What Cuba Says About America

Far More Than Americans Are Told
Photo courtesy: Doug Mills/New York Times.
        Friday, January 29th -- after Thursday's 7th Republican presidential debate -- the New York Times used the above photo to illustrate its major article by Frank Bruni. The article was entitled: "G.O.P Debate Stars the Ghost of Donald Trump." The first line was: "Donald Trump's Absence, of course, Was the Most Compelling Presence." It was also compelling, I think, that the debate, with the absence of poll-leader Trump, centered on Trump's two primary rivals -- Cuban-American, bought-and-paid-for Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Cuban-American, bought-and-paid-for Senator Marco Rubio from Florida. There are countless other moderate Cuban-Americans who are not bought-and-paid-for by the Tea Party and an array of anti-democracy billionaires, but in today's money-crazed political arena in the United States, if you are not bought-and-paid-for than you do not have the money to be a viable contender.
        The serious presidential bids of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio say a lot about a lot of things, namely the overwhelming influence of money on America's political landscape and the drastic decline of the money-crazed, pundit-driven U. S. media. For example, most Cuban-Americans -- along with most Americans and most people in the world -- agree with President Obama's plans to normalize relations with Cuba. But there is zero chance a moderate Cuban-American who feels that way can get elected to a national office in the United States of America.
        One of the most important developments in America in recent decades has been President Obama's bold, legacy-defining attempts to normalize relations with Cuba. In fact, in the annals of recent American history it could rank as the most important event, and not just in the eyes and minds of Cuban aficionados. Since 1952, U.S.-Cuban relations have persistently defined the image of America and its democracy perhaps more than any other single involvement or relationship. President Obama's Cuban policy contrasts sharply with the U. S. theft of Guantanamo Bay in 1903, the U. S. teaming with the Mafia to support the vile Batista regime in Cuba in 1952, the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 that resulted in the reconstitution of the Batista-Mafia dictatorship on U. S. soil, the U.S.-Cuban exile attack at the Bay of Pigs in 1961, the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 that remains the closest the world has ever come to a nuclear holocaust, the Bush dynasty alignment with anti-Castro zealots that came to dictate a self-serving Cuban policy that benefits or sates the revengeful appetites of a few while harming everyone else, and control of the U. S. Congress by a handful of Bush-aligned Cuban-Americans that legalized a Cuban policy opposed by most American and most Cuban-Americans. Thus, Mr. Obama's "NEW CUBAN POLICY" has corrected or ameliorated some of the most flagrant anti-democratic Cuban policies of the past, but not all...NOT YET!!!
        The U. S. broadcast media is currently obsessed with the unending, money-crazed election process that will determine the next President of the United States beginning in January of 2017. In particular, the televised Republican debates have cast a paradoxical anomaly on the U.S.-Cuban conundrum. First off, two prime anti-Obama/anti-Castro, first-time, Cuban-American U. S. Senators -- Marco Rubio from Florida and Ted Cruz from Texas -- are serious Republican presidential candidates, along with former Florida governor Jeb Bush, a key component of the powerful Bush dynasty alliance with only the most zealous of the anti-Castro Cuban-American zealots. Secondly, the moderators of the televised Republican debates have consistently asked the candidates a plethora of questions -- ranging from the pertinent to the silly to the sublime. BUT NARY A QUESTION ABOUT CUBA. That reveals the incompetence, the cowardice, and the biased tenets of the U. S. media. Three prime Republicans seeking the presidency -- Rubio, Cruz, and Bush -- are all tightly tied to the Batistiano-directed congressional laws regarding Cuba that President Obama is trying so hard to correct...AND NOT ONE QUESTION TO THEM ABOUT CUBA? Such media cowardice and political chicanery proves yet again that Cuba says a lot more about the U. S. than it says about Cuba.
For example:
            Americans unfamiliar with Ann Louise Bardach are also unfamiliar with today's U.S.-Cuban relations, especially how they evolved over the past six decades. Not to know Ms. Bardach probably means you have formed your opinions about Cuba based on the narrative espoused only by the most extreme remnants of the overthrown Batista-Mafia dictatorship, which immediately reconstituted itself in January of 1959 on U. S. soil, mainly Miami, New Jersey, and then Washington. The best chronicler of all that is Ms. Bardach. As an investigative journalist, essayist, and author, she is nonpareil when it comes to Cuba. It is therefore safe to assume that if you have not read and comprehended her two seminal books -- "CUBA CONFIDENTIAL: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana" and "WITHOUT FIDEL" -- you don't have a clue how the island of Cuba is so intertwined with America's worldwide image. In 1976 Emilio Milian was the top Cuban-American newscaster in Miami. He voiced opposition to rampant Cuban-exile terrorists harming innocent Cubans, views that got him car-bombed. Jim DeFede, the top columnist at the Miami Herald at the time, wrote a famous column in which he excoriated Miami members of Congress -- especially the Havana-born Jeb Bush prodigy Ileana Ros-Lehtinen -- for so lavishly supporting and protecting Miami's most famed Cuban-American terrorists. Needless to say, DeFede knowingly put his job on the line when he wrote that article. With the exceptions of Milian and DeFede, few U. S. journalists have had the courage or integrity to write or speak truthfully about U.S.-Cuban relations. That's why Ann Louise Bardach is so important. And, unfortunately, that is why you will seldom, if ever, see true and unbiased experts like her discussing Cuban issues on network "news" programs in the U. S. while pro-Miami and pro-Bush propagandists such as Ana Navarro, Nicole Wallace, Jose Diaz-Balart, etc., verily saturate the American airways with their lucrative and  biased "expertise." But there are exceptions. In rare instances when the broadcast media in the U. S. tries to project fair and balanced Cuban coverage, you might read or hear the true expert opinions of someone like Julia E. Sweig, Sarah Stephens, Wayne S. Smith, Peter Kornbluh, or...Ann Louise Bardach.
In fact:
      Lo 'n behold, The World Post & The Huffington Post recently conducted a major Question & Answer session with Ann Louise Bardach, the greatest chronicler of U.S.-Cuban relations. And the article asked her some of the pertinent questions that the network anchors during the Republican debates don't have the guts or the integrity to ask. For example, Ms. Bardach was asked this very salient and extremely brave question: "It has been known, though rarely reported, that Jeb Bush helped free a Cuban terrorist accused of blowing up a passenger jet carrying 73 people. Should people still care that the 2016 Republican presidential hopeful did this?" Now study that question posed to Ms. Bardach and decide for yourself if it should be asked of Mr. Bush on the campaign trail or in the debates. In any case, Ms. Bardach answered it, as she is prone to do, without bias and with her facts in order. This was her exact reply:
                 "I think it needs to be discussed. He played a huge role. He saw to it that the Justice Department was overruled, that then-Attorney General Dick Thornburgh -- and I wrote about this in Without Fidel and other pieces -- that's a remarkable thing he was able to get his father {the President} to overrule the Attorney General. And I interviewed Dick Thornburgh. He was not happy about this. Very unhappy about it. He thought Orlando Bosch was big trouble and needed to get out of the country, and was a convicted terrorist. That was the opinion of the Attorney General and somehow that got overruled after a lot of back and forth between father and son. People forget that Jeb Bush was the Campaign Manager for Ileana Ros-Lehtinen at a very critical time at the peak of power in Miami. And that Ileana's mentor was not just former head of the Cuban American National Foundation Jorge Mas Canosa but also Enrique Ros, her father, was one of the 'militantes.' He believed passionately in 'la lucha' {the fight} against the Castros. This was at the top of their agenda -- free Orlando Bosch. And they did. And they couldn't have done it without the help of Jeb Bush."
          That Q & A session with Ann Louise Bardach was published Dec. 26-2015 in an article entitled: "Why The Cuba Trade Embargo Still Isn't Going Anywhere." You can go online to read it in its entirety. But no one in the mainstream American broadcast industry has the courage or integrity to ask someone like Ms. Bardach such a question, although Americans surely need to hear her expert, important answers. 
         This 1989 photo illustrates what Ms. Bardach discussed in the aforementioned Q & A session. It shows Jeb Bush forming a halo around the head of Havana-born Ileana Ros-Lehtinen after he, her Campaign Manager, had used the Bush dynasty to help get her elected to the U. S. Congress. It, of course, helped Jeb establish his political roots in Florida on his way to becoming a two-term Governor of Florida.
       Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has remained in the U. S. Congress since 1989 as a leading anti-Castro zealot. She has been followed on the Miami-to-Congress path by Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart, the sons of former Batista Minister Rafael Diaz-Balart, as well as by Marco Rubio and Carlos Curbelo. Although numerous recent polls show that the majority of Cuban-Americans even in Miami support President Obama's efforts to normalize relations with the island, Miami's democracy seems only capable of sending Cuban hardliners to the U. S. Congress...and hopefully to the Presidency as Commander-in-Chief. The mainstream U. S. media, of course, wouldn't dare to mention such things, or dare not to promote whatever Ros-lehtinen, the Diaz-Balarts, Rubio, and Curbelo say about Cuba. Thus, for the most part, regular Americans, who have not had the freedom to visit Cuba, form their opinions of U.S.-Cuban relations almost exclusively based on what hardliners like Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen tell them to think.
     The Bush dynasty -- starting long, long ago with CIA operative, Vice President, and President George H. W. Bush -- is the prime reason only Cuban hardliners have forged the Cuban policy that President Obama is trying to mollify. This photo shows President George H. W. Bush handing out souvenir pens after signing anti-Castro legislation into law. On the left of this photo gleefully receiving souvenir pens are two Cuban-born top-tier hard-liners -- Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Jorge Mas Canosa -- mentioned in Ann Louise Bardach's Q & A answer about the Jeb Bush question that mainstream U. S. journalists don't have the courage to ask. It was as President that George H. W. Bush, at the behest of his ambitious son Jeb in Florida, made Orlando Bosch a life-long and very renowned citizen of Miami as opposed to an imprisoned terrorist.
      As products of the Bush dynasty, the Tea Party, and bought-and-paid-for cash from billionaires, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are serious contenders for the Republican presidential nomination. That's a serious problem for America. Yet, the time is ripe for a non-extremist Cuban-American in the White House, one who cares more about 11 million everyday Cubans on the island than he or she cares about money and power.
And rough times for America.



P.T. Barnum Was Correct

So Was Thomas Jefferson
       P. T. Barnum was a Connecticut dandy who lived large from 1810 till 1891. He founded Barnum & Bailey Circus and made a lot of money -- by not underestimating the taste {or the intelligence} of the American people. All these decades later, in 2016, the U. S. media and the U. S. political circus have decided to heed P.T.'s advice. And, like P.T., they are raking in the cash while also making a joke of the U. S. democracy.
 Proof that P.T. Barnum was correct.
TV pundits replaced Mr. Jefferson's newspapers.
Pundits prove both Mr. Barnum
and Mr. Jefferson were correct.
That's the way the post-Cronkite media is.


Dear Megyn Kelly: Get Real

And Respect Broadcast Journalism
       Tonight -- Thursday, January 28th, 2016 -- Megyn Kelly will be the prime moderator as Fox News plays host to its 2nd of what now is the 7th Republican presidential debate. {The photos are courtesy of: businessinsider.com}. On the eve of this momentous, earth-shaking, and headline-grabbing event, I feel compelled to write an open letter to Megyn Kelly, one she won't read but nevertheless is time-worthy.
    Each weekday Megyn Kelly's The Kelly File airs at 9:00 P. M. on Fox News.
          The headline above has screamed across the United States, and indeed the entire world, because the leading Republican presidential contender, billionaire businessman Donald Trump, said he would not participate in tonight's debate because he believes Megyn Kelly and Fox News, America's most-watched cable news network, are biased against him. Mr. Trump is correct. In the first debate moderated by Ms. Kelly, she clearly, starting famously with the very first question, tried mightily to humiliate Mr. Trump, apparently because she rather obviously favors the candidacy of Marco Rubio and feels she can use the power of Fox News, and the debates, to derail Mr. Trump's amazing dominance of the polls. That being said...Megyn Kelly, Fox News, and the Republican Debates are all emblematic of a seemingly endless, multi-billion dollar election process that, uniquely in America, is primarily designed to enrich already rich capitalists -- including the television industry that makes huge profits from an endless array of obnoxious ads and from being able, month after month, to just use Talking Head political pundits analyzing the election as opposed to actually going out and covering the news, which would be a bit more expensive.
        Indeed, on last night's program -- prior to tonight's debate -- Megyn Kelly did not even try to hide her obsession with making Marco Rubio, the first-term U. S. Senator from Miami, the next President of the United States. Once again -- EVEN LAST NIGHT -- she used her high-powered propaganda machine to propagandize for Rubio's candidacy -- as she will, if a bit more subtlety, during tonight's debate. But there is, I believe, a broader issue than just one Fox anchor's obsession with one particular candidate. It concerns the island of Cuba. Beyond question, President Obama's history-making efforts to normalize relations with the nearby island is either one of or the most significant and most lasting developments of the past year in the United States of America. Moreover, two of the top three Republican presidential candidates happen to be Cuban-obsessed Cuban-American U. S. Senators who scathingly oppose the President's and the world's desire to normalize relations with Cuba, and even most Cuban-Americans are opposed to Marco Rubio's and Ted Cruz's petty intransigence regarding Cuba. And yet, typical of the gutlessness of the U. S. media, the Republican debates have yet to ask Rubio or Cruz a single question about Cuba. It is for that reason, on the eve of tonight's 7th Republican debate and the 2nd one moderated by Megyn Kelly and Fox News, I feel compelled to write an open letter to Ms. Kelly, with all due respect.
"Miss Kelly:
     As a lifelong democracy-loving conservative Republican, I realize that right-wingers have usurped both my party and most of America's prized ideals. Fox News, as evidenced by your nightly program and your conduct during the debate in Cleveland, symbolizes that debacle. Therefore, I would like to suggest a few questions that you should, but won't, ask during tonight's debate. THOSE QUESTIONS, ON BEHALF OF FAIRNESS, ARE:
           "Mr. Rubio, you have said that you don't care if 99% of Americans disagree with you, you will, if elected President, turn back all of the progress that President Obama has made in trying to normalize relations with Cuba, such as reopening embassies in Havana and Washington for the first time since 1961. Such statements by you regarding Cuba makes some believe that you have a Banana Republic approach to an issue that perhaps sheds more negative glows on America and democracy than any other single issue, and that insanity has been allowed to exist for going on six decades now. So, sir, would you defend your position on Cuba?"
         "Mr. Rubio, your standard stump speech always includes the line about how you emerged from poverty...your father a bartender, your mother a maid...to your current exalted station in life. However, as a Cuban-American in Miami, is it not true, sir, that you had a tremendous advantage over all non-Cuban Americans...based on the political and economic advantages of being a Cuban-American in Miami?"
              "Mr. Rubio, you made it all the way to the U. S. Senate from Miami with your bio making the obligatory claim that your parents escaped Castro's tyranny in Cuba. Then, sir, it was pointed out that your parents actually escaped the Batista tyranny in Cuba long before Castro's revolution was even considered a serious threat. Was that, Mr. Rubio, a lie or a mistake?"
         "Mr. Rubio, the New York Times wrote a scathing article about your multiple financial misdeeds in Florida. But your Tea Party and media friends, and not just us at Fox, dismissed those revelations. In fact, I remember that former Florida congressman, Joe Scarborough, on his politically-oriented MSNBC program, held up a copy of that New York Times and loudly proclaimed such revelations would help get you elected President! That being said, sir, do you think you have been justly or unjustly criticized about financial misdeeds?"
               "Mr. Rubio, the New York Times is not the only source that has criticized your honesty or lack thereof. Ken Silverstein is a respected journalist -- The Los Angeles Times, Harpers Magazine, The New York Observer, and so forth. Last week he wrote a long article entitled: 'Marco Rubio: Poor Little Rich Boy Runs Into Real Estate Trouble.' The sub-title was: 'The Senator's Three Houses, Various Lady Friends, Assorted Con Artist Pals and Piles of Unexplained Income.' The very first sentence was: 'When it comes to sheer brazen corruption, chicanery and dishonesty there is one candidate who stands head and shoulders above everyone else, and that is the right-wing Cuban-American and Tea Party darling Senator Marco Rubio of -- naturally -- the great State of Florida.' Ken Silverstein then went into great detail, naming names and other details to support that headline, that sub-headline, and that first sentence. I don't believe, sir, that you or any of the others have sued him or his newspaper. But tonight, sir, would you comment on what Mr. Silverstein wrote a few days ago?"
               "Mr. Cruz, it has been pointed out that your trip from Texas to the U. S. Senate paralleled Mr. Rubio's journey from Florida. You both latched on strongly to the Bush dynasty and the Tea Party, for example. On Sean Hannity's Fox program last night, Wednesday, you said yet again that your father left Cuba with a $100 bill attached to his underwear and then washed dishes for 50 cents an hour. Like Mr. Rubio, you stress your rise from poverty. You have also stressed that you and your wife Heidi sacrificed your wealth to win the Senate race in Texas. Are they not all lies, sir? I mean, your dad either in Canada where you were born or in Texas a bit later seems to have gotten very rich. Your Princeton and Harvard educations may even be examples of the special benefits accorded to Cuban-Americans. As for your financial sacrifices, sir, is it not true that your Senate bid in Texas was financed by Goldman Sachs, the infamous bank where your wife is an executive?"
                   "Thank you, Mr. Cruz. You are indeed a smart man, a Harvard-taught tort lawyer, and a skilled debater. In the Senate you have railed about the need for tort reform. But, sir, aren't multi-million-dollar tort wins in Texas, along with your wife's Goldman Sachs job, the way you first became a multi-millionaire?"
                   "Very well, Mr. Cruz. Speaking of your 'poor' father. It has been reported that he is even more fanatically evangelical than you. He is also notable for his fiery speeches on your behalf and against President Obama. He claims that he once was a rebel for Castro, and even was with rebel legend Frank Pais just hours before Pais was famously captured and gruesomely executed by Batista's thugs in Santiago de Cuba. But your father's timelines regarding Pais' death have rather easily been disputed. Rubio's bio when he got to the Senate included some falsehoods about his Cuban heritage. So, Mr. Cruz, how truthful is yours?"
                    "Mr. Cruz, both you and your wife, the Goldman Sachs executive, worked feverishly in Texas as obligatory sycophants for the George W. Bush presidential campaigns. Now Mr. Bush says, 'I just don't like the guy.' So, it seems, all the old Republican icons agree with him. Bob Dole, the former presidential contender and top man in the Senate, said this week, 'Nobody likes him" and Dole said your presidency would be even more 'cataclysmic' for America than Donald Trump's. Robert Reich, the former Secretary of Labor, this week totally echoed Dole's comments. So, Mr. Cruz, if Republicans who know you don't like you and think you would be a disastrous and even dangerous President, why are you a Republican presidential candidate?" 
                   "Now back to Mr. Rubio. Sir, I saw a photo from the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami where supposedly your greatest support lies. The photo, apparently aimed at you, said: 'Embargo Israel, not Cuba.' That was an apparent reference, sir, to the fact that the Cuban-Americans who dominate Little Havana think you have sold out to a host of Jewish billionaires, such as Mr. Singer, Mr. Edelson, etc. Could that possibly be so, sir? You have said your first flight on Air Force One will be to Israel while many in your hometown think it perhaps should be to Miami or some other American city. Is there a disconnect, sir, with your own people?" 
             "But, Mr. Rubio, if I may follow up on that, sir...most Americans, most Cuban-Americans, and most of the whole world strongly support President Obama's overtures to Cuba, all of which you say you will roll back and end starting the first day you are in the White House. A yearly vote in the UN, for example, clearly shows that America's best friends all around the world desire a saner U. S. approach to Cuba, such as an end to the embargo that many feel has shamed America and democracy since 1962. The UN vote in that regard is consistently 191-to-2 with only Israel, by far the biggest recipient of economic and military aid from the U. S., supporting the U.S. regarding Cuba. So, Mr. Rubio, doesn't your opinion regarding Cuba more resemble that of a Banana Republic dictator than a serious candidate to be President of the United States?"
              "Very well, Mr. Rubio, I was already aware of your Talking Points on Cuba. But answer me this: If your views are correct, why do polls show that Mr. Trump is easily defeating both you and your Cuban-aligned mentor Jeb Bush even IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA even though Trump is a New Yorker and you and Bush are Floridians? If most Floridians don't support you, why should most Americans?" 
               "AND NOW ONE FINAL QUESTION, MR. RUBIO, BECAUSE OUR TIME IS ALMOST UP. It has been said by many avowed democracy-lovers -- such as Sarah Stephens, the Founder of the Washington-based Center for Democracy in the Americas -- that the Cuban narrative in the U. S., since 1959, as well as Cuban laws in the U. S. Congress, have been dictated by a handful of only the most zealous Miami-based Cuban-Americans such as yourself. How would you respond to that sentiment?"
               "Oh, well, Mr. Rubio, if your answer is just 'It's a lie," it leaves me time for one more final question. The New York Times, and others, have headlined articles about how 'Petty" you and Mr. Cruz are regarding Cuba. For example, sir, you alone have been responsible for some Cuban issues that seem to reveal that one man in the 100-person Senate or the 535-person Congress can, amazingly, exact Cuban rules or laws that adversely affect Cubans and all Americans. For example, your Congressional colleague from Miami who happens to be the son of a former key Batista Minister, Mario Diaz-Balart, recently slipped into a must-past, veto-proof, multi-billion-dollar law that prevents President Obama from closing the democracy-sapping Bush-era prison at Guantanamo Bay and prevents the President from discussing the return of Guantanamo Bay, which most sane people understand was stolen from Cuba way back in 1903. But that was Diaz-Balart, sir. You, Mr. Rubio, are just as bad, in the view of many. For example, a brilliant American diplomat, Roberta Jacobson, is considered by everyone except the Cuban-Americans in Congress to be America's best possible Ambassador to Mexico, a position that is very urgent for the U. S. to fill. Yet, sir, you have used your ungodly power in the Senate to block that nomination. You openly blame Jacobson for her brilliant diplomacy in regards to Cuba this past year. Now, sir, explain to the American people in this final debate before the primary vote in Iowa why you are willing to demean Roberta Jacobson, democracy, and America to assuage your own petty and biased Cuban agenda."
        Yes, it's Jan. 28-2016 -- the night for the second Republican presidential debate moderated by Megyn Kelly and Fox News. It will, I believe, highlight how far removed we are from the Walter Cronkite days of television journalism in the United States. AND, YES!! The transition from the Cronkite-era to the Kelly-era emphasizes two facts about Cuba: {1} Cuba says more about the United States than it says about Cuba; and {2} no issue since World War II has hurt America's image around the world as must as its Cuban policy.
Walter Cronkite died on July 17, 2009.
That's the day that honest television journalism also died.



Roger Ailes Is King

Barack Obama Is President
        King Ailes                 President Obama
And how the King evolved:
        This montage -- Donald Trump vs. Megyn Kelly -- reflects two facts of political and media life in the United States: {1} Roger Ailes is America's unelected King; {2} Barack Obama is America's elected President. Because President Obama has spent two-terms and going on 8 years as leader of the richest and strongest nation in history, everyone knows who he is. On the other hand, King Ailes is not well known nationally or internationally by the general public, and even less people in the U. S. and around the world understand why he is more powerful than Obama in the wild, wacky, weird, and wonderful {at least for television pundits} world of America's money-crazed, pundit-driven political arena. The Trump-Kelly confrontation incredibly dominates this week's news in America because Trump, incredibly, is the leading Republican presidential candidate while Kelly, as a high-profile Fox News anchor, wants to destroy Trump, as least politically, so her preferred candidate, Marco Rubio, gets the Republican nomination. The Trump-Kelly warfare surfaced when Kelly anchored a Republican debate on Fox and from the get-go tried to humiliate and destroy Trump with a series of asinine, puerile questions. Thus, the Trump-Kelly clash reached malevolent and galactic proportions this week when Trump refused to participate in a second Fox debate anchored by Kelly. Raving about whether it helps or hurts Trump will mesmerize the news media, which essentially these days means pundits. But that's of little interest to me. What fascinates me is the fact that Trump vs. Kelly, whether Americans realize it or not, is merely an example of the changing, and already changed, American landscape, which, as an offshoot, leaves Mr. Ailes King and Mr. Obama President.
       Rupert Murdock was born a very rich baby in Melbourne, Australia some 84 years ago. A colossal array of media properties in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, etc., made the adult Mr. Murdock a billionaire. The billions multiplied existentially when he came to the U. S. His properties now include News Corporation, Twentieth Century Fox, publishing giant Harper Collins, The Wall Street Journal, the Fox television enterprises, etc. But the politically astute Murdock's most notable achievement has been Fox News where, almost two decades ago, he hired Roger Ailes, who was merely a conservative/right wing Prince at the time.
    Roger Ailes has taken full advantage of Rupert Murdock's vast media empire, using his position as Chairman and CEO of Fox News to elevate his personal stature from Prince to King. It is no surprise that Ailes was Murdock's choice. As a right-wing Prince, Ailes was largely responsible for making Presidents out of Republicans Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush. In his spare time he accomplished other gems such as showing Rudy Giuliani how to become Mayor of New York City.
         The Roger Ailes effect on Fox News has transcended the news media in the United States, not to mention the political landscape. And that's how an un-elected and un-appointed King evolved.
     While Roger Ailes has single-handedly made the likes of Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity into major television news anchors, his most beautiful anchor-creation, Megyn Kelly, is now also the most controversial. {Photos are courtesy of mediamatters.com}. Thanks to the ascendancy of businessman Donald Trump onto the political scene, Megyn Kelly has become THE NEWS as opposed to REPORTING the news. As a right-wing propaganda machine, Fox is far more concerned with proselytizing Americans than with providing them news anyway. As a result, a typical prime-time hour {at 9:00 PM with a midnight repeatfor Kelly is to spend half her time jostling with cheap and convenient Talking Heads promoting Marco Rubio and the other half cavorting with cheap and convenient Talking Heads debunking Donald Trump, whom she obviously considers the chief threat to Rubio's advancement to the White House. Unfortunately, Megyn Kelly and Fox now constitute what passes as Television News in today's mass media/punditry quagmire.
       As a Fox anchor, and as Fox's lead moderator when it hosts Republican debates, it's not much of a secret that Megyn Kelly's primary task -- with the ultra-powerful backing of Murdock and Ailes -- is to promote the presidential ambitions of Marco Rubio while tearing down anyone who might stand in his way, such as Trump, Obama, Clinton, or even Kelly's obvious second choice, Ted Cruz. Amazingly, such tactics have essentially eliminated whatever plans Fox, in the beginning, might have had to actually cover the news but, just as amazingly, Fox has become the most effective and dynamic propaganda machine in U. S. history, leaving radio pundits like Russ Limbaugh in its wake.
        The Fox News recap of this week's second debate, as with its first debate in Cleveland, will expound endlessly on THE WINNER: Marco Rubio!! Exposing Rubio's shortcomings, of which there are many, is not allowed on Fox.
        Meanwhile, Donald Trump is caught between a rock -- Mr. Ailes -- and a hard place -- Mr. Murdock. The vice is Trump's own creation, for leading the polls in a Republican presidential race ahead of the apparent Ailes-Murdock favorite, Marco Rubio. {And if not Rubio, Ted Cruz}. The polls, fortunately, seem to indicate the American people prefer a non-establishment {meaning a not bought-and-paid-for} President. As for conservative Republican voters, they are mostly left out in the cold as prime propagandists seem to favor only bought-and-paid-for right-wingers. The resulting Republican chaos will probably elect a hated and very beatable Hillary Clinton as the next President.
   While the aforementioned book -- "The Fox Effect" -- effectively explains how Roger Ailes and his Fox News machine pushed the conservative Republican Party into the Far Right stratosphere, it doesn't adequately delineate the overall effect of one man, backed by one multi-billionaire, reshaping the political narrative in the world's most powerful and most influential nation. The far-right grip on one of America's two main political parties essentially is resulting in a one-party nation, China, now poised to creep past the United States in essentials such as...the economy, the military, and international influence. With that being said, there is perhaps one American politician who could stem that untidy, shall I say, tide.
       Beyond doubt, Senator Elizabeth Warren is by far the most qualified American to be the next President of the United States. But there is a problem, not with her but with the money-crazed system. She has refused constant pleas to enter the 2016 presidential sweepstakes. Her refusal is based on her heartfelt belief that the money-crazed system is primarily tailored for those who will sell their politics and their souls to the highest bidders -- ala Clinton, Rubio, Cruz, Bush, etc. Elizabeth Warren refuses to enter such a fray, and the United States will suffer because of her decision.
Enough said!!!!!!
And by the way:
        Meet Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski. {Photo & data courtesy of: Vibe.} She is a 22-year-old Cuban-American from Chicago. It's been known that she is a genius in Physics since she was 14. She zoomed through MIT and is now getting her PhD at Harvard where she is called "the next Albert Einstein." She has already been offered mega-jobs by such people as Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon. You can Google Sabrina but don't try to find her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. She is too smart and too busy being the next Einstein to waste her time on social media.


Cuba Overwhelmed With Tourists

Obama Today Eases Embargo
{Tuesday, January 26th, 2015}
Photo courtesy: Reuters/Alexandre Meneghini.
         This photo of vintage American cars in old Havana was used to illustrate a major article by Reuters today -- Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. The article is entitled: "Surge of Americans Tests Limits of Cuba's Tourism Industry." The article stated: "Cuba's tourism industry is under unprecedented strains and struggling to meet demand with record numbers of visitors arriving a year after the United States renewed interest in the Caribbean island. It's tropical weather, rich musical traditions, famed cigars and classic cars were for decades off limits to most Americans under Cold War-era sanctions but those restrictions are fading. Once a rare sight, Americans are now swarming old Havana along with Europeans and Canadians. 3.52 million tourists visited Cuba in 2015, including 161,000 Americans, and that's not counting hundreds of thousands of Cuban-Americans." Charter flights, inconvenient and expensive to book, are the way Americans have been going to Cuba but Reuters said "commercial and ferry services are due to start this year."
         This photo of a Cuban flag on a car is courtesy of Carlos Garcia Rawlins and was used to illustrate yet another major Reuters article today, this one entitled: "U. S. Eases Air Travel, Export Financing Sanctions On Cuba." The article stated: "The United States on Tuesday {today} announced changes to its sanctions on Cuba, lifting export payments and financing restrictions and facilitating airline travel in Washington's very latest moves to ease the U. S. embargo."
   When it comes to Cuba, President Barack Obama has displayed more guts, more intelligence, and more decency than the previous ten U. S. Presidents combined. Today's new lifting of sanctions continue to slice into the egregious tenets of the U. S. embargo against Cuba that has, in the eyes of the world, shamed the U. S. since 1962. A few Cuban-American zealots aligned with the necessary right-wing sycophants in the U. S. Congress maintained, for all those decades, an embargo that the rest of the world, as validated by the yearly vote in the United Nations, abhorred along with democracy-lovers everywhere. Till Obama, no President was smart enough or brave enough to seriously challenge the self-serving grip Miami hard-liners and Congress have on a policy that denigrates the image of the U. S. while gaining pugnacious Cuba much international support.
Rosy-checked little Cuban girls should not be punished by embargoes.
President Obama agrees.
His enemies disagree.


U.S., Israel, & Cuba

Plus Fox News and Congress
{Updated: Tuesday, January 26th, 2016}
       Havana, Cuba's capital, is a great place to visit but it has a myriad of problems -- such as nearby Miami, the U. S. Congress, Fox News, and, this week, floods. The above photo is courtesy of Juan Saurez and Havana Times.org. It shows that, beginning on January 22nd, turbulent seas, even on sunny days, have sent waves cascading over the famed Malecon seawall creating dire problems blocks away. 
        Denis McDonough is a very brave man. How in the world do I know that? Well, he's President Barack Obama's Chief of Staff and he's totally unafraid of Fox News.
       This month of January, 2016, Denis McDonough even showed up on Fox News Sunday. That proves how brave he is. Looking straight at Fox anchorman Chris Wallace, Mr. McDonough very bravely said that his boss, President Obama, will close the infamous prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba during these final 11 months of his two-term presidency. Mr. Wallace bristled, reminding Mr. McDonough that, essentially, only right-wing members of the U. S. Congress from Miami and New Jersey could make laws or decisions regarding Cuba! Mr. McDonough responded with these exact and brave words: "He feels an obligation to his successor to close that. And that's why we're going to do it. Sure we are." Mr. Wallace, unaccustomed to such effrontery, bristled anew and grilled Mr. McDonough on the constitution, insisting that only a handful of right-wingers in Congress should be allowed to make laws and decisions pertaining to Cuba. Didn't he know thatMr. McDonough sternly and bravely held his ground, reminding Mr. Wallace that...no, he didn't know that!
       Chris Wallace unfairly grilled Dennis McDonough regarding the claim -- by Fox News and other powerful right-wing entities -- that McDonough's boss, President Obama, is anti-Israel. Wallace reminded McDonough that the U. S. Congress invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak against Obama's wishes. Many of the top Jewish scholars around the world, as well as Israel's leading supporters such as the New York Times, are direly concerned that Israel's dominance of the U. S. Congress as well as the conservative and right-wing media in the U. S., is encouraging Netanyahu's government to excesses that increasingly harm both its own security and the image of Israel and the U. S., which alarms many of their most fervent supporters. The free world, and surely the NY Times, is pro-Israel, and more realistic than Fox News or Congress.
        This photo, courtesy of Chen Galili, shows Dan Shapiro making a speech at a major news conference in Tel Aviv on Jan. 18-2016. No one is more Jewish or pro-Israel than Dan Shapiro. He is also the U. S. Ambassador to Israel. In this speech Dan Shapiro said, "Too much Israeli vigilantism in the West Bank goes unchecked. At times it seems Israel has two standards of adherence to the rule of law in the West Bank -- one for Israelis and one for Palestinians. Israel has two legal systems in the West Bank leaving settlers' vigilantism unchecked." For those and other critiques, Dan Shapiro was called a "Jew Boy" by a key former aide to Prime Minister Netanyahu, among other assaults that the historically pro-Israel New York Times emphatically called "unusually personal and unfair" in a major editorial that strongly supported Shapiro's remarks.
        Dan Shapiro, the U. S. Ambassador to Israel, is shown here with his dear friend, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Prime pro-Israel advocates such as Mr. Shapiro seem to believe that the right-leaning Israeli government is harming itself and the U. S. with such things as the continued settlements of sharply declining Palestinian land, something that even the George W. Bush and all recent U. S. administrations have opposed. But Israel, many pro-Israel entities believe, has more influence on the U. S. than Bush, Obama or any other U. S. President and thus the huge and unique economic and military aid from the U. S. is assured to keep Israel one of the world's most powerful nuclear powers. Indeed, Netanyahu last week asked and will receive a huge increase in U. S. aid to appease Israel after its disapproval of the Iranian deal. In the U. S., few are willing to criticize anything related to Israel out of fear of being called anti-Semitic. But Dan Shapiro is not anti-Semitic; neither is the New York Times; and neither am I and millions of other strong Israeli supporters who have, all our lives, repeated with sincere conviction that Israeli has a right to defend itself. But now Dan Shapiro, the New York Times, the United Nations, myself, and millions of other Israeli supporters are concerned that Israel's highly publicized treatment of the Palestinians and their small occupied territory is drastically injurious to both Israel and the United States.
       The same day the New York Times editorial strongly stated that Dan Shapiro, America's very Jewish Ambassador to Israel "correctly questioned" Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, Margot Wallstrom, the Foreign Minister of Sweden, made international headlines when she suggested that Israel should be fairly investigated for what she termed "extrajudicial executions." Ms. Wallstrom has since been sharply denounced by Israel and her comments have evoked such worldwide headlines as: "Adelson Newspaper Suggests Swedish Foreign Minister Deserves Assassination For Questioning Israeli Policy." Sheldon Adelson is the multi-billionaire American famed for contributing to pro-Israeli politicians and he owns major newspapers in both the U. S. and Israel. Such headlines and such comments from world leaders such as Margo Wallstrom deeply concern Israel's strongest supporters, such as Dan Shapiro and the editorial writers at the New York Times. Margo Wallstrom is "outraged over repeated examples of Palestinian teenage girls" committing suicide by supposedly threatening powerfully armed Israeli soldiers with knives or scissors after "saying good-bye" to their youthful peers in tightly occupied and devastated Palestinian territory.
     This breitbart.com photo shows Marco Rubio, the first-term Cuban-American U. S. Senator from Miami, trying to solicit a huge donation from Sheldon Adelson. The seriously ambitious Rubio is a very serious Republican presidential candidate and he also, many believe, has a very serious For Sale sign emblazoning his campaign. Such visits to court Mr. Adelson do not dispel that notion.
        Can a few billionaires like Sheldon Adelson propel their man, such as a Masrco Rubio, to the White House? Rubio's own comments help fuel such fears, such as his oft-stated comment that "my first flight on Air Force One will be to Israel." The inexperienced but For Sale Rubio doesn't seem to understand that on January 20th of 2017 there might be other priorities for the plane. 
       This graphic expresses the fear, a legitimate one, that one man worth $35.7 billion, meaning Mr. Adelson, might purchase the White House for someone like Marco Rubio. That feeling among democracy-lovers was greatly exacerbated when the U. S. Supreme Court recently and strangely ruled that billionaires could make unlimited political donations. Even before that ruling, democracy-lovers were appalled at the influence the richest Americans had over America's democracy. 
       The above photo courtesy of Hazem Baden/AFP is flashing around the world today. It shows the sister of 13-year-old Palestinian girl Rogaya Aber-Eid grieving as the girl was buried two days ago -- Sunday, January 24th -- after being shot because she supposedly threatened a soldier with a knife. The AFP also showed the world much more graphic photos of the girl's body and her distraught father. The constant international coverage of such tragedies provoke such things as the 28 EU nations sanctioning Israeli products made on Palestinian land, sharp denunciations of Israel by Sweden and others, and unfortunate headlines such as the one related to Mr. Adelson. That's why many of Israel's best friends and strongest supporters -- Dan Shapiro, the New York Times, etc. -- believe that the opinions of President Obama as well as all other living former Presidents Carter, Clinton, and the two Bushes should be considered in the U.S.-Israel equation that means so much to both countries and the entire world. President Obama's Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, and the U. S. Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, are all-too-often overwhelmed when they try to explain their viewpoints to the likes of Fox News and the United States Congress.
       The above photo also floats around the world on a yearly basis, although Fox News and the U. S. Congress successfully convince most Americans to ignore it. Yet, a widely publicized 191-to-2 vote is rather hard to ignore, especially by the world's greatest democracies. The vote each October in the United Nations reveals that the entire world opposes the U. S. embargo against Cuba, all the nations of the world except...the U. S. and Israel. Because Israel is by far the greatest recipient of financial and military aid from the U. S., Israel has been mocked for having its vote regarding Cuba bought-and-paid for. But that's an unfair appraisal because Israel is a sovereign nation that has every right to cast a UN vote as it sees fit. Yet, the U. S. gives away a lot of other money and the wonder is...why can't it purchase the Cuban vote of some other nations? 
        Cuba always refers to the U. S. embargo as a blockade, which has been in effect since 1962. Cuba had a record 3.5 million tourists in 2015 and, thanks to President Obama's efforts to normalize relations with the island, many of Cuba's best hotels are already sold-out for all of 2016. Tourists to the island, like the people in the blue car, will see billboards and signs such as the one above punctuated by a hanging noose. The billboard says: "Blockade: The Longest Genocide in History." While much of the world thinks the word genocide is an exaggeration, even historians attest to its longevity. Moreover, the vast majority of the world, including America's best friends, are ashamed about the image it casts, decade after decade, on the U. S and democracy. Supporters of the embargo, such as Fox News and the U. S. Congress, claim that Cuba merely uses the embargo as an excuse for its own multiple failures. Well, if that is so...why doesn't Fox News and the U. S. Congress have the guts to end it, like President Obama and the rest of world so fervently desire?


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