Thursday, November 30, 2006

Churchill and "The gathering storm"

This is a great movie:   Check it out!

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2013 post: Your Cuba 101 course

(My new American Thinker post)

Cuban-Americans like me are very passionate about the truth of the communist regime, especially the political prisons and repressive climate of Cuba.  We've all had experience with it so that's where the passion comes from.  My dad's cousin spent 14 years in a political prison without a trial so forgive me if I get irritated when we greet a dictator with a handshake.   

The battle continues even on the day that President Obama shook Raul Castro's hand:  CUBAN DISSIDENTS DETAINED ON HUMAN RIGHTS DAY      

A couple of years ago, my Canadian friend Brian Lloyd French wrote a novel about Cuba, "Mojito".    It is a very entertaining story that tells you what life is really like in the island, from the "mask" that most people wear to coexist with the regime and the survival techniques that keep 1950s cars running.   

Brian explained his impressions of Cuba in a great article:  "The island of lies"  
"A few weeks ago I clicked a Facebook ad for luxurious "Boomer Tours" in Cuba. Being somewhat interested in that topic, I clicked a little deeper. I noticed that one of the local guides proudly made a claim to be a personal friend of Che Guevara - who, of course, wasn't exactly a role model for those interested in human rights. Except perhaps for those interested parties that wish to learn how to execute and imprison political opponents and get away with it.  A click later I learned that the organizer of the tour is a self-confessed Trotskyist. Which is fine - our society allows anyone to pursue any philosophy they wish. And any party, if it gets a sufficient share of the votes in an election, can receive federal funding for their party. I have many friends within the entire spectrum of philosophical positions - and we get along because we have more in common that we have in differences.  Which is the way that democracies act.  But it's not exactly that way in Cuba. Down there if you speak up you risk a term of re-education in a resort called Villa Marista. Which ain't five stars.  To the organizers' credit, they don't try to hide their beliefs. A click and a Wiki search and it's all there. Cuban propaganda is alive and well, and the internet does set us free. It's easy to discover a bias that a writer of an article might have or, like Yoani Sanchez, to actually blog from Cuba about government abuses of the governed.  Lenin described those westerners who support communism as "Useful Idiots" and he would be smiling in his hereafter about this if he hadn't been such an atheist.  A few years back, I was encouraged to write a novel as a sequel to one written by a famous friend of mine. We decided that Cuba would be a terrific place in which to place the plot and characters. Since then, I've spent a lot of time in Cuba with lots of Cubans, and I think I have a pretty good understanding of how they live day-to-day, even though I will never have to worry about what I say in public, or whether my family will eat protein at least once this week.  When does a revolution stop becoming a revolution and start being recognized as a misguided philosophy with a status present that is an insult to all those who believe in human rights?  Lies are a permanent part of life on the Castros' island paradise lost. Younger Cubans have to lie about their opinions of the government, its leadership and their opinion of the United States. Old Cubans lie about Fidel Castro because those lies are the only opinion they've ever been allowed to have. The Cuban politburo lies about everything it does, and just about everything everyone else does; especially the USA. The Castros spew lies constantly but are so absent from reality that they seem to believe them.  Fidel has always lied about his form of democracy. It started with his "temporary" suspension of free elections soon after he took power. Lie. While every few years Cubans are forced to go to a ballot box and vote for Socialist Candidate tweedledum or Socialist Candidate tweedledee, this temporary suspension is older than I am, and not likely to really become temporary any time soon.  Another great lie is that Cuba is an egalitarian paradise; where all are equal and everyone gets a great education and has tremendous health care. But as in Animal Farm, the pigs are more equal than others. In Habana, for example, loyal Fidelistas, virtually all of Spanish extraction, are rewarded with pleasant accommodations in nicer areas like Vedado and Miramar. Those who unfortunately are not in favour, who are mostly black, live in tenements in Central City on narrow streets filled with rubble that serve as both sewers and playgrounds.  There is only way to survive in Cuba. Theft. At least Fidel considers it theft. It's participation in the black market. A typical family stipend is between 10 and 20 dollar equivalents per month. Families are provided with housing (of a sort), a ration booklet that provides rice, beans, potatoes, milk (if you're a pre-schooler) and a few other staples. The ration coupons have some value as they that can be used for items to trade. Sick looking green onions and tiny garlic bulbs can be purchased at markets for a pittance. But meat isn't on the menu and eggs are treated like they are laid by a golden hen.  But what a family really has to do to survive is to somehow scrounge for something, anything of value that they can trade. It might be a coupon for a pair of shoes (size 11, men's black). They might be given chintzy curios and mass produced Cuban art to sell to naive turistas. Every month workers in tobacco factories get a box of cigars to smoke (but really to sell to gringos).  The young and old share the responsibility to come up with stuff to trade. Grannies dress up in Santarian priestess costumes to have their picture taken by tourists for a fee. Children look for kind foreigners who will give them a buck because they're cute. Some young Cubana's dream of having a child with a rich tourist and, if the Dad has at least some ethical standard, an annuity by way of child support.  Yes. There is prostitution. And yes many "northerners" from Canada, Germany, Italy and England conduct the most heinous of all acts of economic imperialism; they travel to Cuba to have sex with young people, mostly girls. White haired Decembers from the north are often seen with dusky Aprils from the South. I try to show my disdain any way I can when I see this. I'm hardly a moralist, but these guys feel rich and handsome in Cuba by throwing ten dollar bills around like man-hole covers and I don't like it.  A key source of income for families is to have at least one family member that somehow has access to tourists. They may work in a hotel, restaurant, drive a taxi (legal or illegal), or act as "tour guides".   Almost all the official jobs that are tourism related are given to those of the Spanish persuasion. The "tour guides" are almost all black and risk their freedom if they get noticed doing the wrong thing by the wrong people. You will know them by their furtive catch phrases as they pass you in the streets of Old Havana, "Chica, Senor?" "Cigar, Senor?" "Restaurant, Senor?" Trust me. Chances are almost 100% that the cigars are fake, the girl is somebody's daughter who despises her source of income, and the restaurant will be over priced. (Private restaurants - paladares -were the only way to go up to a year or so ago when Fidel started taxing them to death and dropping the prices at government restaurants. He has succeeded in pricing these entrepreneurs out of business. But I'd not be the least bit surprised that even if they're without customers that they are still forced to pay protection money to the boss.)  Public Health? Cubans have admirably healthy people at least partly because their lifestyle prohibits them from enjoying the goodies that make us die prematurely. They pretty much can't help but avoid obesity - they can't get their hands on enough food to get fat. Rum, even at a CUC (dollar equivalent) a bottle is really beyond their budget. Drugs? Really, really beyond their budget.   They don't die in car accidents because no one has cars (but the few vehicles there do put out an admirably unhealthy quantity of exhaust). Cuba brags about it's low level of infant mortality, and the lack of unhealthy life choices helps this, but so does abortion on demand which isn't reported in any of their stats. And as far as drugs, ordinary Cubans do not have access to any, from Lipitor down to Aspirin. I had a friend die last year - a great musician - who died of a staph infection incurred when he was having his back scoped.   But if you're down there doing a documentary, they'll invite you to have a kidney or cornea transplant.   Schools are pretty good but all the kids are members of Fidel's version of the Young Pioneers, which was such a rousing success in great democracies like the USSR. Fortunately, around about the time that testicles start dropping and breasts lifting, the political indoctrination of the Communist Party on Cuban youth is forgotten and replaced by a huge desire to have nice clothes and a moto to drive your sweetie around in style.  Safety? Cuba is a police state, so tourists are likely as safe there as in, say, the guest lounge in a Canadian penitentiary. There is at least one para-military on every street corner that tourists frequent. So we're safe. The entire Cuban security apparatus, including their neighbourhood spies, are there to protect Cuba from Cubans, not to be a significant factor in fighting Bahia de Cochinos Dos.  For locals, nobody has anything so there really isn't very much to steal. But I do have a friend in Havana who runs an organized crime organization, and there is crime. Just not on an Ocean's Eleven scale.  Cuba's "friends" in Canada and the USA brag about how well Cuba manages through a fairly regular procession of hurricanes and tropical storms. But they fail to mention that there is very little in property value there to be lost in a killer storm and Cubans are savvy enough to get out of the way of hurricanes. Unlike more wealthy Americans. The big lie, or course, was the first one. Fidel Castro, according to himself and his Bolshie buddy, Che Guevara, took over Cuba to rid it of a torturous tyrant in Fulgenio Batista. To let his people go.   But, history does not absolve Fidel, as he predicted in his legal defence when jailed for fomenting rebellion in Santiago de Cuba in 1953. History has proven that he is a whole lot worse than his predecessor. Cubans traded one despot for two; either and both of whom are at least as nasty as their predecessor.   First off, Batista was mulatto, not "pur laine" Spanish, and mixed race and black Cubans had lots more opportunities to get ahead under Batista than ever under Fidel. Pictures of the time reveal that Batista's Havana was a true jewel - among the most civilized of all Latin American cities with the highest standard of living and a thriving middle class. The architectural look of the place was spectacular and photos of Cubans on the main shopping street, San Rafael, reveal an eclectic population of well dressed, multi-hued and happy people shopping and having fun.  And in terms of treating political opponents badly, Batista only sent Fidel to jail for 3 years for starting a bloody rebellion. Fidel throws drunkards in the slammer for complaining about not having food to eat. And he provides vacations for newspaper journalists who don't appropriately honour him with praise.  The next big lie is everything about Commandante Ernesto Guevara de la Serna. And the one after that is the myth of Fidel ever ceding power to his younger and much dumber and meaner brother.  But those are tales for another day. Meanwhile, Fidel has a lotta esplainin' to do."  

So why go out of your way to shake the hand of the leader of 'the island of lies"?  

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1963: The UK version of "I want to hold your hand" was released by The Beatles

Image result for the beatles uk i want to hold your images
In late November 1963, "I want to hold your hand" was released in the UK.   A few weeks later it was heard in the US.   

By mid-January, the song was # 1 on Billboard and "Beatlemania" was off and running.     The group appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9th and you know the rest of the story.

In the UK, the B-side was "This boy".   In the US, it was "I saw her standing there".    

A few weeks later, "Meet the Beatles", the first Capitol LP was also released.  

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We remember Dick Clark (1929-2012)

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We remember Richard Wagstaff Clark who was born in Mt. Vernon, NY, on this day in 1929.   On April 18, 2012, Dick Clark died of a heart attack.  He was 82.

Dick Clark's American Bandstand was on the air until the late 1980s.  He went from one generation to the other, from Elvis to U2.  I guess that he connected so well because he never "aged".  He looked as young in 1987 as he did in 1967 when we used to watch those Saturday shows.

Dick Clark was great and we thank him for all of the memories.  I used to love that "rate the record" segment and the interviews.

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We remember Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Samuel Clemens was born in Florida, Missouri, on this day in 1835.   We know him as Mark Twain.    

In 1875, he published "Tom Sawyer".   He followed with "Life on the Mississippi" in 1883 and "Huckleberry Finn" in 1885.

A great American writer.   A true American original.   He died in 1910.

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Churchill 1874-1965: The Battle of Britain 1940 with Barry Jacobsen

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We remember Rob Grill (1943-2011)

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If you recall Top 40 AM radio then you probably purchased a few 45's by The Grass Roots.

We remember Rob Grill who was born in Los Angeles on this day in 1943.  He died in 2011.   He was the founder, composer and lead vocalist.

The Grass Roots had a great sound and a dozen Top 40 hits, from "Let's live for today" to "Midnight confessions".

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We remember Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

Today, we say Happy Birthday to Sir Winston Churchill:
"He was born on November 30th, 1874. We remember him as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. Churchill was one of the most important leaders in modern British and world history."
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Nov 30, 1874: Winston Churchill was born!

We remember today one of the great men of the 20th century:

"Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, the British leader who guided Great Britain and the Allies through the crisis of World War II, is born at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England."   (History)

Churchill was the man at the right time for the UK in World War II.   

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

We remember Louisa May Alcott (1832-88)

Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, on this day in 1832.    She died in 1888.

We remember her book "Little women", a best selling story about the March sisters from 1869.      She followed up that successful publication with "Little Men" (1871).    

In the 20th century, her book was turned into a very popular movie in 1949 and later in 1994.

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We remember Orestes “Minnie” Miñoso: (1925-2015)

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We remember Orestes “Minnie” Miñoso.  He was born in Cuba on this day in 1925 and died in Chicago in 2015.
As a boy growing up in Cuba, and later in the US, I remember hearing Miñoso stories from my father .  Orestes, as he was known in Cuba, played for Marianao and was a top draw in the Cuban winter leagues.

We say thank you to Minnie Miñoso.    He was more than a baseball player for his fans in Latin America.

He retired with a .298 average, 186 HR, 1,963 hits & 1,023 RBI in 1,835 games.  His best years were in Chicago: 304 in 12 seasons with the White Sox.
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Another anniversary for The Warren Commission

A post from 2015:
A few weeks ago, we got together with some friends for another Saturday night of good food and conversation.
We discussed the subject of another movie about the Kennedy assassination that was being filmed around Dealy Plaza.  Naturally, a good family friend raised the conspiracy question.  I stayed a bit quiet, because another “who shot JFK” conversation is the last thing that I want to talk about.
However, I had to say something when it came around to me.    
I said that I believe that Oswald did it, or pretty much the official conclusion.
A week after President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, his successor, President Johnson, created the Warren Commissionto investigate the murder:
During its almost year-long investigation, the Warren Commission reviewed reports by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service, Department of State and the attorney general of Texas. It also poured over Oswald’s personal history, political affiliation and military record. Overall, the Warren Commission listened to the testimony of 552 witnesses and even traveled to Dallas several times to visit the site where Kennedy was shot. The commission concluded that Oswald had acted alone and that the Secret Service had made poor preparations for JFK’s visit to Dallas and had subsequently failed to sufficiently protect him.
We’ve had a lot of books and films since the commission made that conclusion.  I remember that a lot of authors brought their papers and books to a JFK conference held around here in 1993, or the 30th anniversary.  I heard some of their presentations.  I even heard comments about a minister who spoke with Jack Ruby at the Dallas city jail.
Some of the authors made strong cases, although I still don’t know how the conspirators could keep a secret that long.  In other words, it’s hard to believe that so many people could stay quiet.
Some of movies were just bizarre and irresponsible, such as Oliver Stone’s JFK.  I remember watching the movie in 1991 and going home furious.  The movie was absurd, a hate piece against the U.S.
One of my favorite books, and the one that persuaded me that The Warren Commission got it right, was Case Closed by Gerard Posner.  As I read in a recent book review:
Like Mr. Posner, I firmly believe that Oswald, by himself, was responsible for the murders of JFK and Dallas city policeman J.D. Tippit. And while re-reading “Case Closed” recently, I came across many outstanding hunks of fascinating text, including a good collection of direct quotes from various individuals that were placed into the book by author Posner in his efforts to provide the reader with a complete picture of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who was charged with killing America’s 35th President in Dallas.
I’ve listed some of what I think are this book’s most intriguing passages and quotes below, which give a good general indication as to the type of person Lee Oswald truly was (i.e., a strange, disconnected, secretive, violent, and abusive young man who embraced Communism and hated the American society he was living in).
In other words — Lee Harvey Oswald was the exact type of individual who might just have had an urge to take his mail-order rifle with him to work one day (a day when the President’s motorcade was scheduled to pass right in front of the building he worked in) and fire a few shots at JFK from a secluded sixth-story perch.
The evidence in the John F. Kennedy murder case, in fact, tells the world that Mr. Oswald did that very thing on Friday, November 22, 1963.
We will never know 100%, because life is that way.  However, put me down as one who believes that the Warren Commission got it right.  It’s a testament to the integrity of the commission, made up by very good people, including future president Ford.
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1967: "She's A Rainbow" by The Rolling Stones

At the end of 1967, The Rolling Stones released "Their Satanic Majesties Request", a bizarre album that sounded nothing like the band that released "Satisfaction", "Ruby Tuesday" and "Paint it black".   

It was a crazy LP with a few good tracks, such as "Citadel", "2,000 man", the absolutely hysterical "On with the show" and "She's a rainbow", the only 45 released in the US.    

I like "She's a rainbow" and the piano bits plus those silly lyrics that mean actually nothing.    It was clearly a song for 1967!

The bad news is that they tell me that The Rolling Stones were trying to do their own Sgt.  Pepper with a crazy cover as well.   The good news is that they followed all of this with "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and "Honky Tonk Women".

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We remember C S Lewis (1898-1963)

Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland, on this day in 1898.     He died on November 22, 1963 or the same day that President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

We know him as C S Lewis, the author of many books like "The Screwtape Letters", "The Chronicles of Narnia", and "The Space Trilogy".    The "Narnia" books have sold over 100 million copies and been transformed into three major motion pictures.

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1967: The Beatles, "Hello Goodbye" and many Thanksgivings ago!

The Beatles released the "Magical Mystery Tour" album just in time for Christmas 1967.

It was the soundtrack of a British TV show. However, the BBC special was not shown in the US. (You can buy a video copy!)

Side A was the soundtrack music.

Side B was a compilation of 1967 singles. 

It introduced us to "Hello Goodbye", their new single and one of their most popular songs ever recorded by the group. The song was presented to the country on The Ed Sullivan Show, the Sunday night after Thanksgiving.    It was released as a 45 prior to the release of the LP.  Eventually, it hit # 1 the last week of 1967.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

We remember Gato Barbieri (1923-2016)

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He was born Leandro Barbieri in Rosario, Argentina, on this day in 1923.  He died in 2016.

Leandro got the nickname "Gato" because he would go from one club to another in Buenos Aires.   

Over time, he recorded over 30 albums and won many awards, including a Latin Grammy lifetime achievement.

Your music was excellent!  By the way, he composed the music for "Last tango in Paris".

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Monday, November 27, 2006

1967: The Beatles and "Magical Mystery Tour"

Where did the time go?    On this day in 1967,  The Beatles released their second LP of the year or "Magical Mystery Tour".     The other one was "Sgt Pepper's".

Side A were songs from the film.   Side B were the 1967 singles, including their new one "Hello Goodbye" already on its way to # 1 on Billboard USA.

The film was horrible, a boring movie about The Beatles going around in a bus.   It was nothing like "Help", "A hard day's night" or later "Yellow submarine".

The soundtrack was very good, specially the title song, "The fool on the hill" and "Your mother should know".    It's surprising that they weren't released as singles in the US.

Rolling Stone ranked this LP as #19 of movie soundtracks.   

So we remember The Beatles and this week in 1967.

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We remember Bruce Lee (1940-1973)

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The amazing Bruce Lee was born on this day in 1940.  He became a legend in the early 1970s and then suddenly died in 1973.  

His story is rather interesting:   
Lee was born while his father, a Chinese opera star, was on tour in America. The Lee family moved back to Hong Kong in 1941. Growing up, Lee was a child actor who appeared in some 20 Chinese films; he also studied dancing and trained in the Wing Chun style of gung fu (also known as kung fu). In 1959, Lee returned to America, where he eventually attended the University of Washington and opened a martial-arts school in Seattle. In 1964, he married Linda Emery, who in 1965 gave birth to Brandon Lee, the first of the couple’s two children. In 1966, the Lees relocated to Los Angeles and Bruce appeared on the television program The Green Hornet (1966-1967), playing the Hornet’s acrobatic sidekick, Kato. Lee also appeared in karate tournaments around the United States and continued to teach martial arts to private clients, including the actor Steve McQueen.In search of better acting roles than Hollywood was offering, Lee returned to Hong Kong in the early 1970s. He successfully established himself as a star in Asia with the action movies The Big Boss (1971) and The Way of the Dragon(1972), which he wrote, directed and starred in. Lee’s next film, Enter the Dragon, was released in the United States by Hollywood studio Warner Brothers in August 1973. Tragically, Lee had died one month earlier, on July 20, in Hong Kong, after suffering a brain edema believed to be caused by an adverse reaction to a pain medication. Enter the Dragon was a box-office hit, eventually grossing more than $200 million, and Lee posthumously became a movie icon in America.
Like Hendrix and Morrison, you can identify his face in a heart beat.

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We remember Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970)

We remember James Marshall Hendrix who was born in Seattle on this day in 1942.   We remember him as Jimi Hendrix.

He died tragically in 1970.

Many people are not aware that Hendrix served in the US Army.   After being discharged because of an injury suffered during a parachute jump, he began working as a studio guitarist under the name of Jimmy James.

He found his way to London and created The Jimi Hendrix Experience.   He released several best selling LP's in the late 1960's, specially "Electric Ladyland" and his great version of Dylan's "All along the watchtower".

And the rest is musical history!  He continues to influence young guitarists today.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

1975: Fred Lynn MVP & Rookie of the Year

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Fred Lynn set the baseball world on fire in 1975.   He was voted Rookie of the Year and MVP.   His numbers were awesome:  .331 BA with 21 HR and 105 RBI.    

Lynn was the first player to win both awards in one season.    He was also a key player in Boston winning the AL pennant.   Cincinnati beat Boston in a dramatic 7-game series.   

Lynn had a pretty career beyond that rookie year.  He won a batting title in 1979 plus some great numbers over 17 seasons: .283 average, 306 HR, 1,111 RBI, 1,960 hits in 1,969 games.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

We remember Augusto Pinochet (1915-2006)

Augusto Pinochet was born on this day in 1914.   He died in 2006.

There are no shades of gray with this man.  People love or hate him.

Many of us remember Pinochet as the man who saved Chile from misguided socialism and created the most successful economy in Latin America.

Like any dictator, he was also responsible for attacks on his political enemies.

To be fair, Pinochet's opposition had a huge advantage over dissidents in Cuba like Armando Valladares or the torture chambers of North Korea.

Pinochet was bad but he allowed the foreign press to cover domestic events.

Let me ask you this:  How many times did the international press visit a Cuban or North Korean political prison?

Did the Kremlin allow Western reporters in The Gulag Archipelago?

Some of us are old enough to remember what Allende did to Chile or the country that Pinochet inherited.

By the summer of 1973, Chile was a disaster.  It was pure economic chaos.  To be sure, Allende had gone too far and most Chileans were scared. 

In other words, Allende was not the romantic figure that the anti-US left created.  He was an incompetent leader who started a leftist revolution in a country that did not vote for one.

On September 11, 1973, Pinochet overthrew Allende.

Pinochet quickly moved to fix the Chilean economy.    In fact, he presided over an economic miracle.   Pinochet inherited triple digit inflation and left an economy that is the envy of the continent.    .

Later, he brought in Milton Friedman's "The Chicago Boys".

They cut spending, privatized public enterprises, provided generous incentives for foreign investors, deregulated the banks, lowered trade barriers and promoted exports.

It worked. Chile has been the best economy in Latin America for many!   No one disputes that!

Pinochet also made mistakes. However, he accepted a referendum and walked away from power in '88.

How many dictators have held a referendum and respected the results?   

For many years, Chile has had elections and no one has reversed Pinochet's economic plan.

The left hated Pinochet. The left criticized Pinochet for human rights abuses and kept its mouth shut on Fidel Castro's excesses. As always, the international left showed its selective indignation on human rights abuses.

Like any strong leader, Pinochet leaves a mixed record. However, I would rate him as a positive for Chile.

He gets low marks for "human rights" and very high marks for economic policies.

My overall grade is very good!

Latin America has had a lot of bad leaders. Pinochet was not one of them!

In fact, I would argue that Pinochet ranks rather high compared to his contemporaries:   the aforementioned Fidel & Raul Castro, Mexico's disastrous Echeverria and the corrupt Lopez-Portillo, Venezuela's irresponsible Carlos Andres Perez and the Hugo Chavez disaster still ongoing, and some of the juntas that governed other South American countries.

In sum, Chile could have done a lot worse than Pinochet!

By the way, Secretary Kissinger wrote about Pinochet and Chile 1973 in this book.

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We have a few things to be thankful for

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Back in 1941, President Roosevelt made it official:  it’s the 4th Thursday of November.
In my case, I did not know a thing about Thanksgiving when our family settled here in the fall of 1964.  We landed in Miami and made our way to Wisconsin a week later.  
By mid-November, or roughly two months into our American experience, I saw kids in school putting “turkey posters” about the upcoming holiday.  
I asked my mother.  She had no idea, too.  I asked my father and he said that it was something about “giving thanks”.
Finally, Miss Jones, that grade-school teacher I was blessed with, sat me down and explained the full story, from the ship crossing the ocean, to the landing at Plymouth Rock, to the terrible first winter, and eventually a day to say thanks for surviving it all.
It did not take long for me to get into the Thanksgiving mood.   
We Cubans always had lots of reasons to give thanks.  
We survived communism.  We had a chance to start all over again in the U.S.  Giving thanks for a second chance was something that our family knew quite well.
Today, Thanksgiving is my favorite American holiday.  It confirms that this land was settled by self-reliant people who faced adversity and grew stronger.
So I say thanks for everything, from my wonderful parents, brother and sister, wife and three sons, great friends, and all of you who check me out on AT.   I may not agree with all of your comments, but I say thanks!
Happy Thanksgiving and we will go back to the political stuff tomorrow.
P.S.  You can listen to my show (Canto Talk).  If you like our posts, click send drop a dime here.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving 1863: President Abraham Lincoln

Image result for lincoln 1863 images
This is what President Lincoln said in 1863:   
"A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. 

To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. 

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. 

Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. 

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. 

They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. 

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the 

Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

 P.S.  You can listen to my show (Canto Talk).  If you like our posts, click send drop a dime here.




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