Forum:What Are Your Thoughts On President Obama’s Normalizing Relations With Cuba?

 

Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: What Are Your Thoughts On President Obama’s Normalizing Relations With Cuba?

The Razor : I support it. The Castros have been using the embargo to justify the failures of their rule, and normalization would strip that away. You have the same Cuban families on both sides of the Florida straits, and the prosperity on one side is hard to hide. My only issue with it is that it’s happening under the Obama administration, so I’m sure it will be a disaster just as everything else has been in the foreign policy realm.

Simply Jews :This question is probably is a subject for a longer and better argumented post, but to be brief I shall try to digest my roaming thoughts all the same:

Since the demise of the Soviet Union and cessation of Soviet support so vital for Cuban economy, the US policy on Cuba remained unrevised and caused unnecessary 20+ years of hostility. And, of course, unnecessary suffering to Cubans.

The end to embargo (not there yet) and opening the borders to economic and cultural ties would have effectively finished off the oppressive dictatorial regime many years ago without any need to resort to exploding cigars and other outlandish and stupid ideas.

The Cubans today are kept as serfs to a rotting and crumbling regime that relies on the relatively privileged army and secret police as the last bastions that keep it intact and will crumble in the same way the Soviet regime crumbled all these years ago, if only the economic, cultural and, especially, information gateways were opened for all – to see how the life could be.

The right wing political camp in US was (still is) in thrall of the influential Cuban immigrants’ lobby that ties its hands in all matters concerning Cuba. And let’s not forget that at least some of the more influential and rich Cuban emigres are still pining for the corrupt and dictatorial Batista’s regime… ’nuff said.

Of course, what Obama so far achieved is too little, but I hope it’s not too late and the continuation will come. The more tourists from US, the more goods and information from the free world come to Cuba, the quicker the demise of the regime there will be.

The sooner the better.

JoshuaPundit : What do I think about President Obama Normalizing Relations With Cuba? I think it means he’s quit cigarettes and is now smoking cigars.

About all I can do is joke about this, because it’s a disaster in the making.

The regime itself was on the verge of collapse, because the Maduro regime in Venezuela could no longer afford to give the Castros subsidized oil. So instead of allowing it to fall or even encouraging its demise, this president has now thrown this brutal regime a lifeline that will keep it in power.

Cuba is only ninety miles from the U.S. Think about that for a moment. It is a regime aligned with our enemies, and as Raúl Castro informed President Obama in a 30 minute lecture, nothing’s changing.

The embargoes kept a lot of bad actors away from Cuba. Not only are they now free to come in, by the entire use of embargoes as a means to counteract bad behavior short of war has been undermined.

But wait,there’s more. Let’s revisit history.

Once President Kennedy allowed the Monroe Doctrine to be breached by backing out of the Bay of Pigs invasion after it had already started, the Soviets realized that Castro could be their entry into the western hemisphere and just a year later they had their missile bases installed on the island.The confrontation that followed once our intelligence found out about it almost started a nuclear war.

Imagine what would happen if history repeated itself? The Russians are already sniffing around. What if Iran makes a clandestine deal with Castro and we wake up one day with Iranian ballistic missiles aimed at our shores? What if China decides that Havana would be a superb spot for a naval base to extend their reach into American territorial waters? What if the Cuban regime itself receives nuclear weapons from, say, North Korea? Especially at a time when America’s missile defense and nuclear weapons, just like our conventional military are already at historic lows?

And remember, the Cubans are going to get an embassy on our shores out of the deal which will be nothing but a den of spies and a security risk.

I’m afraid I have little patience with people that argue that after 50 years, we need to change policy, that trade and tourism will benefit the Cuban people and eventually lead to more freedom. These are the same arguments a number of people made when talking about the Soviet Union between WWII and the 1970’s and they helped it keep going for years.

Profits from trade and tourism aren’t going to trickle down to ordinary Cubans.They will go to the regime’s elites, with a select few being allowed access to the goodies as the carrot for loyalty and good behavior, with the stick very much in evidence for anyone who displeases the regime in any fashion. And rest assured, the Cubans not are going to be allowed free access to the internet, to publications, to radio, to films or to anything that displeases the regime, contradicts its propaganda or undermines its iron grip on their throats.

As sickening as it is that we would betray the many Cubans whom seek freedom, it’s even worse that would would betray our own interests and our national security. That’s exactly what this amounts to…a major foreign policy debacle.

The Independent Sentinel : All I have to do is repost the first paragraph from the NY Times article December 20th: “President Raúl Castro declared victory for the Cuban Revolution on Saturday in a wide-ranging speech, thanking President Obama for “a new chapter” while also reaffirming that restored relations with the United States did not mean the end of Communist rule in Cuba.”

Obama just propped up another Communist dictatorship.

Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason : President Obama makes another sweeping statement, this time decreeing he intends to normalize relations with Cuba. We have not seen any announcement or agreement on the part of the Castro regime to bring freedom and democracy to the people of Cuba in return for re-establishing diplomatic and trade ties with America. Several members of Congress have said they had no idea these negotiations were even occurring although apparently they have been going on for over a year. This appears to be another ill-conceived unilateral executive action. So why is President Obama doing this?

Whether you believe we should lift the decades old embargo or not, we do need to consider the parties who will benefit the most from this action. Very likely billions of our tax dollars will be given in aid to the Cuban government in an ongoing effort of the president to redistribute our wealth, most of which will end up in the pockets of those in positions of power in the Castro regime.

Of course, American corporations will benefit by opening factories in Cuba and hiring cheap labor. The lives of Cubans might improve a little, but they will remain isolated from the rest of the world as they have been since Castro came to power. Cuba has had diplomatic and trade relations with many countries around the world, and the Cuban people continue to live in poverty and fear. Why would anyone believe if America opens diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba the lives of the people of Cuba will improve?

This is all about wealth re-distribution and cheap labor for American corporations.

The Right Planet:I shouldn’ t say I was shocked by Obama’s unilateral action to normalize relations with Cuba. But it is shocking to watch a U.S. president simply ignore the past and make nice with a despotic regime. My South American friends see this as throwing a lifeline to the Castro regime, since Cuba’s close ally, Venezuela, is quickly going belly up, due to plummeting oil prices. But along comes Obama to pluck them from disaster.

What did the U.S. get in return? The release of a USAID worker and an intel agent, Rolando Sarraff Trujillo, held in Cuba for the past two decades. But Cuba got everything they wanted. I suspect, too, that this unilateral decision by Obama has something to do with closing Guantanamo Bay. And why didn’t the U.S. demand the return of cop killer Joanne Chesimard, who was convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper in 1973 during a gunbattle after being stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike?

Obama stated in his address to the nation that his decision to normalize relations with Cuba “will end an outdated approach that has failed to advance America’s interests.” What does that mean? Obama never explained what he meant by “America’s interests.” I suspect it’s code for “failed to advance Obama’s interests.” It just looks to me like Obama is propping up a failed socialist regime, since Obama has never met a communist despot he didn’t like, to my knowledge.

The Glittering Eye : The embargo on Cuba was imposed specifically for the purpose of producing regime change. A half century later it still hasn’t done that and at this point I think it’s reasonable to think it never will. Both sides in the argument about the president’s recent announcement have good points. Those who oppose them object to subsidizing the Castro regime and think that we haven’t struck much of a deal in the negotiations. Those who support the president’s move point out that we haven’t gotten anywhere with the embargo, abandoning it would be of economic benefit to the U. S., and it’s time for a change. I think the economic argument is much exaggerated. LIberalization will be much better for Cuba than it will for us.

IMO liberalization of travel will be a stronger weapon against the Castro regime than the embargo. It will be interesting to see how Cubans react to visits from their relatives in the States and to the consumer goods and information they bring with them.

The whole matter strikes me as another example of something that has become a very bad habit for the president, not enlisting the support of Congress, even Democrats in Congress, before announcing a change in policy. There isn’t a lot the president can do in the absence of cooperation from the Congress and an announcement out of the blue does little to foster that cooperation.

In the final analysis whether the policy change is just a photo op or whether there is actually material change will depend on what the president and Congress agree on. We’ll just need to wait and see.

Well, there you have it!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every  Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks’ nominees for Weasel of the Week!

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?

Victim of Racial Abuse Emerges In Wake of Execution Style Police Killings

A sympathetic victim of the racial tumult surrounding the police shootings in Ferguson and NYC and the subsequent murderous violence against police officers, emerged Sunday, flanked by the mother and widow of Eric Garner at a press conference in Harlem.

Your hearts will melt when you hear what this lifelong defender of the oppressed and disenfranchised has experienced in the wake of the execution-style murders of two police officers, Saturday.

No, he hasn’t had to bury any family members – nor has he been physically harmed, himself.  And yes, the telephone harassment he’s experiencing now comes as a response to his own toxic demagoguery —  but no one deserves to be verbally abused and threatened by loud-mouthed bullies. 

Via the NY Post:

The Rev. Al Sharpton claimed Sunday that he’s received death threats in the wake of execution-style murders of two NYPD officers in Brooklyn.

Sharpton, appearing alongside the wife and mother of Eric Garner, played a voicemail for reporters purportedly of a racist threat made against him.

“Hey n—-r, stop killing innocent people, I’m going to get you!” according to the barely audible recording.

The voice mail also included three f-bombs that went over live television in New York.

Sharpton also took umbrage with police union leaders who have blamed Mayor de Blasio for allegedly inciting violence against cops.

NYPD Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were gunned down in cold blood as they sat in their patrol car on Saturday in Brooklyn.

“To blame the mayor and others is not what we need,” Sharpton said. “The blame game will only lead to further kinds of venom and further division.”

And that’s one thing Al Sharpton would never, ever, ever, EVER do – is play the BLAME GAME. 

Poor poor Reverend Al – somebody said bad words to him over the phone, making him feel under “intense threat.”

Have a box of tissues handy, mmmkay?

No one in the public eye has ever had to experience such traumatic verbal abuse. Thank God he’s turning over the evidence to the FBI. Eric Holder surely has his top men on this important case. They’ll have those potty mouthed culprit(s) in jail by Christmas.

SEE ALSO:

Katie Pavlich, Townhall: Damage Control: Left Issues Slew of Statements After Execution Style Police Killings

After months of stoking anti-police sentiment across the country, far-left organizations, leaders and government officials are in damage control mode, releasing a slew of statements in response to the execution style murders of uniformed NYPD Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn by a man claiming revenge for the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

Dish Network Drops Fox News Due To Contract Dispute

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Millions of Fox News fans who subscribe to Dish Network were shocked Sunday morning to find their favorite news channels – Fox News and Fox Business – blocked on their television sets.

Fox is no longer being carried on Dish Network due to a failure to come to terms on a new distribution contract.

This marks the third time in the past couple of months, Dish Network has blocked popular programming from its customers due to a dispute with a channel owner.

CNN and other channels owned by Turner Broadcasting were blocked for one month, this Fall, weakening CNN’s ratings. The Turner Broadcasting channels returned to the Dish lineup on November 21. Earlier this month, some CBS channels briefly went dark on Dish until the companies agreed on a new contract.

Now the most popular cable news channel in the United States has disappeared from Dish’s lineup because their contract with Fox News was allowed to expire.

Via Fox News St. Louis:

Early Sunday morning, the two sides traded barbs about the reasons for the blackout, and Fox News urged its fans to switch to another television provider.

Dish replaced Fox News with The Blaze, the relatively new cable channel owned by Glenn Beck. It replaced the much smaller Fox Business Channel, which was also blacked out, with CNBC.

In its 18-year history, Fox News has never been blacked out by any major television distributor. This dispute will be particularly interesting to watch because Fox has an extraordinarily loyal audience — a “base,” so to speak, that might be motivated to drop Dish.

That’s what Fox says it wants.

“Dish prematurely ceased distribution of Fox News in an attempt to intimidate and sway our negotiations,” Fox News executive vice president of distribution Tim Carry said in a statement early Sunday morning.

Via the Wall Street Journal:

“It’s like we’re about to close on a house and the realtor is trying to make us buy a new car as well,” said Warren Schlichting, Dish’s senior vice president of programming.

Fox said the deal it offered Dish has been accepted by other major pay-TV distributors.

“They did not want to accept terms and commitments that have become customary in a Fox News renewal,” said Tim Carry, the Fox News executive in charge of distribution.

I’m sure there’s a bit of hardball being played on both sides, but seeing as this is the third time in the past couple of months Dish has blocked major channels from its viewers, it seems to me that there is a serious deficiency in their negotiating acumen. I don’t know how they could let something like this happen.

What I do know is – if Fox News isn’t back on my  television sets by Monday, we’re dropping Dish – and I suspect – millions of other subscribers will be dropping them, too.

 

 

 

 

Your Sunday Hymn: Divinum Mysterium

I just love this ancient Latin hymn Divinum Mysterium – also known as “Of the Father’s love begotten” sung here by The Sons of Orpheus, Houston’s Premier Male Vocal Ensemble.

This Celtic instrumental rendition is also gorgeous – (and gives you a truer sense of the lovely melody):

Of the Father’s Heart Begotten alternatively known as Of the Father’s Love Begotten is a Christmas carol based on the Latin poem Corde natus by the Roman poet Aurelius Prudentius, from his Liber Cathemerinon (hymn no. IX) beginning “Da puer plectrum,” which includes the Latin stanzas listed below.[1]

The ancient poem was translated and paired with a medieval plainchant melody Divinum mysterium. Divinum mysterium was a “Sanctus trope” – an ancient plainchant melody which over the years had been musically embellished.[2] An early version of this chant appears in manuscript form as early as the 10th century, although without the melodic additions, and “trope” versions with various melodic differences appear in Italian, German, Gallacian, Bohemian and Spanish manuscripts dating from the 13th to 16th centuries.[2]

Divinum mysterium first appears in print in 1582 in the Finnish song book Piae Cantiones, a collection of seventy-four sacred and secular church and school songs of medieval Europe compiled by Jaakko Suomalainen and published by Theodoric Petri.[3] In this collection,Divinum mysterium was classified as “De Eucharistia” reflecting its original use for the Mass.[4]

The text of the Divinum mysterium was substituted for Prudentius’s poem when it was published by Thomas Helmore in 1851. In making this fusion, the original meter of the chant was disturbed, changing the original triple meter rhythm into a duple meter and therefore altering stresses and note lengths. A later version by Charles Winfred Douglas corrected this using an “equalist” method of transcription, although the hymn is now found in both versions as well as a more dance-like interpretation of the original melody.

Lyrics:

Continue reading

Former NYPD Commish Bernard Kerik: Sharpton and De Blasio “Have Blood On Their Hands”

Two police officers were shot - execution style – as they sat in their patrol car, Saturday afternoon –  5 days before Christmas.

The gunman approached the passenger side of the patrol car and took a shooting stance, witnesses told police. He opened fire several times, striking both officers in the head, Bratton said.

They were “shot and killed with no warning, no provocation,” Bratton told reporters. “They were quite simply, assassinated.”

The gunman was found dead in a nearby subway station from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Saturday night on Fox News, Judge Jeanine Pirro covered the latest and interviewed former New York Police Department commissioner Bernard Kerik, who said the killings reminded him of the radical days of the ’60s and 70’s when NY cops faced executions (by radicals) and declared that Mayor Bill de Blasio and Al Sharpton both “have blood on their hands.”

Kerik accused de Blasio of “inciting” protesters who chanted “kill the cops” during a protest on the Brooklyn Bridge last Saturday.

“I personally feel, that Mayor de Blasio, [Al] Sharpton and others like them, they actually have blood on their hands,” Kerik said on FOX News. “They encouraged this behavior. They encouraged protests. These so-called peaceful protests that, where people are standing out there saying ‘kill the cops,’ well, I hope they’re happy, because they got what they wanted.”

“I think back two weeks ago, when he was inciting these protesters, when he was calling the NYPD and other cops around the nation racist,” Kerik also said.

Former NYPD police detective Bo Dietl joined Kerik in the discussion, adding details about what cops like him faced in the early 70’s.

“We lost 13 cops, one year, 11 cops the next year – they were assassinated the same way. This was with the PLA,” he explained, referring to the Black Liberation Army.

Dietl told Pirro that gang members have been threatening to kill cops in social media for the past week and he excoriated Mayor De Blasio who he called “a disgrace”  and “this punk Al Sharpton” who led the demonstration in NY, last week, where protesters chanted they wanted dead cops. “Well they got two dead cops!” Dietl exclaimed.

He threw in this shot at De Blasio; “you know what? This guy went to Cuba in 1994 – he should take his wife – De Blasio – and go back and live there.”

Dietl said the city should recall “the bum.” Asked by Pirro if he should resign, he said De Blasio should “resign tomorrow because he cannot do the job.”

“He should go,” Kerick agreed. “He can’t lead the city. The men and women in the NYPD don’t respect him. They’re never going to respect him.”

Here’s video of NYPD officers turning their backs on DeBlasio:

Via Twitchy: 

Al Sharpton, Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch, Jesse Jackson, the Ferguson Action Coalition and even the family of Michael Brown issued statements Saturday on the horrific killings.

Obama finally weighed in at 12:00 am Eastern after he finished his golf game in Hawaii:

It’s odd that the president of the United States felt it was necessary to qualify his condemnation as “unconditional.” Was there reason to believe his condemnation would be conditional? Would the killing of two cops ever be excusable? So why make a point of saying “unconditionally”?

SEE ALSO:

Twitchy:‘Can they breathe?’ Execution-style killing of two NYPD officers celebrated; ‘Salute the shooter’

Obama/Sharpton/Holder/DeBlasio fellow travelers weigh in on Twitter.

Saturday Movie Matinee: We’re Number Two!

Bill Whittle, Truth Revolt: We’re Number Two!

Full Interview Man Who Interrogated KSM A 9-11 Mastermind – Megyn Kelly & Dr James Mitchell

Pres Obama Criticizes Sony For Pulling “The Interview” – Charles Krauthammer – Hannity

SEE ALSO:

Gateway Pundit: Sony Fires Back at Obama: Actually We Did Call the White House – Several Times (Video)

Sony fired back at Obama after the press conference saying they had several conversations with the Obama White House before and after the movie was canceled.
Via The Hollywood Reporter:

After President Obama criticized Sony for its decision to cancel The Interview’s release after theater chains decided not to show the film, the studio has issued a statement elaborating on the move.

“The decision not to move forward with the December 25 theatrical release of The Interview was made as a result of the majority of the nation’s theater owners choosing not to screen the film,” the statement said. “This was their decision.”

A source tells The Hollywood Reporter that Sony was surprised by the president’s comments and did, in fact, have many conversations with the White House both before and after the movie was pulled Wednesday. That would fly in the face of President Obama’s claim that the studio never approached him for advice on how to handle the threats of violence that invoked the 9/11 terror attacks.

Krauthammer: Obama Is Appeasing Tyrants for Nothing in Return:

Jon Karl Grills Earnest: If U.S. Can Normalize Relations with Cuba, ‘Why Not North Korea?’:

Marco Rubio: Rand Paul ‘Has No Idea What He’s Talking About’ on Cuba

Ed Henry: Barack Obama MISLEADING on # of Executive Actions:

SEE ALSO:

USA Today: Obama issues ‘executive orders by another name':

President Obama has issued a form of executive action known as the presidential memorandum more often than any other president in history — using it to take unilateral action even as he has signed fewer executive orders.

When these two forms of directives are taken together, Obama is on track to take more high-level executive actions than any president since Harry Truman battled the “Do Nothing Congress” almost seven decades ago, according to a USA TODAY review of presidential documents.

***

Lindsey Stirling- Christmas Medley Celtic Carol LIVE at Rock Canyon Studios:

The O’Reilly Consort: Rorate Coeli Desuper!

Known as The Advent Prose, Rorate coeli (or Rorate Caeli) is from the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 45:8) in the Vulgate: “Drop down ye heavens from above.”

Rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant justum

(Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just)

Aperiatur terra et germinet salvatorem”

(Let the earth be opened and send forth a Saviour”).

The Council Has Spoken! Watcher’s Council Results

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The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match up.

“I don’t believe it is possible to transcend race in this country. Race is a factor in this society. The legacy of Jim Crow and slavery has not gone away. It is not an accident that African-Americans experience high crime rates, are poor, and have less wealth. It is a direct result of our racial history.” – Barack Obama,

“Barack Obama is like the old joke about boats. The two best days of owning a boat are the day you buy it and the day you sell it.”- Howie Carr

“None of what Barack Obama is doing or wants to do to this country is anything the rest of the world hasn’t seen before and already failed at.”
- Rush Limbaugh

http://nicedeb.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/angeloldlady.gif?w=545

This week’s winning essay,Nice Deb’s -Sheriff Clark: After Obama, We’re Going To Need A “Period Of Reconstruction To Put The Country Back Together” Is her astute take on an interview with Sheriff David Clark of Milwaukee concerning race relations under President Obama. Here’s a slice:

Milwaukee Sheriff David Clark joined Megyn Kelly, Thursday night to discuss a new Fox poll that shows that 62% of voters believe race relations have gotten worse since Barack Obama became president.

Kelly asked the the clear-eyed, straight talking sheriff, “are they right?”

“Of course they’re right,” Clark answered without hesitation. “He built that…..remember that statement, ‘you didn’t build that’? Well, he built this racial divide, it was a wound that had been healing for a number of years – number of decades – and he reopened it with his divisive politics.”

He continued, “Obama has benefited from the divide and conquer strategy – it secured two successive electoral victories for the White House but it’s been very destructive for America.” He went on to ask a devastating question, “Who would have thought that after the election of first black president in the history of United States, that we would need a period of reconstruction to try to put this country back together?”

Clark claimed that instead of taking a neutral tone, Obama has habitually fanned the flames.

Megyn gave Clark an opportunity to give Obama a pass and put most of the blame on people with whom he surrounds himself, but Clark was having none of it.

“It’s a cabal of people,” he acknowledged. “But he’s at the top. When the president speaks, people listen and he has to choose his words carefully.”

Megyn, playing devils advocate, noted that Obama often acknowledges the sacrifices made by police.

Clark countered by saying that Obama likes to “throw a few bones out there” for law enforcement with “a wink and a nod” to the racial agitators. “People know what he’s doing,” the Sheriff declared.

More at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Kurt Schlichter Townhall with Nothing Succeeds Like Liberal Secession submitted by The Razor . It’s a fascinating look at what things would be like in Blue America and Red America decided on a mutual peaceful parting of the ways, with a nice side order of Schlichter’s wry sense of humor.

Here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every  Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks’ nominees for Weasel of the Week!

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?