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snipped-for-privacy@volcanomail.com (brad) wrote in message

Someone (FDR?) once said one could not be the Pres. of the U.S. and follow the Ten Commandments. If anything, I suspect the Carter presidency may be proof positive of that statement (apocryphal as it may be). I have never been convinced that he was in fact a poor president. I believe he told the truth and very few people wanted to hear it, and that in practice he discovered the compromising and difficult choices open to him. How he must have struggled to reconcile his faith and the realpolitics of the world. I am not a religious man, but I have the utmost respect and admiration for his example.
Mister Carter, if you're here--thank you; I wish you were on the ticket now! I could even live with philandering willie, but this bald faced liar...oh, there I go again...
Dan
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On 27 Jun 2004 21:47:40 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gte.net (Dan Cullimore) wrote:

So you don't see any problem with a former president visiting Cuba, praising their socialized health system and criticizing the sitting administration of his own county while a guest of a country ruled by a communist dictator?

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Mark & Juanita wrote:

It's interesting that "communist dictator" is bad and nothing good done by same is good while "democratic dictator" is good and nothing bad done by same is bad? Compare and contrast Castro with Pinochet, the Death Squads of Nicaragua's "conservatives" with the "socialist/ reformer" Mary Knoll nuns they murdered. What if the reunification and free elections that Viet Nam was suppose to have in '54 had occured and Ho Chi Mihn (sp?) had been democratically elected as he surely would have been.
Any health system is better than no health system. Having the highest literacy rate in Latin America is a good thing.
And doesn't a good citizen of this country have the right and maybe the obligation, to speak out against things he or she believes is/are wrong with our government?
Our government never understands/understood that in most countries, nationalism was the goal and colonialism, be it obvious or not, was to be escaped from. Communism/socialism/fascism/religious fundamentalism all were/are a means to an end. Look beyond the symptom and try to discover the cause.
And President Carter left office with about the same net worth as he had when he entered the White House. With the exception of Harry Truman, can you name another president in the last 50 years who did? Recall that President Reagan (sp?) took a 2 million dollar speaking engagement in Japan shortly after leaving office? You think he got that kind of pay(off) because Japanese industrialists really, really, really like the man and felt he could teach them something?
Carter is a good man who has tried to make the world a better place. Politics is seldom the place to go if you want to make things better.
If you get down to the basics of all the major religions "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." and "Try and leave the place a little better, or at least no worse, than you found it." are at their core. It's what "politicians" have added that get us in trouble most of the time.
Mr. Carter - thanks for setting a good example of what a good man should be like.
charlie b
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Charlie--couldn't have said it better, thanks.
Mark & Juanita--"the cost of freedom is constant vigilence" does not warn agaist the powerless. It warns us about the monied, landed, corporate, military, powerful elites who do whatever it takes to maintain their advantage, including lie about their motives. I am afraid our current pres. is a sad example (BTW, this is not a partisan affliction by any means). As far as "praising" and "criticising" while the guest of a communist dictator: 1) Carter was once again only 'telling the truth' some of us don't want to hear; 2) Castro need not have become such a pain in our arse had U.S. policy been more favorable (and, as Charlie points out, the history of Viet Nam is but another classic example of the U.S. fumbling the diplomatic/policy ball early (1940s-50s) and paying the price later--both Mao and Minh really loved the U.S. at one time, and hoped we'd see the justice of their causes); 3) It doesn't take a "nuclear engineer" to see how far down that same road we've bumbled in the middle east. We keep proving H. G. Wells correct: "Those who learn nothing from history are doomed to repeat it."
If our founders had sided with the rich and powerful of their day, we'd still be a British colony.
Dan
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Hogwash.
I've been in Cuba, you don't want it, trust me. THEY don't want it.
So what we need are good economic embargos, like the ones Kerry says he'll impose on those trading partners who don't pay union wages, and follow our environmental and labor laws?
How ill-informed can you be?
As for Carter, if he were on the other side of the aisle he'd be just another "narrow-minded fundamentalist - horrors - CHRISTIAN."

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Hi Mark. I've had a question that my locals can't seem to answer...
Why is that we are still embargoing and sanctioning Cuba? It hasn't worked for 50 years, do we really expect tightening controls to have much effect?
--
Owen Lowe and his Fly-by-Night Copper Company
Offering a shim for the Porter-Cable 557 type 2 fence design.
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On Mon, 28 Jun 2004 18:21:08 -0700, Fly-by-Night CC

50 years? Was I asleep? I distinctly remember Castro marching into Havana around New Years Day, 1959. That's only 45 years (and , if you're quibbling). I was living in South Florida at the time. It made all the papers.
- - LRod
Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
Shamelessly whoring my website since 1999
http://www.woodbutcher.net
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45 is as long ago as 50 to me... both happened BIWB. :)
--
Owen Lowe and his Fly-by-Night Copper Company
Offering a shim for the Porter-Cable 557 type 2 fence design.
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So how long does it take for you to give up your principles? Is it a fixed number of years, or drinks?

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George wrote:

Exactly how long does it take for you to figure out that whatever you're doing is not working? Is it a fixed number of years or a fixed number of drinks?
If the objective is to be self-righteous then by all means continue the embargo. If the objective is to get rid of Communism in Cuba then try something else.

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
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I see you have none. Jimmy's boycott didn't stop the Olympics, either, and he's still lionized in this thread.
As long as people persist in committing murder, in spite of our best efforts to stop them, do you think it's time to legalize it, along with drugs?

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The two are not comparable.
A person smoking marijuana in the privacy of his own living room is not demonstrably causing harm to any individual other than himself, or to society at large. There is therefore no basis for the government to prohibit his doing so.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
Get a copy of my NEW AND IMPROVED TrollFilter for NewsProxy/Nfilter by sending email to autoresponder at filterinfo-at-milmac-dot-com You must use your REAL email address to get a response.
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wrote:

I asked this in all seriousness - I'm a youngster at 42 and some of the reasoning behind these types of long term international relationships are confusing.
Can you shed light on what appears to me to be a great contradiction? Are our intentions to force the Cuban people to reject Communism? If we're so against Communism why do we so extensively trade with China - why are US companies moving manufacturing of all types to China?
--
Owen Lowe and his Fly-by-Night Copper Company
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Exactly. Our "principles" are often determined by our economic self-interests and expediency. Witness our changing stances towards countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran.
Cuba is a tough one. We were fine with dictators like Machado and Batista; in fact, we propped them up as long as we were able to get cheap sugar from Cuba. And we had no problems as long as Cuba was a playground for the rich/famous/mob.
But Castro got in and started taking land back from the American companies (I believe that at the time of the Cuban revolution it was estimated that American interests owned ~75% of the arable farmland in Cuba). He also changed Cuba's reliance on sugar and actually had farmers start growing *food*.
He wasn't even aligned with the commies when he first came to power, but we effectively pushed him in that direction by our policies towards Cuba.
So here we have a small island nation just a few miles away that refused to buckle under when confronted by the world's superpower. Add to that the fact that it is un-repentantly communist, traded with the Soviet Union until its demise, sent troops to Angola (even though there's some question now about how Cuba's role was depicted by Kissinger/Reagan), etc., and generally thumbed its nose at the U.S.
Ironically, since Cuba is no threat to us, and in this day-and-time, no real economic benefit comes from normalization, we can probably afford to maintain our stance in the name of "principles" or "anti-communism". (Compare and contrast that to China.)
Also, I have to believe that the Cuban-American community has quite a bit of influence on our relations with Cuba. They present a vocal, united front, and are (for the most part) a well-educated and powerful voting block.
Personally, I think we should drop the whole charade and re-establish relations with Cuba. (Of course I have selfish motives; I'd like to visit the land where my father was born.) But I think there's too much history and desire to save face on both sides for anything to happen in the short term.
Chuck Vance
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You'd be appalled if you did visit, unless you're a classic car fan.
The book I recommended, _ One Hell of a Gamble_ has some good information on the courting of Fidel. In there, with the data from archives to support it, it's said that if Fidel had not come around, Che and the other communist moles would have taken him out.

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What is so appalling about Cuba? Is it worse than poor areas anywhere else? Has the natural beauty of the island been destroyed? Has the culture disappeared? (These are serious questions, not flame-bait.)
I understand from your posts that you are no fan of socialism, but did you find Cuba to be any different than you would expect for an island state with limited resources that has effectively been left to fend for itself? (Actually, worse than that, it's been embargoed by its closest neighbor.)

Thanks for the pointer. Sounds worth checking out.
Back to your original premise:

How do you reconcile those "principles" with our actions towards China? And do you agree or disagree that our posture regarding Cuba is probably due in a large part to the fact that they aren't a threat, and at the same time, don't offer enough economic incentive for us to normalize relations? In other words, we get to play the anti-commie card without having to take a hit by losing potential markets/goods or angering someone who is powerful enough to cause us problems.
Chuck Vance
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The contrast, in the same view, between the state of the state, if you will, and the state of the people is what gets me. The state looks to be doing well for itself, even though there are state plates on '49 Kaisers. The people, excepting high officials, are uniformly threadbare, shifty-eyed and tired-looking. The "culture" is the only one allowed. For example, where the statues of the virgin once stood in little grottos, now stand busts of Jose Marti. The "natural" beauty of the island is variable, beaches for foreigners are well-maintained, the rest shift for themselves. Inland, it's food which is important, but sugar which is produced.
Cuba has not been left to "fend for itself." It has had immense support from the Soviets, trade with some capitalist countries, and a modest tourist industry. What it has done is shoot itself in the foot with a non convertible currency, a policy of no foreign ownership, and militant Communism. Even the French would find it hard to justify selling there, much less building.
As to principles, the conditions for ending the embargo are well known, it has been modified as well. Reciprocity is what's missing.

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OK, contrast that to when Cuba was under Batista: They produced nothing but sugar, the beaches were maintained for tourists or not at all, and the people who weren't high-ranking officials were poor. Land was also owned mostly by foreign interests.
So things were better then?

The key word being "had".

Reciprocity towards the country that used them for years and then turned their backs on them when they kicked out a brutal dictator.
You still haven't responded to the idea that the major difference between China and Cuba is that Cuba is no threat and offers very little in the way of economic incentive for normalization. Why are we able to overlook China's abysmal human rights record?
Chuck Vance (who's trying to think of a way to get this thread to be about woodworking :-)
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Sorry, you're not interested, I guess. What was -Batista- is compared as if it were relevant to what is. Then you try to have the argument from the other side, that what was -Soviet treasure- is not germane. I see you're convinced, and not thinking.
Bottom line, the embargo was an answer to nationalization and confiscation, threats and an attempt to export "revolution." You don't try to embrace people who spit on you.
You sound like the press, merciless to those who favor us, forgiving of our enemies. I can only say that if you hate the US so badly that you champion her enemies, like former president Carter ....

it
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Look, I'm not the one who's throwing out the same old tired party line about Cuba. I'm trying to look at it rationally, and see what purpose our continued sanctions serve. Also, I'm trying to evaluate it versus our policies towards other communist nations.

Read a little more about the history of Cuba and how the U.S. used it before Castro. It was little more than a playground for the rich and a source of cheap sugar for the U.S. The U.S. showed with its actions before and since that it could care less about the welfare of the Cuban people. What we were interested in was propping up dictators who served our own interests, no matter what happened to the country in the process.
And you expect the Cuban people to just "relax and enjoy it"?

Actually, I love my *country* so much that I don't blindly accept every policy that comes from our *goverment*. (Note the distinction between the two highlighted words.) And I am willing to come out and express my views when I do disagree with a policy. Funny how a democracy works like that, eh?
Chuck Vance
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