A Babalu PSA: Rabies Alert

Ted Cruz Declares His Candidacy for President
Ted Cruz Declares His Candidacy for President

So finally the Miami Herald mentioned Ted Cruz’s presidential candidacy in the main page of their online edition.(!)

(I wouldn’t know about the print edition because I confess I haven’t looked at that fish wrap since April of 2000.)

And it goes something like this:

A Cuban, a Canadian, a white supremacist and a Chihuahua with rabies walk into a bar and the bartender says: “What will it be, Mr. Cruz?” … Then, he turns around and tells all the white trash in the bar to run for the hills.

It came in the form of a cautionary opinion hit piece by Andres  Oppenheimer warning Republicans, because you see, the well being of the Republican party is his primary concern, bless his heart, that if you sleep with dogs , you wake up with fleas. As we all know, it’s in the Miami Herald’s rich journalistic tradition to look out for the Republican party and to denigrate Cubans using canine metaphors.

Here’s the money quote: (emphasis mine)

The Canadian-born son of a Cuban father and a U.S.-born mother, Cruz — a first-term Republican senator from Texas — is one of the most rabid critics of President Obama’s executive action to regularize the legal status of up to 5 million undocumented immigrants, most of them Hispanic.

So, how does this newspaper stuff work anyway? Does the Herald call Oppenheimer and ask him to write an opinion piece on Cruz because he’s Latino Hispanic a Spic and Oppenheimer is also a Latino Hispanic a Spic and he can get away with saying he’s “rabid” without the risk of being called racist? Or is it that Cruz’s candidacy isn’t important enough to get an opinion hit piece by a real opinion journalist?

I mean there are so many more pressing issues going on for this niche Latino Hispanic  Spic commentator to expound upon. There’s the food shortages and long lines for essentials in Venezuela, the anti-government demonstration and unrest in Brazil,  the scandalous and suspicious  suicide  murder government hit of Alberto Misman in his own birthplace, Argentina, lots of stuff. But…I guess warning the Republican Party about evils that can befall it by associating with such a “rabid” Cuban-American trumps all these very Latino issues.

Oh well, like they say…you can’t teach an old dog new tricks…

Here’s my cautionary opinion hit piece: If you’re Cuban, please don’t buy the Miami Herald. If you need to wrap your fish or line your bird cage that badly, do it with one of those free real estate magazine things they give way at Publix. Or ask for paper and not plastic and use cartucho, por favor.

1994 and a few lessons from lifting the Vietnam trade embargo

It was 21 years ago today that President Clinton and the US Congress lifted the Vietnam trade embargo:

“President Clinton lifted the embargo primarily to encourage cooperative efforts between the U.S. and Vietnam to discover the fate of American prisoners of war (POWs) and missing in action (MIA) who had remained unaccounted for after the war.

He also believed that improved business relations between the U.S. and Vietnam would benefit the economies of both nations.”

It’s a mixed record on the MIAs and terrible on the economy.

Vietnam is still a very poor country.   It is a basically a destination for large companies looking for very cheap labor.  “Made in Vietnam” means something made by a poor soul earning nothing while some party leader “wines & dines” with a foreign CEO!

Vietnam’s human rights record is dismal, as reported by the US State Department:

“The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is an authoritarian state ruled by a single party,the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), led by General Secretary Nguyen PhuTrong, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, and President Truong Tan Sang. The most recent National Assembly elections, held in 2011, were neither free nor fair.

Authorities maintained effective control over the security forces. Security forces committed human rights abuses.

The most significant human rights problems in the country continued to be severe
government restrictions on citizens’ political rights, particularly their right to
change their government; increased measures to limit citizens’ civil liberties; and
corruption in the judicial system and police.

Specific human rights abuses included continued police mistreatment of suspects
during arrest and detention, including the use of lethal force as well as austere
prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention for political activities; and denial
of the right to a fair and expeditious trial.

Political influence, endemic corruption, and inefficiency continued to distort the judicial system significantly.

The government limited freedoms of speech and press and suppressed dissent;
increasingly restricted internet freedom; reportedly continued to be involved in
attacks against websites containing criticism; maintained surveillance of dissidents;
and continued to limit privacy rights and freedoms of assembly, association, and

How do you say “Comite de la Defensa de la Revolucion” in Vietnamese?

The Vietnam experience confirms one thing.  You won’t bring freedom or prosperity as long as you maintain a communist party elite running the country or doing business with foreign investors.

Lifting the Vietnam embargo was great for the few in power in that country.   It has not helped or been very helpful for the people in that enslaved country.

Let’s remember that when we hear that “tourists” and “dollars” are going to help the people of Cuba.




Hopelessnes And Change For The Worse

I haven’t been paying too much attention to current events these past few weeks. Frankly, The Obama administration’s decision to “normalize” relations with Cuba left me with the desire to crawl into a cave with a few bottles and hibernate.

So as I start to come out of my temporary exile in the blissful cave of ignorance, I am confronted by the sobering news from the land of my permanent exile as I come across a story about the arrests of Cuban dissidents who were attempting to participate in #yotambienexijo this past Monday.

And the story in UK’s The Guardian had a picture of twenty-nine Cuban dissidents meeting in Yoani Sanchez’s 14ymedio offices.



Twenty-nine brave disciples of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr…and Sisyphus.

That made me feel good.

For a second.

You see, these Democracy activists look pretty good for folks that just got thrown under the bus of fellow traveler Barack Obama.

And…if you know anything of how things work in the island of despair, at least three of the activists in this photograph are state security informants, if not security officers. But all are slaves.

So for the foreseeable future, since the Obama administration has decided to sanction  56 years of oppressive hopelessness and stagnation  in the name of hope and change, the only pressure that the sociopathic tyrannical [c]astros have on them to change their evil ways will come from whatever futile acts of civil disobedience these pacifists are allowed to carry out. Because as we see from this article, the [c]astros control everything through intimidation and violence by choosing who and when gets to push the boulder up the mountain just to see it roll back down again.

I miss my cave.

1969: Watching a man walk on the moon still tops my list

On this day in 1969, President Nixon & the whole world watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon:

“Nixon joined approximately 500 million people around the world in watching Armstrong and Aldrin as the astronauts left their lunar landing module and walked on the moon. (The Soviet Union and China, America’s two biggest rivals in the space race, banned the broadcast in their respective countries.)
After they planted an American flag on the moon’s surface, the astronauts spoke directly to President Nixon, who congratulated them on their historic mission. His phone was linked via satellite through the NASA control center in Houston, Texas.”

For me, the moon landing is still the most amazing news story of my lifetime.

Incredibly, it occurred a few months after the Jets beat the Colts and before the Mets upset the Orioles in the World Series.

It was that kind of year!

We grew up playing with rockets plus watching and reading science fiction stories.

We prepared ourselves for Neil Armstrong by watching all of those Gemini missions in classroom TVs and counting down to Apollo 11.

Will a future generation experience something like we did that evening 45 years ago?

I don’t know for sure because we don’t see have the same passion for space exploration that we did 50 years ago.

At the same time, I hope that some future boy can have the feeling that I did that evening many years ago.

Our entire family sat in our living room and watched in awe as Neil Armstrong came down those steps.

Again, I just hope some future boy can enjoy what I enjoyed that day.  He will understand what I am writing about.

P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.

Bob Jagers, a D-Day veteran, will return for the 70th anniversary!

Bob Jagers is a World War II veteran and was present at D-Day in 1944.    I met Bob about 5 years ago at our church.  He will be flying to Normandy for the 70th anniversary!

His book is “Whales of WW 2” and you can order the book here.   I read it and it’s really great.

You can hear the show here:




Walesa saw US leadership and does not see it now

Former President Walesa of Poland spoke for millions around the world.

This is what he said:

“Speaking to The Associated Press Friday, Walesa said the ‘‘world is disorganized and the superpower is not taking the lead.’’ The former Solidarity leader said that when he meets Obama in Warsaw, he wants to tell him that the U.S. should inspire and encourage the world into positive action.

‘‘I will say: Either you want to be a superpower and guide us, or you should give the superpower to Poland and we will know what to do with it. Amen,’’ he said.

Of course, Mr Walesa remembers presidential leadership, such as what he saw under President Reagan in the 1980s.

He remembers a US president who called the USSR an “evil empire” and told them “to tear down that wall”.

Walesa knows a thing or two about leadership and courage.

He was the man who stood up to the communist leadership in Poland.

It was the kind of “community organizing” that got you thrown into political prisons or “blacklisted” by the communist regime.

I hope that Mr Walesa speaks bluntly with President Obama. We need it!

P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.