Rubio, Commander-in-Chief

Cuba Is Preparing For It
        Weeks ago I posted two essays because I was impressed that Josefina Vidal, Cuba's preeminent expert on all things American, indicated that Cuba was gearing up to deal with U. S. President Marco Rubio beginning on January 20th, 2017. That surprised me. Rubio at the time, in composite poll numbers, was lulling at 5%, far behind even non-politicians such as Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson in the crowded Republican presidential sweepstakes. Yet, anyone concerned with the U.S.-Cuban conundrum should be smart enough and concerned enough to respect whatever opinion Vidal espouses regarding U.S.-Cuban relations. Yes, she believes Rubio -- a first-term U. S. Senator and a visceral anti-Castro Cuban-American from Miami -- will win the Republican presidential nod and then defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton to take the White House. Thus, Vidal believes that a Rubio administration aligned with a Republican Congress will quickly roll back President Obama's advances in trying to normalize relations with the nearby island. Moreover, Vidal believes that Rubio -- or any other Republican President in 2017 -- will force Cuba to make "another Bay of Pigs-type defense, with the U. S. having learned from its mistakes during the 1961 attack."
         No one in the U. S. media or the U. S. government knows as much about the U.S.-Cuban diaspora as Josefina Vidal, but Eugene Robinson is probably the most astute American political journalist on the current media landscape. Robinson, 61, is Harvard-educated, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, etc., etc. He writes two closely monitored columns each week for The Washington Post and he is ubiquitous as a television analyst on NBC/MSNBC and other venues. In a recent column, Mr. Robinson described Rubio as "stridently, alarmingly hawkish. Where doesn't he want to use military force?" As a liberal analyst of the Republican contenders, Mr. Robinson is pro-Rubio. But his view of Rubio as "alarmingly hawkish" coincides with Vidal's expectations that Rubio, as Commander-in-Chief, would mean either war or capitulation for Cuba within the first six months of 2017. And Vidal does not plan to capitulate. In simple terms, she plans to fight. Mr. Robinson appears to be the only high-profile American pundit or journalist who has an inkling as to how Cuba, meaning Vidal, would react to a Rubio as U. S. Commander-in-Chief.
        This photo, courtesy of Reuters/Thompson, captured Josefina Vidal's very pertinent "ONE MILLIMETER" proclamation hurled back at a U. S. journalist at a news conference in Washington in August. She was irked that the questioner presumed little Cuba is in no position to resist whatever plans the U. S. has for it. She replied curtly and now famously: "Decisions on internal matters in Cuba are not negotiable and will never be put on the negotiating agenda with the United States. Cuba will never do absolutely anything, not move ONE MILLIMETER, to try to respond to pressure that disrespects our sovereignty."
          Since 2000, the turn of this 21st Century, Josefina Vidal has been arguably the most skilled and the toughest negotiator and diplomat on the North American continent. If that were not so, U. S. and Cuban flags would not now be flying, for the fist time since 1961, in front of their newly opened embassies.
          Josefina Vidal, shown above recognizing a questioner at a news conference in Washington, is a kind, sweet lady in circumstances in which she believes Cuba is treated fairly. If not, her nationalism and love for sovereignty can flare out wickedly. In 2017 a Republican U. S. President would discover that Vidal, quite aware of the vast disparity in U. S. and Cuban power, believes that neither a passive nor a military capitulation "is in Cuba's future." As far as Vidal is concerned, sovereignty is a "do or die proposition for Cuba." Anything else, she believes, "would mitigate against our independent and revolutionary nature."
          In 2002 after a stunning speech at a star-studded historical session hosted by Caroline Kennedy at the Kennedy Library in Boston, Josefina Vidal received the night's only standing ovation following her spirited defense of Cuban independence. In the last two years during intense diplomatic sessions responding to President Obama's rapprochement and detente with Cuba, she has never veered from that Kennedy Library position. In news conferences in Havana and in Washington, she has resolutely pressed Cuba's do-or-die attitude regarding sovereignty and independence. The above photo shows Vidal being interviewed by Cristina Escobar, Cuba's top broadcast journalist. This interview is conducted in Spanish, runs just over a half-hour, and is readily available on YouTube among other significant "Cristina Escobar Interviews." This particular in-depth Q & A session provides a clear understanding of Josefina Vidal, and to not understand her is synonymous with not understanding the current state of U.S.-Cuban relations.
         Cristina Escobar, at age 27, is not only Cuba's top broadcast journalist, she is also the most influential leader of the generation of young adult Cubans who will likely predicate the island's future course. Unless blunted by outside forces, Cristina hopes to help carve an entrepreneurial path that has friendly relations with the United States. But, make no mistake about it, Cristina Escobar is as much a nationalist as Josefina Vidal. Marco Rubio or any other Republican President in 2017, if they plan to recapture Cuba, will have to contend with Cristina Escobar's nationalism. Like Josefina Vidal, Escobar is fluent in both English and Spanish but also fluent in sovereignty and independence. Her firebrand Cuban defense as well as her uncommon journalistic skills were on full display when she covered the fourth and final Vidal-Jacobson diplomatic meeting in Washington. At a celebrated White House news conference and in speeches and interviews around Washington, Escobar stressed two primary topics: {1} "The lies the U. S. media tells about Cuba harm everyday Cubans the most," and {2} "Six decades of America's regime-change tactics aimed at Cuba have only made us twenty-something Cubans cherish our independence all the more."
           Despite her journalistic splash in Washington, the U. S. media ignores the opinions of influential young Cubans like Cristina Escobar. But on the island, and now on regional networks, she is a force. Like Vidal, she expects a Republican -- "Probably Rubio" -- to succeed Barack Obama as President of the United States in 2017. And, like Vidal, Escobar believes "that might mean war or capitulation."
              While two influential Cubans -- Josefina Vidal and Cristina Escobar -- are taking it for granted that Marco Rubio will be the U. S. President beginning in 2017, noxious conjectures will continue unabated in the U. S. for the rest of 2015 and all of 2016. That's because the election process itself is a capitalistic windfall for powerful entities -- politicians, advertising agencies, lobbyists, television stations, pundits, etc. Thus, Americans are subjected to an endless stream of campaigning, almost election to election. That being said, the Vidal-Escobar prognosis is probably the most accurate. After all, they believe it is life or death for their island's independence while American pundits are more interested in how much money their punditry will accrue for them during the long, drawn-out process. The Vidal-Escobar rationale is solid. They believe the perfect storm is favoring Rubio. His mentor, presidential contender Jeb Bush, is loaded with campaign money but also will likely get over-loaded by his last name. And no one else will have the billions of dollars needed to win the Republican nomination. Likewise, Rubio's Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, can amass the necessary billions of dollars but her last name and her political baggage will weigh her down. Moreover, the media will afford Rubio more of a free ride than all others will get. The New York Times recently had a major article outlining the many financial miscues Rubio amassed on his way to the Senate. That only infuriated supporters, such as former Florida congressman-turned-network-anchor Joe Scarborough, who screamed that the NY Times article would actually help "catapult" Rubio into the White House. Rubio used his anti-Castro zealotry in Miami's Little Havana to reach the Senate with the considerable help of the Bush dynasty and the Tea Party. His bio made the obligatory claim that his parents had escaped the Castro tyranny in Cuba for the freedom of Miami...at least till it was pointed out that his parents had actually escaped the Batista tyranny that Castro later also chased to Miami. In his stump speech and on televised debates, Rubio gains great mileage by heralding the fact that his father was a bartender and his mother was a housekeeper. Of course, Rubio can conveniently ignore the fact that any Cuban-American in Miami has extreme benefits that non-Cuban Americans do not remotely enjoy. Yet, all those things are just contaminant or collateral issues on Rubio's path to the White House, according to the Cuban experts Vidal and Escobar. They believe the primary reason Rubio's path to the White House in 2017 is sufficiently greased is one word -- Money, with a capital "M." Rubio verily swoons over billionaires.
         Jason Zengerle is one of America's most astute and acute political observers. His latest attention-grabbing gem was in the influential New York Magazine. It is entitled: "SHELDON ADELSON IS READY TO BUY THE PRESIDENCY." It seems that Vidal and Escobar, two Cubans quite interested in the U. S. presidency, have already devoured and studied Zengerle's article. Perhaps you should too, especially if you are an American voter. It's easy to Google and then devour. Zengerle points out that one rich man can purchase the presidency. And, believe me, 82-year-old Sheldon Adelson is very, very rich...and very, very determined. Vidal and Escobar sincerely believe Adelson can make Marco Rubio Commander-in-Chief.
         Sheldon Adelson is among a cabal of right-wing and Jewish billionaires who are determined to make their man, Marco Rubio, the next President of the United States. Thanks to a 2010 ruling by the U. S. Supreme Court, they have that opportunity. {In 2010 the Supreme Court ruled that there was no limit on political donations to so-called SuperPacs, a ruling that pretty much reshaped the U. S. democracy to totally favor individual and corporate billionaires. America's best potential Presidents, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, won't even compete because to do so they would have to sell their political positions and souls to the highest bidders} Marco Rubio, on the other, has courted billionaire donors since he reached the Senate, so much so that he is #100 among the 100 Senators when it comes to actually taking time to vote in the Senate. In his hometown newspaper, The Miami Herald, there have been letters-to-the-editor pointing out that Rubio has sold out to Israel at the expense of supporting them. In fact, the hard-line Cuban-Americans in Miami's Little Havana favor Jeb Bush over one of their own, Rubio. Also, polls show that a strong majority of Cuban-Americans in Miami disagree with Rubio's apparently bought-and-paid-for antagonism towards detente with Cuba. Knowing all that, Vidal and Escobar still believe a handful of billionaires like Sheldon Adelson can and will put Rubio in the White House. As noted, Eugene Robinson this week wondered if there are any nations the "hawkish" Rubio is not anxious to bomb. Well, there is one for sure -- Israel. And there appears to be another one -- China. Rubio's top aides took a free trip to China to partake of the economic wonders in the world's second largest economy. Regardless of how "hawkish" Rubio is, Sheldon Adelson knows that, as Commander-in-Chief, Rubio surely won't bomb Israel or China, something Vidal and Escobar wishes also applied to Cuba. According to Forbes, Sheldon Adelson in 2015 is worth $28.9 billion. He has vast holdings in Las Vegas, Singapore, Macao, and Israel. He owns the Israeli daily newspaper HaYom. Some of his billions, including vast hotel-casino holdings, are tinged with or mired in controversy but they still can have a huge bearing on who becomes Commander-in-Chief. 
Israel first, America second, China third, and.......Cuba last!!
And, oh, by the way.................
            ..................................back in March President Barack Obama, as shown in this AP photo, visited Pope Francis at the Vatican in Rome. Mr. Obama invited the Pope to the White House in Washington. Yesterday, after his historic four-day visit to Cuba, Pope Francis arrived in the United States where President Obama greeted him at Andrews Air Force Base. Pope Francis, who leads an extremely modest lifestyle and is the world's leading champion for poor people, once referenced capitalism as "the dung of the devil."
         This man is apparently an example of the dung Pope Francis was referring to. His name is Martin Shkreli and he is the Founder/CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals. A drug named Daraprim sold for $18 per tablet till Turing purchased its production rights. Then the price was increased to $750 per tablet. Often such greed is "legal" because pharmaceutical companies spend billions on lobbyists, mostly former members of Congress who they kept in office for years before hiring them themselves. Also, noxious and sometimes embarrassing drug ads -- such as erection miracles for wimps -- take up about 40% of television's insulting avalanche of mostly puerile ads. But this time Turing's overnight increase from $18 per tablet to $750 per tablet for the cancer/HIV drug Daraprim caused a backlash that got this dung's...uh, Mr. Shkreli's...attention. He told ABC-TV News that he would lower the $750-per-tablet price so Turing would make only "a small profit." MAY GOD AND THE POPE BLESS HIM FOR HIS KINDNESS!! Martin Shkreli is an Albanian who graduated from Baruch College and then quickly became first a major Hedge Fund manager who then founded Turing Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Shkreli reminds me of the Pope's reference to dung but also he is reminiscent of Donald Trump's claim that Hedge Fund managers make untidy amounts of money and should be required to pay taxes. While the U. S. could certainly use more smart Albanians, the U. S. already has far too many greedy, well-educated Hedge Fund managers and far too much dung.

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