November 29, 2016

My city's mayor, Paul Soglin, has a blog post titled "Ted Cruz, Cuba, Castro and the Giant, Enormous, Humongous Lie."

I keep trying to read this thing. I'm just trying to understand what is "the Giant, Enormous, Humongous Lie." If something is so big it takes 3 synonyms for big to express its bigness, shouldn't it be visible when I skim this short blog post? I would move on, but the man is mayor of my city. Can somebody help me out and read this for me? I read stuff for you all the time. Return the favor?

108 comments:

LarsPorsena said...

Access to the article seems to have been severed.

traditionalguy said...

It is too big to fit on the internet.

mezzrow said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GY6uJlI-t14

Rob C said...

Bad link. Hard to read if it goes nowhere.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Well, it stands to reason that any lie so big must be true.

Jim Beesley said...

Try http://www.waxingamerica.com/2016/11/ted-cruz-cuba-castro-and-the-giant-enormous-humungous-lie.html

sane_voter said...

Here is the article

the giant-enormous-humungous lie is that Cuba being a Communist dictatorship should not have been a reason not to have diplomatic relationships with them, since we have relations with other horrible nations and leaders.

chickelit said...

I can't open the doc. I am old enough to recall a first-term Mayor Soglin waxing favorably about Mr. Castro, so I pre-suppose that the article will cast Castro in a favorable light.

Bob Boyd said...

He lets us know in the title that he will reduce the discussion of the issue to the level of a children's book and then does so.

MikeR said...

http://www.waxingamerica.com/2016/11/ted-cruz-cuba-castro-and-the-giant-enormous-humungous-lie.html
Correct link.
Can't tell what the lie is, nor why it's so enormous.

Ann Althouse said...

Sorry. Link fixed.

That was so wrong of me. Putting out a special plea for help and then not getting you there...

Unknown said...

sane_voter is correct. The article is poorly written and seems to just stop in the middle. I can understand why Ann was puzzled and had a hard time reading it.

chickelit said...

Jim Rowen was the real admirer, IIRC.

TheThinMan said...

Your link doesn't work but from the title I can guess the half-baked sentiments that lie therein: "I hate Cruz because conservative. I thought Castro was cool because revolution, man. Cruz says Castro was bad guy. Ergo, Cruz lies."

mezzrow said...

Wax on, wax off...

He's a leftist hack here (I know nothing about him, actually), and it's a hack piece.

short version?

"compared to [horrible person we do business with], he doesn't look so bad"

"Education and health care. Did I mention education and health care?"

traditionalguy said...

Soglin is such a good Communist that he should be mayor forever and turn the job over to his brother when he dies.

Matthew Sablan said...

... That's so poorly written. I think he's saying, basically, other dictatorships are worse than Cuba. So, let's just forget all the butchering. It's a very realpolitick approach to dealing with dictators, and one that more isolationists on the right might even agree with. Who cares if Cuba has a free press and shoots dissidents if the money's right?

Widmerpool said...

OK Ann, I'll give it a shot. I think he is saying that it is a lie to say that we don't have a relationship with Cuba because it is Communist, it is not democratic, it has political prisoners, or that it has no free press. Rather, we have no relationship simply because greedy US businesses are demanding extortionate amounts of cash from the saintly Cubans. Christ, this guy is your mayor?

rehajm said...

He's using the word lie to describe hypocrisy. The US maintains relations with nations who engage in behavior the US uses to disqualify Cuba.

JAORE said...

Yeah, I found this enormous lie right away...
Castro was "...among the best in terms of elevating the levels of ... health care...".

Ah yes, the old universal health care dream. Where (surprise!) there is universal access to horrifically BAD health care.

Unless you are well connected, in which case it is reasonably good health care. But, please note, when Castro became seriously ill a few years ago, he brought in doctors from Spain.

But it's free, free, free!

Curious George said...

It probably was the weed talking.

Matthew Sablan said...

Like, take this sentence: "By time Batista took control most land in Cuba was owned by U.S. companies."

There's no citation. We're just supposed to accept this as true. Also, I think distilling the Cuban revolution to "sent [Batista] packing" tells you a lot about the facts Soglin WANTS to look at, and those he'd rather avoid.

tcrosse said...

I left Madison in the mid seventies, so I am astounded that Soglin is still mayor. Wikipedia tells me there were some gaps in his tenure, but there he still is, Mayor for Life.

TheThinMan said...

"the Giant, Enormous, Humongous Lie." Another thing I can tell you from the title is that your mayor is a nine year old girl.

Bob Ellison said...

Soglin for Secretary of State!

Fernandinande said...

"If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to go to Cuba and catch a weird disease."

Bob Boyd said...

The "lie" in Soglin's view is the claim by the US that the embargo of Cuba was about liberty and human rights. He claims it was actually about money lost by powerful, influential people and corporations.

Matthew Sablan said...

"After Spain was driven from Cuba in 1898, the U.S. took control of the island for intermittent intervals through the 1920's."

-- Cuba was formally independent as of 1902; then again in about 1908. He kind of skipped over that whole time period of America protecting its interests and Cuban people to jump to 1920. I think he meant through 1900-1910, not the 1920s, but is just a sloppy writer and so got it wrong.

In fact, in 1925, according to Wiki, a Cuban president held on to power despite being barred. And the U.S. -did not- intervene.

If he got his basic chronology wrong, what else did he have wrong?

Matthew Sablan said...

[To be more clear. The U.S. direct intervention was primarily in 1900-1910, NOT the 1920s.]

DanTheMan said...

“Wherever there is a jackboot stomping on a human face there will be a well-heeled Western liberal to explain that the face does, after all, enjoy free health care and 100 percent literacy.”
― John Derbyshire

PB said...

Leftists love Fidel. All the claims of good education and healthcare are rubbish and have been proven to be so except for those favored few.

This is the guy that stole property from people, not just mobsters and corrupt government officials. This is the guy that asked for and got nuclear missiles to park 90 miles off the US shore. This is the guy that advocated for a first strike, nuclear attack against the US.

This is a country that could trade with any country on the planet except the US but was unable to establish stop the spiral of poverty, misery and death endemic to socialist states.

That Obama re-established diplomatic relations before Fidel went to Hell should have been an impeachable offense. Among many.

MadisonMan said...

Soglin is still Mayor because he has no other skills, and Madison citizens recognize this. It's better than throwing him on the Dole, right?

Quaestor said...

I think your mayor should give up that America waxing thing, and take up Brazilian waxing. The skill-set is more suited to his brain, and the money's better.

Hari said...

He's saying Donald Trump is right: We should stop trading with China.

DKWalser said...

Althouse -- I read it and others have already correctly identified what Soglin claims is the big, super-duper, really large, lie. I'm commenting to thank you for all the times you've read something so I didn't have to. You've saved my brain from a lot of pain over the years. Thanks!

Matthew Sablan said...

"other industries were controlled either by the United States or Cubans who assisted in the expropriation of Cuban land."

-- So, basically, you weren't a "real" Cuban if you were not a poor peasant or revolutionary according to Soglin. That's great. Real great.

Quaestor said...

Soglin's masthead: A candid examination of right-wing policies and the Democrats who play along and the horrid liberal policies designed to assuage the moderates but end up irritating everyone. And other stuff. And now, Authorized and paid for, Soglin for Mayor, Scott Herrick Treasurer. Yeah.

You 'n Meade are in some deep civic doodoo, methinks.

wildswan said...

This is no shorter than the article but anyway:

Why doesn't the US recognize Cuba?
Ted Cruz says Cuba is a dictatorship, that is why we don't recognize it.

Short Soglinsays
That is a "Giant, Enormous, Humongous Lie". We don't recognize Cuba because we stole its economy, they took the economy back, we are demanding restitution for the nationalization and, meanwhile, they are demanding reparation for the embargo we slapped on them following the nationalization. This is all now the subject of treaty negotiations. Cruz has skin in this game because his family has claims against the Cuban regime

Long Soglinsays
Cuba is a dictatorship with "No democratic free and open elections", with "political prisoners", with "no free press." But there are no nations with these same characteristics which we recognize. China, Russia, Saudi Arabia. So why do we refuse to rcognize Cuba? We don't recognize Cuba because Castro expropriated all Cuban property and the expropriated are seeking restitution. The expropriated comprise: 1. the dictator "Batista and his Cuban thugs 2. American corporations "who established a foothold through bribery and theft" 3. "an assorted collections [sic] of mobsters" represented by their children and 4. "legitimate Cuban families that came about their wealth honestly" such as the Cruz family. A treaty with Cuba must settle all their claims. Counterbalancing these claims are the claims of Cuba for damages for the Bay of Pigs invasion and for the 50 year embargo.

The issue is money, not opposition to a dictatorship. Back at ya, Ted

dbp said...


"The lie is that the barrier to relations between the United States and Cuba is the Cuban Communist dictatorship that ruled the island nation since Fidel Castro took power in 1959."

He opines that this must be a lie since we have had relations with similarly oppressive countries. But he is incorrect. We have relations with benighted countries which are also strategic to us. Cuba is inconsequential and so we can stand on principle with them. I would think this would be an easy concept for a career politician, but maybe Soglin is a moron or himself a Giant, Enormous, Humongous liar.

mikee said...

Well, I understand from reading the article that US nationals and US corporations apparently used ONLY criminal expropriation to obtain title to Cuban property and land.

Good to know how to do work in a 3rd world nation, per Mayor Soglin's history lesson. I'd suggest not letting him near any real-world businesses, as he might go all criminal expropriation on them.

mockturtle said...

I read stuff for you all the time.

True, but it's usually from the New York Times. :-\

Bill Peschel said...

I wanted to help, Ann, but your other commenters got there first so I won't repeat what they said.

But FFS, can't this guy get someone to correct the grammar on his website? The last line in the header reads:

"And now, Authorized and paid for, Soglin for Mayor,Scott Herrick Treasurer. Yeah."

Or at least take his weed away?

(I also see he has no comments. I'd page back to see if he ever admits any that are critical of him, but right now I can't be arsed.)

Clark said...

My God, this man is your mayor? I hope few of his duties require writing. He is terrible at it. I suppose he is saying that it is a lie to suggest we do not have trade relations with Cuba because of their totalitarian practices but rather because US companies were nationalized by the Castro regime in the wake of the revolution. I don't necessarily think he's wrong to suggest the seizure of US assets was a contributing factor to the embargo. I just do not understand why he thinks that particular reason for the embargo precludes the availability of domestic oppression as a separate reason. Can't they both be reasons? And can't Ted Cruz think one reason is more important than another (just as Mr. Soglin clearly does, albeit in opposition)?

wildswan said...

Oops
Should be:
"But there are nations with these same characteristics which we recognize. China, Russia, Saudi Arabia"

Quaestor said...

"[O]ther industries were controlled either by the United States or Cubans who assisted in the expropriation of Cuban land."

Assuming that is true, which it isn't, then in good conscience one must also say that by Castro's seizure of power the peasants went from owning some of the land to owning none of it.

cubanbob said...

Funny that Soglin and the usual leftist Castro apologist never note that Batista was as black as Obama.

Rusty said...

Well, Ann. I read it. Mr. Soglin is kinda a douchebag. He pretty much echos the commie party line that Castro did a fine job. My wifes ex mother in law left Cuba when she was a teenager. The family farm had been collectivized she was no longer needed as labor. Putting a lie to one of Mr. Soglins assertions.
If things were so bad how could the ladies that rolled the cigars afford to buy the latest best sellers and pay someone to read them aloud to the cigar factory workers?
I always thought that was an interesting piece of history.

Rick said...

I don't know what he thinks it is, but in fact it is this:

[Cuba] is among the best in terms of elevating the levels of education and health care.

Greg said...

Someone already talked about the universal healthcare which probably sucks even more than Canada. As for literacy, how many books are even allowed in a Cuban library, bookstore or school (not counting biographies of Castro, and histories of the revolution)

CJinPA said...


Michael Totten, City Journal, 2014:

As for the free health care, patients have to bring their own medicine, their own bedsheets, and even their own iodine to the hospital. Most of these items are available only on the illegal black market, moreover, and must be paid for in hard currency—and sometimes they’re not available at all. Cuba has sent so many doctors abroad—especially to Venezuela, in exchange for oil—that the island is now facing a personnel shortage. “I don’t want to say there are no doctors left,” says an American man who married a Cuban woman and has been back dozens of times, “but the island is now almost empty. I saw a banner once, hanging from somebody’s balcony, that said, DO I NEED TO GO TO VENEZUELA FOR MY HEADACHE?”

AprilApple said...

Batista was like a crime family boss. Corrupt - sure, but at least Cubans had a relatively high standard of living.

Castro replaced that with leftwing dictatorship and communism. American leftists love that idea! Castro killed, jailed and stole property from Cubans. Wee! Leftists love it!

Castro has a billion dollars in the bank. Leftists love that too! Awesome!

Leftists buy into the fraud that Castro build an amazing health care system for his people. Leftists actually believe the garbage Michael Moore feeds them.

Original Mike said...

I'm thinking this defines the lie:

"The fight is over the compensation for the seized assets that belonged to American citizens; the fight is not about the seized assets of former (like Ted Cruz's parents) or current Cuban nationals or democracy in Cuba."

chickelit said...

I seem to recall Soglin making local headlines in the mid-to late '70's by actually going to Cuba as part of a select delegation. Old Madison hands can corroborate.

JayG said...

I think Bob Boyd above said it best: The U.S. embargo of Cuba is not nobly based on human rights; that's the big lie. It's really based on U.S. financial interests trying to snatch back the assets they originally snatched during the Batista era.

I also think that's what Soglin means, but he explains it really badly. Soglin's point (I think) is that ordinary Cubans, "the people," continue to be left out of the equation, and will continue to be victims under any new agreement. Bad writing.

Rick said...

He thinks the lie is the justifications for the embargo which he limits to Cuba having:

1. No democratic free and open elections,
2. Political prisoners,
3. No free press.

Brando said...

Had Castro failed, there's good reason to believe that Cuba would have eventually embraced democracy and its economy may have prospered--certainly more so than it did for the past 57 years. More Cubans would have been better off and a lot of tyranny would have been avoided.

Original Mike said...

Although in rereading it, doesn't he state the lie explicitly?

"The lie is that the barrier to relations between the United States and Cuba is the Cuban Communist dictatorship that ruled the island nation since Fidel Castro took power in 1959."

So he's saying that there are reasons other than the fact that the Cuban government is a dictatorship that motivates US behavior. Specifically,

"The fight is over the compensation for the seized assets that belonged to American citizens;"

SukieTawdry said...

The giant, enormous, humongous lie appears to be that the barrier to relations between the United States and Cuba is the Cuban Communist dictatorship that ruled the island nation since Fidel Castro took power in 1959. I gather we were the barrier. And also that Castro rescued the peasants from the evil Bautista, corporate America and the mob. Nice mayor you've got there.

mockturtle said...

While his 'big lie' is in error, there is some truth in what he says: We supported Batista largely because he kept our interests safe [for a price, of course]. When Castro took over, we could have done the smarter thing by negotiating with Castro and prevented the Soviets from moving in. But this was the 1950's, when Communism was not to be tolerated anywhere, much less in our hemisphere. We did NOT have diplomatic or trade agreements with 'Red China', either, then.

Yes, there has always been a lot of pressure from the Cuban-Americans to block any effort toward relations with Cuba.

After the revolution, the peasants still cut sugar cane. But it was for the state instead of for US companies, not for their 'own land'.

Original Mike said...

I am disappointed in our mayor for perpetuating the lie of the high quality of Cuban health care.

Quaestor said...

I hope few of his duties require writing. He is terrible at it.

I took a fleeting glance at Soglin's bio. He's a JD fer christ sake. That blog post reads like a term paper written for an African Studies course at UNC. Want I want to know is who did Soglin blow to get a doctorate, and did he swallow?

All vulgarity aside Soglin's writing and argument are sophomoric at best; I mean the man's probably not that stupid. Perhaps he's been on a white-knuckled bender since he learned of Castro's one-way boat ride to Dis.

Darcy said...

You know what I love? The argument that Cuba provided "free" health care and education. Free. Freeeeeeee! (Sorry, reading a lot of Chip Ahoy lately) That's why so many Castro-loving Americans sent their children there to frolic in the "freedom" of health care and education.

Sebastian said...

It takes a special kind of shortsightedness for leftists to defend Castro by accusing his opponents of using lies.

wildswan said...

Formerly, American diplomacy was conducted under Kennan's principle of containment formulated to meet the Russian / Chinese threat whereby you try to contain the evil rather than wage an atomic war. There were treaties with dictators which were carefully crafted to preserve the peace while preserving American interests Under Obama, Amerikkka is the evil and other countries should be given our wealth and jobs along with an apology. Under him I feel sure that the only issue is how much to give Cuba.

Madison mayor Soglin says that in Cuba you get a great education and great health care which is not true of the People's Republic of Madison. But nevertheless Soglin supports the Obama doctrine that without further discussion we should send Cuba a lot of money taken from the people of Madison because AMERIKKKA.

jaydub said...

Soglin: "It is clear that the U.S. has trade and diplomatic relations with a myriad of dictatorships around the world. Curiously the one that is among the best in terms of elevating the levels of education and health care is the one we choose to embargo."

In 2013 a documentary titled "Cuba without Fidel"(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoAUBSgmDLY&t=1923s) was produced for the series "I Love Democracy."
Among other things, the documentary maker details his personal experience with the Cuban health system in a town outside Havana, which can be found from 28:00 to 30:00, and inside Havana from 40:00 to 44:00 on the YouTube video. The whole thing is worth watching, but the listed segments would be particularly instructive for Mr Soglin.

mccullough said...

It's tough to discern. Since he's talking about Cruz it seems like the lie is that those with property who fled Cuba are entitled to compensation. The mayor seems to say that only corporations owned property in Batista Cuba, which is not true. Individuals owned homes and had personal property, including money in bank accounts. Of course, companies also owned property as well. Maybe he is saying that all the property, both individually owned and corporately owned was ill gotten somehow so it was okay for Castro to take it.

His post is really just a rant.

Quaestor said...

When Castro took over, we could have done the smarter thing by negotiating with Castro and prevented the Soviets from moving in.

The United States banned arms shipments to Cuba while Batista was still in power. Castro was a communist revolutionary and a wholly own asset of Moscow long before he started forming his guerrilla band up in the Sierra Maestra hills. I dout there could have been anything negotiated with Castro.

Rick said...

The lie is that the barrier to relations between the United States and Cuba is the Cuban Communist dictatorship that ruled the island nation since Fidel Castro took power in 1959. There are three elements to a dictatorship that are often cited as the reason for our embargo of Cuba.

Listed below, they are followed by examples of nations the U.S. recognizes:

No democratic free and open elections: China, Ethiopia, and Azerbaijan

Political prisoners: Central African Republic, Russia, Qatar

No free press: Saudi Arabia, Cameroon, Myanmar

mccullough said...

Once JFK was killed, the US was never going to deal with Castro.

Rusty said...

Cuba is a shithole if you live there. Nice beaches if you don't. And, so I'm told, you can rent highly educated companionship for your stay.
95% of every dollar you spend winds up in the Castro family accounts.

Quaestor said...

Stephan Molyneux has an excellent summation of Castro and his career here that is well worth the time investment.

Steve M. Galbraith said...

Most of the major elements of the embargo - it consisted of legislation over a number of years - occurred well after the expropriation of American owned property and only after Castro invited the Soviets in.

Once Castro hijacked the revolution, revealed himself to be a Marxist, and, most important, aligned himself with Moscow there was simply no way the US could have normal relations with him. Certainly not during that Cold War period.

It's one thing to oppress your people. Realpolitik sometimes requires the US to deal with such regimes (Stalin anyone?). It's another to declare yourself a mortal enemy of the US and try to undermine US interests and security by aligning yourself with its main enemy. That's what Castro did.

We can debate whether US actions drove him into the arms of the USSR or not. I think not. Castro drove himself. Willingly.

damikesc said...

That's so poorly written. I think he's saying, basically, other dictatorships are worse than Cuba. So, let's just forget all the butchering. It's a very realpolitick approach to dealing with dictators, and one that more isolationists on the right might even agree with. Who cares if Cuba has a free press and shoots dissidents if the money's right?

Yet they'll condemn us if we supported Batista. What, precisely, was the difference between Batista and Castro, except the people weren't as amazingly poorly under Batista? They were both brutal dictators. If it is OK to support dictatorships, then stop bitching about Pinochet.

-- So, basically, you weren't a "real" Cuban if you were not a poor peasant or revolutionary according to Soglin. That's great. Real great.

That, ironically, makes Castro the fakest Cuban in existence. But he would never say that.

Quaestor said...

Rick, you've lifted from what we all have just read without attribution of your own commentary. What's your point?

Steve M. Galbraith said...

Castro was a communist revolutionary and a wholly own asset of Moscow long before he started forming his guerrilla band up in the Sierra Maestra hills.

Yes and no. He admitted that he was always a communist and that he was pretending to be a democrat when he was fighting Batista. But he was never working with Moscow before taking over power. When he was in the mountains trying to assemble an army he had no support from anyone. He had a ragtag army of a few dozen soldiers at first.

Once he hijacked the revolution and started shooting and imprisoning anyone opposed to him he then turned to Moscow.

Steve M. Galbraith said...

Soglin - and the other Castro apologists - are using the "whatabout" defense of Castro.

"Whatabout" the US supporting "X" or "Y" and they have no free press, they have human rights abuses? Besides "whatabout" Cuban healthcare and education? "Whatabout" the abuses under Batista and the wealthy businesses in the US who exploited the people."

"Whatabout, whatabout, whatabout...." - the idea is to talk about anything BUT Castro's horrific abuses of the Cuban people.

Darcy said...

Great comments, Steve Galbraith!

Seeing Red said...

Is it really true Castro gave Allende a gold rifle?


What Soglin needs is some Cuban diversity at his meetings.

Original Mike said...

Surely Mayor Soglin is an Althouse reader. He could answer you directly if he chose.

Quayle said...

I'll give it an Althousean try, in my usually mistyped and block-like (or block-head-like) style:

1. Your mayor asserts that the biggest lie of the 20th century was, in substance, an assertion that Cuba's dictatorship was the impediment to normal US Cuba relations.

According to your mayor, this lie, ostensibly repeated by Ted Cruz on TV last Sunday, tops all other lies told or spread by anyone in the entire world during the full century from 1900 to 1999. We note that his claim would include and subordinate anything said, taught, or propagated by the Nazis, Stalin, the USSR's state press, the east German Stasi, Mao, Pol Pot, Che, or even Castro himself.

2. We are treated to a hybrid of a tu quoque logical fallacy and a single factor onlyanalysis error in the form of an assertion that Cuba's dictatorship can't possibly be the reason the US has withheld relations with Cuba because we deal with all sorts of other dictators around the world.

AN astute reader will note that the "dealing with dictators" argument is often used by the American left as a criticism of capitalists, who would "deal with any dictator" if a buck could be made. Here your mayor is turning the mattress over to get more use, by asserting that capitalists "won't deal with dictators" because of a buck once lost – apparently, in this case, a buck lost as far back in the 1960s.

(Of course, capitalists are useful props in arguments by the American left because capitalists are so compliantly malleable. For example, capitalists are well known to be solely and wholly focused on the next dollar, which leads them to "do things" or “not do things", the unfortunate consequences of which are all too obvious to a moral, compassionate political party. But at the exact same time, capitalists are also well known to be solely and wholly focused on a past dollar lost which leads them to “not do things” or "do things", the unfortunate consequences of which are also all too obvious to a moral, compassionate political party.

3. There is a semblance of some chain of title-like argument that some land was owned by some guy of folks, and then some other guys or people, and then some big US or Cuban corporations, when all along the land was supposed to be owned by some other folks or people. He doesn't really make his case here because he skips over the rigor of actual facts, which leaves his assertion insufficiently grounded and stitched together.

[cont'd]

Quayle said...

4. The writer is concerned with some peasants who he claims were the original rightful owners on some land (again this is unclear because his chain of title section is so weak) – but one is led to infer that these peasants worked the land as was their right. We don’t know to what degree this work lead to financial success for themselves - perhaps it was arduous and difficult to convert the land and their labor to ready cash> But then apparently (the inference is) the land was taken (or purchased? We aren’t told) and these same former workers were (we are led to infer) conscripted or put in bondage to some big US corporations to work that same land. It is probably safe for us to assume that these workers were paid ready cash for their work. Again the facts are sparse. So, in the end, we don't know whether there are any damages to the worker - whether the ready cash the worker would have extracted from the land themselves was more or less than the ready cash the big evil US corporations paid.

5. There are some loose end inferences of wrongdoing, such as that a US or Cuban owned telephone company was expropriating Cuban land in some fashion. Apparently easements are an evil. But the suggestion is that these US or Cuban owned telephone companies just wanted to take land and put in telephone lines so they could call into expropriated lands any time they damn well pleased, regardless of the sentiments of the locals who may be annoyed or have their dinner interrupted by the call. Also use of land to grow sugar is portrayed as bad.

6. We are led to believe that seeking reparations for past bad-acts by a government is wrong in this case, where descendants of former Cuban property owners assert such claims. One is left to wonder (for about 3 second) whether the writer believes claims of reparations by decedents of wronged ancestors are universally illegitimate.

7. As an afterthought, a reader cannot help but wonder why your mayor doesn't immediately go to the clerk's office and destroy all land title files and set free the property in Madison for the benefit of the original, and more rightful owners. After all, expropriation always starts at home.

PackerBronco said...

Soglin: Control by private companies. Bad Bad BAD!
Control by the government: Good Good GOOD!

Seeing Red said...

I seem to recall a few years ago Castro jailed a librarian or few and the US Assoc. Of Librarians or whatever their club is called didn't say a peep!

But ask them about interesting reading material for children and it's porn all around!

F said...

Your mayor is probably a better mayor than writer. I didn't read all the comments, but I have an observation:

Two of the counties he points to as examples of US mixed messages -- Cameroun for not having a free press and Central African Republic for holding political prisoners -- are countries I know fairly well. Not recently, mind you, but I doubt they have changed a great deal in the quarter century since I lived in those countries, and they are both very poor examples for him to select to prove his point.

Yes, it is possible CAR has political prisoners, but I still follow developments there, and even the most active opposition does not make an issue of political prisoners, something you would certainly expect if it were an important issue. I call bogus on this.

Similarly, Cameroun might not have a strong opposition press, but when I lived there it certainly had an independent press. Certainly more so than other African countries I worked in. I call bogus on this too.

Bottom line: I think your mayor looked for little-known countries to use for examples, without really knowing if they exemplified his point or not. I mean really, in addition to the two countries I am very familiar with, he also includes Myanmar, Qatar, Azerbaijan and Ethiopia. That's a grab bag of little known countries, where he could make his claims with little fear of gainsaying.

Aside from that, your mayor would be well advised not to give up his day job.

PackerBronco said...


Once [Castro] ... started shooting and imprisoning anyone opposed to him he then turned to Moscow.

11/29/16, 9:55 AM


Of course. He needed expert advice.

Seeing Red said...

I will never understand --or I was too cynical or living in the real world too young-- why those who espouse this murderous ideology never left US to live in their workers' paradise.

This is what the young'uns here should do when confronted with a hippy, hippy, dippy poseur/useful idiot.

Ask them when they're moving. How exciting for them, this adventure. Are you giving up your U S citizenship?

Seeing Red said...

Ahhh, Ethiopia, where young, naive mostly whie rock stars learned about "pay to play."

Original Mike said...

I believe Soglin has been to Cuba. Madison has a Sister City in Cuba: Camaguey.

Todd said...

I keep hearing that "lie" that all of Cuba's problems are because of the US embargo. Cuba is open to the entire rest of the world. They can import stuff from the entire rest of the world. What the heck is made in America anymore that Cuba could possibly want? Besides U.S. dollars that is. Oh right. Cuba is basically bankrupt and has no money of their own so even if US/Cuba relations were normalized, Cuba can't afford anything but tourists (which can already go there from any other country in the world).

Also, according to your Major, NO external businesses went to Cuba to do anything, on the up-and-up. It was all bribery and theft. The locals were kicked off their land by AT&T and then turned into indentured servants.

Then the great and mighty Castro came along to free them. Well at lest the ones he didn't kill or imprison that is. Those lucky folks (not dead or in prison) got the last of their land and property "nationalized" for the children and went from being indentured servants to being slaves.

Yep, much better. Lord your Mayor is a moron.

Steve Uhr said...

Maybe the fact that Castro urged the USSR to nuke us differentiates his totalitarian regime from others. And of course that he stole the property of US citizens and corporations may have something to do with it. And the proximity. And the fact that many immigrants from Cuba remind us of his bad acts. ... Lot of differences. Our policy is designed to promote human rights in Cuba contrary to the financial interests of many businesses who would benefit from lifting the embargo.

The real question is why Madison leaders have a love affair with Cuba but not with North Korea and other dictatorships. One of their seven "sister cities" is Camaguey, Cuba. Seems inconsistent.

As for education, the vast majority of Cubans have no access to the most important education tool -- the internet. They are literate -- but what are they permitted to read?

I note that Bro has banned the sale of alcohol for the nine-day mourning period. Reducing inhibitions could lead Cubans to celebrate the death of el presidente. Can't have that.

mikee said...

About 30 years ago I read an article in a fishing magazine about the largemouth bass in Cuba's mountain lakes. Somehow the author had managed to go fishing there and caught several bass of nearly world record size. The author predicted then, and it can only be more true now, that when the country was opened to tourism the world record for largemouth bass would move to Cuba. Which is interesting and trivial.

That Castro is still dead and will be forever, along with his brother not too long from now, is wonderful and nontrivial.

Tari said...

From the title it sounds like he had "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" on the brain. I couldn't bring myself to read the article, though, to see if it resembled the book. Someone tell me: were there any phone calls to Australia in there?

Seeing Red said...

Todd is correct. As the current premier of Canada said they always had ties with Cuba.

People didn't realize, they could trade with a lot of countries.

Seeing Red said...

1980 Mariel boat lift. For the young'uns.

damikesc said...

I keep hearing that "lie" that all of Cuba's problems are because of the US embargo. Cuba is open to the entire rest of the world.

I've said that for years. We were the only real ones boycotting. While I know we're a big market, if we ALONE can drive a country into outright poverty --- we should use that power more.

Peter said...

Soglin's "big lie" is that Cuba does, or should, owe anyone (at any time, for any reason) for property the government stole (umm, OK, "appropriated" sans compensation) during and after The Revolution?

He gets there after meandering about how, really, Cuba's government is not so bad anyway, especially when compared with all the unsavory regimes the USA has supported (or at least allied itself with) over the years. But I think this meander is a sideshow, and what really offends him is the possibility that the price of normalization might include at least some reparations.

My opinion would be that reparations are themselves a sideshow, as Castro's primary victims were the Cuban people themselves, who were robbed not only of their property and the possibility of a modicum of prosperity but of their basic freedoms (and, for more than a few, of their very lives).

BUT that's me, not Soglin. Soglin wants you to know he's down with expropriation, at least when those whose property is expropriated don't (in his opinion) deserve to own all that stuff anyway. And here he's thinking of potential expropriations in places other than Cuba. Such as, perhaps, here.

walter said...

Unknown said...
sane_voter is correct. The article is poorly written and seems to just stop in the middle.
--
Very much so...
This article really didn't carry the weight of its title. It's a bit concerning that he would pen this and hit send.
He cites/links to a 50 page PDF Brookings Institute article and excerpts none of it...just says it's good. Thanks Paul.

He says "The Cubans are prepared to pay. The question is 'how much?'
Oh really? Any figures handy, Paul?
He doesn't mention the geopolitical significance of a Soviet/Russia entwined island a short distance from the mainland nor the numbers of Cuban refugees exerting political influence here.
Maybe as he was typing this he saw all those folks in Florida on TV celebrating Castro's death.

Todd said...

Peter said...
Soglin's "big lie" is that Cuba does, or should, owe anyone (at any time, for any reason) for property the government stole (umm, OK, "appropriated" sans compensation) during and after The Revolution?

He gets there after meandering about how, really, Cuba's government is not so bad anyway, especially when compared with all the unsavory regimes the USA has supported (or at least allied itself with) over the years. But I think this meander is a sideshow, and what really offends him is the possibility that the price of normalization might include at least some reparations.

My opinion would be that reparations are themselves a sideshow, as Castro's primary victims were the Cuban people themselves, who were robbed not only of their property and the possibility of a modicum of prosperity but of their basic freedoms (and, for more than a few, of their very lives).

BUT that's me, not Soglin. Soglin wants you to know he's down with expropriation, at least when those whose property is expropriated don't (in his opinion) deserve to own all that stuff anyway. And here he's thinking of potential expropriations in places other than Cuba. Such as, perhaps, here.

11/29/16, 11:49 AM


As others have said [more eloquently than I] is that the nut of the issue is Mr. Soglin just "knows" he is so much smarter than all those other folks that earn more and have more than he does. Hell he is Mayor and yet some guy that wrote software has so much more. No one appreciates all that he has done. In a just world, he would be super duper wealthy. Not just well off but really, really wealthy and have lots and lots of power. More in line with his [perceived] "value" to the world. If the world is too stupid to realize just how worthy he is, well isn't that what Government is for? To right such wrongs? So what if that means taking stuff from other people so that it can be given to him. Those other people "didn't build that" anyway.

These types are always on board for a bit more of a Dictatorship government cause they think they will be the ones in charge.

TWW said...

The "Lie", even if you agree with the Lord Mayor, begs the question, a more interesting question: What is the "Truth"? The Mayor, after defining the "Lie", abruptly shifts gear beatifying Castro and castigating Batista and U.S. Multinationals. But, he never tells us what the "Truth" is; why the U.S. really boycotted Cuba for sixty years and treated Castro's Cuba differently, legally and diplomatically, than other countries with similar egregious records.

One answer seems obvious; ninety miles, but the Mayor never graces us with his answer.

Static Ping said...

It says something that your mayor gets so worked up about what is a relatively trivial distinction. The impression is he is a communist in general and a Castro fanboy in particular. And, yes, it is terribly written.

Steve M. Galbraith said...

"Maybe the fact that Castro urged the USSR to nuke us differentiates his totalitarian regime from others. And of course that he stole the property of US citizens and corporations may have something to do with it. And the proximity. And the fact that many immigrants from Cuba remind us of his bad acts. ... Lot of differences. Our policy is designed to promote human rights in Cuba contrary to the financial interests of many businesses who would benefit from lifting the embargo. "

Excellent. Why do we treat Cuban differently than, say, Saudi Arabia?

If one can't see the difference between the two - the two histories, the two cultures, the two locations - then it's a hopeless exercise.

I'm sure a lot of businesses in the US would love to have access to Cuba. If our policies towards Havana were driven by economics then we'd normalize with them.

This is all hand waving by apologists for Castro. "Look over there and there and over here." Let's not talk about Castro and his behavior. Let's talk about anything else.

Sammy Finkelman said...

"The lie is that the barrier to relations between the United States and Cuba is the Cuban Communist dictatorship that ruled the island nation since Fidel Castro took power in 1959."

befinne said...

Soglin used three adjectives, including "humongous," because, as his politics demonstrates, his thinking is juvenile.

mockturtle said...

There must not have been much competition for the job.

mikesixes said...

I'm pretty sure that Paul Soglin was mayor of Madison when I moved away from there in 1973. Can't they find anybody else for that job?

Johnny Sokko said...

What a fucking clown.

richardsson said...

Soglin is just virtue signalling. It's just another variation on the old R & B song "The In Crowd:" I'm in with the in crowd. I go where the in crowd goes. I know what the in crowd knows..." and so on.... He's what John Steinbeck (when he really was a Communist) called a cocktail lounge Communist. Soglin knows a few random facts about Cuba and inflates that to a level of expertise where he can look down on others. He talks big about things like "cracking a few eggs," but if someone bigger than him even threatened to take a poke at him, he would run for his life. I'm not surprised that he's mayor of a college town. Been there. Done that.

Rusty said...

Blogger TWW said...
The "Lie", even if you agree with the Lord Mayor, begs the question, a more interesting question: What is the "Truth"? The Mayor, after defining the "Lie", abruptly shifts gear beatifying Castro and castigating Batista and U.S. Multinationals. But, he never tells us what the "Truth" is; why the U.S. really boycotted Cuba for sixty years and treated Castro's Cuba differently, legally and diplomatically, than other countries with similar egregious records.

One answer seems obvious; ninety miles, but the Mayor never graces us with his answer.

And that whole nuclear missile thing with Soviet Russia. Not a very trustworthy neighbor.