Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Tale of Two Posts

Cuban Americans are by and large characterized as crazy intransigents. And truth be told, on occasion we have been known to let our passions get in the way of our public relations. But can anyone who cares about freedom or justice read these, which I picked up at Babalu, and not be driven to anger at the stupidity, or callus insensitivity the world over, particularly among the intelligentsia?

First read Carlos Eire's very clear explanation, courtesy of Ziva, of just what travel to Cuba supports. Then bearing in mind that Che Guevara was a mass murderer who helped impose the same Stalinist system Dr. Eire describes, read the article that forms the basis of the previous post by Fontova. Oh, the horror.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Meanderings: Cropsey and The Eternal Footman

Recently re-established contact with another friend of my youth, another of those who knew me when I was impressive. Inevitably I am reminded that I have done nothing of note with all of the advantages I once had. What I have had is some pretty strange encounters. I once, while minding my own quite boring business and quite by chance, stood across from irate murderers so notorious I won't elaborate. Once in a while I wonder what I would have done had I known what carnage they would create and come to the conclusion the answer is nothing. Don't have it in me.

All of these ruminations occurred because I came across an add for a movie, Cropsey. Sounds like an interesting documentary of sorts: crime story, cultural study of Staten Island, Blair Witch revisited. It struck a chord, because a few weeks before the disappearance of the last little girl, the convicted murderer came into my husband's store and hung around shooting the breeze. I don't remember being afraid of him. I think he was one of the locals. But in light of later events, I am struck by the behavior of my daughter, about three at the time, who spent his entire visit
affixed to my right kneecap. Strange, life.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Little to the Right, Please

Judging by the media coverage of the proposed release of 50 political prisoners in Cuba, it would seem that the entire island has been liberated. Even Foxnews is running a banner indicating that with the promised release- more aptly described as the forced expulsion- of the 50, there remain only 100 political prisoners in Cuba. So while Spain, the Church, and the MSM celebrate the benificence of the regime, they forget about all of those incarcerated on other grounds but for political reasons, on charges like those of buying black market paint, etc... Darsi Ferrer, anyone? Extending the idea, the hoopla obscures the fact that exclusive of party apparatchiks, true believers, foreign government functionaries, western enablers, oh, tourists, expatriates, Eurotrash, anyone living in Cuba is in essence a political prisoner.

What this media ploy demonstrates is the only genius of the ruling military junta in Havana. They have murdered and pillaged, oppressed a people and mismanaged an economy, dragged a nation backwards into the third world, into the Stalinist era. They are surrounded by the desolation they have created, but, hey, they have a diabolical knack for propaganda. For decades it is they who have framed the discussion. This ostensibly humanitarian gesture has seemingly blinded the world community to the continued repression of half a century. And Cuban Americans, as usual, are left looking like... like, well, hardliners.

Let me explain my perspective: suppose a mugger is kneeling on the chest of his victim, applying just enough pressure, not enough to completely kill the unfortunate, but enough to make it near impossible to breathe. In comes Spain and the Church ( Picture it like a morality play) who after much cajoling and pleading succeed in convincing the aforementioned mugger to shift a little to the right allowing the victim just a bit more oxygen. Am I supposed to celebrate?

True, I am gladdened that the victim is afforded a bit more freedom. In this sense, I wholeheartedly rejoice that the beaten and tortured will no longer be beaten and tortured, just forced into permanent exile from their mother country for the crime of having an opinion. But I will not bang cymbals and jump up and down in ecstasy until the criminal is gone and victim is at last freed.

That Slippery Slope

Those of you who read the blog know that we bought the house next door a few years ago. It stayed vacant for a few years while the hubster- in his spare time- worked on making it livable. My mother used to say that he had his vacation home next door. This year we finally moved into the almost finished house, leaving the original house vacant. When the Census rolled around, I dutifully filled out the forms, indicating that no one lived in the cottage, that's a euphemism for shack.

Lo and behold, my very irate neighbor informed me that yesterday, one of the newly hired census people came by to check it out. Then I find a little form nicely requesting a call or expect another visit. My neighbor is correct in this one. What the f*#@? It's empty. They saw it was empty. My neighbor told the woman no one lived there. What more?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Angels Amongst Us?

So says a new book. It would be reassuring. Read about it here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Update: Cuba Gets The Royal Treatment...Sort Of

Years ago a boss prefaced a question about conditions in Cuba with "Not that I'm going to necessarily agree with you, but what do you think of...?" The enormity of that statement did not hit me immediately. I was reminded of that exchange when I stumbled upon an episode of Royal Pains, purportedly set in Cuba. In the storyline, the ailing nabob, medical moochers in tow, reaches out for some experimental treatment at a beautiful clinic on the island, where the equally beautiful Cuban Doctor conveys the altruism of their medical system as opposed to that of the greedy US capitalists.

Then I'm watching the streets of a "Cuban" town with nary a spot of peeling paint, evoking the thought that they must have shot this in the Dominican Republic. Turns out the episode was filmed in Puerto Rico. Cuba should look so good. So what does it matter? It matters. It is only ignorance that makes this storyline possible, one that could conceivably infect 7.2 million viewers or so, leaving them with the perception that Cuba is just another Carribbean resort destination, no different from Aruba, or St Maarten, etc.

It is an ignorance only made possible by an interesting phenomenon, the NHH (Nothing Happened Here) syndrome that infects and informs the entertainment industry's love affair with the dictatorship, despite the testimony of millions to the contrary. They know more than people who have lived there, the family members of those who have fled and those who remain. The result is that the Cuba presented in the episode bears no more resemblance to the real thing than I to Walter Cronkite.

To be fair, there were some off notes. One character is convinced that he is being followed by the secret police for buying black market cigars, an impression heightened by the disappearance of the vendor. Scenes from next week's conclusion show the character being whisked away in a big car. Of course, the term kidnapping is used, leading to all sorts of dismay on my part. We'll see.

As my Dad would say, "Manda madre!"

Update: The conclusion of the two-part episode was much better, incorporating a major storyline about a dissident. Still, the overall impression was way too positive.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Unvarnished Truth

Thomas Sowell nails it. Try this:

Just where in the Constitution of the United States does it say that a president has the authority to extract vast sums of money from a private enterprise and distribute it as he sees fit to whomever he deems worthy of compensation? Nowhere.


But the Constitution says that private property is not to be confiscated by the government without "due process of law." Technically, it has not been confiscated by Barack Obama, but that is a distinction without a difference.

BP is unpopular and rightly so. What happens, though, when the precedent is established and the government deems some other enterprise unworthy. Do I hear slippery slope? Read the whole excellent column here.

Monday, June 21, 2010