Sunday, May 11, 2014

How “The Smart and Clever” Jon Stewart was Made a Donkey by Fidel Castro’s Agents

Cuba was once a rich country  -- before Castro

Jon Stewart’s snark-fest against Fox News this week over Benghazi finally prompted a rebuttal (of sorts) from Greta Van Susteren: “Note to Jon Stewart (who I think is smart and clever …but like the rest of us, not always right…but a comedian has, of course, way more latitude – we in the media should get it right.)”

This “latitude,” however, should not allow Jon Stewart to disseminate propaganda from Castro’s KGB-founded and mentored intelligence services uncontested. “I LOVE this book!” Jon Stewart gushed upon greeting author TJ English who a few years ago was publicizing his book titled "How the Mob Owned Cuba, and Lost it to the Revolution," on The Daily Show.

“This is the TRUE story of Cuba!” continued the Peabody award winner (for meritorious public service) barely containing himself. “A fascinating book!” hailed Stewart.

Unknown to “The Smartest guy in the Comedy Central Room” Stewart, the primary source for English’s book-- cited no fewer than 72 times in quotes and footnotes-- is an intelligence apparatchik of Castro’s totalitarian regime named Enrique Cirules.

In fact, Senor Cirules is an official of Cuba’s “La Casa de las Americas” agency that publishes and promotes the Castro regime’s propaganda in books and articles under the guise of “art.” In 1983 a high ranking Cuban Intelligence officer named Jesus Perez Mendez defected to the U.S. and spilled his guts to the FBI. Among his spillings we encounter the following: "The Cuban DGI (Directorio General de Inteligencia, Castro's KGB-trained Secret service) controls Casa de las Americas.”

“We were hoping to have Senor Perez-Mendes on tonight to contribute his views on the veracity of your book’s claims, Mr English,” would have been a properly snarky Stewart introduction to English. “But were thwarted upon discovering that he lives under FBI protection for fear of being assassinated by the KGB-trained folks who hosted you in Cuba and collaborated with you in writing the book!”

“Mr English, in your book’s acknowledgements you describe this Castroite apparatchik Enrique Cirules as a “Cuban author," the properly snarky and Peabody-winning Stewart might have continued. “Wouldn’t this be like describing Julius Streicher as “a German author," and Ilya Ehrenburg as "a Russian author?"

Instead, minutes into the interview and in response to another Godfather-ite cliché by the smug TJ English, Stewart-- this winner of the Television Critics Association award for “Outstanding Achievement in News and Information,"-- gushed: "WOW! So the Mob actually built Cuba's economy! So it was actually worse than shown in Godfather II!"

I know, I know, the “the Mob ran pre-Castro Cuba” meme is so entrenched into the worldwide media/Hollywood/academia Cuba narrative that perhaps we shouldn’t single out Jon Stewart as a Castro dupe when so many other Castro dupes parrot the same propaganda every time Cuba hits the news cycle. Take a Boston Globe editorial just this week:

“Cubans… are also aware that the United States doesn’t have clean hands in Cuba. Under the thuggish reign of US-backed Fulgencio Batista, American sugar plantations exploited laborers and stoked racial anger through segregation; the US mafia, having been dislodged from American cities by the crusading Kefauver committee, took over much of Havana, operating gambling rackets, drug rings, and prostitution.”

Please be informed, Jon Stewart and Boston Globe: better sources on pre-Castro Cuba than Godfather II actually exist.

In 1955 Cuba contained a grand total of three gambling casinos, the biggest was at the Tropicana and featured ten gambling tables and thirty slot machines, the Hotel Nacional, featured seven roulette wheels and twenty-one slot machines. “By contrast, in 1955 the single Riviera Casino in Las Vegas featured twenty tables and one hundred and sixteen slot machines. This means that in 1955: one Las Vegas Casino had more gambling action than all of Cuba.

Also interesting: according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Commission the typical tourist spends five days in their city and spends an average of $580 ($75 in 1957 dollars) on gambling, the main motive for 90 per cent of visitors. Well, throughout the 1950's Cuba averaged 180,000 tourists a year.Let's assume ALL those tourists —men, women, adolescents, children—did nothing in Cuba but gamble, and at the Las Vegas' rate.Well, this would mean an extremely generous total of $13 and a half million for Cuba's gambling industry annually. But in 1957 Cuba's Gross Domestic product was $2.7 billion, and Cuba's foreign receipts were $752 million. How could the beneficiaries of that miniscule fraction of Cuba's income “take over” one of the wealthiest, most modern and economically diverse cities in the Western hemisphere?

Here’s another snark-opportunity for Jon Stewart’s writers in case they again host T.J. English: “Mr English, your book claims that: "Every Monday at noon, a bagman for mobster Meyer Lansky delivered a satchel filled with $1.28 million in cash that was to be delivered to Batista.”

“So Mr English, are you claiming that Mob chief Meyer Lansky was slipping Batista MORE every week than the COMBINED annual GROSS from EVERY casino in Cuba, including those unaffiliated with Meyer Lansky?”

Also interesting: In 1953 more Cubans vacationed in the U.S. than Americans vacationed in Cuba. How could the wretched and brutalized residents of that plundered and impoverished nation, (as the Boston Globe, New York Times, Hollywood, NPR, Jon Stewart, etc. depict it) have possibly pulled that off?

In fact, in 1958 the year prior to Castro’s U.S.-backed takeover of Cuba…

“But wait-a-minute Humberto?!” you say. “The media, Hollywood and our professors all swear up and down that Batista was backed by the U.S., who bitterly and violently opposed Castro?!”

Well, here’s the U.S. ambassador to Cuba from 1957-59 Earl T. Smith testifying to the U.S. Senate in 1960: “various agencies of the United States directly and indirectly brought Fidel Castro into power.”

And here’s the CIA’s Caribbean desk chief from 1957-60 Robert Reynolds, another knowledgeable party to the issue, you might think: “Me and my staff were all Fidelistas.”

In fact, during that horrible period for Cubans ( as depicted by Godfather II and Jon Stewart) not only did most Cubans voluntarily remain in Cuba despite open doors both from Cuba and into the U.S.—but the island’s standard of living and booming and diverse economy attracted immigrants from both Europe and the U.S.

During this period people (from nearby Haiti and Jamaica) often jumped on rafts trying to enter Cuba.



Preparing for War, Keeping Peace

Exactly a century ago, the leading lights of Europe seemed to believe that war was impossible. One of the era’s most successful books, “The Great Illusion” by journalist Norman Angell, asserted that trade, not violence, was the way of the future.

He was wrong, but not completely wrong.

Yes, in 1914 the Western world mobilized in August. World War I killed some 15 million people, and would be followed by World War II and a series of skirmishes during the Cold War. More than 100 million people were killed in conflicts during the 20th century.

Ian Morris, a professor at Stanford, noted recently in The Washington Post, about 2 percent of the planet’s population died violently in that century. Compare that to the Stone Age, when roughly 20 percent of a much smaller population died violently. Modern humans are living much longer, safer, more productive lives. Why?

Morris attributes this overall decline to the formation of nation-states. Beginning in the 1600s, “Europeans exported unprecedented amounts of violence around the world. The consequences were terrible; and yet they created the largest societies yet seen, driving rates of violent death lower than ever before,” he writes.

Such successful governments included the United States. It was powerful enough to civil rights and protect property rights, so citizens could own the fruits of their labor, yet limited enough in size and scope to encourage private innovation.

The planet enjoyed its first period of peaceful growth because of Great Britain, Morris argues. “Its wealth came from exporting goods and services, [so] it used its financial and naval muscle to deter rivals from threatening the international order.” When the age of British dominance finally ended during World War II, the United States stepped up to fill London’s role of maintaining global order. “Like its predecessor, the United States oversaw a huge expansion of trade, intimidated other countries into not making wars that would disturb the world order, and drove rates of violent death even lower,” Morris writes.

But in an unsettling way, 2014 looks a bit like 1914. For example, the global intelligentsia seem to think they’ve banished war. They’ve certainly banished most war-spending, which -- ironically – as history has shown, leads to more war.

The United States is the only developed economy that invests 4 percent of GDP in defense. After the U.K. at 2.5 percent and France at 2.3 percent, things go downhill quickly, with Germany at less than 2 percent and Japan less than 1 percent. Still-developing China spends 2 percent.

It’s a positive that the developed world is comfortable trusting the U.S. military. And it’s a positive that the developed world thinks it has put war behind it. But in his book, “Civilization and Its Enemies,” Lee Harris points to what he calls an unsettling paradox. “The more the spirit of commerce triumphs, the closer mankind comes to dispensing with war, the nearer we approach the end of history, the greater are the rewards to those who decide to return to the path of war,” he writes.

Witness Russia in Crimea and, potentially, the whole of Ukraine. And should the Russians decide to go another few steps, consider the former Soviet Socialist Republic of Latvia. It’s in a tough neighborhood, right up against Russia. But it has almost no military; only 6,000 active troops and 11,000 reservists, financed by less than 1 percent of its GDP. It’s counting on NATO to protect it.

Whether NATO, which really means the U.S., will be there is the big question.

Perceptions matter. “Rogue states will behave more roguishly if they doubt America’s will to stop them,” The Economist points out. And, “In a world full of bluffers, the ruthless will rule,” as Harris writes.

There’s no reason the 21st century can’t be even more peaceful and profitable than the 20th was. American leadership, though will be key.



Screening Immigrants for Fraud: A Tale of Two Enforcements

The press release from the Department of Homeland Security was supposed to be good news. Their agents had broken up a plot to fraudulently bring workers to America.

But if you looked a little deeper, as I did, I found that a couple of U.S.-based crooks had created a totally fraudulent university, and had, for years, been using the phony institution to bring a total of 24 illegal aliens to the United States. No one in our government noticed that the place simply did not exist!

Time and again decision-making employees in the Departments of State, Labor, and Homeland Security had rubber-stamped applications that allowed the aliens to enter the country. And in each and every case, all three of the agencies had erred. Since this happened 24 times and (24 x 3 = 72) that produced a box score of: United States, 0 hits and 72 errors.

Sometimes our government notices such white-collar crime, but all too often it does not; and usually, when it does, it’s years and years between the time of the violation and the corrective action.

Contrast the multiple errors in the U.S. case to what happened in the United Kingdom recently. British authorities learned that five illegal aliens (all men) from Pakistan were about to have fraudulent marriages with five legal residents (all women) that would give the Pakistanis instant legal status.

The Home Office agents swooped down on the group wedding, stopped it before it happened, and deported at least four of the five illegals. Score: United Kingdom: 5 hits, and 0 errors.

Clearly the U.K. won that one!

These, of course, are anecdotes but after decades of studying immigration policy, mostly in the U.S., but often overseas, I can say that these scores are pretty typical of the levels of interior immigration enforcement in the two nations.

Our Border Patrol does a pretty good job of discouraging one kind of illegal immigration—that of “entering without inspection.” But when it comes to rooting out people in the nation illegally, most of whom had arrived earlier with tourist visas, the Brits are much better than we are.

Let’s look at the two cases in more depth.

The Phony University. There is a temporary worker program in the U.S. called H-1B (for the provision in the immigration law). An alien needs to have a college degree to qualify, and to have a U.S. employer who can convince the U.S. Department of Labor that such a worker is needed in the U.S. economy (something Labor agrees to far too often.) Though there is a numerical limit on the program generally, there is none for H-1Bs coming to the U.S. to work at a university. There are other (mild) restrictions; work as a nurse does not qualify for an H-1B visa, though Homeland Security is currently chipping away at this restriction.

Meanwhile, there are nursing homes that are eager to hire foreign nurses at bargain rates.

Two bright crooks in the Denver area decided to create Adam University; they got formal papers from the relaxed folks in Colorado’s Department of Education, but never opened the institution. They were probably playing on the fact that there is an Adams State University.

Then they made use of the demand for low-paid nurses; the fact that nurses could not get H-1B visas; the parallel facts that professors of nursing could get those visas; and that many Filipino nurses wanted to work in the U.S. The crooks then processed the H-1B visas, got the nurses to the States, and told them that they would get work, but not at the wages shown on the Labor Department applications; if they objected, they were told they would be deported, so most of them accepted the low-paid jobs, and kept paying bribes to the promoters to prevent deportation.

All of this could have been avoided if on one of the 72 times the applications were reviewed someone did something as simple as to check Adam University against the list of nursing schools, or operative universities. It never happened.

The Phony Marriages. The Home Office (the government unit that handles immigration) apparently has worked out arrangements with wedding license agencies, to inform them of questionable applications. Further, wedding licenses appear, in the U.K., to state the time and the place of the forthcoming marriage.

In this case the U.K. investigators knew all about the planned “marriages” and were pro-active.

I have been paying close attention to immigration-fraud- weddings in the U.S. for several years and have never heard of a similar, alert move by our agents.

Both nations suffer from illegal immigration but the Brits are simply more motivated to do something about it than our officials. It’s as simple as that.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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