Cardinal Ortega steps down


The Associated Press is reporting that Cardinal Jaime Ortega has stepped down according to a Vatican announcement on Tuesday.

I’m not an expert on the Church in Cuba and don’t know anything about his replacement, Juan de la Caridad Garcia Rodriguez, the archbishop of Camaguey, but the way I read it the departure of Ortega is a welcome sign as he’s been one of the key collaborators with the Castro regime.

About that cruise ship that’s going to Cuba…

The bad public relations for Carnival’s Fathom Cruises keeps piling up. It turns out that the ship, the MV Adonia, that is scheduled to sail to Cuba was found to be deficient in meeting safety standards set by the U.S. Coast Guard and that it’s first voyage to the Dominican Republic under Fathom’s flag was canceled.

A groundbreaking moment for Carnival Corp.’s new social-impact cruise line, Fathom, came to a halt Monday when it was forced to cancel its soft launch.

The 710-passenger Adonia, which was scheduled to leave Sunday for its first seven-night cruise to the Dominican Republic, was delayed by a series of routine tests being performed by the U.S. Coast Guard. Adonia has been moved to Terminal C; the tests are still underway.

According to a Coast Guard spokesperson, “The vessel had run into some issues; the main issues were that the fire screen doors, approximately 30 of them on one of the decks, were inoperable. We’re working with the cruise ship to make sure that this is taken care of before they can get underway.”

Not the Adonia. Yet.
Not the Adonia. Yet.

One can’t help but to feel a little glee at Carnival’s misfortune. A little bit of karma for the cruise line which has agreed to enforce Cuba’s apartheid policies by denying Cuban born Americans from sailing to Cuba. It should be noted that this ship is not new. It was built in 2001 and it’s small by cruise standards. Honestly, I hope the vessel gets impregnated with norovirus.

A primer on repression in Cuba

In light of President Obama’s trip to Cuba and all the attendant media coverage I thought it would be good to reprise this post from 2011. It’s a primer on repression in Cuba for the novice.

In castro’s Cuba people live in fear of government reprisals if they are deemed to be critical of the regime or found to be otherwise “counterrevolutionary”. To be counterrevolutionary, or against the Cuban Revolution, is the gravest of sins. The “Revolution” is the government and vice versa.

In order to protect themselves, average Cubans have become experts in something called the “doble moral” or being two-faced. That is to say they have learned to say one thing publicly while believing the exact opposite privately. For example, a Cuban citizen might tell a tourist or a foreign journalist a glowing appraisal of fidel castro and Cuba’s medical system but privately he may be cursing both. It’s hard for many Americans to fathom this because we’ve become quite accustomed to saying whatever we want about our leaders and the industries that are supposed to serve us. That’s because we have freedom and they don’t.

Once a Cuban citizen appears on the radar of the regime as a possible counterrevolutionary there are many tactics the regime uses to silence them. It used to be that they would simply arrest and prosecute the offending citizen for crimes against the revolution and sentence him/her to a long prison sentence. This is still in the regime’s toolbox but not the preferred method since it’s much easier for the rest of the world to find out about such things and public relations is very important to the dictatorship. This is why it prefers to use more subtle methods.

Knock, knock. Who’s there?
One method of repression is a visit from a state security agent. He will visit the offending citizen and have a “come to Jesus” reminding him/her about how much the state has done for that him/her and the the all-encompassing power of the state to take everything away. Essentially this is a veiled threat of much more distasteful tactics to come if the subject does not cease and desist in his/her objectionable discourse or behavior.

The honor of your presence is requested
One of the favored methods is to serve the subject with a summons to appear at a local police station. The purpose is to have a similar type of discussion as above but within unfriendlier confines. The obvious fear of those voluntarily appearing at police station is not knowing when or if they will be allowed to leave.

Round up the usual suspects
A little further up the repression scale is the temporary detention. In this case security agents will pick up the subject and detain him/her for an undefined period of time (usually overnight). This of course reinforces the fact that you are at the mercy of state.

The Upright Citizens Brigade
No, I’m not talking about an improvisational comedy troupe. The official name is “rapid response brigades” and they are made up of Cuban citizens that are specially trained for their task which is to disrupt any public protests against the government. The brigades are mobs, usually led by state security agents in plain clothes and are made up of both men and women. These brigades are among the most important tools the regime has at its disposal. Because the regime’s official discourse is that there is very little opposition in Cuba (none legitimate because according to them all dissidents and opposition members are in the service of the US government) the rapid response brigades give the regime a plausible degree of cover with the compliant foreign media. For example, if a 4 or 5 dissidents stage a protest in a public place and begin attracting attention a rapid response brigade will be dispatched to the scene. The mob will throw rocks and yell revolutionary slogans to drown out the protestors. The resulting media coverage will be about a small group of citizens protesting the government who were met by a much larger pro-government “counter-protest”. The anti-government folks are usually roughed up in the process and we’ve posted many pictures here at Babalu of bruised and beaten dissidents and opposition members.

Ostracize me
Because the castro regime is totalitarian it controls virtually all aspects of Cubans’ lives. From the ration booklet that provides the little food available, to the home one lives in to the job one works at, it’s all under the authority of fidel castro and his underlings. In a free society if you lose your job you simply go out and find another employer. But in Cuba there is basically one employer. Get on his bad side and you’ll literally be on the street selling black market peanuts for figurative peanuts.

Forgive them for they know not what they do
Once a Cuban citizen has become a full-fledged enemy of the state they are subject to jailing as mentioned at the top. A show trial is held and after the defendant is found guilty he/she is sentenced to a long prison term (upwards of 15 years is typical). This causes a great deal of discomfort for the regime. As long as the regime has political prisoners rotting in its dungeons Cuba is subject to criticism from human rights groups and its goal of gaining political and economic legitimacy in the world is damaged. This is why the regime periodically purges itself of prisoners by forcing them into exile. We’ve recently seen such forced exile when Havana’s Catholic Cardinal Ortega brokered a deal with Cuba’s dictators to release a large number of such prisoners to Spain.

To summarize, the regime has no shortage of creative techniques to keep the streets quiet of protests. The castro brothers routinely surveil and harass their critics. They detain them and jail them and then banish them. They ostracize them and mobilize against them. Just because they haven’t seen the need to roll tanks on the streets does not mean they are not willing to do so. In 1994 a mob of disenchanted youth began throwing stones in protest of the government near Havana’s harbor drive (known as “el Malecon”) and the military came in to restore “order”.

Keep all of this in mind over the coming days and weeks and we’ve seen a discernible increase in the number and intensity of protests against the castro regime recently. Spread the word about Cuba. The enemy of the dark is light. Explain to those who are unfamiliar with the above exactly how the regime stifles dissent and how the media is too cowardly to report it because they fear losing the necessary accreditation for their Cuba bureaus.

A brief tutorial on Cuba, Castro and Obama

A message to the Rolling Stones from Cuban Rocker

The following is a message to the Rolling Stones from Cuban Rocker, Gorky Aguila. Translation below.


Eh, listen to what I gotta say, my brother. We, when you go over there, I’m talking to you Mick Jagger, yes, you, look over here, over here, you and your band. When you go over there and when Obama goes over there. We probably will be stuck in a cell in the interior ministry. I don’t know if we’ll be able to play a gig in the cell, but most probably they’ll put each musician in his own cell and we won’t be able to hear each other, you see? I’m a musician that’s censored in Cuba. I’m a musician that doesn’t have the right you have to play where you want, understand?

So at least inform yourself. That’s all I ask. Yell whatever you like but inform yourself. And if you want to play because you want to play in a tyranny, do whatever floats your boat but this, hopefully this gets to you, what I’m talking about here. In Cuba musicians are censored. There are musicians that aren’t allowed to play, there are women that are beaten by the government. And I would love to tell it to the artists, my brother, inform yourselves first about what’s going on in Cuba and at least let out a “down with Castro” you know, a little one, my brother. C’mon Rolling Stones, go for it, my brother. Ah Keith Richards! Keith Richards, he’s crazier. Keith Richards, say something, my little brother, say something, go for it with 100,000 watts, “down with you know who!” Shit!

Myopic, stupid, and irrational.

That’s how I characterize the primary electorate in the Republican Party. This is new for me. I always had faith in the wisdom of the average American. No more. I should have known after the mass delusion of 2008. I chalked that up to eight years of bad press for George W. Bush and two unpopular wars. I also thought that, beyond the die hard lefties, the people who put Obama over the top were swing voters who unknowingly were attracted to what they felt was some sort of movement, even if they didn’t really realize what exactly that movement was about. Here was a young, charismatic candidate that seemed to embody the American dream. They could be excused for not scratching too deep below the surface.

I used to have confidence that the “low information voter” was a Democrat or at least Democrat-leaning. Now I know that they form at least a plurality in the entire electorate.

As 2016 approached it seemed that the stars had aligned in favor of the Republican party and the conservative grass roots that were then engine behind it. The GOP had control of a majority of state legislatures, Governor’s mansions and the House and Senate. The Democrats appeared ready to nominate an avowed socialist or a corrupt former First Lady with blood on her hands and an ongoing Federal investigation hanging over her head. All voters had to do was pick one of the 16 or so candidates whose name was not Donald Trump.

But the Republican primary electorate is myopic, stupid and irrational. All of this talk of anger is hogwash. I’m angry too. But my anger doesn’t cloud my judgement. If you’re angry because of the debt, the constitutional overreaches, taxes, regulations, the liberal Supreme Court, crony capitalism, government corruption, Obamacare, and the federalizing of every problem then the rational answer is to nominate a conservative. But we don’t have a rational electorate in the Republican party. The average Trump voter has somehow decided that the way to solve all these problems is to nominate a person whose position on these all these issues at some point in the recent past was identical to the President’s. Why? Because they are myopic, stupid, and irrational.

Oh and because they’re bigots. That’s right, Trump’s incredible (in the literal sense of the word, as in not to be believed) rise can basically be attributed to one thing, his off-handed remarks about Mexican immigrants. I say off-handed because we now know that Trump doesn’t prepare speeches. He also doesn’t maintain any sort of consistency. He says whatever he wants whenever he wants and it doesn’t matter if it contradicts previous statements or actions. So Trump has a brain fart about Mexicans and suddenly he’s the darling of the bigots within the GOP. Then as he begins to snowball, a great mass of myopic, stupid and irrational people join in. The result is that the presumed nominee is the only person in the field that has lower favorability ratings than the old harridan, Hillary Clinton.

Let me tell you something about illegal immigration. A lot of Cuban-Americans look down their noses at illegal immigrants from Latin America. They will tell you that they came here legally and a country has a responsibility to defend its borders. Both statements are true, of course, but they are also only part of the story. Before the robolución, Cubans had an open door to this country. Despite that, more Americans went to live in Cuba than vice versa. Then, since cagastro took over, Cubans have enjoyed a very generous status to enter the United States. It’s easy to say you came legally when it was made easy for you. What isn’t easy is to leave your country behind because there’s no opportunity there and to search for a better life in America despite the fact that you don’t have permission to be here. Yes, it’s “illegal” but don’t kid yourselves, bigots. It’s an administrative violation. Yes, there are criminals among these immigrants but don’t kid yourself, bigots. We home-grow the vast majority of criminals in this country.

This nativist furor has been some time in the making. It started with Tom Tancredo and Lou Dobbs. Soon it was Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin Sean Hannity and, I hate to say it because she was once a great friend to this blog, Michelle Malkin poisoning the well with their anti-immigrant rhetoric. Oh and let’s not forget the patron saint of hateful bigoted bitches, Ann Coulter. A pox on all their houses. It all came to a head with Trump’s verbal diarrhea.

A message to Americans who hate illegal immigrants: if you lost your job to an illegal immigrant who doesn’t have an education or that doesn’t even speak English, then I humbly suggest the problem is with you, retard, not the immigrant. I challenge each and every one of you to go out and pick oranges in central Florida for a day like Morgan Spurlock did. Then come tell me about immigrants stealing the good jobs. Pfft.

And if you are one of those aforementioned “holier than thou” Cubans who thinks you’re somehow better than the Mexican who cuts your lawn, let me inform you of something: the people that vote for Trump don’t make any distinctions. You’re a lousy stealing, raping, murdering Mexican to them too. Don’t kid yourself. They hate you just as much.

Now having Trump beat Rubio so overwhelmingly in Florida is a double punch in the gut. Val had a great post on Facebook about it today:

…if you’re a bright, principled and young conservative candidate you will be running against three entities: The Democratic party, your own party candidates and the mainstream media. If you happen to be a true Hispanic to boot, you will also be running against the Latino advocacy media, the xenophobic fringes of your own party and the latino entitlement body politic.

I hate to admit that was naive about all of these things. Or rather I was kidding myself. I wanted to believe that the GOP really was the party of Lincoln, the party of Civil Rights. I wanted to believe that our party was indeed color blind. I wanted to believe that Nikki Haley and Tim Scott and Marco Rubio would stand as proof that what the truly hateful leftists say about the Republican party was false. But as it turns out, neither party has a monopoly on racists and we’re about to nominate the perfect liberal caricature of Republicans, and the best part is that he has always been and always be a New York liberal Democrat.

Each person must do what their conscience dictates. For me, the Republican party is merely an organization. It was once a great organization that stood for great things. It no longer does. I personally can’t be a member of an organization that Donald Trump is ostensibly the head of. I can’t be the member of an organization (The Republican Party of Florida) whose members rejected a conservative Floridian in favor of a liberal New York demagogue who feeds on bigotry to fuel his blind ambitions. I’m a conservative. That’s why I’m leaving the Republican Party. Today I mailed in the form to change to “no party affiliation” after being a Republican since my 18th birthday.

“But what about beating Hillary?,” you say. Well, I don’t want Trump to beat Hillary. If we are going down as a nation it should be on the Democrats’ watch. We can’t elect a Democrat who says he’s a Republican just to say we’ve won and feel better. Conservatives need to find a way to stop Trump and if we can’t stop Trump, then we need to find a third option for November. Sorry.

Besides Trump doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning in November and the reason is simple. ANY GOP candidate would need to do better than Mitt Romney did with women, young people, educated people and minorities. Guess who is completely turned off by Trump? You guessed it: women, young people, educated people and minorities. Clinton currently beats Trump by 6.3 points according to the Real Clear Politics average of head-to-head polls. Don’t believe that those polls are predictive? In 2012, during March, the polls had Obama ahead of Romney by 4 points. Obama’s margin of victory in November: 4 points. Don’t kid yourself, there aren’t enough disaffected hillbillies in Appalachia and the hinterlands to make up for all the people like me who voted for Romney but will never in a million years vote for Trump, the real estate seminar con man.

Secondly, what if Trump were to win? Could you imagine being saddled with this guy representing you for four long years and having to defend him? Remember defending George W. Bush? It was exhausting and he was George Fucking Washington compared to Trump. And then in 2020 to have defend Drumpf in a re-election bid? If you think I’m prepared to do that, you’re out of your Goddamned mind. I would prefer to oppose President Hillary than even think about defending President Scumbag. Why? Because I’m not myopic, stupid, or irrational.

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


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.