in 1945: ‘Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.'” Amen. The U.S. government does not own us. We own it. Ultimately, all of us, every single human being, is a citizen of the world — and not the property of any one nation. (The full transcript of Snowden’s remarks of today are below; I recommend that you read every word.)

I was just asking to be rescued from the ocean of freedom in which I’m drowning (U-S-A! U-S-A!), but I’m still drowning in all of that freedom!

Very apparently, the elites in D.C., who stopped representing our interests long, long ago, believe that they have the right to restrict our right to travel freely.

To me, the right to travel freely — until and unless one has been demonstrated in a fair trial in a court of law to pose an actual (and not a hypothetical) threat to others — is a universal human right, and if we bash certain other nations for restricting their citizens’ right to travel freely (and we do), then we’re fucking hypocrites (as usual) when we do the same.

To wit: The Repugnican-Tea-Party-controlled U.S. House of Representatives — and remember, these very same wingnuts claim that they’re all about “freedom” — apparently want to put further restrictions on American citizens’ right to travel to Cuba.

The pro-capitalist/pro-feudalism wingnuts hate the anti-capitalist Cuba, you see, and they want the continued monetary support of Cuban Americans, the majority of whom (like Florida’s Marco Rubio and Texas’ Ted Cruz) are wingnuts, so, to keep the tiny minority of Americans who are of Cuban descent happy and to keep their campaign contributions (well, their bribes) flowing, the wingnuts want to tell us Americans which nations we may visit and which nations we may not.

Where Cuba is concerned, this is for purely political/ideological reasons, and therefore it is a blatant violation of our human rights. We Americans essentially are to be political prisoners of the right wing. Yes, to me, restricting someone’s free travel is in same league as false imprisonment: You are unjustly restricting someone’s freedom of movement from one place to another.

This isn’t just a Repugnican Tea Party thing.

American patriot Edward Snowden’s latest pronouncement (which he made during a press conference in Russia today) is that (as we already knew) the U.S. government is doing its damnedest to keep him virtually imprisoned in Russia. Snowden has asked for temporary asylum in Russia while he figures out how to travel to one of the Latin American nations, including Venezuela, that have offered him permanent asylum.

Snowden should be able to travel anywhere on the planet, but the U.S. government, the biggest bully on the planet, has been strong-arming weaker nations into preventing Snowden from flying over their airspace; these weakers nations fear that if they don’t succumb tot he U.S. government’s demands, the U.S. government will retaliate against them.

That’s called bullying, and bullying comes from a space of cowardice, not of strength. A strong nation doesn’t need to violate a single individual’s human rights. We say this all the time of individuals: If you have nothing to hide, then what are you worried about? I say the same thing to the treasonous elites of the U.S. government: If you have no wrongdoing to hide, then why the hell are you working so hard to persecute Edward Snowden?

It’s obvious that Snowden can’t get a fair trial in the U.S., not when the American “justice” system is controlled by the same treasonous elites who want his head on a silver platter. Therefore, because he is the victim of political persecution, his application for political asylum in another nation is apt.

While the treasonous elites in D.C. more or less have stopped calling Snowden a “traitor,” they’re still doing what they can to snare him, and if we allow them to persecute him, then we are enabling them to expand their net until one day, sooner rather than later, any of us commoners who have embarrassed and/or pissed off the treasonous elites can be branded as “traitors” — not because we actually harmed the nation in any way, of course, but only because we dared to cross our overlords.

Of course, perhaps the reason that the treasonous elites in D.C. more or less have stopped calling Snowden a “traitor” — aside from the fact that such pronouncements have demonstrated already that he cannot get a fair trial in the U.S. — is that Snowden’s status as a “traitor” is the minority view.

While the results of the Quinnipiac University poll of more than 2,000 registered voters nationwide that was taken from June 28 through July 8 admittedly are a bit schizophrenic, the answer to at least one of the questions seems fairly clear. That question was “Do you regard Edward Snowden — the national security consultant who released information to the media about the phone-scanning program [that’s not exactly all of it, but whatever ] — as more of a traitor, or more of a whistleblower?”

Only 34 percent of the poll respondents were willing to brand Snowden a “traitor,” while 55 percent deemed him a “whistleblower,” and 11 percent (for some reason) were “unsure.”

So entrapped are they in their Big Bubble of Privilege that the treasonous elites in D.C. from both of the duopolistic, pro-plutocratic, pro-corporate parties casually pronounced Snowden a “traitor,” when only about a third of the Americans whose interests these elites actually claim to represent agree with that assessment, while more than half of them — of us — disagree with that assessment. (Can you say “Out of fucking touch”?)

It seems to me that the elites in D.C. need to tread with caution. Maybe, just maybe, Americans are waking up to the fact that it’s our over-privileged overlords, and not young patriots like Edward Snowden, who are the real traitors who are doing the real damage to this nation and to the rest of the world.

P.S. Thus far Edward Snowden’s legal defense fund through the Progressive Change Campaign Committee has raised more than $37,000. I’ve given $30 thus far; if you wish, you can contribute here (be sure to give to the “PCCC Strategic Fund”).

Here is the transcript of Snowden’s remarks of today:

Hello. My name is Ed Snowden. A little over one month ago, I had family, a home in paradise, and I lived in great comfort. I also had the capability without any warrant to search for, seize and read your communications. Anyone’s communications at any time. That is the power to change people’s fates.

It is also a serious violation of the law. The Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution of my country, Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and numerous statutes and treaties forbid such systems of massive, pervasive surveillance.

While the U.S. Constitution marks these programs as illegal, my government argues that secret court rulings, which the world is not permitted to see, somehow legitimize an illegal affair. These rulings simply corrupt the most basic notion of justice – that it must be seen to be done. The immoral cannot be made moral through the use of secret law.

I believe in the principle declared at Nuremberg in 1945: “Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.”

Accordingly, I did what I believed right and began a campaign to correct this wrongdoing. I did not seek to enrich myself. I did not seek to sell U.S. secrets. I did not partner with any foreign government to guarantee my safety. Instead, I took what I knew to the public, so what affects all of us can be discussed by all of us in the light of day, and I asked the world for justice.

That moral decision to tell the public about spying that affects all of us has been costly, but it was the right thing to do and I have no regrets.

Since that time, the government and intelligence services of the United States of America have attempted to make an example of me, a warning to all others who might speak out as I have. I have been made stateless and hounded for my act of political expression.

The United States Government has placed me on no-fly lists. It demanded Hong Kong return me outside of the framework of its laws, in direct violation of the principle of non-refoulement – the Law of Nations. It has threatened with sanctions countries who would stand up for my human rights and the [United Nations] asylum system. It has even taken the unprecedented step of ordering military allies to ground a Latin American president’s plane in search for a political refugee.

These dangerous escalations represent a threat not just to the dignity of Latin America, but to the basic rights shared by every person, every nation, to live free from persecution, and to seek and enjoy asylum.

Yet even in the face of this historically disproportionate aggression, countries around the world have offered support and asylum. These nations, including Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador have my gratitude and respect for being the first to stand against human rights violations carried out by the powerful rather than the powerless. By refusing to compromise their principles in the face of intimidation, they have earned the respect of the world. It is my intention to travel to each of these countries to extend my personal thanks to their people and leaders.

I announce today my formal acceptance of all offers of support or asylum I have been extended and all others that may be offered in the future. With, for example, the grant of asylum provided by Venezuela’s President Maduro, my asylee status is now formal, and no state has a basis by which to limit or interfere with my right to enjoy that asylum.

As we have seen, however, some governments in Western European and North American states have demonstrated a willingness to act outside the law, and this behavior persists today. This unlawful threat makes it impossible for me to travel to Latin America and enjoy the asylum granted there in accordance with our shared rights.

This willingness by powerful states to act extra-legally represents a threat to all of us, and must not be allowed to succeed. Accordingly, I ask for your assistance in requesting guarantees of safe passage from the relevant nations in securing my travel to Latin America, as well as requesting asylum in Russia until such time as these states accede to law and my legal travel is permitted. I will be submitting my request to Russia today, and hope it will be accepted favorably.

If you have any questions, I will answer what I can.

Thank you.

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Only a Wayback Machine can save the Repugnican Tea Party now

The Repugnican Tea Party traitors should consider hiring Mr. Peabody as a consultant, and they’ll need to go back to even before 1900…

So the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ talking point now is that in order to win over voters from now on, they have to communicate better.

Wow.

They’ve been communicating quite well, actually. Anyone who has been paying attention should be quite clear on where they have stood. Take the Repugnican Tea Party’s platform that was approved from its last national convention. This is Faux News reporting, too (in August):

Tampa, Fla. — Republicans emphatically approved a toughly worded party platform at their national convention Tuesday that would ban all  abortions and gay marriages, reshape Medicare into a voucher-like program and cut taxes to energize the economy and create jobs. …

There alone, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors alienated most women and almost all non-heterosexuals (there are some self-loathing non-heterosexuals who support the Repugnican Tea Party, but there aren’t a lot of them). There’s no way to “better” “communicate” such stances as that the embryo’s or fetus’ “rights” always trump those of the mother (even, very apparently, in such cases as rape, incest or when the mother’s life would be at risk should the pregnancy continue) or that the U.S. Constitution should be amended to ban same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

Those are the hard-right, misogynist, homophobic and patriarchal stances that the Repugnican Tea Party took in its latest party platform, which wasn’t passed nearly long enough ago for the fascistic traitors who comprise the party to claim now that they just didn’t “communicate” well enough.

It’s not just women and gays whom the Repugnican Tea Party traitors have alienated, of course.

Most of the traitors still are beating up on the brown-skinned immigrants from south of the border, whom they regard as subhuman, much as how the Nazis regarded the Jews and how the Israelis, ironically, now regard the Palestinians.

Ohioan “Joe the Plumber,” one of the poster boys for the stupid white man, who last year ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on the Repugnican Tea Party ticket (of course) declared in Arizona — Ground Zero for the anti-immigrant bigotry and hatred in the U.S.; indeed, Arizona is the South Africa of the Southwest — in August that the U.S. government should “put a damn fence on the border going with Mexico and start shooting.” Those were the words of a candidate for a federal office.

Let’s not leave out black Americans, of course.

A huge chunk of the Repugnican Tea Party traitors still maintain that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and thus his presidency is illegitimate — as though if there had been any problem with Obama’s constitutionally mandated qualifications to be president, neither Billary Clinton nor John McCainosaurus, who must have spent plenty of dough on opposition research and who both wanted to be president very badly, would have discovered it and then worked to oust Obama from the 2008 presidential race.

Michelle Obama can’t do anything without being criticized for it by the white-supremacist wingnuts as being un-first-lady-like. What if Laura Bush — or (shivers) First Lady Ann Romney — had announced the Oscar for Best Picture? Would the Repugnican Tea Party traitors have brayed that that was “inappropriate”?

Of course not — because their main problem with Barack Obama and his wife is that they’re blacks who are in the White House.

And even while we have some of the Repugnican Tea Party traitors claiming that they just need to “communicate” “better,” as I type this sentence we have most of the members of the Repugnican Tea Party publicly hoping that the right-wing-controlled U.S. Supreme Court will eviscerate the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — because despite the fact that the Repugnican Tea Party still advocates measures that keep blacks and other non-whites and other Democratically leaning individuals from voting, such as strict voter identification requirements (in the name of preventing the “voter fraud” that does not exist — that’s in their party platform, too) and insanely long voting lines for black, non-white and other Democratically leaning voters (coupled, of course, with short lines for Repugnican Tea Party voters), race-based voter suppression is a relic from the past, you see.

And if the Repugnican Tea Party traitors can’t suppress enough Democratically leaning voters, fuck it, they’ll just at least try to change the way that we divvy up the electoral votes in the Electoral College, but only in those states that will boost the Repugnican Tea Party. (We’ll leave Texas and the other dark-red states alone, you see.)

It’s clear that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors like, respect and support democracy only when they win/“win” elections. (The quotation marks are for such elections as the 2000 presidential election.) You can’t “communicate” that obvious fact “better.”

We also have Mittens Romney’s comment in October that “47 percent” of Americans are mooches, when, in fact, it’s the 47 percent who voted for Romney who are the takers, while the denizens of the blue states (the “47 percent” whom Romney was referring to) always have been and always will be the makers, supporting the welfare states that are the red states.

Muslims, too, have been bashed relentlessly by the Repugnican Tea Party — aside from advocating the continued mass slaughter of Muslims (such as by incredibly stupidly attacking Iran and by stupidly blindly continuing to support the mass-murderous wingnuts of Israel in their continued Nazi-like mass slaughter of the Palestinians), the Repugnican Tea Party traitors call President Obama a Muslim as a slam — and I can’t see most Muslims ever supporting the Repugnican Tea Party any more than I can see myself ever supporting the Repugnican Tea Party.

As a gay man, am I to just forget what the Repugnican Tea Party just put in its fucking party platform — that my equal human and civil rights guaranteed to me by the U.S. Constitution should be denied to me by an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that specifically singles me out for such discrimination? Am I to just forget that George W. Bush made opposition to same-sex marriage a centerpiece of his 2004 “re”-election campaign? (Speaking of Gee Dubya, am I also to just forget that he blatantly stole office in 2000 and then started a bogus war for which he should be executed as the war criminal that he is?) Am I to just forget that the House Repugnicans right now are spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars to try to keep the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” alive because the Obama administration refuses to defend the blatantly unconstitutional — and thus the infuckingdefensible — act?

Are women just supposed to forget the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ clearly articulated stances on such issues as abortion, birth control, rape and violence against women?

Are Latinos just supposed to forget the brown-skinned-immigrant bashing that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors have been using to induce ignorant, bigoted white voters to vote for them?

Are blacks just supposed to forget?

“We need to be asking for votes in the most powerful way possible, which is to have people asking for the vote who are comfortable and look like and sound like the people that we’re asking for the vote from,” Karl Rove (a.k.a. George W. “Bush’s brain”) said just yesterday just in my backyard, here in Sacramento, at the California Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ convention.

How has that tactic been working for the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, though?

They fronted Sarah Palin after Barack Obama had picked Joe Biden (and not Billary Clinton or another woman) to be his running mate. The message was supposed to be that the Repugnican Tea Party is the party that wuvs women.

Women didn’t buy it, and probably were insulted that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors think that they’re that fucking stupid. (I was thusly insulted, and I’m a male.) Despite Palin’s supposedly having demonstrated that the Repugnican Tea Party overnight magically became the party of and for women, Obama in November 2008 won a higher percentage of the popular vote than George W. Bush did in 2000 or in 2004, and he couldn’t have done that without women.

The Repugnican Tea Party traitors then put Michael Steele in charge of the Repugnican National Committee — as the first black head of the party, in obvious cynical response to the election of the nation’s first black president. (Steele, before he became the head of the party, had been only the lieutenant governor of Maryland. That’s how few blacks are in any real position of power within the Repugnican Tea Party.)

Although on Steele’s watch (from January 2009 to January 2011) the Repugnican Tea Party traitors won back the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 (in the “tea party” “revolution”), the Repugnican Tea Party traitors nonetheless dumped Steele in January 2011 and replaced him with white frat boy Reince Priebus — the usual face of the party.

And although the Repugnican Tea Party traitors lost seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012, on white frat boy Reince Priebus’ watch, just this past January the Repugnican Tea Party traitors nonetheless granted the stupid white man Priebus a second two-year term as head of the Repugnican Tea Party.

As George W. Bush amply demonstrated, the bar is set much, much, much lower for stupid white men than it is for anyone else, perhaps especially for blacks.

Now the Repugnican Tea Party traitors cynically are fronting younger Latino male candidates, such as U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, as a presidential hopeful, and, here in California, Abel Maldonado as a gubernatorial hopeful.

Rubio is a 41-year-old Cuban American, and of course Cuban Americans, being (1) the rich Cubans who had exploited others for their own selfish gain before they had to escape from Fidel Castro’s anti-capitalist revolution or (2) their spoiled spawn (such as Rubio), predominantly are right-wingers who believe that the lighter-skinned should continue to exploit the darker-skinned.

Yet almost two-thirds of Latinos in the U.S. have Mexican roots and only 3.5 percent of them have Cuban roots. So how representative is Marco Fucking Rubio of the nationwide Latino community? (But he’s Latino — close enough, right? Is that not how the white supremacists think? Kind of like how 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia and not one of them was from Iraq, but let’s invade Iraq because that’s close enough, right?)

Californian Repugnican Tea Party member Abel Maldonado is 45 years old, and while unlike Marco Rubio he is Mexican-American, he couldn’t win even the post of state controller in 2006 or lieutenant governor in 2010. And he ran for the U.S. House of Representatives last year but lost. And he is Californian Repugnicans’ Great Latino Hope.

When will the Repugnican Tea Party traitors realize that the voters can recognize a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Will Marco Rubio (and others who fit his demographic) magically work to win over Latino voters to the Repugnican Tea Party any more than Palin and Steele worked to win over women and black voters?

And is Karl Rove not blatantly asserting that appearance is all that matters when he advises his fellow Repugnican Tea Party traitors “to have people asking for the vote who are comfortable and look like and sound like the people that we’re asking for the vote from”?

Fuck substance, right? Fuck the Repugnican Tea Party’s continuing history of oppressing certain groups of people, right? Just put a right-wing sellout like Sarah Palin or Michael Steele or Marco Rubio out there and the voters won’t know the difference, right?

The Repugnican Tea Party traitors can find a wingnut or two (or maybe even three) among any minority group and front him or her or them as a candidate. It’s not nearly enough, though, to wipe out decades of the party’s bigotry and discrimination that not only is historical but still continues as I type this sentence.

Perhaps especially when the Repugnican Tea Party then blames its electoral losses on the tokens whom it once fronted and then replaces them with the traditional stupid white men (there was no Palin repeat in 2012 — no, it was two stupid white men on the Repugnican Tea Party presidential ticket, the way that it always had been pre-Palin, and, as I noted, Reince Priebus kept his job as the party’s head even though the booted Michael Steele apparently had done a better job than Priebus did) the party loses even more ground with the groups whose votes it claimed it wanted. You won’t score points with these groups by turning your tokens into your scapegoats.

Even Mittens Romney, for fuck’s sake, reportedly has manned up enough to blame his campaign for his loss in November.

“I lost my election because of my campaign, not because of what anyone else did,” Romney reportedly said on Faux News today.

However, while Romney reportedly quite correctly identified his “47 percent” remarks as being damaging to his campaign — insulting almost half of the nation’s voters on video isn’t a great idea — he also reportedly attributed his loss to the loss of black and Latino voters.

As much as I don’t want to defend Mittens Romney, who would have been a disastrous president, the fact is that there was nothing that his campaign could have done to win over black and Latino voters, given his own fucking party’s disastrous historical relations with those groups.

Actually, I guess that I’m not defending Mittens, because his apparent belief that there was anything that he could have done to magically win over black and Latino voters demonstrates, I think, how stupid he and his ilk believe black and Latino voters are, and how superiorly crafty and clever the white man is, that black and Latino voters are just going to forget decades of bigotry and discrimination at the hands of the Repugnican Party because some white-male Repugnican Tea Party candidate comes up with just the right hocus-pocus, mindfuck rhetoric to hypnotize them into voting for him over their own best interests.

No amount of attempted-Jedi-mindfuck rhetoric and no amount of tokens (like Marco Rubio or Sarah Palin) are going to help the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in future elections. Only a small percentage of the members of the minority groups that historically have been oppressed by the Repugnican Tea Party (and women, of course, are no minority group) are going to fall for this the-foxes-actually-wuv-the-chickens bullshit.

No, what the Repugnican Tea Party traitors sorely need now is a time machine so that they can go back in time — waaay back in time — and treat certain groups of people a whole lot better than they did over at least many decades.

I wish them luck with that.

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Ozzie Guillen guilty of telling the truth

Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen listens to a question during  a news conference at Marlins Stadium in Miami, Tuesday April 10, 2012. Guillen has been suspended for five games because of his comments about Fidel Castro. He has again apologized and says he accepts the punishment.  (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Associated Press photo

In a nation that only claims to value the freedom of speech, Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen was suspended for five games for having made comments to TIME magazine that (gasp!) offended Miami’s right-wing, pro-plutocratic Cuban Americans. Guillen is pictured above apologizing at a press conference in Miami today for having voiced his opinion on a politically charged matter, something that in a truly free nation he should not have been pressured to apologize for.

Before today I hadn’t heard of Ozzie Guillen, who is the manager of the Miami Marlins. Before today, I wasn’t even sure what type of sports team the Marlins is (um, it’s a baseball team).

While I am not big on sports (although I’m OK with men’s diving…), I am big on politics, and Cuba and Venezuela and the socialist revolution that has swept many of the nations of Latin America (since the United States has been meddling in the Middle East for the past 10-plus years instead of in Latin America, which for decades had been the target of the Eye of Sauron, which sits atop the Pentagon) are of great interest to me.

Ozzie Guillen made the mistake of exercising his right to free speech in Miami, Florida, you see.

Apparently Guillen recently told a reporter for TIME magazine, “I love Fidel Castro,” but then amended that comment: “I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that motherfucker is still here.”

TIME also reports that Guillen, a native of Venezuela, has stated that he has respect for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as well.

Guillen might have realized that praising or even appearing to perhaps be praising Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Miami — which is home to the Ritchie Riches (would that be los Ricardos Ricos?) who fled Cuba when Castro’s revolution ended the capitalistic orgy there, and home to their brainwashed progeny — might not have been the brightest thing to do, politically speaking, but the Cuban Americans who want his head on a pike — here is a mob of them outside of a press conference that Guillen held in Miami today to apologize for words that he had no reason to apologize for:

Protesters

— are telling us a lot more about themselves than they are about Guillen: Namely, that they’re fucking hypocrites, that while they criticize Fidel Castro’s regime for stifling political dissent, they feel no hypocrisy or shame in doing the same fucking thing themselves.

It’s always perfectly OK to stifle left-wing political speech, you see, but it’s never OK to stifle right-wing political speech. Speech that is free only when you agree with it makes the whole idea of free speech moot, but that point is lost on the right-wing nutjobs, who by definition are hypocrites.

I don’t know everything that Fidel Castro has done, and therefore I don’t give him my 100 percent approval, but the fact of the matter is that, whether you love him or hate him or are indifferent to him, despite the United States’ decades-long attempt to cripple Castro’s rule — hurting the people of Cuba more than it ever hurt Castro himself, I’m sure — the fact of the fucking matter is that Fidel Castro indeed is one tough cookie to still be standing after all of these decades.

Hugo Chavez, too, is one tough cookie, having survived a blatantly treasonous and anti-democratic right-wing (and probably CIA-and/or-otherwise-unelected-Bush-regime-assisted) attempt to overthrow him in 2002 and replace him with an unelected, pro-plutocratic, right-wing usurper. That’s just a fucking fact, whether you love Chavez or hate him or are indifferent to him.

But Guillen’s biggest “crime” here, it seems to me, is that he hasn’t bowed down before the statue of the golden calf that is capitalism.

It is interesting that capitalists won’t shut the fuck up about “freedom,” yet they wish to deny everyone the basic fucking freedom of praising — indeed, even just discussing — any other economic system than capitalism, in which the goal is to become filthy rich yourself by fucking over everyone else.

I tell you fucking what: Mittens Romney, to name just one multi-millionaire, did not do multi-millions of dollars’ worth of work.

No. The only way to make that kind of money is to exploit others. You “win” in capitalism by paying your employees as little as you can get away with (including fucking them over on benefits, of course, and doing such things as firing them just before they can retire and collect retirement benefits, and by shutting their factories down and getting cheaper labor elsewhere, as Mittens can tell you all about) and by overcharging your customers for your product or service as much as you possibly can. You also “win” in capitalism by despoiling the environment in your insatiable quest for ever-increasing profits. In health/wealth care, the idea is to charge as much as you can for health insurance coverage, yet to deny as many health insurance claims as possible in order to increase your profits. Just like Jesus would do! Gooooo capitalism! (Indeed, the right wing loves to intertwine Christianity and capitalism, when even a grade schooler could read the New Testament and tell you that Jesus Christ, according to his own words, was against the rich and for the poor and was dead-set against shameless profiteering.)

The kind of shit that we see committed in the economic system of capitalism is not called “stealing” or “plundering” or even “exploitation,” however. It’s called “business” and “free enterprise” and the like, and while it’s sociofuckingpathic to knowingly harm others for purely selfish, personal gain, in the United States of America it is widely considered to be quite normal — even admirable.

If capitalism were so fucking inarguably inherently and self-evidently great, however, then why do the vast majority of its adherents try to prohibit the rest of us from even discussing capitalism’s obvious weaknesses and evils and from discussing other socioeconomic systems that might work better for us?

Why do the capitalist hypocrites claim that the “free marketplace” is the only way to go, but they absolutely won’t tolerate a free fucking marketplace of ideas?

Are they afraid that capitalism — which, increasingly, is good for only a few — can’t survive in such an environment?

And Cuban Americans need to shut the fuck up already. The Cubans who fled to the United States after Castro took over for the most part were the filthy rich Cubans who were exploiting other, poorer Cubans. And these rich Cubans’ beloved right-wing leader whom Fidel Castro overthrew, Fulgencio Batista, himself was a dictator who had thousands of his political opponents slaughtered — only he supported the plutocrats, so he was a good dictator, you see.

Castro’s Cuba has struggled not because socialism inherently cannot work, but primarily because the pro-plutocratic fascists in the United States for decades have done everything in their power to cripple Cuba and then say, “See? Communism doesn’t work!”

And old-school, big-“C” Communism indeed didn’t work, but little-“s” socialism can. Democratic socialism is the ideal socioeconomic system. (Old-school Communism wasn’t democratic, its major problem.) I’d even settle for a hybrid socioeconomic system, at least for now, with the essentials for human well-being and dignity, such as as quality health care and quality education, being made available to all regardless of their ability to pay for them, with the private sector able to continue to sell non-essentials. (Indeed, it looks as though Cuba is evolving into such a hybrid socioeconomic system itself.)

Corporatism, if we allow it to, will kill us all. The right wing now assures us that even more of the same will cure what ails us. That is as sane as asserting that the cure for arsenic poisoning is more arsenic.

And the people of Cuba, it seems to me, are much better off under Fidel and Raul Castro than they would be under another Fulgencio-Batista type, a “good” dictator who sells out his nation and his nation’s people to corporations for his own selfish gain and the selfish gain of his fucking cronies, who (and whose progeny) now populate Miami.

Ozzie Guillen has my support. I support his right to free speech, and I support a robustly free marketplace of ideas.

It’s too bad that the freedom-hating, anti-American wingnuts in Miami and their sympathizers do not.

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