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Cuba Diplomacy: Behind Right-Wing Outrage, An Intellectual Void

Editor's Blog Memo Pad Politics

Cuba Diplomacy: Behind Right-Wing Outrage, An Intellectual Void

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Listen carefully to the Republican leaders and presidential hopefuls roaring with outrage over President Obama’s courageous decision to normalize relations with Cuba; listen very carefully, because no matter how long or how closely you listen to them, there is one thing you will surely never hear.

You will never hear a new idea – or any plausible idea – about bringing liberty, democracy, and prosperity to the suffering Cuban people.

Instead, the furious denunciations of the president’s initiative from his adversaries reveal only an intellectual void on Capitol Hill, where the imperatives remain partisan and cynical. Everyone paying attention has known for decades that the frozen relationship between the United States and Cuba has accomplished nothing – except possibly the prolongation of the Castro regime, which has long considered the embargo a plausible excuse for its own economic failures – and viewed the United States as a politically convenient enemy.

Anyone who has visited the island knows that the Cubans wish nothing more than to see the embargo lifted, because they know it has done nothing to advance their liberty or prosperity – just the opposite.

As former president Bill Clinton likes to say, the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result. (He wanted to normalize relations as president, but the Cuban government clearly didn’t.) The U.S. government has been doing the same thing in Cuba for 54 years, yet the Republicans still don’t think that was long enough. They haven’t explained how or why – or when – their policy will achieve a different result.

Opponents of change have also failed to justify why treating Cuba so differently from other – and in various respects, worse – authoritarian regimes with which we maintain not only vigorous diplomatic relations but massive trading partnerships and even military cooperation. The conduct of those governments is arguably more repressive in important respects; there is, for instance, less religious freedom in China or Saudi Arabia than Pope Francis found in Cuba.

To browse human rights findings from the State Department’s annual reports or the online files maintained by groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International is to find at least a dozen countries with atrocious human rights records, from Chad to Turkmenistan. But the United States maintains diplomatic and trade relations with all of them.

Indeed, Republican leaders and businessmen – notably including members of the Bush family – have profited handsomely from investment in countries like China and Saudi Arabia for many years, with scarcely a peep about human rights violations in those places. It is impossible to forget how the first President Bush toasted the Chinese regime, immediately following the massacre in Tiananmen Square – and how his opportunistic family members showed up in Beijing and Shanghai, looking for a deal.

With the liberation of more than 50 political prisoners – along with USAID worker Allen Gross and an unnamed American spy – the Cubans have suddenly improved their human rights performance, while the Chinese continue to inflict horrendous repression and even torture on Tibetans, Uighurs, and Han Chinese who dare to dissent. (Many of our leading Republicans don’t object to torture, of course, unless it is perpetrated in foreign countries. Sometimes.)

House Speaker John Boehner accused the president of making “another mindless concession to a dictatorship.” What seems entirely mindless, however, is his insistence that we dare not abandon an unworkable and destructive strategy. No boycott observed and enforced by one country alone – even a powerful country like the United States – is ever going to prevail.

That is among the reasons why international human rights organizations, always the most consistent and implacable critics of Castro’s abuses, have long advocated engagement rather than embargo. As Human Rights Watch notes on web pages devoted to detailing those abuses, U.S. policy has imposed “indiscriminate hardship on the Cuban people” since 1961, “and has done nothing to improve the country’s human rights.”

Not long after the president concluded his historic speech – among the most lucid, logical, and inspiring he has delivered in his second term – a spokeswoman for Amnesty International called his new approach “the best opportunity in half [a] century for human rights change in Cuba.”

Designed to quarantine the Cuban government, the policy that failed for five decades has only succeeded in isolating the United States from the rest of the world. Its end is long overdue.

 

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Joe Conason

A highly experienced journalist, author and editor, Joe Conason is the editor-in-chief of The National Memo, founded in July 2011. He was formerly the executive editor of the New York Observer, where he wrote a popular political column for many years. His columns are distributed by Creators Syndicate and his reporting and writing have appeared in many publications around the world, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Nation, and Harpers.

Since November 2006, he has served as editor of The Investigative Fund, a nonprofit journalism center, where he has assigned and edited dozens of award-winning articles and broadcasts. He is also the author of two New York Times bestselling books, The Hunting of the President (St. Martins Press, 2000) and Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth (St. Martins Press, 2003).

Currently he is working on a new book about former President Bill Clinton's life and work since leaving the White House in 2001. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, including MSNBC's Morning Joe, and lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

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185 Comments

  1. plc97477 December 18, 2014

    This is way, way over due.

    Reply
    1. joe schmo December 18, 2014

      You’re kidding right, Comrad?

      Reply
      1. bobnstuff December 19, 2014

        Just what are you afraid of, letting the Cuban people see how the Americans live in a free society or having to admit that the President did something right.

        Reply
  2. Barabbus December 18, 2014

    It took 7 paragraphs before you got to smearing the Bush family. That’s progress though. You usually only need 1 before you get to them. No matter what the subject is.
    Syria, Iran, Sudan and Cuba. They’re currently the four nations on the State Departments list of nations that sponsor terrorism. Oh what a glorious day it is in Liberalland that we’ve enabled one of them to continue on now! Unabated in their quest to see Americans murdered. And you wonder why people aren’t joining you in your smearing campaign against the Bush family.
    But by all means, keep it up. All 100 hundred Senate seats are the goal. And bringing in the Bush family on a story about Obumble being right about helping the Butcher brothers of Cuba, will go a long ways toward making that goal achievable. And thank you for your smarmy little contribution to that goal Joe.

    Reply
    1. JPHALL December 18, 2014

      What smear? Most Americans got over the Bush family when Bush2 left office! What would you do with Cuba? I bet you want to continue the policy that has given the US fifty years of failure!

      Reply
      1. charleo1 December 18, 2014

        Ever notice how the Right has learned to never admit failure? The more spectacular the debacle, the louder, and prouder, they double down. Claim, of course it was EXACTLY the thing that had to be done! And, they’d do it again!!! Failure? No Sir!! Iraq? Best war we ever fought! Bush? Best President! Cuba Embargo is working. The revolution is on the way!! Freedom!! Freedom!! Freedom!! Down with Communism!! Now let’s do what the American people want, and build that Pipeline for China!!!

        Reply
        1. joe schmo December 18, 2014

          Look who’s talking. Your party is really in the tank and you still can’t see the forest for the trees…..and nobody said Bush was best president ever. Many Conservatives thought quite the opposite. You really know us don’t you…..?

          You can take your Marxist ideology and stick it up your you know what. Better yet, let’s just sail the whole lot of you down to Cuba….

          Reply
          1. kenndeb December 19, 2014

            Wouldn’t a county without liberals be wonderful? Well really just those scary stupid ones that lurk around sites like this one.

            Reply
          2. sleepvark December 19, 2014

            Booo! KKKendebbie and joe schmucka, what a nice pair of ugly little hags you are. Still reliably teabagging each other. What fun!

            Reply
          3. jmprint December 29, 2014

            Yea, it’s called China, move there, you will be happier, and take joe, your bed buddy with you.

            Reply
      2. joe schmo December 18, 2014

        We really don’t care much for Bush, but we care even less for ‘Killary’ and ‘Warden.’

        Reply
    2. sleepvark December 19, 2014

      barabbutthead, why are you so irrationally afraid of Cuban terrorists? It’s not like they have been all over the news lately loping off heads or kidnapping schoolgirls. In fact, if they do actually exist, they must be invisible because nobody is able to see them.
      You seem to be in need of a new bogeyman of some sort to continue to feed your fears. But we’re not worried, it’s certain you will continue to find them.

      Reply
  3. Dominick Vila December 18, 2014

    Even though I don’t plan to vote for Jeb Bush, I expected a lot more from him on this issue. Supporting a half century policy of isolationism that has accomplished absolutely nothing is not only illogical, it is a sign of lack of vision and dependence on wealthy donors, regardless of the consequences.
    The first thing former Florida Governor Jeb Bush must remember is that he is no longer a Governor, and that he is running for the presidency of the United States. Supporting the continuance of policies that failed to achieve their purported objectives, including removing the Castro brothers from power and restoring freedom and democracy in Cuba, is troubling to say the least.
    The blockade and sanctions put in place shortly after Fidel Castro took over the reins of power in Cuba in 1959 have only caused pain and misery on the Cuban people, while the target of those policies continued to enjoy a lifestyle that was inconsistent with the economy and standard of living of the Cuban people. Moreover, our obtuse policies allowed other countries to benefit economically and politically, while we remained on the sidelines determined to satisfy exiles that managed to escape from a tyrannical regime after enduring tremendous pain.
    The time to try something different is now. The USA would benefit from a resumption of diplomatic, and would benefit financially if Congress removes sanctions that have been counter productive. The best way to influence political change in Cuba is through positive deeds, not reprisal. A resumption of trade with Cuba, and American investment, would achieve more in just a few years than the current policies did in half a century. It is also worth mentioning that a resumption of trade with Cuba would offer tremendous opportunities for American investors, especially in the hospitality industry. The main beneficiary from a resumption of trade with Cuba will probably be Florida.
    I doubt Jeb’s position was influenced strictly by the need to rally his base and get financial support. Let’s not forget that he eliminated Affirmative Action while he was the Governor of Florida, championed charter schools, and was one of the main players in the selection of his older brother as POTUS in 2000. With the exception of immigration, Jeb Bush is as conservative as the rest of the wannabes running or planning to run for President in 2016.

    Reply
    1. indiokie December 19, 2014

      Dom, I look forward to your postings. Always concise, well said, no cheap shots, and can back up all of it. Well thought out. My best education for current events.

      Reply
  4. Dave December 18, 2014

    Listen carefully to the sound of Obama bringing liberty, democracy, and prosperity to the suffering Cuban people?
    1. Is the Castro regime stepping down, and are the people of Cuba going to have free elections now, was that part in the fine print of this deal ?
    2. Was part of this deal for the Government of Cuba to stop violating the rights and the freedoms of the people of Cuba?

    Reply
    1. JPHALL December 18, 2014

      And what about Russia and China? Or what about Vietnam or Chad? Why must we apply your so called principles only to Cuba?

      Reply
      1. joe schmo December 18, 2014

        Russia has us beat over a barrel. Big difference. Russians love Putin. Putin is a nationalist. Obama and his global agenda is going to play hell getting Russia to go along with the program. China owns us. Vietnam is nothing.

        Reply
        1. johninPCFL December 19, 2014

          He meant Russia in 1980 when that cowboy Reagan cowtowed to, er, i mean negotiated with, Gorbachov. Did Russia change anything before meeting with Reagan? Absolutely not. Did China change anything before meeting with Nixon? Absolutely not.

          Reply
        2. jmprint December 29, 2014

          And with the Chinese mafia inside Mitch’s back pocket, they will own more of America.

          Reply
    2. kenndeb December 18, 2014

      Perhaps more trained soldiers for the Emperors war against the American people?

      Reply
      1. Dave December 18, 2014

        I am not sure if you had seen this video of a local police officer explaining why they have Military MRAPS.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aASdkI4Ow24

        Reply
        1. kenndeb December 19, 2014

          Any idea what PD this jerk works for? I can’t find anything, but he wouldn’t make it long anywhere I frequent. Most members of PDs I know of are backing their people, not our tyrant or his goons.

          Reply
          1. Dave December 19, 2014

            That was at a Wal-Mart in Spokane valley Washington.

            This is also something else that had happened in Washington as of lately.

            http://www.truthandaction.org/largest-felony-civil-disobedience-rally-americas-history/2/

            Reply
          2. kenndeb December 19, 2014

            Loved the article. We need more civil unrest and protests over our government curtailment of our rights and freedoms. The first video was disturbing, so I was happy to see the second. The liberal communist have infiltrated every level of civil service and positions of power. They need to be identified and removed before they can do more damage, but I think the only way to do this will involve bloodshed. I find it appalling that they still maintain that they are Americans when nothing is further from the truth.

            Reply
          3. WhutHeSaid December 19, 2014

            Yes, yes — we like it when you rednecks talk about insurrection. There’s no better way for you to earn a lengthy stay in prison or a dirt nap.

            Speaking of ‘power positions’, how the hell is Deb doing today? I sure hope you’re treating her right, otherwise we may need to get more men on the job.

            Reply
          4. kenndeb December 19, 2014

            And here is a prime example of what a traitor to his country looks like. Stupid, vile worthless.

            Reply
          5. bobnstuff December 19, 2014

            A traitor is someone who supports the over though of the government by force. Look in a mirror.

            Reply
          6. kenndeb December 20, 2014

            A traitor is someone that supports a tyrant, and not their country. WE the PEOPLE are the government, not the illegal tyrant we have taking up space in OUR White House. The oath every person that serves our country takes says to defend and support the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies, foreign or domestic. We have the greatest enemy of our country in our White House, and, with his help, we can now have Cuban soldiers helping in transforming America into a soviet style regime. And so called Americans, Americans in name only, like you, are supporting the tyrant. People like you are traitors, not patriots that are willing to fulfil their oaths.

            Reply
          7. bobnstuff December 20, 2014

            Gee same old line. Just a reminder to you that the President was elected twice. The Suprime Court has not found him in vilation of the Constitution nor are they likely to. The embargo was out dated and didn’t work. It should have gone away years ago. I would say you don’t understand what is happenning and
            everytime you post you prove it.

            Reply
          8. kenndeb December 21, 2014

            Yes, the Emperor was coronated twice, but only because he lied and conned the American people TWICE. The Supreme Court might have ruled in his favor in the past, but many Judges now are determining that many, if not most, of his actions ARE unconstitutional. I would submit that you are the one that is wrong, and can not, or ,most likely, WILL NOT see that we have a tyrant in our White House. I seem to understand far more than you will ever, mainly because you will continue to believe in a corrupt government that lies and deceives constantly. I can not understand how Americans are so willing to worship a lying fraud whose sole purpose is to destroy our country. Wake up before you find yourself enslaved by the same people that claim to know what is best for you.

            Reply
          9. bobnstuff December 21, 2014

            Once again you are proving your lack of understanding of the the world. The only people who don’t except the legality of the two elections are you and the other right wing nut jobs. Name something that he did that effected you personalty. You
            have no idea just what a tyrant is and I thank God for that. If the President was a true tyrant you and your like would be in jail or worse. You just keep repeating your senseless name calling. It is
            people like you that are trying to destroy the country with your lies.

            Reply
          10. jmprint December 29, 2014

            So do you think Cruz and Mitch are the answer?

            Reply
          11. jmprint December 29, 2014

            The president is more American then you are. Just because you tote a gun, does not make you a patriot, just a looser.

            Reply
          12. WhutHeSaid December 20, 2014

            You seem to be talking to yourself. Unless…..Deb, is that you? Are you OK? Has KKKen been mistreating you?

            Reply
          13. kenndeb December 20, 2014

            Go play in heavy traffic

            Reply
      2. joe schmo December 18, 2014

        HaHaHa, what? He’s now relying on the UN forces and Communists to help him make claim to the good ole USA. Well we all know how well it went for England when you have to bring troops over to America……

        Reply
        1. kenndeb December 19, 2014

          The Emperor has no intention of leaving our White House.

          Reply
          1. joe schmo December 19, 2014

            I’m beginning to think that. However, kenndeb, he DOES NOT have the military behind him. Nor does he have many of the 22.1 million veterans or the Police departments or the CIA. He has single handedly crapped on all of them. What does that leave him with? The ignorant, the innocent, union people(who are not held in high esteem at the moment) and over educated, education morons.

            Reply
          2. bobnstuff December 19, 2014

            He had the help of the republicans taking there funding from them. Plus many policemen are in the union. And yes educated people tend to support the president.

            Reply
          3. sleepvark December 19, 2014

            kkkenboobs, you and joe schmucko must be teabagging buddies, or just intimate old hags. Whatever, you do foil off each other is such predictable fashion. It’s great entertainment.

            Reply
          4. kenndeb December 19, 2014

            Go play on a busy interstate highway.

            Reply
    3. charleo1 December 18, 2014

      Would you be surprised to hear the suffering Cuban people are celebrating the news? Yes, you would. What do you in fact know about these suffering people? Are you surprised to see the fat, well fed, politicians, and aging Cuban Exiles, living in the land of plenty, opposing ending the suffering of their Countrymen, to continue their own political agenda? I’m not. The fine print is the broken promise of numbers 1& 2, contained in the 54 years of misery endured by the people of Cuba, because of the failed policy of an arrogant Nation.

      Reply
      1. Dave December 18, 2014

        Charleo1: This is Dave in VA, I just edited my profile a little bit.
        No, I am not surprised that the people of Cuba are celebrating this news. The people will see more American people visiting Cuba. Do you think that the people of Cuba will get any of this money? The money will more then likely go to the Castro Brothers, to help fund his military and to help them to sponsor terrorism. Just like the money that they get from China/ Russia and other countries from around the world.The fat well fed politicians will more then likely continue to be fat well fed politicians, without a regime change. Without the people of Cuba having free elections, nothing will change.

        As for the people of Cuba who are suffering under the Castro regime. I have worked with a man who’s Family has suffered from the Castro Brothers, and some of his family are no longer with him because of the Castro regime. I would like for you to meet him someday and ask him how he feels about the Castro regime.

        You say it’s because of the failed policy of a arrogant nation. Well this arrogant nation that you are talking about, is the same nation that gives YOU the freedom’s to say things like that. This arrogant nation has helped in giving you a good education and a good home and I am sure a loving family. The people of Cuba will never be free unless they stand up to their dictator and over turn their government.

        Reply
        1. kenndeb December 19, 2014

          Something Americans need to do, and soon.

          Reply
          1. WhutHeSaid December 19, 2014

            Yes, we have nice comfy prison cells all ready or you. Go ahead and try the insurrection route and see what happens, you moron.

            Reply
          2. kenndeb December 19, 2014

            Still hiding in your moms basement? When war starts, I know you will be hiding behind a conservative with a weapon begging him to save you. Cowards like you are disgusting.

            Reply
        2. charleo1 December 19, 2014

          Well, yes. I say arrogant Nation. I don’t believe there’s any doubt the vast majority of our problems with the South, and Central Americas, and throughout the Caribbean, has been due to decades of of one case after the next, where we came in, overthrew elected govts. And set up what were essentially our own dictators. Then, set about systematically exploiting the resources, and people for the profit of U.S. Corps. That we did that, I don’t believe that makes us evil. That’s part of the hard reality, or ugly side of doing what’s necessary to become a world power. But, there is a downside to all that. And, it is arrogant to refuse to acknowledge that. That truthfully, we are in no small part, responsible for creating the Cuba we’ve had the last nearly 60 years. And our response has been to try to inflict as much economic pain on the people of Cuba, that they’ll rise up, and overthrow Castro. And after more than 50 years, where that hasn’t worked, some are more than willing to impose another 50 years of misery on the people. And for what purpose? To be able to claim that they were right after all? Look, after China, it would seem evident, the old idea of denying the Communist States of the World, economic succor, so they fall, and freedom, elected govts. and human Rights prevail. Is as debunked as the domino theory, post Vietnam. And yet, we baulk and stand on platitudes, in the case of Cuba. Why? First, because it costs us very little economically. And, the policy has become a political instrument. Where politicians get to relive the glory days of the cold war, in which they can claim victory. It’s all feel good stuff. The Cuban Exiles, which at this point have no intentions of retaking their former island home, love it. And so that, in and of itself, becomes the only real value in continuing an isolation of Cuba, in which we are the only Country still participating. The rest of the World has moved on. And so should we have found a way to do so as well. Especially after the Berlin Wall fell, and the Soviet Union conceded. We opened up trade with Communist China, without free elections, guarantees of human Rights, and so on. So, what does underpin our Cuban policy today In my opinion, opportunistic politics, and false pride.

          Reply
          1. joe schmo December 19, 2014

            Seriously, and you don’t think communist regimes don’t exploit the people? You are seriously out of touch or you are ignorant to the realities of Communist rule.

            As far as American intervention you have a point. Why we have military bases all over Europe is beyond me. America still occupies many nations with their bases and I do think our interference in the Middle East has only created havoc.

            Reply
        3. joe schmo December 19, 2014

          Yes, because the elites under a Communist government regime always have all the money. Meaning the 1% are the government. While everyone else is controlled and lives in squalor like birds in a cage…..

          Reply
          1. charleo1 December 19, 2014

            Much different than Wal-Mart. Where the Walton family, worth some 150 billion, add an additional
            8 million dollars a minute to their ever growing
            fortunes. While the taxpayers subsidize every part of
            their business model. From the land, to the tax breaks
            obtained thru the various legislatures, and economic
            improvement initiatives, and free infrastructure, to the public assistance their minimum wage work force relies on. And who runs the Gov. nowadays? Are the
            corporations, and banks Communist, or flag waving
            freedom loving, patriots? What do you think?

            Reply
          2. stcroixcarp December 19, 2014

            Our run-amuck capitalist system is doing the same thin you accuse communists of doing. By saying this, I am not advocating communism by any means, but rather pointing out that our current system has failed people like you and me, and needs to be rethought and revised to work for everyone.

            Reply
          3. sealbeams December 19, 2014

            I thought for a minute you were talking about the US. In fact, you are.

            Reply
          4. Joseph Kelsall December 19, 2014

            That is absolutely untrue. I never saw one person in Cuba looking as though they lived in squalour and the children are treated with dignity. You can go and see for yourself soon and then take a trip to Brownsville, Texas and make the comparison.

            Reply
        4. indiokie December 19, 2014

          Cuban people will not see any of the influx of money? WOW, did you forget how you promote “trickle down” economics ?

          Reply
          1. Dave December 19, 2014

            Foreign company workers salaries will be taxed at a rate of 95%. With tax rates like that you will not see any trickle down economics.

            http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2014/12/19/castro-to-pocket-92-of-worker-salaries-from-foreign-companies/

            Reply
          2. prenestino December 20, 2014

            The money will flow in directly to the man on the street. Huge amounts of it. Think “millions of American tourists! all year long.” Pockets bulging with money.

            Reply
        5. Joseph Kelsall December 19, 2014

          The people of Cuba manage because the USA has forced them to become the most resourceful people on Earth. Go take a trip and see how they manage with the help of the Cuban Government.
          I’m an old man now and I think I’d better take one more trip before the tourist invasion.

          Reply
      2. joe schmo December 18, 2014

        Would you also be surprised that Odummer decided to make a swap to release a Cuban spy held in our prisons….., and what about that Gitmo. He’s letting go all those terrorist criminals and you idiots are singing praises to Allah. What a bunch of morons. You’re selling your own country down the drain for the sake of a dictator who caters to Communist rivals.

        Reply
        1. sleepvark December 19, 2014

          jolina, you poor scared little girl. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Your every word reeks of fear and pusillanimity. The big scary black man in the white house still has you cringing in terror.
          It’s obvious you will never overcome your many irrational fears. You will have to deal with the next couple of years of self induced trembling and fear, whilst your betters carry on with life as normal.

          Reply
        2. cpbis December 19, 2014

          Man, do you have hate in your veins. Based on your nonsense you show your ignorance. Anyone who attacks with name calling is obviously incapable of intelligent dialogue..

          Reply
        3. ericlipps December 20, 2014

          Joe, would it surprise you to know that few if any of the internees at Guantanamo have actually been convicted of anything?

          You call them all “terrorist criminals” as though that had been proven in a court, or at least a drumhead military tribunal. Apparently you have the Red Queen’s notion of justice: convict first, try later if at all.

          Reply
    4. Dominick Vila December 19, 2014

      The first step to stop despotism and replace failed ideologies is to engage the oppressors. If there is one thing to learn from our policies with Cuba during the last 50 years is that lack of dialogue only preserves the status quo.
      The establishment of isolationist policies in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Bay of Pigs, and in the face of ruthless persecution of dissidents, was understandable. However, while the regime of Raul Castro is far from being acceptable, the most heinous crimes are history by now. Re-establishing diplomatic relations with them will not remove Raul from office, and will not end communism in Cuba, but it will allow us to influence changes in Cuba after Raul and Fidel are gone, which is likely to happen in the not too distant future. What will make a huge difference is lifting the embargo. Exposure to a way of life that most Cubans can’t even imagine, will do more to guarantee the abject failure of communism and promote freedom and democracy, than what the current policies achieve during the last half century. I doubt a peaceful transition to a free society will happen in Cuba during the next 2 years, but it is likely to happen within the next 5 years or so, and that will be good for our national interests as well as Cuba’s.

      Reply
      1. mike December 19, 2014

        For the Cuban people nothing changes, oppression has not ended, food still scarce, no political parties, sure they released some political prisoners, but will there be free speech? Trade and currency still controlled by govt., state enterprises dominate economy, etc.. It will still be dominated by Soviet-like state. What did we get in return, Nada. Typical negotiation from the Obama Administration. How about all those Americans that are wanted by the US being returned as a start. Have these Americans hit the panic button yet??? I imagine the phones are ringing off the hook as they look for answers.

        What we have lost again is negotiating from strength, they will have more monies from remittance $500 to $2000 per month, what did we get in return? What will this administration give up to allow Cuba to get off terror blacklist?
        Embargo can only be lifted by Congress, but it Obama wants a battle, let him try.
        Embassy can only happen if funded, we will wait and see how that goes. Do you really think the funds will be found without some real negotiation between Congress and WH. Can Obama negotiate?? He sure hasn’t so far during these 6 years.

        Cuba is between a rock and a hard place economically and if they want to survive they better be willing to open the flood gates. Will this administration push for real changes?? Or more of the same!!

        On the other side, where does this put the other leftist countries in South American. Will they have to rethink their positions with US?? How about Venezuela, close ally to Cuba, anti-imperialist stance against US? It is going to be interesting and fun to watch.

        Reply
        1. johninPCFL December 19, 2014

          Yeah. The same could have been said about China, Russia, Vietnam, etc.
          BTW, two US citizens returned (one was a US spy imprisoned in Cuba for 20 years) and 20 political prisoners released.

          Reply
          1. mike December 19, 2014

            I see another one of your worthless posts. Actually up to 53 being released or released.
            What has changed other than getting 2 people back?? Will the Cuban people have more freedoms? Even Obama said he didn’t expect any changes in the near future. So what did we get??
            And I bet you think the Bergdahl exchange was a good deal. Investigation has been done for 2 months, where is the report??? Will Obama have egg on his face again?? Will there be an “other than honorable discharge” for Bergdahl??

            Yes, he is back but at what costs??

            Reply
        2. Dominick Vila December 20, 2014

          Political changes in Cuba are likely to be as slow as they have been in China and Vietnam, but that does not mean Nixon’s decision to re-establish diplomatic and trade relations with China was a failure. Great statesmen make decisions that influence change and positive results over a long period of time, realizing that those changes are going to be gradual, and often challenging. There is nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is preserving policies that have not produced the desired results, for fear of offending specific constituencies.
          Judging by the positive reactions by Latin American leaders, including Maduro in Venezuela, the entire region welcomes the end of policies that have caused tremendous pain and misery to the Cuban people, and that have contributed to the overt antagonism that has existed throughout the region during the past several decades. I realize that the feelings and aspirations of our Southern neighbors is of little concern for most Americans, but that does not mean we should insist on the implementation or retention of policies that are offensive to the rest of the world.
          Yes, the next few years are going to be interesting. Again, I doubt we are going to see dramatic political and social changes in Iran or Cuba if policies of rapprochement are put in place, at least not immediately, but there is a much better chance of influencing change through dialogue and willingness to negotiate, than through threats and punishment. Ultimately, it will be up to the people in these countries to choose what they believe is best for them, but at least we will be there to demonstrate our values, instead of being outsiders looking in.

          Reply
      2. Dave December 19, 2014

        Dominick, I have a lot of respect for you and your opinions, but it will be more of the same in Cuba after the Castro Brothers are gone. The next one in line to run the Cuban government is Miguel Diaz he is a party loyalist (see the above link that I have provided to Grandma).

        Castro has already said that all of the salaries from foreign companies the workers will be taxed at a rate of 92%.

        http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2014/12/19/castro-to-pocket-92-of-worker-salaries-from-foreign-companies/

        Reply
    5. latebloomingrandma December 19, 2014

      Give it time. The Castro brothers are in their 80’s.

      Reply
      1. Dave December 19, 2014

        Grandma, yes the Castro brothers are in her their 80’s. But take a look at who will be replacing them…more of the same.
        thhttp://m.csmonitor.com/World/Latest-News-Wires/2013/0224/Raul-Castro-to-step-down-Who-will-run-Cuba-nexteir

        Reply
        1. prenestino December 20, 2014

          It doesn’t matter if there is a regime change or not. Flooding the country with American tourists will automatically will overwhelm them.

          Reply
      2. Dave December 19, 2014

        Miguel Diaz is Raul Castro’s likely next appointment, he is a party loyalist.

        http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/02/24/miguel-diaz-canel-raul-castro-likely-heir-apparent-seen-as-serious-minded-party/

        Reply
        1. Independent1 December 21, 2014

          Has the government of China changed?? No! It’s still communistic! But do you think that the lives of the majority of Chinese people are better today than they were 10 -20 years ago?? The Chinese people’s lives are light-years better today than they were 10-20 years ago. And not only are the Chinese people’s lives better, but a country that 25 years ago had the infrastructure that America had back around 1900, has now in many aspects surpassed the infrastructure of here in America.

          Have you seen films lately of what some Chinese cities look like today?? Many of them are far more modern and well planned out than any cities you will find in America. And China’s rail infrastructure is light-years better than ours!! The Chinese rail system has trains now that travel 302 mph which connect the vast majority of China’s main cities where people are able to live 150 miles from where they work and can get there with a little over 30 minute commute without having to sit for hours in traffic jams. And all of this was accomplished without a REGIME CHANGE.

          So why are you hung up on this?? Are you George W. Bush II?? Who seemed to think if a country wasn’t willing to adopt a democratically run government that for some reason it was our enemy?

          Reply
    6. johninPCFL December 19, 2014

      Wow. Reagan faced the same challenges with Moscow, Nixon with China, etc. They were applauded for challenging the status-quo and engaging the ‘enemy’ which opened their countrymen’s eyes to the better place we are. Once engaged, the governments changed. USSR is gone, China is now much more open.
      The only difference here is the proximity and the loudly squalling constituency in South Florida.

      Reply
    7. Joseph Kelsall December 19, 2014

      Don’t tell me – You’re in favour of establishing regime change; yer feckin’ pillock!

      Reply
    8. Marilyn December 19, 2014

      Am I the only one on here old enough to remember Batista? Some people act as though the Cuban people would have enjoyed wonderful freedom these past 54 years except for the horrible Castro brothers. Life under Batista was not great for the average Cuban. He was corrupt but quite acceptable to the US.

      Reply
      1. bobnstuff December 19, 2014

        You here a lot of bring back democracy to Cuba but they haven’t had it in their life time. Castro was a big improvement over Batista. Cuba has one of the best health care systems in the Americas, better then the US. They also have one of the best education system ranking up with the British and the US.

        Reply
    9. Independent1 December 21, 2014

      What does Regime Change have to do with anything?? Did we change the regime in China when we started becoming a trading partner with China?? NO!! But somehow, without changing the regime China has made progress in improving the lives of its citizens and moving into the 21st century that makes America look antiquated – primarily because the GOP has insisted on blocking virtually any attempts that have been made to improve Americans transportation infrastructure.

      Bring up this website that will give you a little picture of what the Chinese Maglev train system looks like and tell me if you’ve seen ANYTHING LIKE IT IN AMERICA!!! keep in mind that these trains can travel up to 302 mph and preclude the need to have airline service between cities that aren’t at least 1,000 miles apart!!!!!!

      http://www.smtdc.com/en/xnlv2.html

      Reply
      1. angelsinca December 22, 2014

        So the Maglev (and evil republicans of course) is the reason why the Chinese quality of life has improved? LOL. Thank Walmart, the American consumer, and cheap slave labor.

        Reply
  5. tranz2deep December 18, 2014

    The Repugnant Party only wants policies that don’t work and can be maintained indefinitely, lest they be expected to actually work.

    Reply
    1. joe schmo December 18, 2014

      Cuba over your own countrymen….. Bullshit!…..and you wonder why Rome is collapsing.

      Reply
      1. cpbis December 19, 2014

        What are you talking about? Who is saying they favor Cuba over their own people? Are you from the “Tea Party”?

        Reply
        1. prenestino December 20, 2014

          Even Tea Party people aren’t as idiotic as Joe Schmo

          Reply
      2. WhutHeSaid December 19, 2014

        Well why am I not surprised? Here you are expressing your despicable hate for people again — this time Cuban people.

        What is it with you Tea-Bigots? You have nothing but vile hate for everyone. 54 years of a failed embargo is quite enough, and does nothing to help America or anyone else. I know that you sordid America-haters hate everyone in this country who isn’t old, wrinkled and white — but what the hell do you have against Cuban people?

        Reply
      3. ericlipps December 19, 2014

        Joe, you’re an idiot. You’re so blinded by your hatred of a “left” you don’t remotely understand that all you can do is foam at the mouth and grind out insults. Just be careful all that drool doesn’t drip into your keyboard and short it out.

        On second thought, don’t.

        Reply
      4. prenestino December 20, 2014

        Actually, Joeschmo, you are right! But in recent years the Italian government has done much to restore many of the decaying buildings in Rome. Things there are much better than when I was there 25 years ago. And no one ever said Cuba was OVER our countrymen. It is south east from Florida, Go in a horizontal direction, not up.

        Reply
        1. ericlipps December 20, 2014

          He meant “Rome is collapsing” literally? Are you sure? And here I thought it was a figure of speech referring to the U.S. . . .

          Reply
          1. prenestino December 20, 2014

            Wink

            Reply
      5. Independent1 December 21, 2014

        Other posters need to give Joe Schuck some latitude – he’ not only mentally challenged, he’s also an avowed supporter and excuse maker for torturing innocents. Like Cheney – he sees absolutely nothing wrong with what took place during the years right after 9/11 and is convinced that all of us posters that are outraged at what the CIA did under Bush’s direction are totally misguided as what Bush and Cheney allowed was nothing more than what other countries have done unto us.

        Joe is a firm believer that it’s okay for America to lower itself into the gutter, if that’s the way our enemies choose to live – there’s nothing wrong with America following suit!!! If you haven’t gotten my drift – Joe Schmo is nothing but an enormous low life who doesn’t deserve to be reasoned with; and NO AMOUNT OF COMMON SENSE REASONING is going to change any of Joe’s opinions one iota!!!

        Reply
    2. leadvillexp December 19, 2014

      I am a Republican and while I may disagree with some of President Obamas ideas I agree with many and this is one. The idea that all Democrat ideas are bad is wrong. The same goes for all Republican ideas. Communism has been dying a long slow death for some time. One only has to look to Iraq, Pakistan and Afganistan to see our failures and they are supposed to be our friend. The embargo has long been a failure we need to admit it and move on. It is long overdue to restart Diplomatic Relations again.

      Reply
      1. cpbis December 19, 2014

        Finally, a Republican who has a better understanding of our Democracy. You are correct, we can learn from both parties. I am a Democrat but have seen many fine programs from Republicans during my 7 decades plus. Thank You!

        Reply
      2. atc333 December 19, 2014

        At last!!!!!!!! Rationality!, , a middle ground apporach.. Take the best from each. and make a whole that is larger and better than its parts.

        Simply amazing.

        Oh, I forgot, what do we do with Cruz and others like him in both parties?

        Reply
        1. angelsinca December 22, 2014

          “what do we do with Cruz and others like him in both parties”

          You are suggesting the same thing Castro did (and is still doing) to his political opposition. Cuba is a solid sh*t hole that murders those that speak out against it or try to escape it, not the artist’s paradise you want it to be.

          Reply
  6. joe schmo December 18, 2014

    Hockey-puke….’President Obama’s courageous decision to normalize relations with Cuba;’

    Go figure….let me guess, all you commies approve of this. This couldn’t be a clearer indication about how Marxist you all have become.

    All that diversity and tolerance is a lie. You don’t even like your own ‘countrymen.’ Oh, did I say a bad word.

    Reply
    1. sleepvark December 19, 2014

      schmolina old girl, we all know that you are rather new to our country and it’s institutions, but your ignorance of recent history is on display again.
      You come from communist roots, failed european communist roots. Your entire outlook is clouded in failure of the most abject kind. That must be why you keep whining about communism and marxism as if you actually knew what you were talking about. And you further forget your audience is composed of people who rejected McCarthyism over half a century ago. You left a failed ideology over yonder, and have embraced a different failed ideology over here. You are truly an idiotic wunderkind, a mädchen of madness, angry at the fact that you still just don’t get it, and everyone else sees it in you.
      I for one am very happy to normalize things with Cuba. Great musicians, classical guitarists without equal, talented baseball players, wonderful people in general. Cigars, anyone?

      Reply
    2. stcroixcarp December 19, 2014

      The Castro regime is dying. Fidel is 87 and Raul is not far behind. How long do you think these old brothers are going to live? Their cohorts are all dying off too. Within 10 years all will change. It is time to embrace a new generation and work for peace and cooperation with our neighbors. Communism is pretty much a dead horse. Find something else to kick.

      Reply
      1. jointerjohn December 19, 2014

        Today’s pathetic edition of the once respectable republican party can’t take your good advice. Rather than offer solutions, ideas, or constructive process, they keep themselves in a perpetual state of phony outrage. While they help Wall Street and the mega-corps destroy the working class they attempt to distract us with these “Chicken-Little” theatrics. Anything that can benefit the little guy, whether U.S. citizen or otherwise, draws an immediate tantrum from these fakers.

        Reply
        1. prenestino December 19, 2014

          Jointer – How true. Look at their outrage over Obama’s immigration policy, which is almost an exact echo of George Bush’s. If they are aware of this, then it means the only thing they don’t like about Bush is the one thing he got right.

          Reply
          1. jointerjohn December 20, 2014

            They have painted themselves into a corner. They rely upon the stupidest of the electorate for their survival, hence, can’t explain complex issues to their own drooling, knuckle-dragging base. It’s
            the colored guy’s fault is all they can say that their booger-eating faithful can handle.

            Reply
          2. prenestino December 21, 2014

            Yes, but they still clean up in the mid-term elections. These”knuckle draggers” outnumber the tiny minority of informed voters who bother to vote. I hold responsible all those who don’t even vote.

            Reply
          3. jointerjohn December 22, 2014

            Those who refuse to do their duty are indeed to blame. They need to realize that we all vote in every election, its just that some of us do it actively and others stay home and let dimwits do it for them.

            Reply
          4. jointerjohn December 22, 2014

            They don’t do policy or governance, only grandstanding.

            Reply
      2. Joseph Kelsall December 19, 2014

        You’ll see how dead communism is when thousands of Americans choose Cuba for surgery and health treatment.

        Reply
        1. prenestino December 19, 2014

          JoeK – what you wrote is a sad commentary on the U.S.A.

          Reply
          1. iowasteve December 19, 2014

            Hmmm – so, a “red” supporter has finally admitted that we really did need “Obamacare” afterall. That’s nice to hear (read) actually. But prenestino, you hit the nail on the head. The USA has had some of the worse healthcare record considering the rest of the world. We needed reform badly – but the current ACA doesn’t go far enough. Canadian style is what we really needed – but this is a great step in that direction.

            Reply
          2. angelsinca December 22, 2014

            Not so much on the Canadian care. They were coming to the US for the better healthcare that was accessible without waiting for a year for treatment. The ACA has succeeded in changing all that.

            Reply
    3. prenestino December 19, 2014

      “He’s Communist because he’s left-handed” Bob Dylan

      Reply
    4. ericlipps December 19, 2014

      Joe, once again, you don’t know what you’re talking about so you resort to name-calling.

      If I were like you, I’d advise you to go back to Germany where you belong—1939 Germany. But I’m not like you.

      And for the record, I doubt that any of the people you’re red-baiting here is now, or ever has been, a member of the Communist Party, or a Communist sympathizer either. You just see Red when you get mad—and you get mad a lot, don’t you? If I were you, I’d watch my blood pressure.

      Reply
    5. atc333 December 19, 2014

      How about defining “Communist”, “Marxist”, and “Socialist”, all words you throw around, and apparently don’t even understand, but do so because they sure sound good.

      Reply
  7. prenestino December 19, 2014

    Over the past 25 years I have talked to many who visited Cuba, as well as many who have family there. They all tell me the same thing, that the U.S. embargo is the only thing keeping Castro in power. It is a wonderful country with wonderful people which all of us could have enjoyed. Prediction now is that the country will be flooded with American tourists.

    Reply
    1. ericlipps December 19, 2014

      Of course, nothing is keeping Fidel Castro in power; his brother’s in charge now. Both are old men. What will be really interesting to watch is what happens after they die.

      Reply
      1. prenestino December 19, 2014

        Of course, but he was in power when these comments were made to me.

        Reply
        1. ericlipps December 19, 2014

          Point taken. It’s no secret that Castro, like other Latin American strongmen on the outs with Washington, has depended on anti-U.S. feeling to shore up his régime.

          I’m not sure, though, that the embargo is all that’s kept him in power all these years. Constant U.S. meddling, including repeated attempts (some of them absurd, like the poisoned-cigar and poisoned-wetsuit episodes) at assassinating Castro, surely played a role. Moreover (and here I’m sure the trolls will come out from under their bridges) the Castro régime can be credited with genuine accomplishments in such areas as spublic health and disaster preparedness. I’m sure that counts for something with ordinary Cubans.

          That doesn’t excuse his dictatorial rule, but then, the U.S. has winked at other dictatorships, some worse than his. (China comes to mind; these days, we get along pretty well with Beijing and even call it “post-Communist” unless it does sometbing to piss us off, whereupon, presto, it’s “Red China” again.)

          Reply
          1. prenestino December 19, 2014

            Yes. I should have written “U.S. Policy”. And as bad as it was under Castro, it was still better than under Battista (for the poor). Castro otherwise swindled Cubans – They didn’t find out he was anti Church or was a Communist until it was far too late and nothing could be done.

            Reply
  8. latebloomingrandma December 19, 2014

    The Republican way is rarely diplomacy or making a deal. It usually involves bluster, a display of my weapons are fiercer than your weapons, then either staging a coup or starting a war. Then when the dictators are gone, we are left with something worse. Usually chaos.
    Perhaps by establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba after 54 years, bringing some of the 21st century to the Cuban,people, letting them experience in incremental ways what freedom can look like, they may come up with their own solution for a new government. The Castro brothers don’t have that many more years left. Maybe this way, chaos can be prevented.

    Reply
  9. EaglesGlen December 19, 2014

    Obama lost the war in Iraq against ISIS, thereby questions Obama’s ability to make decisions correctly: ObamaCare lies; secure a border … and now Cuba. Author of this article cant understand the “idea – about bringing liberty, democracy, and prosperity to the suffering Cuban people” has always been to REWARD Cuba after the fact should Cuba ever choose to change; not a popularity stunt that gains nothing except rewarding the repressive Cuban government.
    Pointing the finger at the Bush family who did not fail and have millions of Iraqis captured by ISIS gains no ground here.;

    Reply
    1. ericlipps December 19, 2014

      You assume that “the war in Iraq against ISIS” is over. Don’t. But of course you make that assumption in order to be able to say Obama “lost” it.

      “Obamacare,” despite its rocky start, appears to be succeeding now in its stated purpose of reducing the number of uninsured. You’ll say that’s a lie, though. That’s the standard right-wing dodge: when the facts don’t support them, they can’t be facts.

      As for the Bush family not failing, ask veterans of the Iraq war Sonny Bush launched. For that matter, ask survivors of 9/11 to remind you just who was in the White House then, and who had waved away reports of a coming attack as recently as a month before it happened.

      Reply
    2. atc333 December 19, 2014

      So, let them suffer for 50 years, instead of showing them what they could have, improving their lot in life, and in doing so, change the nation of Cuba just as you see happening in China?

      And by the way, Iraq’s leaders lost the war on Isis by refusing to bring all Iraqis into the government thereby,creating an opening for Isis to obtain support from those sects not in power permitting its takeover, Those same leaders also removed all military commanders who were competent, and replaced them with flunkies who were more religiously and politically in line with Iraq’s prime minister political ambitions.. The Iraqi government also refused to agree to the US terms for keeping a contingent of US troops in Iraq. There was no agreement so there were, no troops on the ground.

      Obviously, you have been watching way too much Faux News, along with The Blaze, Newsmax, Hannity, and Limaugh

      Reply
    3. Independent1 December 21, 2014

      “Obama lost the war in Iraq against ISIS”??? Really?? Where have you gotten this normal RWNJ miguided notion???

      Does this sound like the war on ISIS in Iraq is lost??

      Excerpts from an NM article:

      The offensive, begun this week, paired the aerial assault with local boots on the ground — thousands of Kurdish peshmerga fighters — in what Kurdish officials called the largest attack so far in the fight against the militants, also known by the initials ISIS.

      “ISIS elements are starting to flee and leave the area; their morale is very low,” said Masrour Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan regional government’s security council, in a statement late Thursday. He called it “the biggest military operation so far conducted against ISIS … the biggest victory of the peshmerga in this war.”

      “With support from the international coalition and closer coordination with the Kurdish peshmerga fighters, the Iraqi security forces and their partners are pushing forward, recapturing strategic roads and other locations and liberating entire towns,” Abadi wrote in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. “Iraqis are doing our part to defeat the best-funded, best-equipped and best-organized terrorists on Earth. But the challenge is greater than any country can answer alone.”

      Reply
  10. C K Johnson December 19, 2014

    What is courageous about a Criminal act. 9 Presidents before Obama refused to have anything to do with Cuba. Obama must think he has to crush the Constitution. At least once a week. A president is not permitted to negotiate with a Terrorist Nation. Right now we should be fighting the IS army.Obama . Obama can not defeat the IS army playing Patty Cake with them .Obama has not named Boko Horam a terrorist group. As they continue to kill Children and Christians on a daily basis. At the rate we are going with the war that Obama first said we would destroy them. Will last to the end of time. And now we will have Cuba sending terrorist as vacationers .Obama has left the Border with Mexico wide open. I never thought the Real American People would let a President do 10% of what Obama has done. It is past time to stop him. WHATEVER WE MUST DO

    Reply
    1. jmprint December 19, 2014

      Johnson your are looking inside the box and the past, what did we gain from it? Nothing! President Obama is doing the best he can and you will notice all GOOD when he is out of officee.

      Reply
      1. C K Johnson December 21, 2014

        Obama will be remembered as the worst man to have lived in the Whitehouse.

        Reply
        1. jmprint December 21, 2014

          You are a fool to think that.

          Reply
          1. C K Johnson December 22, 2014

            A person does not have many brain cells who calls another person a fool.I am an Independent. The Demonicrats use language that I not necessary. Just because you do not agree with another person. We have freedom of speech.I do not respond by calling a complete stranger a fool. We are all Gods Children. And everyone has an opinion.

            Reply
          2. jmprint December 22, 2014

            I was calling the act foolish, when President Obama’s record is already better then the previous two. Yes you are entitled to your opinion and I am entitled to state facts.

            Reply
          3. C K Johnson December 22, 2014

            I was a Democrat starting with Kennedy and ended with Obama .I feel Obama does not have any Politicial knowledge. He is the first Democrat I did not vote for. I do not think he surrounded himself with political Savvy people. I researched what was available. I could not find evidence he was qualified to be the President. And to me he has not shown he has the qualifications to be the President.

            Reply
          4. angelsinca December 22, 2014

            Please clarify if we are entering the 3rd or 4th wave of riots and civil unrest since Jan ’09.

            Reply
        2. atc333 December 21, 2014

          See above.

          Reply
    2. Joseph Kelsall December 19, 2014

      If YOU want to fight ISIS, what’s stopping you? Go ahead.

      Reply
      1. C K Johnson December 21, 2014

        I fought in 2 wars. I am 70 years old. How many wars did you fight for our Country.

        Reply
    3. Marilyn December 19, 2014

      So you are implying that Boko Huram is killing children and Christians because Obama won’t name them as a terrorist group? Your diatribe makes very little sense. If a policy will not show any improvement in over 50 years, why does it make any sense to continue it? Who are the “Real American People” that you refer to? Are there thus “Unreal American People? There is nothing criminal about opening diplomatic relations with another country. I suggest that you actually read the Constitution before making such rash accusations. Lifting the embargo may require an act of Congress, but what Obama has done is no more criminal than Nixon’s visit to China.

      Reply
      1. C K Johnson December 21, 2014

        No I am saying they are all part of the Muslim Brotherhood. I do not like his policy. The real American people have paid taxes .And paid into S S and Medicare.

        Reply
        1. jmprint December 29, 2014

          So all the rich people that hide their funds in oversees accounts and don’t pay tax on those funds, are not true Americans?

          Reply
          1. C K Johnson December 29, 2014

            Congress that makes that possible Is.

            Reply
    4. atc333 December 19, 2014

      How about a list of all of Obama’s treasonous activities?

      Actually, I think you are wrong. Bush and Cheney left the borders wide open, or don’t you remember his policy was to turn a blind eye towards illegal immigrants, as America needed and business wanted cheap labor? Wait a minute, does that means that many of the immigrants with children are actually the very same immigrants that Bush turned a blind eye towards. 10 or 15 years ago? So, who didn’t seal the border?

      Oops!

      Reply
      1. C K Johnson December 21, 2014

        W Bush was the worst president in American history. And then came Obama and shoved W Bush to 2nd.

        Reply
        1. atc333 December 21, 2014

          Bush II tanked the US economy, almost created the US’s Second Great Depression, taking the rest of the world along with us, compared to Obama, who despite 6 years of GOP block and stall, together and their repeated “Hope he fails”, has doubled most economic indicators since Bush II left office, and you really think Obama is worse than Bush II?

          the fact is, regardless of your opinion, Obama will fare much better in US History books than Bush II ever will.

          Reply
          1. C K Johnson December 22, 2014

            W Bush did tank the economy.Obama tanked it further. I was a Union man and a Democrat for 40 years. I campaigned hard for Gore. I campaigned for Kerry. Obama had no experience or record to run on. He was a community organizer. And history will remember Obama as the want to be Dictator!

            Reply
      2. C K Johnson December 21, 2014

        Negotiating with terrorist without informing congress.

        Reply
        1. atc333 December 21, 2014

          Dates, organizations, and results of negotiations?

          Reply
          1. C K Johnson December 22, 2014

            Obama negotiated with the Taliban for the release of Beghdahl who walked off of his camp. Obama gave up 5 Prisoners Without telling Congress. Cuba is listed as a Terrorist nation. Obama gave money to Hamas listed as Terrorist. There are others but these should at least ring a bell

            Reply
          2. atc333 December 22, 2014

            The facts on Beghdahl are not out yet as far as walking off his base. As far as the value of the “trade” goes, i am not impresed with that choice, but I am not privy to all information Obama had for making that decision, but I am sure Congress knew it was coming, but did not give their blessings. 50 plus years of failed Cuba policy has not worked, so time to try something else.

            Bottom line, Bush is in entirely a different league than Obama as far as really bad decisions, incompetence, beginning with 911, invading Iraq to finish what he felt his father did not, liying to the public about WMDs, withholding information from Congress to get his war vote.

            Bush was a neer do well that the GOP handed the second term of his Presidency to, thank to his brother, Jeb, and his GOP Secretary of State in Florida. Before running for election, He failed to show up for National Guard training for months at a time. yet all was whitewashed. He trashed our economy, with tax cuts, and deregulation.and “deficits don’t matter” coting trillions in losses to all, and you attempt to put Obama as “worse than Bush”?

            Wake up and smell the coffee.

            Reply
          3. C K Johnson December 22, 2014

            I never once said W Bush was a good President. I think going into Iraq was a big mistake I campaigned for Gore a lot. And Harris and Jeb stole FL for W Bush. I voted for every Democrat starting with Kennedy. I researched Obama and I could not find anything that showed he is Qualified to be the President of the .S.

            Reply
          4. atc333 December 22, 2014

            Obama was not my first choice. But then, considering our choices between Obama and Magic Mit, it was a no brainer.

            In my opinion, the GOP, with Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II, have done more to wound the US economy, the middle class, the working class and created more Americans living at, below, or just above the poverty level than any terrorist attack could have accomplished in their wildest dreams.

            All anyone has to do is compare Federal Deficits, distributions of wealth, between groups of Americans, , employment, standards of living for most American,, cost of Education, and job creation in the years before Reagan, and then the years after Reagan.

            Strange how this country paid down the WW II war debt, and afterwards kept deficits under control until Reagan took office, and cut taxes for the “job creators” who took those tax savings, and created immense wealth, and less than half as many jobs during GOP Administrations compared to the Democrats with slightly less time in office.

            That pretty much says it all for concept of trickle down economics, and deregulation,( all three which were practiced by Bush II,) Legislative, Executive rule changes, and of course, good old “blind eye” deregulation, one of the Bush Administrations favorites,

            Now that the Voters stayed home this past election, allowing them to win with only 17% of the electorate voting for them, we can all watch the GOP attempt to sell it all over again, as they claim that this time, the fourth time, Reagan’s trickle down economics, will really work!

            Reply
          5. angelsinca December 22, 2014

            The Reagan years were rock solid in terms of knowing what to expect from your president and where he stood. This one, not so much, as evidenced by a constituency that doesn’t even care enough about his policies to vote for or against them. With the left’s focus on Bush, they kind of missed out on assuring Obama a place in the annuls of presidencies that truly matter.

            Reply
          6. C K Johnson December 23, 2014

            You are right about Regan and the 2 Bush’s. Regan had Iran Contra and convinced people it was Oliver North. No way North could pull that off. And Bush1 Read My Lips no new taxes. Bush 2 taking out going to war with Iraq. Iraq kept the whole Middle East in check. Obama has Fast and Furious. And his decision to go around Congress. And break the Constitution so many times. Ignoring the Laws. And any company hiring an Illegal gets 3 years they do not have to pay Health care for them. That is not fair. I believe he and Holder has made to much Racial divide in the U.S

            Reply
    5. Independent1 December 21, 2014

      What utter hogwash!! Where are you getting all this meaningless drivel?? Everything you posted is A GROSS DISTORTION OF THE TRUTH!!

      I’m only going to pick on ONE OF THE FIGMENTS OF YOUR IMAGINATION!!! Obama has left the Border with Mexico wide open!!

      What absolute ROT!! Aliens crossing the Mexican border is at the LOWEST LEVEL IN DECADES … IN FACT, for WELL OVER A YEAR, there were more immigrants going South than comming North!!

      When Obama took office, he continued with the building of the border fence that was started by Bush. And today, there are more than triple the number of border agents than there ever have been. In fact, there are so many agents guarding our borders, that there have already been instances where one border guard has mistakenly killed another border guard; they’re almost tripping over each other!!

      Go bury your head in the sand somewhere!! You have NO CLUE what you are talking about!!!!

      Reply
      1. prenestino December 21, 2014

        “Facts have a liberal bias” S. Colbert

        Reply
        1. Independent1 December 21, 2014

          Colbert is right in the sense that today’s conservatives have totally forgotten what ‘facts’ are, and in instead, constantly spew lies and distortions of the truth – and even believe their own lies and distortions of the truth.

          Reply
          1. prenestino December 21, 2014

            To drive your point home, just ask them what the source of their info is, or just ask “Why do you think that?” You will never get an answer that makes sense or answers the question at all.

            Reply
    6. Insinnergy December 21, 2014

      Wow… please take your meds. Crush the constitution?… The GOP only care about the 2nd Amendment as they loves their torture, don’t mind big brother, argue for religion whilst demonising the poor, all the while angling their legislation for the rich and corporations at the expense of the US voter… including last-minute, middle-of-the-night insertions into the must-pass budget to ensure Citigroup can screw the world economy again.
      I can’t even summon the motivation to counter that garbage with links… if you think Obama needs stopping you haven’t bothered to even lift the lid on the mass insanity in the GOP.
      Get help.

      Reply
      1. C K Johnson December 22, 2014

        I am an Independent. W Bush was horrible. Obama is worse

        Reply
  11. Melinda Killie December 19, 2014

    HERE’S the deal on republican’t thinking on Cuba. They want the embargo to go on until at last one of their republican morons gets back into the White House (good damn luck with that, repub traitors…) and after a hundred years or so, take care of lifting the embargo themselves.. They are spitting nails because they AGAIN aren’t the ones to possibly find peace with Cuba. How many of you repub/traitor/idiots remember the Cuban Missile Crisis? Jealousy, Piss, And Vinegar are running rampant in the republican traitor/crybabies veins. Let the republican slobs eat cake, I say! Obama has AGAIN managed to outmaneuver you bastards ALL to Hell! THAT as they say…, is THAT! LOLLOL!!!!!!!

    Reply
  12. Eleanore Whitaker December 19, 2014

    When the right wing in the US is morbidly ineffectual and useless to everyone, including themselves, they rant, rave and complain. There is nothing criminal about what President Obama did. He IS the president and has EVERY right to do what Reagan did when he laid claim to releasing the Iran hostages. (He didn’t. CIA records show that it was always Carter who had attempted 2 prior deals.)

    What the right wing is doing is treason. They are refusing to allow this president to do what they allowed Nixon, Reagan, Bush ’41 and Bush ’43 to do…create an administrative policy. Time for these little jerks to shut their pie holes.

    Reply
    1. prenestino December 19, 2014

      Actually, they are following their stated agenda, which is to simply see that everything Obama tries to do is sabotaged by them so that he will not have a successful presidency. Hypocritical? No
      Treason? Absolutely! And yet the vast majority of Americans, even black people, supported the GOP in doing this by not bothering to vote in the two mid-term elections.

      Reply
  13. Joseph Kelsall December 19, 2014

    From the UK it looks as though the Republicans are a spent force.

    Reply
  14. Eleanore Whitaker December 19, 2014

    50 years of a Cuban embargo. You really want the reason for the GOP’s sudden rage? Here it is folks: Old Uncle Herbie Bush took charge of the Cuban and Dominican sugar industry in 1942 and from that created the West Indies Sugar company. But wait…it gets better. The Bush family back to grandaddy Bush owned 11 sugar plantations in Cuba that exploited cheap Cuban labor..wow …Big surprise that the Bush Dynasty would be into cheap plantation style labor.

    In fact, before Castro took over during his regime, the Bush dynasty spent millions on Castro..Yes…Castro so he wouldn’t lay claim to the Bush sugar plantations. And if you think Lil Jebbie was still in his Pampers, think again.

    In the late 1980s, Jeb Bush had 2 Miami associates, Cubans Camilo Padreda and Miguel Recarey who were involved in defrauding millions from the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (Padreda’s crime) and the Dept. of Health and Human Services where Recarey defrauded Medicare by overcharging, false invoicing and embezzlement…Recarey didn’t stick around. He picked ’em up and put ’em down in Venezuela where he couldn’t be extradited.

    So in vengeance taking Bush sugar plantations, the GOP after 50 years is still hanging onto a boycott?

    Reply
    1. prenestino December 19, 2014

      Eleanore – I wish you hadn’t written this. Before I thought my esteem for Dubya couldn’t sink any lower. You have shown me there is no bottom

      Reply
      1. Eleanore Whitaker December 20, 2014

        The mechanism behind the Bush family impetus has always been supremacy. Theirs was always the more covert kind. Cheney was more the bald faced CEO control freak than Bush. But, with 2 sons GWB and Neil Bush, both such morbid failures, it’s important to know precisely what the GOP wants hidden about their favorite trade name for the White House.

        Reply
        1. Independent1 December 21, 2014

          It’s appalling to me that American voters would allow scumbags from a downright despicable family like the Bushes to be leaders of our country. As if what you just described about the Bush legacy isn’t bad enough, add to that a 3rd scumbag son named Neil – who’s about as scummy as it gets. As director of a savings and loan back in the late 1980s, somehow his poor guidance of it allowed it to flounder resulting in costing the taxpayers $1 Billion dollars. On top of that he turned out to be a cheater on his wife with a bevy of women.

          I just posted an excerpt from this article for a poster on another blog thread who questioned why not much was being said about Neil. I mean, how downright scummy can one family really get:

          Bush is the third of five children in the family of former President Bush and wife Barbara.

          He was involved in a business controversy in the late 1980s when he was director of Denver, Colorado-based Silverado Savings & Loan, which collapsed at a cost to taxpayers of $1 billion.

          He denied any wrongdoing, but was sanctioned by the federal government for his part in the failure.

          The Bush divorce, completed in April after 23 years of marriage, was prompted in part by Bush’s relationship with another woman. He admitted in the deposition that he previously had sex with several other women while on trips to Thailand and Hong Kong at least five years ago.

          The women, he said, simply knocked on the door of his hotel room, entered and had sex with him. He said he did not know if they were prostitutes because they never asked for money and he did not pay them.

          http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/11/25/bush.brother.reut/

          Reply
          1. Eleanore Whitaker December 21, 2014

            I agree. John Ellis Bush (Jeb) is further right than the image he presents. He and his brother GWB were part of the retinue that prior to 2001 visited Saudi Arabia several times. It’s pretty ironic that although facts about the Bush family are easy to prove through peripheral records related to their “doings,” However, when it comes to them keeping any records Bush ’41 as the former head of the CIA made certain any negative references were shredded. His son, GWB, did that with papers on IranContraGate back in 2001…immediately after he was elected president.

            Reply
  15. Eleanore Whitaker December 19, 2014

    There would never have been a Castro Regime in the first place if US industrialists from tobacco and sugar red states didn’t go down there and take over Cuba. That’s what that revolution was all about. Rich white American industrialists acting like they owned Cuba and its people.

    Reply
    1. prenestino December 19, 2014

      Castro never would have come to power if Battista had simply used the vast wealth available to him for education and health care for the campesinos. The brutality of their lives guaranteed a revolution that didn’t ever have to be. I guess there are quite a few people to blame, but Battista was in a position to watch out for his countrymen.

      Reply
  16. Eleanore Whitaker December 19, 2014

    Face facts. Olive branches in the hands of the GOP are used to beat the hell out of anyone who won’t play their corrupt games.

    Reply
    1. Buford2k11 December 20, 2014

      while, in the other hand they use the Bible to beat us into submission…

      Reply
      1. Eleanore Whitaker December 20, 2014

        They’d best sit on those Bibles where I’m concerned. I have an awful lot of trouble with talking snakes, Eve forcing Adam to eat an apple when you just know if she’d told him to take out the garbage he’d have bellowed NO so loud the walls of Eden would shake.

        Reply
        1. Buford2k11 December 20, 2014

          I always thought Eve was getting back at Adam ’cause he left the toilet seat up…my bad..

          Reply
  17. ericlipps December 19, 2014

    Listen carefully to the Republican leaders and presidential hopefuls roaring with outrage over President Obama’s courageous decision to normalize relations with Cuba; listen very carefully, because no matter how long or how closely you listen to them, there is one thing you will surely never hear.

    You will never hear a new idea – or any plausible idea – about bringing liberty, democracy, and prosperity to the suffering Cuban people.

    You will never hear a plausible idea on any subject from the nuts and flakes who have taken over the GOP and forced its dwindling remnant of sane conservatives (remember those?) into cowering submission.

    Reply
    1. David L. Allison December 21, 2014

      Please note, folks, that Rand Paul endorsed Obama’s actions and agreed with the Presidents reasoning. Just saying…

      Reply
      1. Independent1 December 21, 2014

        But Rand Paul is not really a Republican – he’s a Libertarian like his Dad running under the GOP flag.

        Reply
        1. David L. Allison December 21, 2014

          He may be the Republican candidate most dangerous to HRC’s coronation.

          Reply
          1. Independent1 December 21, 2014

            Unfortunately, his chances of getting the nomination ARE NIL!!!!!!

            Reply
          2. ericlipps December 22, 2014

            You mean the “coronation” of someone who still has not announced she is a candidate?

            I wish people would stop treating their fears as though they were established facts. Especially, in this case, since even if Clinton does run her fate will be up to the voters—unless, of course, the GOP seals another election.

            Reply
          3. David L. Allison December 22, 2014

            If wishes were fishes we could feed the world. The effort to crown HRC America’s queen has been underway for years.

            Reply
          4. ericlipps December 22, 2014

            (Snicker)
            “America’s queen”? Oh, really–wouldn’t she have to fight “Emperor” Obama for the crown?

            And we pretty much do feed the world. Hadn’t you noticed?

            Reply
      2. ericlipps December 22, 2014

        Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

        Reply
  18. edddoerr December 19, 2014

    Nixon went to China and Reagan met with Gorbachev, but the GOP is upset that Obama tries to normalize relations with Cuba after a half century of failure. Hah!

    Reply
  19. atc333 December 19, 2014

    The strangest thing about the GOP is they have no plan, no solution, no answers for the many problems facing this nation, including those they themselves caused,(2007/2008 Almost Second Great Depression) yet in their rage against all things Obama, they will do their worst to insure that he is unable to implement any solutions either.

    The basic truth is that despite the GOP, the Obama Administration has been able to double almost every major economic indicator since Bush II left office,as the economy was still tanking, and that in spite of the GOP’s best efforts to block and stall, his programs, distortions of fact, as well as at least one GOP Talking Head praying aloud “I hope he fails”!

    Think of where this nation could have been in its economic recovery and job creation today, had the GOP actually worked together and put this nation and its people first, instead of seeking only to further its own political self interests and its constant demonizing of all things Obama?

    As it is, the Cuba Policy of over 50 years as embraced by the GOP has worked only slightly worse than the GOP’s economic theories of “tax cuts for job creators ” and “deregulation”, unless of course you are part of the top 2%, in which case you can successfuly argue that it has worked for that group exceedingly well.

    Now we will get to see them try to explain to the American voters as to why and how that this time, the 4th time, tax cuts for job creators and more deregulation will actually work. Unfortunately, believing Ryan and the GOP as they make that claim would be pretty much like believing your drunken brother in law, who has wrecked his car, his wife’s car, as well as your wife’s car, and now, as he needing to get to the local bar, wants to borrow your new Ford, ’cause this time, he won’t drive it into the ditch unlike what he did three times before…

    Sure seems like Clinton;s definition of “insanity” comes into play at this point.

    Reply
    1. StubbornlyRational December 24, 2014

      Sort of like the “War on Poverty” that, after 50 years, has created an African American community riddled with crime, unwed mothers, disease, and….even more poverty.

      Sort of like the Teddy Kennedy immigration policy, which has led to a destabilization of American culture and a vast waste of money on “bilingual education programs” in California and elsewhere.

      In Nashville, Tennessee, about a quarter of the student population in local grammar schools is Spanish-speaking hispanic. The cost to local taxpayers is enormous, not to mention the damage to the quality of education.

      So it seems your “basic truths” list is incomplete.

      Reply
      1. atc333 December 24, 2014

        Such a short memory!!! You forget that the GOP lost interest in the “War on Poverty” with Reagan, and instituted a “Top 2% Wealth Enhancement Progarm ” with his “tax cuts for Job Creators”. That wealth enhancement has been working wonderfully since, considering that group now owns 49% of everything in the US, up from them owning only 8% of everything back in 1969

        You also have a very short memory as to how the Bush II administration was instrumental in continuing, and expanding immigration with his deep concerns of providing American employers with cheap labor from Mexico and points further south. Check out when the massive influxes of Immigrants took place.

        You cry about the “African American community riddled with crime, unwed mothers, disease, and….even more poverty.”
        yet ignore the fact that the GOP has consistently opposed any increases in the minimum wage, even though the current minimum wage has less than 70% of the purchasing power it did years ago. Couple that fact with the fact that minimum wage is now a “standard wage” for a large swath of American workers who have been at the job for years, and not just employees entering the work force for the first time, as well as the fact that minimum wage requires workers to seek help from Federal, State, and local governments, charities, food banks, and churches, Take Walmart, it costs American taxpayers billions of dollars a year to assist its workers who are recipients of minimum wage, Or, to put it another way taxpayers are subsidizing Walmart’s cost of doing business, as during the meantime, the five individuals who own the company now have more wealth than 43% of all of the American public,
        Increase the minimum wage, start collecting taxes from those now not paying them, give them some dignity, ease the drain on the US social safety nets and the US tax payers.

        Why don’t you do the math. Add up all the minimum expenses of rent, food, transportation, medical, educational , electric, water, heat, and other living expenses,. It can’t be done. Better yet, try it for yourself.

        You obviously have a very short memory if you can’t understand why so many Americans are now living in poverty, or barely surviving. or why this nation has such a large Federal Deficit, or why the very rich now own almost half of all the wealth of America. Compare America’s distribution of wealth between groups, and Deficits before, and after Reagan, and the GOP adopting his trickle down economic theory and deregulation. Then look at what Administrations created the most jobs, and balanced the Federal Budget, much less which one gave us the 2007/08 almost 2nd great depression implementing those same failed economic theories..

        I

        Reply
        1. StubbornlyRational December 24, 2014

          You need to learn succinctness. Most of your points are feeble excuses — Democrat talking points.

          For example, black poverty has accelerated under Obama, right? And the fabulous Clinton years, as anyone with a smidgen of intellect would know, were due to Reagan. Clinton, besides utterly failing to anticipate the rising threat from bin Laden, also instituted the “reforms” that led to the 2008 debacle.

          Any unbiased evaluator of that crisis knows that there is plenty of blame to go around. One can still find videos of the black caucus battling to stifle reforms of Fannie and Freddie. In the wake of that debacle, exactly how many Wall Street criminals has Don Obama jailed? Versus how many made it into his administration? Don Corzine, anyone?

          Such pitiful rationalizations and selective history..

          Reply
          1. atc333 December 25, 2014

            Between Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II, the GOP ran up 10 Trillion in Federal Deficits. That is hardly a “talking point”. How much has intereste on that Federal Debt added to the current Federal Deficit?

            Black poverty has accelerated under Obama? What set up the circumstances for such “acceleration”? What party insured that our recovery would be slow and agonizing, based upon “no new spending without cuts elsewhere, preculding appropreate and necessary job creation spending, instead of relying upon the nonperforming “job creators”? How about our failing infrastructure which has killed many many more Americans than Bengazhi, which the GOP continues to ignore as they schedule even more hearings.

            You speak of “talking points”. How about your rewrite of history? 911 Clinton’s fault? That desptie Clinton directly warning Bush II of the “greatest threat against the US, and Bush II announcinbg he would “handle it his way”? He and his staff were so busy planning his proposed 3 month war on Iraw that he ignored the warnings within 3 months of taking office that he ignored Ben Laden and warnings of suspicious individuals learing only how to fly airliners, not land, not take off, which sat on some mid level desk.

            How about the claim that Clinton’s reforms caused the meltdown. You do undertand that the legislaition the GOP likes to hide behind specifically included wording that “all mortages shall adhere to all accepted mortage banking prinicals and standards? Then why were we reading about 400K mortgages being approved with only a credit score, no requriemen of job, income, or references? You also forget that Bush II and the GOP had majorities in Congress for 6 our of his 8 years in office? Yup, all Clinton’s fault.

            Many more people than only Blacks were financially harmed by the Bush II economic meltdown, and subequent GOP block and stall mentality. .

            How about stepping back, and looking at the big picture intstead of blame shifting with attempt to rewrite history?

            I do agree, Bankers need to go to jail

            Reply
  20. Kirk Hohenberger December 20, 2014

    What will the GOP say in a few years when things are better in Cuba?The GOP Crystal ball is broken, they need a new one.

    Reply
  21. annienoel December 20, 2014

    The definition of insanity is apt. Repeating something for 52 years with no change is insane. Call Boehner, Rubio, and your congressperson and Senators.

    Reply
  22. bubba December 20, 2014

    geez…. another war on a republican/conservative tradition ….. just like the war on christmas

    Reply
  23. john_robinson January 6, 2015

    Of course there’s an “intellectual void”. The only purpose of the embargo was as leverage to help the Cuban people and push for social change. Obama just threw that away. For nothing. Over 50 years of the embargo, and when the time came to cash in that token for change…he threw it away. For nothing. He couldn’t even get Castro to not lock up those protesters last week.

    That’s why there’s “nothing” behind the right wing “outrage”…because Obama left nothing to show for it. Just a spectacular waste of time.

    Reply

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