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To: michael97123 who wrote (765)5/13/2002 10:39:04 AM
From: Fred Levine
   of 786
It looks like we have dwindled to three contentious posters. I visited Cuba under Castro in 1959-60 (over New Year's day) and people forgot that the background was the ruthless dictatorship of Batista. Castro was wildly popular, a cult hero, and had not designated himself a communist. Because he nationalized United Fruit and others, Eisenhower isolated him and he joined the communist bloc. Eisenhower refused to meet with him.

In retrospect, it was a brilliant move because Castro contributed to the bankruptcy of the USSR and was, with the exception of the Soviet missles, no threat to the USA. Whenever I hear Cubans talk about him now, they get annoyed when I ask about Batista.


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To: Fred Levine who wrote (766)5/13/2002 11:07:15 AM
From: michael97123
   of 786
I was in HS then and Castro's revolution was one of the great romantic revolutions of the day. It is unfathonable how a baseball fanatic like castro could become one of the great despots in our hemisphere. He could have allied himself with the communists and remained independent, socialist and democratic or at least he could have tried. Looking back over time, he must have been a communist all along like Lenin and masked the evil side until he gained 100% power. In any case we can all agree that history has passed him by and its time to go, one way or the other.

RE: the mideast My feeling is that Netanyahoo made a fundamental mistake in my view, by undercutting his PM in a wartime situation. I hear of new alliances forming between Labor, the Sharansky party, and realists in Likud that will isolate Bibi. Netanyahoo is an offshoot of that ultra religious Brooklyn Jewish community that became the heart of the the settlement movement--Greater Israel/Judea and Samaria. Sharon is pre-that movement and althought he may covet that land for political/military reasons, he is not wedded to that concept the way the religious right in Israel is. YOur thoughts Fred and jerome of course. mike

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To: michael97123 who wrote (767)5/13/2002 10:14:39 PM
From: Jerome
   of 786
Mike & Fred....the two contentious posters on this thread.

I think the Likud party made a strange announcement about the no possibility of a Palestinean State.

Why did they bring this up now? Was this meant to undercut Bush and Powell? I believe that Israeli politics will remain a mystery to me. There must be some one in the Likud party that says every morning..."What would really piss the Americans off today".....As you said Mike the Israeli's ar not PR geniuses.
If Netanyahoo miscalculated does Sharon see his vision strengthened? What happens when the US says there sould be a Palestinean state?

Concerning Cuba and the biological weapons charge. I Think the Bush administration charge was a trial balloon. I think it was an error to make the charge, because crying wolf too often becomes self defeating.

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To: Jerome who wrote (768)5/14/2002 8:26:23 AM
From: michael97123
   of 786
Likud move mostly internal politics. Bibi wants to replace Sharon as the Likud candidate in the next election. Sharon has a chance to position himself in the middle now if he wishes or to court the right in order to get their nod.
Sharon and Netanyahu represent two quite different strains of conservative Israeli movement.
Sharon is a patriot and places Israels security above all other matters. Netanyaho and his group came to the fore in the sixties and seventies. They are the original believers in the theory of Greater Israel(more land) that has gotten Israel way too deep into the settlement mode.
So on one hand Sharon would trade most of the settlements for genuine peace with genuine security while the others want this less than pursuing an expansionist agenda.
The good news is that if you add the sharon right, to the sheransky Russian movement and combine that with Labor you wind up with 2/3 of the vote. The trick is not to letter a PM election wind up as a contest between Netanyahoo and some Labor peacenik. Perhaps sharon will wind up heading the labor ticket. If the vote were held today Sharon would beat anyone, assuming he is on the ballot of course as either representatvie of likud, independent, or Labor. mike
PS Why would Bush lie about castro? What is the goal of such a lie? I heard Larry Eagleburger on Crossfire call for relations with cuba but said at the same time that the admin guy who brought the charges is a good guy and would say that without believing it. Maybe Jimmy Carter is the problem. Wait till Bill Clinton starts roaming the world as X Commander and chief. Carter and Clinton are so different in makeup but so much the same in ideology and hubris.

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To: michael97123 who wrote (769)5/14/2002 8:54:09 AM
From: Jerome
   of 786
>>>What is the goal of such a lie?<<< (about Cuba)...

The goal would be to see if there was any major support (outside of Miami) for getting rid of Fidel. Keep in mind that Canada and Mexico have normalized trading relationship with Cuba.

Bush's "axis of evil" balloon has to be pumped up periodically to keep it airborn.

Since Bush himself has not made the charge his hands are clean. And he is not rushing to support that statement.

Any attempt to get rid of Castro would help Bush in Florida where he won that landslide election.

Bush, (Governor of Florida) is also helped by that kind of talk. I believe that the Governor of Florida runs for re-election this fall.

Had there been normalized trade relations with Cuba for the past 30 years , Cuba would not be in the poor state that it is today, and Castro might not have survived.


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To: Jerome who wrote (770)5/14/2002 9:17:47 AM
From: michael97123
   of 786
Unfortunately castro will live forever. Its hard to believe that a baseball nut could be a tyrant. Dont forget the missiles Jerome. He almost plunged the world into nuclear war. It's personal with him just like it is with Bin Laden. Yes, its dangerous to carry a personal grudge this long but anyone who remembers the CMCrisis knows why. Having said all of that you might be right that it would have been better policy to have removed restictions on trade. But dont be fooled by that revolutionary mask. Castro is a murderous totalitarian tyrant and i will not be unhappy when he passes. And the Cubans who have come to this country and have become american patriots are to be admired even if our agenda shouldnt mirror theirs so closely. MIke

PS Do you disagree with my assessment of castro? Have you bought into that romantic revolutioary nonsense? When Castro dies, I would make Jeb Bush "el Presidente".

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To: michael97123 who wrote (771)6/20/2002 8:55:59 PM
From: Jerome
   of 786
Mike../..threaders....Israel is busy building a wall to keep the terrorists out or to isolate themselves from the Palestineans.

The history of walls has not been favorable for those that built them.

China built a great wall that keep the outsiders out but it cost a lot in terms of lives.

Germany built a wall that ended poorly for the communists.

Many biblical cities built walls to protect their citizens and they all failed .

The Greeks built walls around important cities to no avail.

In your opinion...what happens politically in Israel if the wall gets completed and the terrorist attacks continue?

Is there any reason why Arafat could not be sent into exile?

Is Bush making a big mistake by holding off on the State for Palestine?

Has Bush got a Middle East Policy??? (besides Sadaam)

Will Bush get re-elected if the market stays in the tank.

Regards, Jerome

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To: FiloF who started this subject7/7/2002 7:04:49 PM
From: Jerome
   of 786
Prediction....Bush's War on Iraq will go exactly nowhere.

Look at the facts....

1) Its been ten months since 9/11 and Bush's war on terrorism has gone no where.

2) His Cuban detainees will be tried neither in a Federal Court nor by a military tribunal. The case is just too weak.

3) If Bush does try try those detainees with a military tribunal, how much support can he expect from the Arab...Muslim countries against Iraq? Not much I say.

4) Thus far he is batting Zero against the thousands that Ashcroft has detained in this country since 9/11. If he gets tough will all the illegal Arabs in this country are the illegal Mexicans, Orientals, and South Americans going to stand up and cheer?

Bush's tough rhetoric after 9/11 was smelly flatulence to cover up his failed domestic initiatives. (corporate breaks for the wealthy)

So the Americans are going to rush off to war with Iraq, to absolve his father's failed military campaign? (where he snatched defeat from the jaws of victory?....Sadam is still in power)

In another 12 months the Presidential campaigns start anew. Bush has left himself politically vulnerable. The executive terrorists of those failed companies will slay Bush once and for all.... its the enemy within that will hurt Bush the most.


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To: Jerome who wrote (773)7/8/2002 12:07:14 AM
From: BWAC
   of 786
Prune the Shrub.

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To: BWAC who wrote (774)7/10/2002 4:24:26 PM
From: Jerome
   of 786
The Final Downgrade...Bush and Cheney Downgraded
(Compliments of Raymond Duray of the DYN thread)

Lou Dobbs downgrades President Bush
And so do I.

Editor's note: This week, Salon is proud to present the debut of Joe Conason's daily Web journal. Salon's longtime political columnist will bring his gloves-off approach to the news -- and to the Bush administration -- every day, updating it as events demand. One day a week, it will be available exclusively to Salon Premium subscribers.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Joe Conason

July 9, 2002 | I'm with Lou
If Lou Dobbs found the President's speech hollow and unimpressive, who am I to argue? The venerable CNN business anchor and commentator is a no-nonsense, flag-in-the-lapel kind of guy who doggedly defended Arthur Andersen against the "excesses" of the Justice Department. He's no left-winger. His instant reaction when Bush finished was that this represented yet another rhetorical exercise ("no capitalism without conscience") instead of a new reformist departure. He noted disapprovingly that the President had failed to mention the need to treat executive stock options as corporate expenses. I thought that amid all those sonorous fortune-cookie phrases ("no wealth without character") he offered a few decent proposals but I just don't find him credible on this topic. When George W. Bush talks about the importance of honest business practices and corporate integrity, it's like listening to Bill Clinton lecture about chastity. (Which Clinton would, thankfully, never do.)

"Can you ever give Bush the benefit of the doubt?" asked someone whose first impression of today's speech was better than mine (or Lou's). I suppose I could, except for one problem that gnaws. Until Bush resolves the questions about his role at Harken Energy and the subsequent SEC probe, he will have little moral authority to urge reform on corporate leaders -- or send any of them to prison. He was not exonerated by the SEC, but he might be able to exonerate himself by disclosing the case file. He didn't help himself by dodging that question yesterday.

Meanwhile his administration remains a haven for dubious corporate figures, from Army Secretary Thomas White to Vice President Dick Cheney, now under investigation himself by the SEC for his strange stewardship of Halliburton. Equally dim is the Bush record on "transparency," which in government means freedom of information and full disclosure of special interest influence. The attorney general issues new directives every month to shut off information from the public and the press. The vice president still resists the release of his Energy Task Force records, replete with visits from the minions of Enron and kindred companies. This is the opposite of transparency.
[Posted: 4:30 p.m. PST, July 9, 2002]

The President's ever-changing Harken story
What a time it is -- in this new dawn of "corporate responsibility" -- to be writing a daily journal online. My first deadline became easier to contemplate as I watched the president dodge his way through the Monday post-holiday White House press conference that punctuated his journey from the Kennebunkport golf course to Wall Street. George W. Bush, the ultimate American insider, has no desire to discuss the ways he made his millions. And his impatience with such impertinence is beginning to show.

Reading from an aggressive text prepared by Karl Rove, Bush tried to strike a tone of command within moments of stepping to the podium. Rather than badger him about ethical problems from his business career, he suggested, those Senate Democrats ought to get back to the nation's real business. They are playing politics, he suggested, while our troops languish without critical funding in a time of war. They should be passing his trade legislation, his energy bill, his pension protections and his defense appropriations, rather than asking questions about him.

But the ordinarily docile White House press corps, while chuckling appreciatively at the president's wisecracks, wasn't entirely buying that line. "This is recycled ... stuff," he said in response to the first question about his 1990 sale of Harken Energy stock, and the reporters laughed. The questions continued, however, and the answers weren't impressive.

George W. Bush has offered varying accounts over the past decade of his dealings as a Harken director. Back when he was running for Texas governor in 1994, he blamed the Securities and Exchange Commission for misplacing the disclosure forms he was supposed to file about his insider sale of 212,000 shares of Harken stock. At another point, he blamed the Harken lawyers, even though the filing wasn't their responsibility at all. Lately, his spokesman has tried to blame his own attorney (who now serves as the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia). "I still haven't figured it out completely," Bush shrugged on Monday afternoon.

In other words, everybody was responsible for his failure to observe the securities laws except him. It sounded a bit tinny when he reminded those listening to his press conference that his very favorite theme is "a renewed sense of [personal] responsibility."

As we all know by now, Bush's corporate maneuvering has been "fully vetted." He expanded that line of defense when he claimed that the SEC examined all the aspects of his conduct at Harken "in a very thorough way." Exactly how thorough we may never know, since he declined to answer whether he would allow the SEC to release the entire file of its investigation into his controversial Harken trades. "This is old politics," he replied, complaining that the issue comes up every time he runs for office.

It keeps coming up, of course, because his story is so implausible. On Monday he tried to argue that he had actually lost a windfall by selling when he did, because 14 months later the stock had risen to twice the amount he realized from the June 1990 sale. That left out the most relevant financial history -- notably, that within two months after he sold his shares, Harken reported a devastating second-quarter loss of more than $20 million, and moreover that by December 1990 those same shares were trading at $1.25, or less than a third of the $4 price he had gotten when he got out.

Someone did have the temerity to inquire whether Bush had played any role in Harken's dubious "sale" of an entity called Aloha Petroleum (as in "aloha, suckers") to its own officers, a sham transaction that put lipstick on Harken to attract gullible investors. The president couldn't remember what he thought about the Aloha deal, saying he would have to consult the directors' minutes. Anyway, he added, that incident "and all matters relating to Harken were fully looked into by the SEC." And besides, the company had restated its phony earnings when ordered to by the SEC some time later. So what was the problem?

What the president didn't mention -- perhaps because nobody asked -- was that his father's appointees and his own personal attorney were running the SEC when he was investigated. The agency's chairman was an ardent loyalist named Richard Breeden, who had served as a top domestic policy aide to George Herbert Walker Bush. (He is now the court-appointed overseer of WorldCom.) Its general counsel was James Doty, the lawyer who had handled the sale of the Texas Rangers baseball team to Dubya's syndicate only two years earlier.

A few years ago, such obviously compromised presidential relationships would have provoked exclamations of outrage on the editorial pages of the nation's great newspapers, culminating in demands for a congressional investigation and even an independent counsel. Reporters would have camped out at the SEC to ambush the chairman with arms outstretched, harassing him to deliver those files about the president. The laughter in the press room and the newsrooms and the TV studios would have been anything but friendly, and the chatter would soon have turned to dark musings about the character of the man inhabiting the Oval Office. But that was when the president's name was Clinton, not Bush.
[Posted: 8:30 p.m. PST, July 8, 2002]

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About the writer
Joe Conason writes a daily journal for Salon. He also writes a weekly column for the New York Observer.

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Salon Politics: Unflinching daily political news, analysis and commentary.

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