Fidel Castro’s Sister – The More Interesting Story

Let’s always try to find the more interesting story. Obviously the Fidel Castro black or white story is dull and ridiculous.  The story of his 84 year old estranged sister, who left Cuba in 1964 and lives in America, is very interesting and her perspective is more nuanced. She supported the revolution against the brutal Bautista oligarchy that included the Mafia. But she says Fidel betrayed her and the revolution when they aligned with Russia and he declared himself a Communist.

Her brother’s rhetoric, she had concluded, amounted to cheap slogans.

“ ‘Bread with freedom’ — that expression remained recorded in my mind, because I thought it was going to be that way. I felt as betrayed as the most humble of Cubans,” she said. “He had it all in his hands, without having to turn it all over to any power, and then he goes and turns himself over to the worst of powers, the Russians.”

She finds the celebration of his death in South Florida unseemly.  For those Cuban-Americans (the only acceptable hyphenated Americans as far as Republicans are concerned) to simplistically cite the human rights violations of the Castros, without the context of the numerous other countries that have worse human rights records (see Saudi Arabia) that we would never dream of embargoing.

“I live with pain in my heart, but I accept my destiny,” she said. “I forgive everybody, including my brother.”

 

Good Reads: The Dark Rigidity of Fundamentalist Rural America

How are we supposed to “understand” the anger of rural America when they don’t understand what the hell happened to them?  They’re angry, generally at the wrong people, and willing to follow the people that screwed them.  An insider’s view of the white, Christian rural people that have a disproportionate voice in this country.

All my life I’ve been told that I have to understand the white, Christian, NRA member from Montana who is proudly ignorant and disdainful of urban life, militantly anti-gun control and concurrently asserts both superiority over me and claims victimhood from me because I’m from New York and educated.  Urban dwellers have to understand Mr. Rural Gun Owner and his love of his guns – while we’re ducking bullets and dying!

How come he doesn’t have to understand me and the issues we have to deal with in urban areas that, for example, make a lack of effective gun control a deadly serious issue?  I have to understand him.  Let me assert that I have never given a damn about his hunting guns, he can have them, have as many as he wants, shoot whatever his state says is legal to shoot and do whatever he wants with those guns in the privacy of his bedroom.  I just ask that he give me the same right to regulate non-hunting guns in my urban area to save lives.

Mr. Rural Christian Gun Owner and I have very little in common. I do not believe we have more that unites us than divides us, that’s one of those platitudes that needs to go away (although we might agree that beef is delicious and elites have mislead us on globalism and finance, I suspect we’d conflict on defining who those elites are and what to do now, and maybe on buffalo meat).  But contrary to what he may believe, I do not look down on him because he’s in fly-over country – that term is not a pejorative to me – it’s just the reality that I don’t go where he lives because I’m uninterested in those areas.  As rural people themselves have noted, it’s hard to keep people on the farm when they’ve seen Paree.  May I say your insecurity on this matter is unattractive.

But I do wish Mr. Rural Christian Gun Owner well.  I wish him health and love and happiness.  (And thanks again for all the beef.  All good!!)  Nothing I do or advocate would hurt him or his state.  I don’t want to make any decisions for him except maybe for the fact that I don’t think anybody needs to own a semi-automatic weapon designed for war. You know what, I’ll even compromise and let him have an AK or an AR-15, so long as it’s kept locked in an armory or licensed shooting range facility.  See?  I’ll bend for you.  Even though that’s not a legitimate hunting weapon.  How about some bending for my people?

I really just do not care one way or the other about him or what he does, so long as it does not effect me or my people.  However, people like this with their misinformation and carefully nurtured victimhood, and the system that gives them disproportionate representation in the Electoral College and the Senate (if California was allotted EVs at the same rate as Wyoming it would have 159 EVs) have given us the most unqualified and reprehensible POTUS in our history, and has continually thwarted national policies that would benefit the most Americans.  Them too, by the way, but apparently I can never convince them of that, simply because of who I am and where I live!

Anyway, it’s a good read by someone from this world.

 

I grew up in rural, Christian, white America. You’d be hard-pressed to find an area in the country that has a higher percentage of Christians or whites. I spent most of the first 24 years of my life deeply embedded in this culture. I religiously (pun intended) attended their Christian services. I worked off and on, on their rural farms. I dated their calico skirted daughters. I camped, hunted, and fished with their sons. I listened to their political rants at the local diner and truck stop. I winced at their racist/bigoted jokes and epithets that were said more out of ignorance than animosity. I have also watched the town I grew up in go from a robust economy with well-kept homes and infrastructure turn into a struggling economy with shuttered businesses, dilapidated homes, and a broken down infrastructure over the past 30 years. The problem isn’t that I don’t understand these people. The problem is they don’t understand themselves, the reasons for their anger/frustrations, and don’t seem to care to know why…

… The problem is rural America doesn’t understand itself and will NEVER listen to anyone outside their bubble. It doesn’t matter how “understanding” you are, how well you listen, what language you use…if you are viewed as an outsider, your views are automatically discounted.

Buddy, you can keep your damn country music (and that is not easy for me to write) and keep your hunting rifles, use them in good health!  All I ask is maybe you give a thought to the 85% of Americans that live in urban areas.  You know, the fly-to places.

So Presidential

“Fidel Castro is dead!”

That’s Trump’s entire tweet about the death of Fidel Castro.

I guess we should be grateful he didn’t tweet “Loser Fidel Castro is dead! Good! Will build tremendous hotel in Havana! Best!”

I never understood how Cuban-Americans, the ones who left the country after the revolution, were always the loudest voices about what should happen in Cuba. The people who left, and cried about the assets their families lost, were perfectly okay with the brutal oligarchy that ran Cuba in conjunction with the Mafia, keeping the vast majority of the Cuban people in peasantry. They cared so much about their fellow Cubans still on the island that they adamantly promoted the 50 year embargo on economic dealings with the island that helped to keep them in poverty.

Cuban-Americans are the epitome of grievance and identity politics that Republicans say they revile. But hey, they always voted Republican so not hypocritical! People who vote Democratic don’t get to use hyphens, so un-American (oops, a hyphen).

 

Why Can’t We Call it Politics Based on Class Like Other Countries Do?

So Bernie Sanders says we (Democrats) need to be conscious of more than identity and some people lose their minds.

TPM mislead with its headline of Sanders Urges Supporters: Ditch Identity Politics and Embrace The Working Class

Bernie didn’t say “ditch” anything, he certainly didn’t say Democrats should “ditch” minority groups for white people, but that is what some people heard, even smart people, because there’s no end to the stupid (even in smart people, sometimes).

The alarming thing about it, although not our subject here today, is that there are factions ready to criticize anything Bernie says now, just as there are factions that do not want to hear that Hillary ran a problematic campaign.  Jeez, people, both sides can be right. We need to think in complexity to create simplicity and come together. What he actually said (transcript below):

It goes without saying that as we fight to end all forms of discrimination, as we fight to bring more and more women into the political process, Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans… All of that is enormously important, and count me in as somebody who wants to see that happen. But it is not good enough for somebody to say, “Hey, I’m a Latina, vote for me.” That is not good enough. I have to know whether that Latina is going to stand up with the working class of this country and is going to take on big money interests.

Now one of the problems, one of the struggles that we’re going to have, right now—lay on the table of the Democratic Party—is it’s not good enough to me to say, “Okay, well, we’ve got X number of African-Americans over here, we’ve got Y number of Latinos, we have Z number of women. We are a diverse party, a diverse nation.” Not good enough. We need that diversity, that goes without saying. That is accepted. Right now, we’ve made some progress getting women into politics; I think we’ve got twenty women in the Senate now. We need fifty women in the Senate. We need more African Americans. But, but, here is my point, and this is where there is going to be division within the Democratic Party. It is not good enough for someone to say, “I’m a woman. Vote for me!” No, that’s not good enough. What we need is a woman who has the guts to stand up to Wall Street, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies, to the fossil fuel industry.

In other words, one of the struggles that you’re going to be seeing in the Democratic Party is whether we go beyond “identity politics.” I think it’s a step forward in America if you have an African-American head or CEO of some major corporation. But do you know what? If that guy is going to be shipping jobs out of this country and exploiting his workers, doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot if he’s black or white or Latino.

And I know some people may not agree with me, but that is the fight that we’re going to have right now within the Democratic Party. The working class of this country is being decimated. That’s why Donald Trump won. And what we need now are candidates who stand with those working people, who understand that real median family income has gone down, that young people in many parts of this country have a very limited future, that life expectancy for many workers is going down. People can’t afford healthcare, can’t afford their medicine, can’t afford to send their kids to college. We need candidates—black and white and Latino and gay and male—we need all that. But we need all of those candidates and public officials to have the guts to stand up to the oligarchy. That is the fight of today.

  1. This is the argument that the Democratic Party needs to make AS ONE to working people of all races and religions, to Greens, Democrats, independents and Republicans.
  2. It is an argument that puts CLASS over RACE, because CLASS is the struggle we all share, no matter what race and religion.

POOR LIVES MATTER

WORKING CLASS LIVES MATTER

But even Bernie doesn’t use the word “class”.  The country is ready to embrace a message that calls out the real problematic division in our country which is that elites have been running our economy forever and in the last 50 years have made bad policy and business decisions that decimated the middle class while funneling money up to the elites.

This is how we got to where we are where the top 1% owns 40% of the assets of the country and the bottom 80% barely have the shirts on their backs (not an official statistic, but what it feels like).  More families live paycheck to paycheck, struggling on two paychecks to pay for what their parents could achieve on one paycheck. More people who had savings and retirement security with real defined benefit pension plans instead are reduced to relying on the vagaries of Wall Street in their 401k plans scams (really the biggest con job foisted on the middle class of them all).

The privileged class has been “wealthsplaining” globalism to the bottom 80% for 50 years to justify the deindustrialization of the country in the 60s, 70s and 80s by sending their jobs out of the country, decimating the blue collar middle class and private sector unions. Then in the 90s they justified the decimation of the white collar middle management segment of the middle class as a flurry of mergers, takeovers and downsizings completed the financialization of the country whereby stock prices were buoyed by increasing bottom lines of companies by finding “efficiencies” and creating a lot of joblessness and insecurity.  These economic policies were pushed by the elites of both parties as necessary and inevitable, but they weren’t and aren’t.

“This enormous transformation of the U.S. economy over a thirty-year period has been described by political leaders and media as the inevitable and therefore normal workings of the emerging global economy. Some, like former president Reagan, even applauded the changes as a historic opportunity to revitalize the economy. In a 1985 report to Congress, he stated, ‘The progression of an economy such as America’s from the agricultural to manufacturing to services is a natural change. The move from an industrial society toward a postindustrial service economy has been one of the greatest changes to affect the developed world since the Industrial Revolution.’

“A contrasting view posits that the transformation of the U.S. economy is not the result of natural economic laws or the “hidden hand” of global economic markets but, rather, the result of calculated actions by multinational corporations to expand their profits and power. When corporations decide to close plants and move them overseas where they can find cheap labor and fewer government regulations, they do so to enhance profits and not simply as a response to the demands of global competition. In many cases, the U.S. multinationals themselves are the global competition that puts pressure on other U.S. workers to work harder, faster, and for lower wages and fewer benefits…

“Despite claims by officials in Canada, Mexico, and the United States that NAFTA has been a success, an analysis of the impact of NAFTA seven years after its adoption indicates that 766,000 actual and potential jobs have been eliminated in the United States “between 1994 and 2000 because of the rapid growth in the U.S. export deficit with Mexico and Canada.”31 Thus, we lose many more jobs than we create with our free-trade policies. But free trade is not about jobs; it is about profits for corporations and the privileged class.”

From “The Global Economy and the Privileged Class” by Perrucci, Robert and Wysong, Earl. Reprinted from The New Class Society: Goodbye American Dream?, (2003), by permission of Roman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

What economic sociologists Perrucci and Wysong lay out in their brilliant article is the timeline of this economic transformation and the arguments that it was all just policy choices for the benefit of the few at the top.  That’s the economic messaging that Bernie and Elizabeth Warren will be promulgating as the ideological leaders of the Democratic Party during the Trump era.  It’s a message that should be explicitly about class, as well as race, and explicated to Democrats all over the country so they can speak this language to potential voters.

The next 4 years should be a debate where this message of economic populism is played out. The difference being that Trump is a phony billionaire populist who doesn’t even really understand it, representing a political party of corporatist hacks who don’t believe in it versus a real party that embraces and defends the working class and wants to rebuild the middle class through a resurgence in the New Deal policies that created it.

Can the Democrats become that party? They’ll have to get over the infighting and overcome the elites that co-opted the party and moved its heart from Main Street to Wall Street.

Why Do American “Nationalists” Love Russia So Much and Other Alarming Questions

And not just American nationalist, white-nationalist, alt-right fascist types – the Brits, Germans, French, wherever you have hard right authoritarian movements they want to be all kissy face with Putin and profess solidarity with Russia.

Putin is funding them all. He’s spreading that Russian oligarch money all over and duping these people that they all have the right stuff to lead a 500 year Reich of manly men back to traditional conservative societies. No open borders, no immigration, no race mixing, no multi-culturalism and liberalism, period. No gays. A return to traditional respect for religion and the church, traditional male-female gender roles – a restoration of the full patriarchy and repudiation of the human rights movements of the 20th and 21st centuries.

This well researched post from Quaid on Daily Kos is worth a long read and click through a to some of the links.

Putting 2 and 2 together here it’s not hard to figure out Putin’s game. Forge brotherhood with white nationalist movements in the U.S. and other NATO countries, bring them to power through money, propaganda and hacking and then he has free reign to get the old Soviet band back together. Crimea was just the opening note, just a throat clearing. The rest of Ukraine, Georgia, the Baltic states, all part of Russia again. And then the old satellites like Poland have to choose to realign with Russia because the bear is always just over their shoulder.

Putin wants America and NATO flaccid.  But if all goes as planned President Donald Trump, President LePen of France, Angela Merkel’s successor, etc. will all be happy to accommodate Russian aggression, applaud it.

If these bulwarks of democracy are reduced to phony photo-op democracies like Russia, goodbye human rights everywhere.

For America this means real unrest until we’re completely pacified. Latinos go home. Blacks can go home or become slaves again. It’s a 500 year plan to repurify the races.

Trump gets his fondest wish – a real dynasty with statues of him everywhere and his name in the history books. Eventually Presidents Ivanka (first woman president) and Barron (first child of the corn president) will carry on his name and his superior DNA.

I wonder if Putin has a daughter for Barron to wed and consolidate the alignment?

As Trump Nominates the Unacceptables Canada Makes us an Offer

Here’s an ad Clinton could have run:

Announcer:  If Trump is elected, imagine who he will surround himself with.  Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions for Attorney General

Sounds of Laughter growing.

Announcer:  Rudy Giuliani as Secretary of State.

Laughter grows

Announcer:  Sarah Palin as Secretary of the Interior

Uncontrollable, raucus belly laughs.

Announcer: ‘Cause it’s not just Trump, it’s the people around him.

Meanwhile, back on Earth – Canadians are inviting people in the United States Pacific coastal states of California, Oregon and Washington, where United States President-elect Donald Trump lost heavily to his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, to secede from the US and join Canada.

I’d move back to California for national healthcare.

blankmap-usa-states-canada-provinces-1024-1024

 

Mark Twain

“It’s easier to fool a man than to convince a man he’s been fooled.”

So when will Trumpsters wake up?  Maybe they won’t.  Some will get Jonestown depth depressed.  But many are apolitical to begin with, they’ll just change the channel to WWE and move on.  They’ll never vote for him again, but the damage is done, more cynicism towards government and politics.

Adlai Stevenson

Was maybe the most qualified person not be elected president until Hillary Clinton.

After a speech a woman came up to him and said, “Sir, with that speech you gained the votes of every thinking American.”

Stevenson replied:  “But I need a majority.”

 

Fox News on at The Gym – My Mortal Enemy

Of course there are 10 other TVs so I can look away, but it’s vexing, still.

Last night Tucker Carlson was doing a report about political violence, and predictably it was about a guy in NY who was “hit” because he was wearing Trump gear.  There was no sound but I didn’t see any actual bruises, cuts or injury, despite their focusing on his face as if there were any.  Maybe I just missed it.  Or maybe he had been really good looking before this “assault” and now he was just the usual white guy.  I don’t know.

But lord are they predictable, a story about political violence ignores the hundreds of hate crimes going on around the country and focuses on the TrumpBro who got his feelings hurt.

Ridiculous!

Oh and by the way the latest conservative obsession is college campus protests, how students who are upset by the election are pussies and if the campuses provide any counseling they should lose their federal funding.  Yeah, really.  In the meantime, some student at Rutgers called the police about his Trump hating professor of gender studies (pal, if you take gender studies you will meet liberals) and they hauled him off for a psyche evaluation.