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The Cold War Cuban Detritus

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 the Cold War that had existed between it and the U.S. since the end of World War Two came to an end, but there was ditritus, loose ends like Cuba and it has taken until now for an end to the diplomatic obstacles whose roots reach back to the Eisenhower administration. In 1960 it had approved a CIA plan to arm and train a group of Cuban refugees to overthrow the Castro regime.

The Cuban dictator, Flugencio Batista, fled Havana on January 1, 1959 and Fidel Castro and his rebels entered the capital a week later on January 8. One sees the world through the prism of one’s own life and, that event was six months prior to my graduating from the University of Miami.

Among my friends in college were young men who were the children of well-to-do Cubans, so I was more aware of what was occurring than most my age when Castro took over. In 1960 I was inducted into the army and it was big news when the Bay of Pigs invasion occurred on April 14, 1961. President Kennedy had moved ahead on the CIA plan, but it was a failure and it was followed by the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. The nation was literally on the edge of nuclear confrontation.

In the lead up to that the Second Infantry Division of which my unit was a part ceased its training mission and converted to one of battle readiness. In my case, however, I had already been discharged in April 1962. Kennedy declared a blockage of Cuba which had installed the Soviet missiles. Wisely, the Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev agreed to remove them.

AA - Cuba CastroCuba was and is the classic Soviet-style Communist regime. During the 1970s Fidel Castro dispatched troops to Soviet-supported wars in Africa. Cuba’s economy was always lean and its workers make about twenty dollars a month in U.S. dollars. In 1962 Cuba was suspended from the Organization of American States (OAS) that imposed sanctions against Cuba, but 1975 the OAS lifted its sanctions with the approval of sixteen member states and the U.S. but the U.S. has maintained its own sanctions from the days of the missile crisis.

Suffice to say Cuba has a long history of human rights abuses. It represses any political dissent and life for Cubans is devoid of free speech, free association, privacy, and due process of law; rights which Americans and others in free nations take for granted.

For some 53 years, the U.S has had no direct diplomatic relations with Cuba and when President Obama made the announcement that he was moving to normalize relations it was big news. It had been preceded by 18 months of secret negotiations about which, reportedly, no member of Congress was informed about. While it infuriated the Cuban-American communities most people, inside and outside of government agreed it was time, if not overdue, for this action.

There will be much speculation that normalization will be good news for the Cuban people and one can surely hope so, but until the brothers, Fidel and Raul—declared the new president in 2008 when Fidel resigned—are dead, the likelihood for any real improvement in their lives is distant.

In a similar fashion, many American business and agricultural interests are no doubt making plans to become a part of the Cuban economy, but they had better proceed with care. Cuba is still Communist in most respects despite Raul Castro’s efforts to portray himself as a reformer and Cuba a place where foreign business are welcome and can thrive. In 2012 he relaxed property rights, expanded land leases, and licensed businesses from pizza joints to private gyms.

In reality, Raul Castro has, as reported in McClean’s magazine in 2012, “scared off more joint ventures than he has attracted, jeopardizing the investment Cuba needs to succeed. Spanish oil giant Repsol quit the country. Canada’s Pizza Nova, which had six Cuban locations, packed its bags, as did Telecom Italia.” In one case after another, those who hoped to do business in Cuba were disappointed. In 2013 a British company, one of the biggest and most important business partners of Castro’s military and a key investor in the tourism industry was suddenly confiscated and its principals were imprisoned.

One dramatic example is Stephen Purvis, a British architect who, since 2000 had developed tourism projects, factories and docks through his company that was financed by private European backers. After living in Cuba for ten years with his family and investing heavily in it, he was rewarded by being imprisoned after being accused of spying. He would spend 16 months in Cuban jails until being able to flee. Everything his company owned was confiscated. He has since warned others against doing business with the Castros.

Since 1959, more than one million Cubans, about ten percent of the population, have fled Cuba, many of whom found a new home in America. When that many people wanted to leave, it tells you something is terribly wrong with life in Cuba. The tentative steps toward normalization after all this time are necessary, but the American government should proceed with care in the years ahead.

© Alan Caruba

Obama Switches Sides Again in the War for the Free World: Provides Life-support for the Castro Regime

In response to the Obama administration’s announcement this week that it is proceeding with normalization of relations with the Castro regime in Cuba — reversing over fifty years of bipartisan policy towards the communist dictatorship — the Center for Security Policy is registering strong objection to this course of action as severely undermining U.S. national security on several fronts.

First, normalization with Cuba represents the latest manifestation of America siding with traditional adversaries at the expense of allies, both governmental and non-governmental, since President Obama took office. Whether ousting former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to make way for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, threatening to impose sanctions on Israel while lifting them on Iran, hitting the “reset” button with Vladimir Putin’s Russia while removing missile defense capabilities from Europe, or remaining neutral on Venezuela’s assumption of a seat on the United Nations Security Council, there has been a clear and disturbing pattern, of which the Castro brothers are the latest beneficiary.

Second, at a time when the Venezuelan regime that has provided life-support to the Castro dictatorship for the past decade is bankrupt, President Obama is rescuing the Communist Castro brothers, just when intensified pressure may at last have driven them from power.

Third, the fact that this normalization with Cuba is taking place against the backdrop of ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran over the latter’s nuclear program, strongly suggests that this policy shift is a “dry run” for eventual normalization of relations with Tehran. It would not be unreasonable for Iran to observe today’s events and infer that it need not cede any ground on its nuclear ambitions, just as Cuba did not cede ground on its fifty-plus-year record of repression of human rights and sponsorship of global terrorism.

Finally, this reversal of policy further demonstrates that this administration is distressingly prone to poor negotiating. Sgt. Bowe Bergdhal’s release was secured only in exchange for five of the most senior, and most dangerous, Taliban leaders held in Guantanamo Bay, while Iran has benefitted from the premature lifting of sanctions in exchange for meaningless and easily reversible concessions on its nuclear program. Regimes and terrorist organizations the world over will doubtlessly be encouraged by Obama’s reversal on Cuba in this regard as well.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., President and CEO of the Center for Security Policy, commented:

President Obama’s misguided reconciliation with the Castro regime is just the latest example of the Obama doctrine at work: Embolden our enemies; undermine our allies; diminish our country. The security of the American people, as well as the human rights and democratic aspirations of the people of Cuba, have been put in possibly irreversible jeopardy with this action. It is incumbent upon Congress to do everything in its power to prevent this disastrous policy from taking hold.

What is the Difference Between the Democrat Party and the Communist Party USA?

On the home page of the Communist Party USA it says “A better and peaceful world is possible—a world where people and nature come before profits. That’s socialism. That’s our vision. We are the Communist Party USA.”

No, it’s not Socialism which is a watered down version of Communism. Real Communism is the kind that was practiced in the former Soviet Union. It can be found in Cuba and North Korea where the state controls all power and property,and the people have none.

Modified versions exist in China, Russia, Venezuela, and other nations where some aspects of Capitalism are maintained for the sake of their economies. In the West Socialism was incorporated by both the U.S. and Great Britain, and other nations via various social welfare programs.

Capitalism is about profits, innovation, entrepreneurship, and investment. It is about the freedom to acquire wealth. It emphasizes work, not welfare. It is the reason America has a dynamic economic system—when it is permitted to prosper, free from federal interference.

AA - Dem Party is CommunistIn America, conservatives have always been acutely aware of Communism, but the 47% who still approve of Barack Obama and those who are members of the Democratic Party are the dupes of those whose quest for tyrannical power permits them to tell the most appalling lies, particularly about Republicans.

The Democratic Party is so politically corrupt and devoid of moral standards that it is currently engaged in seeking to harm potential Republican presidential candidates with an utterly bogus indictment of Texas Governor Perry and the slanders leveled against New Jersey Governor Christie. It is a tactic of those who fear a loss at the ballot box.

It is the Democratic Party and its elected officials that have advanced the global warming hoax, now called climate change and the CPUSA website refers to the “Accumulation of greenhouse gases (as) a ‘planetary emergency’” This is what both the President and the Secretary of State are saying, but there has been no warming on a planet that is now 17 years into a cooling cycle.

As for those “greenhouse” gases, nitrogen and oxygen are the most abundant in the atmosphere, followed by nothing more dangerous than water vapor! Carbon dioxide is a very minor gas at 0.04%. And most importantly, the Earth is not a greenhouse. When the Sun’s radiation is reduced due to its own natural cycles, it gets colder.

Tied to the climate change message is an agenda that includes Obama’s “war on coal” and his refusal to permit the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from our neighbor Canada, among other measures to restrict access and use of America’s vast energy reserves. This is an attack on the nation’s economy in the name of “nature” or the “environment.”

The CPUSA wants “No new sanctions on Iran” and the administration’s negotiations with Iran to slow or end its nuclear weapons program have dropped some sanctions to get them to the table, but no one believes that Iran will stop because they are openly avowed enemies of America and Israel.

If you wanted to harm America, you would undermine its southern border so that thousands of illegal aliens could join the estimated eleven million already here. That is what President Obama has done and he is joined by former Democratic Majority Speaker Nancy Pelosi who said of the illegals, “We are all Americans.” No, they are not.

The chair of the Democratic National Committee, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, continues to push for amnesty for illegal aliens saying “It isn’t about politics at all. They (illegal aliens) essentially have become the backbone of the economy.” The Center for Immigration Studies has documented the many jobs that have gone to illegal aliens, leaving native-born and naturalized U.S. citizens with fewer employment opportunities.

In July Gallup reported that “With thousands of undocumented immigrant minors crossing the nation’s southern border in recent months, the percentage of Americans citing immigration as the top problem has surged to 17% this month, up from 5% in June, and the highest seen since 2006. As a result, immigration now virtually ties ‘dissatisfaction with government’ at 16%, as the primary issue Americans think of when asked to name the country’s top problems.”

ObamaCare - Needle_PosterThe Affordable Patient Care Act—Obamacare—is the perfect example of Socialism in its government control of what once was the world’s finest healthcare system and is being destroyed by a law for which only Democrats in Congress voted.

President Obama has illegally asserted more power than the Constitution grants the executive branch, unilaterally altering Obamacare. It is the reason the House of Representatives is suing him.

For several generations since the last century, Americans have been indoctrinated to accept an ever-growing central government, but even so an August Reason-Rupe survey poll found that fully 54% favored a smaller government providing fewer services. Just 18% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, while 75% disapprove.

Though education is never mentioned in the Constitution, we have a Department of Education and the same applies to the Department of Energy, both created by Jimmy Carter. A Nixon executive order brought about the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency that is masterminding an attack on private property along with the manufacturing, agricultural and energy sectors of the economy.

If one looks at the Democratic Party today, there is often scant difference between it and the self-professed Communist Party USA which twice endorsed the election of Barack Obama, a man whose father was a Communist, whose grandparents who helped raise him were Socialists, and who was mentored in his youth by a card-carrying member of the CPUSA.

We have a President who believes that the problems throughout the world have been caused by America. His disdain for the nation and the military that serves to protect it is on full display. And the Democratic Party twice chose him as its candidate.

If you want to see what Communism looks like, acts and says, watch and listen to the Democratic Party.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Cheating Commies and Guardian Syndrome by Max Borders

Why were the East Germans more likely to cheat?

In a recent Economist piece called “Lying Commies,” the authors report:

“Under capitalism”, ran the old Soviet-era joke, “man exploits man. Under communism it is just the opposite.” In fact new research suggests that the Soviet system inspired not just sarcasm but cheating too: in East Germany, at least, communism appears to have inculcated moral laxity.

Lars Hornuf of the University of Munich and Dan Ariely, Ximena García-Rada and Heather Mann of Duke University ran an experiment last year to test Germans’ willingness to lie for personal gain. Some 250 Berliners were randomly selected to take part in a game where they could win up to €6 ($8).

The findings?

After finishing the game, the players had to fill in a form that asked their age and the part of Germany where they had lived in different decades. The authors found that, on average, those who had East German roots cheated twice as much as those who had grown up in West Germany under capitalism. They also looked at how much time people had spent in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The longer the participants had been exposed to socialism, the greater the likelihood that they would claim improbable numbers of high rolls.

But the authors make no attempt to explain why this is so. As you can see, they write: “The study reveals nothing about the nature of the link between socialism and dishonesty.”

Might we find at least clues to an answer in the work of Jane Jacobs? Specifically, in Systems of Survival, she offers the following heuristic to show us how different people arrive at different types of moral frameworks depending on how the incentives systems are set up to benefit their survival. (I would add that these moral “syndromes” are also good psychological dispositions for shoring up hierarchies or transitioning to networks, respectively.)

                              Moral Precepts

     Guardian Syndrome      Commerce Syndrome
Shun trading

Exert prowess

Be obedient and disciplined

Adhere to tradition

Respect hierarchy

Be loyal

Take vengeance

Deceive for the sake of the task

Make rich use of leisure

Be ostentatious

Dispense largesse

Be exclusive

Show fortitude

Be fatalistic

Treasure honor

Shun force

Compete

Be efficient

Be open to inventiveness and novelty

Use initiative and enterprise

Come to voluntary agreements

Respect contracts

Dissent for the sake of the task

Be industrious

Be thrifty

Invest for productive purposes

Collaborate easily with strangers and aliens

Promote comfort and convenience

Be optimistic

Be honest

Notice anything about guardian syndrome that unpacks both the behavior of East German socialists, as well as those involved in politics and bureaucratic hierarchies in general?

MaxBordersVEsmlABOUT MAX BORDERS

Max Borders is the editor of The Freeman and director of content for FEE. He is also co-founder of the event experience Voice & Exit and author of Superwealth: Why we should stop worrying about the gap between rich and poor.

Ukraine topples Lenin statues, meets quota ahead of schedule

Despite severe weather conditions, the plan to topple Lenin statues in Ukraine has been successfully completed this month, ahead of schedule. The government of the former Soviet republic is happy to report that the quota of toppling monuments to Vladimir Lenin and other communist leaders has been met and in some places exceeded, with toppling of a number of unrelated statues in the process, as well as ransacking headquarters of the local Communist Party in Kiev.

Leninoval_280_3.jpgAlthough many critics warned that the goal was unrealistic, irrational, and even mathematically impossible, the toppling of statues of the creator of the world’s largest planned economy still went ahead as scheduled, paced over the course of several Five-Year Plans, starting in 1991.

However, not everything went according to the Planning Committee’s projections. The first Five-Year Plan revealed a drastic shortage of ropes to pull the statues down, and of gasoline to power the moving machinery.

Lenin_Snow.jpg
The second Five-Year Plan was plagued by continuously bad weather, consisting of five hot summers and as many cold winters, with uncharacteristically wet rains in between, presumably the result of climate change caused by a disproportional use of fossil fuels in the United States.

During the third Five-Year Plan all work was put on hold by the newly created Local 11 Statue Toppler Union.

The union leadership demanded an increase in wages and benefits in addition to a restraining order prohibiting all non-unionized persons from approaching any Lenin statue within a 200 foot radius.
Lenin_Pigeon.jpg
The fourth Five-Year Plan was beleaguered by a nationwide strike and a media campaign on behalf of Local 12 Pigeon-Handlers Union, whose members feared permanent unemployment and demanded a fair treatment with guarantees of lifetime salaries and benefits should all Lenin statues be toppled and outsourced to Third World countries.

The number of Lenin statues in existence also appeared to have been grossly underestimated, factoring only statues with the iconic beard and omitting those representing the father of the socialist revolution in his teens or prepubescent years, prior to the development of Lenin’s facial hair follicles. Neither did the plan account for the number of Lenin’s busts, bas reliefs, and mosaics, as well as semi-professional carvings and drawings on the walls of public restrooms.

Lenin_Snowman2.jpgNo Lenin statues made of stone were ever toppled either, which was later blamed on the Planning Committee typist who mistook the word “stone” for “scone.” Amazingly, as many as twelve “scone” statues had been reported as processed and billed by government contractors.

A subsequent audit discovered instances where money was paid for the toppling of Lenin statues that never existed, or where the statues had been made on the spot out of snow or cardboard and then pulled by a bulldozer. In other cases funds were disbursed where no actual topplings occurred.

As a result, while the number of all reported topplings exceeded the initial projection, a visual observation by the auditors led them to conclude that nearly all Lenin statues still remained exactly where they had been placed by the erstwhile Soviet government.

At the time, Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich clarified the situation as follows: “More than twenty years of heroic and selfless struggle by our government to topple Lenin statues have exhausted the national budget and forced us to request a bailout from either the European Union or the neighboring Russia. Given that Moscow has more expertise than Brussels in toppling Lenin statues, we chose to side with a partner who better suits our historic needs.”

Leninoval_200_2.jpgIn the aftermath of certain events in Kiev earlier this year, the Ukrainian president modified his position, closely approaching that of the Russian president: “If you like your Lenin statues, you can keep your Lenin statues.”

In a final speech to the nation delivered from the steps of a charter plane Mr. Yanukovich stated: “Rather than burdening our economy with this pointless toppling, I should have followed the Russian model and granted myself exclusive powers to build more palatial mansions in every struggling region of the country. Now if you’ll excuse me, my baggage and I have a flight to catch.”

Leninoval_200_3.jpgInspired by the president’s farewell address, citizens of Ukraine enthusiastically poured into the streets, toppling Lenin statues completely free of charge, without troubling the overworked authorities and union contractors with requests to plan and coordinate their activities. After only several hours of work, volunteers around Ukraine were able to topple all of the remaining Lenin statues.

The next morning, as various government officials looked out their windows and didn’t see the familiar Lenin statues, they immediately knew that it was time to report a successful completion of the final Five-Year Plan, ahead of schedule and almost within the budget.

Why Liberals Attack America

Have you noticed how liberal intellectuals are drawn to various dictators? Largely unknown to most Americans is the history of many intellectuals who expressed their disdain for “the masses”, all those millions who work in manufacturing, have small businesses, and hold onto the American dream of success, having a home of their own, and other elements of a good life based on hard work.

Those ordinary Americans don’t worry about “income inequality” because there has always been income inequality and because America provides income mobility. You can earn more if you want to. You can change jobs. You can open a business. You can acquire wealth. There were 53,000 new millionaires in America last year. We have a President who criticized “millionaires and billionaires” throughout his first term.

Cover - LiberalismIn his book, “The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class” by Fred Seigel (Encounter Books), he provides a history of liberalism that dates back to the early years of the last century and the rise of communism; particularly in the Soviet Union that collapsed in 1991 from its implementation.

You may be surprised to learn that authors like H.G. Wells (1866-1946), the famed science fiction writer, were early advocates of socialism—communism-light. “Liberals thought themselves smarter than other people because they had seen through the supposed Victorian verities to a future not yet born,” says Seigel, noting that one of his books, “Anticipations”, was described by Wells “was designed to undermine and destroy…monogamy, faith in God, and respectability, all under the guise of a speculation about motor cars and electrical heating.”

The “success” of liberalism has given us a nation where a million unborn are killed every year, where marriage is subject to a 50% divorce rate, where same-sex marriage is now law in several states, the middle class is heavily taxed, and—not surprisingly—an increasing number of Americans regard Big Government as the biggest threat to their liberty and freedom.

It is also a nation that has twice elected a Marxist named Barack Hussein Obama who is now openly equating any criticism of his failed policies as a form of racism.

The early liberals “looked to a new elite, a separate caste with the wisdom to lead society to social salvation by breaking with the conventions of middle-class Victorian morality.” It was an early liberal, the literary critic Van Wyck Brooks, who coined the terms “highbrow” and “middlebrow” to demarcate the levels of taste in American life. America’s entry into World War I put the liberals into high gear as they regarded the war years as revealing “American society and democracy (as) agents of repression.”

Seigel writes of liberals that “They had no doubt that the American masses were culturally diseased people, playthings in the hands of America’s philistine plutocrats. For the critics of mass culture, World War I had discredited not the Kaiser and German militarism, but democracy.” Those attitudes from the 1920s persist today.

So now we have a President who daily reveals his contempt for the Constitution and wants to rule by executive order rather than work with the Congress. We have a President who disdains the U.S. military, has been engaged in a purge of many top generals and admirals, and whose view that America is not an exceptional nation, has triggered and supported a growing disrespect of America, contributing to its declining influence on global events and trends.

By the 1940s and 50s, liberals—often Soviet agents—had infiltrated the U.S. government to such an extent that many Americans became concerned, but Sen. Joseph McCarthy who tried to expose them was attacked by liberals who have turned “McCarthyism” into a term for anyone who seeks to expose them.

The intellectuals who led liberalism had a deep disdain for the masses and the egalitarianism of American democracy which they regarded as a degraded form of government that in one’s description discouraged “respect or esteem for superior individuals.” That, too, remains a major theme among the current generation of intellectuals. Obama’s administration is filled with people who never ran a business or worked in one. Government for them is the ultimate means to control Americans, not serve them.

Over the course of the 1960s, “national income had doubled. The poverty rate was cut in half as unemployment dropped to only 3.5 percent and inflation-adjusted personal income grew by nearly 40 percent. Home ownership reached record highs that have been difficult to surpass.” Yet it was the 1960s in which Lyndon Johnson launched his “War on Poverty” saying that the “days of the dole in this country are numbered.”

Under Obama, the most liberal President ever to hold the office, unemployment is estimated to be over 13 percent and millions are on some form of government dole. Liberals still do not make a connection between liberal policies and actual outcomes. Facts do not concern them.

The 1960s also marked the takeover the American system of education and what we are witnessing today has much to do with the indoctrination of socialist values in the generations that attended schools and universities since then.

The 1960s also saw the beginning of the environmental movement. Now don’t get me wrong. America needs clean air and clean water, but it does not need an out-of-control Environmental Protection Agency whose real agenda is to undermine the provision of energy and the entire economy. It is environmentalism that led the government to ban incandescent light bulbs, to mandate a reduction in the amount of water in your toilet seat, and generates countless other idiotic regulations whose real purpose is to control all aspects of your life.

In 1962, a baseless screed against the pesticides that protect human health and property against the onslaught of many pest insect species was published. It was Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring.” The establishment of Earth Day followed in 1970 and ever since liberals have corrupted science to claim that humans were destroying the Earth and to advance the greatest hoax of the modern era, global warming.

The liberal disdain for humanity—the masses—was reflected in Paul Ehrlich’s “The Population Bomb”, published in 1968, that claimed that “the battle to feed all of humanity is over.” Like environmentalism, it was a fear-mongering theme designed to influence public policies. Liberals not only disliked humanity, they disliked the industrial societies that gave them the opportunity to live better lives with innovative technologies.

As Seigel notes, “Before the 1960s, government regulation was aimed at specific industries. But with the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1964) the Environmental Protection Agency (1970), the Consumer Products Safety Commission (1972)m and the vast expansion of the Federal Trade Commission, government asserted its influence over the entire economy.”

Now the nation is sharply divided between liberals and conservatives. The problems encountered in the decades since the 1960s have not had any impact on the views of liberals. As Seigel says, “Liberal interests never examined their assumptions, even when faced with social and political failure.” They turned to the courts to achieve their goals and have been successful in transforming the nation through them.

The greatest transformation is the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—that has seized one sixth of the nation’s economy while depriving millions of Americans of their personal health plans, forcing many to give up their personal physicians, and is negatively affecting the entire economy. The fact that it is such a disaster is the only good thing that can be said for it because it will likely force many who favor such liberal programs to rethink their views. It will likely have a major political backlash toward more conservative candidates.

The lesson is clear. It is liberals who have been working very hard to undermine the U.S. Constitution, our democracy, and our freedoms.

© Alan Caruba, 2014