Maybe it’s just me, but if you identify yourself as a socialist in the United States and you want to be elected to the nation’s highest office, maybe don’t go around praising communist leaders.
Last Sunday during a 60 Minutes interview, Bernie Sanders praised the increase in literacy rates in Fidel Castro’s Cuba after his 1959 communist revolution. And while I understand his intention is that there’s something good to take away from that, and I think a lot of people are overreacting, I don’t understand why it’s a fixation for him and why now. Not a good time, Bernie. What’s next? Praise for Mussolini for getting the trains to run on time?
Bernie is a self-described socialist. He’s advancing ideas that are only radical in the United States like healthcare is a right. He’s campaigning on implementing policies that are successful in democratic socialist nations like Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, etc. Yet, all Republicans have been wailing on is that Bernie wants to turn us into Venezuela. Well, now Bernie has given them Cuba to add to the mix.
Sure. There are great things in Cuba, like healthcare and free education from preschool to doctorates. But it was implemented and rnn by a communist dictator who controlled the island from 1959 to 2008. There was no free press or speech. Travel from the nation was extremely limited. He made his nation a satellite of the Soviet Union. He helped instigate the Cuban missile crisis. He jailed thousands of dissidents and oversaw human-rights abuses which led to a large exodus of the nation’s citizens. The effect of Castro’s anti-imperialism and socialist-run system created an impoverished economy.
But you know who else established a very successful literacy program and provided free education to his citizens from cradle to grave? Saddam Hussein. Yet, nobody is talking about creating a government that mimics Iraq. No one is advocating for a system where everyone is literate but no one can operate a pencil because they criticized the leader and their hands were chopped off.
Bernie has made it clear he’s not praising authoritarianism. But in a way, he is. How about you just stop, Bernie? If Bernie Sanders is the nominee, he’s going to have a rough time winning Florida as it is without praising Fidel Castro (they rejected the extremely intelligent Andrew Gillum for a guy who made commercials where he’s building Lego walls with his baby). Bernie has pointed out that President Barack Obama also praised Cuba’s literacy rate under Castro, but there are a lot of Cuban Americans in South Florida who still have their knickers in a twist over him establishing diplomatic relations with the nation.
While I’m not happy with Bernie praising Castro, I’ll take that over Donald Trump, who has praised authoritarians over and over. And no, Trump isn’t praising their literacy programs as he’s not one who puts a lot of emphasis on reading or knowing stuff. Donald Trump is praising the practices that silence dissent and throws journalists out of high-rise buildings.
On North Korea, Trump said, “North Korea has tremendous economic potential like perhaps few other developing nations anywhere in the world.” Really, Donald? While Republicans are screaming that Democrats want to turn the United States into Venezuela, Donald Trump believes a one-man communist regime can create a “tremendous” economy. On Kim Jong Un, He said that they “fell in love.” At least Bernie hasn’t said he’s in love with Fidel Castro.
Donald Trump is currently seeking out Never Trumpers in his administration and purging those he deems disloyal. He defended the move by tweeting, “We want bad people out of our government!” Which is something a tyrant would say. That also leaves you with the kind of people with qualifications of the likes of an Ivanka Trump. So, with this purge, Trump is probably admiring that Kim Jong Un disposes of Never Kimmers with anti-aircraft guns and by having them ripped to shreds by dogs.
Let’s not forget that Kim Jong Un hasn’t just starved, brutalized, and tortured his own people, but he’s murdered American citizens. Kim Jong Un murdered American Otto Warmbier after torturing him and Donald Trump says Kim “feels bad about it.”
On Turkey’s president, who’s imprisoned journalists and dissidents, including a 16-year-old who insulted him and a Miss Turkey who shared a poem criticizing him. He jailed over 50,000 after a failed coup. He’s consolidated his powers to personally appoint or dismiss ministers, select judges, and rule by decree. Trump said, “It’s my honor to be with a friend of mine, somebody I’ve become very close to, in many respects, and he’s doing a very good job.” What kind of “respects” there, Trump? Are you going to start jailing people who write poems about you? Roses are red, violets are blue, Donald Trump is a racist fucking moron.
On China’s Xi Jinping, “President Xi, who is a strong man, I call him King, he said, ‘But I am not King, I am president.’ I said, ‘No, you’re president for life and therefore, you’re King.’ He said, ‘Huh. Huh.’ He liked that.” And then this one time…at band camp.
Donald Trump has had high praise for Philippines Rodrigo Duterte, especially in his war on drugs, which has involved that nation’s president personally dragging accused drug dealers in the street and murdering them. Duterte compared his killing of drug addicts, not dealers, with Hitler killing Jews. He said, “Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there is three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them.” Fact check: Hitler killed over six million Jews, but Rodrigo probably didn’t have access to the type of education you’d find in Cuba. Rodrigo also said, “Just because you’re a journalist, you are not exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a bitch.” 72 journalists have been murdered in the Philippines since 1992.
This one is a little personal for me because, in 1997-98, I filled in for the legendary Corky Trinidad at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, who was in exile from his home nation of the Philippines during Marcos’ reign. It was an education being friends with Corky who I am confident would be furious with Donald Trump’s praise for Duterte if he was alive today.
A couple days ago, a conservative cartoonist accused me of practicing an “intolerant liberal religion.” And he’s right. When it comes to conservative cartoonists and journalists worshipping at the feet of a man who calls the free press “enemy of the American people,” and he’s admiring men who murder members of the press, I’m very intolerant.
Then there’s Russia’s Putin. When it was pointed out that Putin has had dissidents and journalists jailed and murdered, Trump responded with, “What, you think we’re so nice?” After Putin won a sham election, Donald Trump called to congratulate him, even after his staffers told him and left notes “not to congratulate.” During his press conference in Helsinki with the Russian president, he took Putin’s side over American intelligence. He has mimicked Putin’s lies about the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan and Ukraine meddling in the 2016 election. Trump wants to reward Putin by placing Russia back into the G7, which they were removed from with President Obama’s insistence after their annexation of Crimea.
Donald Trump praised Putin while criticizing President Obama. Donald Trump has refused to ever criticize or say one thing negative about Vladimir Putin. Not even his height and he’s shorter than Michael Bloomberg. And throughout his praise of Putin, Trump has been feuding with our Democratic allies. It’s OK for Putin to poison people on foreign soil and to attack our elections, but our national security is being threatened by Canadian cheese.
No, I’m not super happy and giddy about Bernie Sanders praising Fidel Castro. But given the choice between the man who admires the education and healthcare of Cuba vs. the man who admires the murderous, and oppressive tactics of dictators and strongmen like Kim Jong Un, Rodrigo Duterte, Recep Erdogan, Xi Jinping, and Vladimir Putin, I’ll go with Bernie. And if nothing else, at least Bernie hasn’t described people marching with Nazis as “very fine people.”
I’d rather feel the Bern than feel the hate.
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