Category Politics & Government


Folks who think the transfer of power from Fidel to Raul is going to make a big difference in the Cuban/American situation are living in La La Land. And now that the regime has been fixated into power for nearly fifty years, and the generations of children have grown up in the culture, it’s doubtful that Raul’s future successor will suddenly switch to more democratic ideals. Either way, maintaining the embargo ad infinitum makes no sense.

In 1962, while embroiled in the Cold War, the United States government imposed economic sanctions upon the island nation of Cuba, cutting off all trade and imposing prohibitions against Americans who purchase Cuban products. The intent was three-fold. First, to alienate Castro from the free world and expose him as a communist dictator. Second, instigate an uprising of the people, then re-establish a democratic regime; and third, to put an end to Cuba’s threat as a satellite nation to the Soviet Union, whose dictator, Nikita Khrushchev had promised to bury us.

The embargo was justified…then. It is not justified any more.

The Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. Ergo, Cuba is no longer a satellite threat. Many thought the Cuban government would collapse with it. That just didn’t happen. Not only has Cuba survived, they’ve opened their shores to international tourism which has given the island nation an economic shot in the arm we hadn’t counted on. Only citizens of the United States are prohibited from leisure travel to Cuba. Meanwhile, my relatives and friends from Canada travel there frequently to enjoy the music, food, warm surf, the people and that unique Latino ambience. Not only that, Cuban cigars are legal in Canada.

The alienation factor has backfired as well. In 2005, the United Nations passed a resolution to end the Cuban embargo by a vote of 182 to 4. So much for alienating.

There’s an old saying about, “Watch out what you wish for; you might get it.” The government’s push toward democracy is succeeding as we had hoped, but it has backfired as well. Elections were held among Palestinians and Iranians in 2005. Trouble is, the people elected our enemies. Whoops!

To our dismay, Castro’s Cuba is enjoying better relations today with other nations of the western hemisphere than ever before, and they are likewise being elected in the democratic process, just as we wished. One of Castro’s compatriots, Evo Morales, was elected president of Bolivia in 2005. Evo is no friend the U.S. He has been quoted, “The worst enemy of humanity is capitalism.”

The Castro brothers have another friend in South America via the “democratic” process. Hugo Chavez, the duly elected president of Venezuela, has threatened to bring down the despised United States government. Chavez is an unabashed admirer of Fidel.

The more we isolate, the more we become isolated. Whatever success we have sought in dealing with Castro, we have failed. When football teams deploy failing strategies in game after game, heads roll, play books are revised, something always changes. Maybe it’s time for a new strategy in the Cuba arena.

If we were to invade the deep, private views of our political leaders, I’m sure many would say the embargo is outdated. But, there’s that precious voting block: the vitriolic Cuban-Americans who hate Castro. Can’t lose their support.

What the Cuban-Americans of Florida fail to realize is that after 48 years, Castro was the last person to feel pain from the embargo. It’s the Cuban people who suffer, their brothers, sisters, cousins and friends. Cubans still live in ramshackle squalor, own no property, and drive around in pre-1960s automobiles. And they’ve had nearly a half century of indoctrinating their children against the great evil: The United States.

It is always important to weigh the pros and the cons. There are few pros when it comes to continuing the embargo against the Cuban people. Rather, we could work at building better relations among all our neighbors to the south if we stopped being so stubborn. By establishing better communications with the Cuban people, we might foster a future ally down the road. Meanwhile, the Cuban government is so mired in anti-Americanism, they are prone to making friends with our enemies, which — to my way of thinking — is not very smart.

Our government tells us, the trade embargo remains because Cuba is a communist country. But we are trading — big time — with other communist countries, including China and Vietnam. The government is in a major quandary over illegal immigrants crashing our borders unannounced, yet still there is one nation from where they are welcomed: Cuba. How do we explain that to the Mexicans? Ah…because they are fleeing a communist countries.

Meanwhile, law enforcement is rounding up undocumented Chinese all the time on the west coast, oppressed people who are fleeing a communist country.

And we wonder why foreign nations think of Americans as hypocrites?

We are a generous nation that never fails to address the needy, providing assistance in natural disasters all over the world without prejudice. We provide foreign aid to nearly 150 other countries. It is inconceivable that a government who portrays itself so benevolent can also be so calloused. It’s all about votes.

I have no love for Castro or his ilk. But it is time to weigh the priorities and see that Americans and Cubans — and our status in the world — would benefit through a more open relationship.


Shame on the New York Times.

It’s time for some entity within the private sector to establish a watchdog organization for yellow journalism. Reporters and newspapers should not, and cannot, get away with publishing unsubstantiated and scandalous stories for no other reasons than to derail a candidate and sell newspapers. Public agencies like police and military are constantly subjected to public scrutiny, why not the print media? The first amendment is not a free ticket to slander for sales.

Senator McCain did not have an affair with the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman. So says Ms. Iseman and so says Mr. McCain. Nor did he give special favors. There is absolutely no evident to support those allegations — none, zilch — and without that evidence there should not have been a story. Nuff said. Anonymous sources are just that: Anonymous. They are ghosts in the wind with no backing and support.

Any journalist can invent anonymous sources. If those sources did exist, what would be their motive for revealing such information to the media? Sour grapes? Fired for a job? Passed over for a lucrative a contract with the government? Why anonymous? How can those sources be held accountable — if they, indeed, exist? We’ll never know, will we?

The Times should answer to the public for their motives in electing to print such a story. It wouldn’t be because they are liberally biased and want to see a Democrat win the Oval Office, is it?

Think about this. If all the circumstances were identical, but the name was Obama instead of McCain, would the Times have run the story? You know the answer to that, and so do I.

Interesting that this issue, which is nine years in the cooker, happened to surface at this point and time by a newspaper that unabashedly leans toward the Democratic side.

It doesn’t matter whether you are for or against Senator John McCain for president. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. It’s a matter of ethics, the American public being awakened to the fact they are often manipulated by a biased media, some liberal, some conservative. Both sides are guilty of doing the same thing. Only, this story is a bombshell directed toward dismantling a man’s campaign for the presidency.

I know about media manipulation. Many of my police friends, and those inside the field of law, can attest to examples where the media, print and television, preconceives a story then carefully edits information in support of the story, and edits out what does not.

I once sat on the other end of a TV camera being grilled by reporters about a corruption scandal in the police department. When the interview started focusing on me as a conspirator, of higher rank than the others, the interview was halted. Later that evening, I watched in disbelief as the local news aired. They had carefully cut and pasted the wrong responses to certain questions to make me appear like a liar. Two years later, one of those reporters went out of his way to apologize to me.

In 2000, I was being interviewed on camera by John Stossel of ABC’s 20/20 concerning my views about racial profiling. I had written an op-ed article for the Miami Herald in which I asserted that profiling is justified in some instances, regardless of the racial equation. Stossel’s line of questioning was clear. I was to be portrayed on the show as a fang-dripping racist. So I turned the tables. “May I ask you a question, John?” I asked.


“When you first heard about the Oklahoma City bombing and the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, what was the first thought that came in your mind?”

“Arabs,” he replied without hesitating.

“Well, sir. You just racially profiled.”

From behind, the producer hollered, “Cut!”

The interview was never aired.

News reporters and editors, especially those with political bias, are able to cherry pick information to fit a predetermined story line, much the same as George W. Bush has been accused by the media of cherry picking intelligence to justify a war. Hopefully, the public will have enough sense to know when they are being duped.

Everyone knew, including the Times, what the outcome of the new McCain scandal was going to be. Case closed. Not guilty. No evidence, let’s move on. But the seed is effectively planted, which was undoubtedly the intent.

In truth, the big story here should not be about McCain and his alleged liaison with a lobbyist. Rather, it should be about The New York Times, and all biased media. and ways to curb yellow journalism in the 21st century.


Not long ago, a good friend and I engaged in the taboo — a discussion about politics. When I said something critical of President G.W. Bush, my friend lashed out, “Well, that makes you a liberal and me a conservative.” Not so. But we ended the conversation and remained friends.

Labels are everything. It’s how simple minded people relate. It’s how we define one another, it’s how we define celebrities and politicians. We like the one-word pigeon holes, it makes it easy for we humans to identify who and what people are. Bush, the conservative. Clinton, the liberal. Bin Laden, the terrorist. Britney Spears, the mental case. Jack Kervorkian, Doctor Death. Pavarotti, the voice. Jeffrey Dahmer, the killer. Nixon, crook.

Much ado is being made these days of Senator McCain’s credentials as a “true” conservative.

Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. What does it matter? All that matters is his loyalty to the nation as an American, and his ability to lead the nation in fiscal responsibility and to make our citizens secure from foreign invaders.

These days, if a politician is opposed to abortion, that makes him a conservative. Pro-choice, means liberal. If a Republican dares to join with Democrats in forming bi-partisan legislation, the party dubs him disloyal and not a true conservative. Meanwhile, Senator McCain, like any politician, is sucking up to the power brokers and the special interest groups assuring everyone that he is everything they all want him to be. Just elect me, please!

Frankly, I’m sick and tired of hearing the term bantered about as though conservative means “good” and liberal means “bad.” In my book, it all depends on the issue. When it comes to illegal immigration, I’m a hard core conservative. When it comes to legalizing marijuana, I’m a flaming liberal. Go ahead. Pigeon hole me.

Rush Limbaugh is considered the number one talk-show host in America. He’s bright, articulate and a hard-core, unapologetic conservative. I take issue with his brightness. One can listen to Rush on any given day and you cannot find one sentence from his lips that does not utter the words “conservative” or “liberal,” invariably in positive and negative context. That’s all that is on the man’s mind, pigeon-holing individuals according to their so-called “conservative” values.

We hear that stupid phrase all the time on news shows. I often wonder what it means — “conservative values” — as though it is synonymous with “Christian values.” Frankly, I would prefer hearing about American values, which could be liberal or conservative, Jewish or Christian, rich or poor, black or white. American values is all that matters.

Rush consistently lionizes George W. Bush as a great conservative. Is that so?

George W. Bush, and his Republican congress, presided over the greatest six years of spending in the history of this nation, never vetoing any bill that contained billions of dollars in unnecessary earmarks. That’s the kind of politics liberals are usually accused of.

George W. Bush presided over the greatest surge in illegal immigration in the nation’s history by failing to have the Justice Department prosecute employers, then proposing a plan that would give amnesty to over twelve million illegals. That’s a conservative?

George W. Bush argued to allow our nation’s ports to be secured by a Islamic mid-east country, not long after three thousands citizens were murdered in a terrorist attack by mid-east Islamics. Conservative?

Now, Rush, and other hard-core “conservatives” are on the warpath dubbing McCain as not being conservative enough, and pledging to scuttle his election. In doing so, he and others like, him, (Hannity, Beck, Savage) are dooming the Republican party in the upcoming election by handing it over to Hillary or Barack. Maybe that’s not a bad thing, depending on one’s orientation, but it’s plain stupid on the part of the so-called kings of talk shows.

Fact is, John McCain has often been accused of being the Republican party maverick because, historically, he does not march in lock-step with party policy, thus demonstrating he has a mind of his own. I consider that a good thing. What’s best for America is, and should be, always more important than what’s best for the party. Politics aside, I have always respected the man.

Meanwhile, as Hillary and Barack stand by laughing, Republican in-fighting will assure the Democratic nominee the forthcoming election. All over a stupid label. After January of 2009, the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys of America will bitch and complain about all the liberal policies of the new president, the pro-life Supreme Court Justices, the clamp on run-away spending, and the stop to an unnecessary war, pointing fingers and issuing blame everywhere but in their own bailiwick — which is where it will belong.

As for me, I’m waiting for the first candidate to tell us what he or she will do about the impending incursion of radical Islam extremism within the borders of our country. That, alone, will likely be the most pressing problem facing the future of America, yet no one utters a word.

Is that a liberal or a conservative issue? It’s neither. It’s an American issue. It’s about our grandchildren. Let’s hope the next president has the guts to stand up to the threat.

As for me, ask me the issue before assigning a label. I’m a fan of another great American named, Johnny Cash. Just like him, I Walk The Line.

Abortion: The Black Market Awaits

Three cheers for crime. If moralists have their way, it will only get worse.

How coincidental that within three short weeks of Justice Sam Alito’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, the anti-abortion lobby of South Dakota convinced state lawmakers to pass a sweeping bill outlawing abortion in all instances, except to save the life of a mother. Louisiana followed suit, and at least twelve other states are introducing similar legislation.

Progress v Regress?

With only 800 procedures performed a year in it’s lone clinic, South Dakota has one of the lowest abortion rates in the country. But backers of the bill say they intend for it to reach far beyond the state’s borders and into many other states. The movement for overturning Roe v. Wade is now well on its way. The pro-life lobby has the jump start its been waiting for over the last thirty years.

Who said there was no litmus test for Supreme Court appointees?

According to the most recent Gallup polls, 53 percent of the population consider themselves pro-choice and 42 percent pro-life. Never mind that a whopping 66 percent say they do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned. Those figures have remained relatively constant for the last twenty years, despite all the baby billboards, unsolicited guilt trips, screaming protesters and violent acts against providers.

So much for the will of the people.

It amazes me that so much emphasis is directed by media and political circles on the issue of abortion, as though it had anything to do with the future welfare of America in the domestic and/or international arena. A president can do absolutely nothing about criminalizing abortion other than appointing pro-life justices to the Supreme Court. We all know that president’s don’t use litmus tests for such appointments, right? Meanwhile, in nearly every political debate on both sides of the aisle, candidates pander to lobbyists and single-issue voters by professing their stances; pro-life or pro-choice.

I truly believe there are fanatical voters out there who would vote for a candidate willing to sell America down the river, so long as he/she was pro-life.

While the debate drones on, I rarely hear politicians and lobbyists allude to the consequences of relegating abortions back to trailer parks, ghettos, butcheries and third world countries. For that’s where 1.2 million illegal abortions a year (according to the Guttmacher Institute) were performed before Roe v. Wade ruled that a woman has the right to choose. That doesn’t include the thousands who attempted self-induced abortions. Unsanitary procedures and incompetence often resulted in serious medical complications and even death.

I well recall the days, pre-1973, as a Miami-Dade homicide detective when investigators were specifically assigned to handle illegal abortions, jamming court dockets and jail cells with participants in the abortion business, including desperate mothers. In truth, it was a thriving enterprise for the black market. Criminals loved it.

Today, abortions in the first trimester — accounting for 90 percent of all terminations — cost an average of $400. If made illegal, they will cost $2,000 to $5,000 causing even further trauma for women who are without means. That often leads to more crime.

For those who believe that making abortion illegal is going to prevent women from having abortions, I’ve got some cheap beachfront property to sell them, in the Klondike. Just like using drugs and alcohol, there is no amount of legislation that is going to prevent it, not in a free society. Desperate women will continue terminating pregnancies, forced into the clandestine netherworld of crime where physical dangers prevail instead of open and safe procedures performed by qualified professionals.

Criminals are in wait, licking their chops, hoping and praying for a complete ban by the Supreme Court so they can declare themselves open for business. By driving abortion procedures into the underworld, the black market will yield upwards of $2 to $3 billion a year, a lowball estimate. And the taxpayer will foot the enormous costs of medical care for victims, plus police investigations, courts, lawyers and housing inmates who are unlucky enough to get caught. That’s not to mention the ancillary costs of welfare, disability and maladies stemming from emotional disorder.

There’s certainly more to this issue than meets the eye, far beyond questions of morality. The true answer lies, not in caging people as criminals, but in compassion and education for women who feel desperate enough to end a pregnancy. Numbers of legal abortions have declined steadily, though slightly, over the last ten years as more alternative information through counseling has been made available to women.

Now that the president has met his political commitment to loyal supporters by appointing two — ostensibly — anti-abortionists to the high court, it’s likely that a revised challenge to Roe v. Wade will soon follow. And should the moralists have their way, regardless of public opinion, crime will once again raise its ugly head in due appreciation.

We never learn.