When Super PAC advertising isn’t so super

I’ve been thinking a lot about Super PACs lately and how they operate to support a candidate that they can’t legally coordinate with. The whole idea is really kind of absurd because it relieves the candidates of responsibility for the messages. But the truth is that a well-run Super PAC doesn’t have to coordinate directly with the candidate it supports. The people that run the Super PAC merely have to be good observers of their candidate’s campaign and its moves.

This article gives a perfect example.

The Rubio-supporting Super PAC mentioned in the linked article pulled an ad they were going to run, apparently because they felt it wasn’t tonally aligned with the campaign Rubio is running. Smart. The flip side is that they could have damaged Rubio by running the original ad.

The exact opposite is taking place today as a Super PAC in support of Jeb! Bush is attacking Rubio for immigration reform, an issue that Bush and Rubio agree on!

It’s like Mike Murphy never had his heart into backing Bush. He just wants to beat up Marco.

All of this begs a question. What are the possibilities of using a Super PAC for foul play against a candidate it’s supposed to be supporting? Can a PAC set up ostensibly to support a candidate but instead muddy up the water around the candidate? Perhaps intentionally?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not for eliminating Super PACs. I think the curtailing of political speech in the name of “campaign finance reform is an affront to the constitution. The obvious answer is to get rid of the donation limits to candidates and have full disclosure. That way we know this candidate is paid for by George Soros or Norman Brahman or whatever.

CIA Fooled by Massive Cold War Double-Agent Failure

Writing in the Washington Free Beacon, Bill Gertz uncovers the worst kept secret of the Cold War.

“During the Cold War, the Central Intelligence Agency bucked the law of averages by recruiting double agents on an industrial scale; it was hoodwinked not a few but many times,” writes Benjamin B. Fischer, CIA’s former chief historian.

Of course, a central player in that hoodwinking was Castro’s Cuba.

Double agents are foreign nationals recruited by a spy service that are secretly loyal to another spy agency. They are used to feed false disinformation for intelligence and policy purposes and to extract secrets while pretending to be loyal agents…

The CIA’s first major double agent failure occurred in Cuba and was revealed by Cuban intelligence officer Florentino Aspillaga, who defected to the CIA in 1987.

Aspillaga revealed that some four-dozen CIA recruits over a 40-year period secretly had been working for the communist government in Havana and supplying disinformation to the CIA.

Later that year, Cuban state television confirmed the compromise in a documentary revealing the existence of 27 phony CIA agents, along with their secret CIA communications and photographic gear.

The intelligence failure was covered up by the congressional intelligence oversight committees, according to Fischer…

About 15 years ago a former CIA agent told me that he once asked his colleagues about Cuba and they told him the agency had given up completely on any human intelligence in Cuba as EVERY SINGLE ASSET IN THE COUNTRY HAD BEEN PROVEN OVER TIME TO BE A DOUBLE AGENT.

Double agents are different than foreign penetration agents, or moles, who spy from within agencies while posing as career intelligence officers.

Well, it’s not like we’ve ever had any of those from Cuba.

Beneath all the propaganda about a humble but proud “socialist” state Cuba runs one of the best intelligence and counterintelligence services in the world. It’s no wonder, because they were trained by the undisputed leaders, the East German Stasi. But they are our new friends now, right Barack?

Cuba’s escaped baseball slaves return to plantation

The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald are all over a trip, made by Major League Baseball players, to Cuba. I personally always thought Yasiel Puig was a Castro sympathizing opportunist scumbag and his smile while greeting his old baseball master, Tony Castro (Fidel’s son) is the last nail on that proverbial coffin.

Photo credit: Getty Images via El Nuevo Herald.
Photo credit: Getty Images via El Nuevo Herald.

For decades Cuba’s baseball defectors were considered persona non grata by the Castro regime. In fact, the defecting players’ families often paid the price on behalf of their freedom-seeking relatives. Now, as Castro, Inc. tries to remake its image, with the help of Obama and the news media, it’s all smiles.

As for El Nuevo Herald, their choice of headline for the dead tree edition is telling:

Alfombra roja para los desertores
Red carpet for the deserters

Notice they didn’t say exiles or escapees.

Le rrrrrrrrronca.

Checkmate? Marco Rubio and the Obamacare Chess Match

MarcoRubioLibya

Piece published today in PJ Media.

The day after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, I remember thinking to myself that I had seen this all before. I was reminded of the 1992 election when Bill Clinton was elected. To me the blueprint for what Republicans should do was clear. The first step was to take back the House of Representatives to block Obama’s legislative agenda. A strong repudiation in the midterm elections would cause Obama to pivot to the political center just as it had caused Clinton to after the wave election of 1994. There was one problem with that theory: Barack Obama is much more of an ideologue than Bill Clinton ever was. Which is why his administration went to great lengths to pass the laughably named “Affordable Care Act” in 2010. The fact the law was greatly unpopular among voters didn’t dissuade Obama and his handlers from their opening gambit one bit.

Republicans and conservatives predictably predicted that the law would be a fiasco. It had all kinds of nasty provisions in it such as caps on flexible spending account contributions (which people with chronic illnesses use to make their healthcare more affordable), a tax on life-saving and life-prolonging medical devices, and a mandate to buy insurance whether you wanted to or not. Rational observers understood immediately that the law basically shifted the burden from older and therefore sicker Americans to the younger and healthier ones that helped put Obama into office in the first place. Needless to say, when those young people saw their options, they said “no thanks.” You didn’t have to be prescient; you just had to be paying attention.

Continue reading full article at PJ Media.

Wisdom from the peanut gallery

It’s been a while since I did one of these. I sense there will be a lot of material coming up during the primaries and then the presidential election. Enjoy.

Both Colbert and Trump play caricatures of conservatives. Trump’s a bit less believable.

joana on September 23, 2015 at 12:47 PM

Good thing all those voters in the Republican primaries watch MSNBC…

Oh… wait…

Nethicus on September 23, 2015 at 12:54 PM

Anyone whose first name is “THE” obviously has issues.

Sven on September 23, 2015 at 1:11 PM

Comments at Hot Air in reaction to Donald Trump’s announcement that he will be boycotting Fox News.

“Only oppression should fear the full exercise of freedom.”

It’s been about a month now since we did some major housekeeping around here and changed the look and feel of the blog. While there were some complaints about fonts while we tried different things out (everyone’s an art director), we’re very happy with the end result. One of the real benefits of this new layout is how mobile friendly it is. Our old look simply didn’t work well on smartphones. We hope this will lead to more readership as mobile is taking over the majority of web traffic.

One of the elements we lost when we switched layouts was a watermark with a quote from José Martí that had been part of the blog since the beginning in 2003. Alberto and I decided to go with an illustration of Martí in the sidebar. We thought about who might be willing to help us out with our budget of zero dollars.

The name that came to my head was Gyula Nemeth. Gyula is a graphic designer who reached out to us a few years back to offer an illustration of Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet.

Hi,
Im a graphic designer residing in Budapest, Hungary.
Ive been following the Cuban situation for years by
now (i have a thread about the subject on a Hungarian
website).
I would really like to help the Babalu Blog -and the
cause- with a graphic design about Biscet if you are
willing to receive it.
Of course if you need an icon or a logo of any kind,
im gladly helping you out.
Im looking forward to your answer,
Sincerely,
Gyula Nemeth

It turned out that we needed an illustration for a standup display for Cuba Nostalgia so we were quick to jump on his offer. This is what Gyula created for us. This illustration adorned the sidebar for years, until Biscet was released the Castro regime.

biscetbygyula

After that generous contribution I dubbed Gyula the Hungarian Honorary Cubiche.  Later he did illustrations of Celia Cruz and then The Ladies in White.

celia winwhr-305x400And here’s another Cuban-themed illustration he did on his own.

cachaobygyula

So I asked him to do one for us of José Martí. We wanted something simple and clean. Modern yet evocative of Martí, who was such a man of his time.  And this is what he came up with.

Print

I really couldn’t be more thrilled with it. If you’re a fan of great illustration then you should like his Facebook page and check out his website. He’s done a ton of interesting work, including illustrations for the Panini collectibles company.

If somebody is the embodiment of a mensch, it’s Gyula Nemeth. Thank you so much!

New look coming

please-stand-by

As you’re probably noticing, we’re developing a new look here at Babalu Blog. You can look forward to:

  • A cleaner layout that makes for easier reading
  • A pleasant mobile experience
  • Easier sharing on social media
  • More commie busting commentary and the latest news from Cuba
  • Intransigence as usual
  • New font entitled “homenaje”

Your patience is greatly appreciated.

Don’t waste your time on “Cuban Chrome”

Discovery Channel recently premiered a new series “Cuban Chrome”, a reality show about Cuba’s vintage automobiles and the people who dedicate their lives to preserving them. The show’s claim to fame is that it’s the first American show filmed entirely in Cuba.

CC

After screening half of an episode there are really no surprises. It’s the typical “now you can see the forbidden land of Cuba” narrative that everyone from Conan to CNN have exploited in the past. How forbidden can it really be if all these people have been going down there and filming for more than two decades? What is really forbidden is showing real Cuban people being repressed by their government.

In any case, the show is the typical weak sauce recipe for reality TV. Actually it’s even weaker as the lack of any real storylines results in such thin drama so as to be laughable. The episode I watched is the story of a guy who wants to restore his Detroit dinosaur so that he can drive tourists around and make more money. The problem is he currently uses the car to drive Cubans around (a less profitable venture) and in order to get it up to snuff for the tourists he has to replace the diesel boat engine that’s been in the car for “decades”. Any downtime will cost him money. In capitalism we call this an “opportunity cost.” He gets a probationary membership in what we’re told is Cuba’s premiere auto club, “A lo Cubano” and hopes to use their resources to restore his car in six months.

The B story is about the president of the auto club who wants his son to succeed him but doesn’t have confidence that his prodigy has enough knowledge about cars yet. I wonder if this is some sort of metaphor for the monarchical succession that the Castro regime is no doubt planning. I mean why wouldn’t an auto club just elect its own damned president?

Along with the pretty pictures of quaint Cuba, we see plenty of the old cars which are really the star of the show. You know, those rolling exhibits demonstrating the superiority of capitalism. The irony is probably lost on most viewers.

The plight of the Cuban auto enthusiasts is heightened by the repeated narrative that parts in Cuba are hard to come by because of the US trade embargo on the island (hey, at least they didn’t call it the regime’s preferred term: blockade). This is, of course, a canard. There are vintage American cars in nearly every country in the world, including countries that Cuba is very close to economically like Brazil and Canada. The real problem is the lack of money to get parts. The narrator helpfully explains that “despite socialism” economic disparity does exist because some Cubans have “rich” relatives abroad that send them money.

And what would a show about Cuba be without regurgitating some of the dictator’s propaganda? Did you know Cuba spends 10% of its budget on education while in the US it’s something like 2%? I wonder who at Discovery verified these regime-supplied numbers. I’m sure they have a staff of economists and social scientists verifying things like this, right?

Even if the proportions are true (which I’m sure they are not) a quick google search turns up this:

The most recent OECD study — from 2014 using 2011 data — shows that the United States spends $12,731 per student on secondary education. Four countries — Austria, Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland — spend more. Those same countries are also the only ones that spend more than the United States per student on primary schools.

Interesting, I don’t see Cuba up there. I guess the regime’s 10% doesn’t add up to a lot in the real world. But the ironic part of quoting the 10% statistic is that a reasonable person would ask, “If Cuba’s population is so educated why don’t they have good paying jobs that can afford them newer and more reliable cars?”

If you like to look at vintage cars and some beautiful landscapes and aren’t offended by communist propaganda or terrible acting then maybe you’ll find “Cuban Chrome” passable, otherwise don’t waste your time.

Hillary Clinton thinks idea of arresting Castro is a joke

Newly released emails to and from Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state reveal that Democrat candidate for president thinks the idea of arresting Fidel Castro is funny.

As a reminder, in 1996 (while Clinton’s husband was President) the Cuban Air Force, under the authority of Fidel and Raul Castro shot down two American civilian aircraft over international waters, killing 4 people (3 of them American citizens).This in addition to known narcotrafficking that the regime has engaged in.

Now on to the emails.

On December 16, 2009 Undersecretary of State Richard Verma sends an email to Secretary Clinton advising her that the hold on a nominee had been removed by George Lemieux, the (then) Republican Senator from Florida. Clinton responds jokingly by saying:

What took them so long? Did you promise your first born?

Verma responds by saying:

Yes, I sold my soul to George Lemieux today. I am not proud of it.

Clinton then answers with doozie:

Does this mean you have to go to Cuba and arrest Castro or just shovel more $ into Little Havana?

So arresting Castro is something to make light of, not something that a serious person would ever consider. Just like “shoveling more $ into Little Havana.