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Posted by on Jun 16, 2017 in Blog, Essays, Politics, Rants and Raves, What's Left | 1 comment

The Cuba-Saudi Arabia Paradox

 

 

Today, President Trump rescinded the normalization of United States-Cuba relations.

In a rambling politically-charged speech delivered in Miami this morning, Trump said that he intends to return to a failed foreign policy which has harmed both nations, divided families, and was so grotesquely counterproductive that in fact, it created the longest-lasting political dynasty in the history of the Western Hemisphere.

Fidel Castro, who died last year, rule Cuba from 1959 until 2006 — a span of 47 years.  Despite numerous attempts to depose him from power, he outlasted nine American presidents.

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Here’s a short historical timeline:

(1)  Prior to Castro Regime coming to power, the United States fully supported a brutally corrupt military dictatorship (Battista) which murdered as many Cubans within a seven-year period than the Communist government over more than five decades.

(2) The US rejected Fidel Castro’s peaceful overtures during the first year of his rule. When Cuba nationalized US oil refineries in 1960, that ignited a secret and illegal war run by the CIA using Cuban exiles and the Mafia to overthrow the government.

(3) US-backed forces, which included those Cuban exiles, financed by the Mafia, INVADED a sovereign nation, without any provocation in 1961 — in the Bay of Pigs.  The invasion was a disaster.  Predictions were embarrassingly wrong that Cubans would rise up and join the revolt.

(4) The US attempted to assassinate a foreign leader numerous times. Some of these illegal methods tied were laughable — like sending Castro poison pens and exploding cigars.

(5) Cuba’s economy floundered, largely due to a US-imposed embargo which lasted for 50+ years. Nonetheless, this policy backfired badly. Castro’s rule in Cuba LASTED LONGER than ANY leader in the history of the Western Hemisphere. The embargo only hurt the Cuban people. That’s the very definition of a failed policy.

(6) Americans were denied traveling to Cuba for years, based on concerns about human rights in Cuba. Meanwhile Americans have been free to travel to numerous other regimes run by murderers and military juntas all over the world. Furthermore, the US opened up diplomatic relations and even encouraged investment on other far more dangerous Communist regimes, including the USSR and PRC.

(7) President Obama finally became the adult in the room and recognized the embargo as a complete failure. In 2015, he opened up travel and investment in Cuba and American businesses flooded into try to pluck the economy, hoping to make a buck. Deals were in the works for hotels, resorts, banking, etc. which would certainly benefit US interests and the Cubans themselves.

(8) There’s now overwhelming support for the US opening up diplomatic relations with Cuba, except within the rabid Cuban exile community, which is largely comprised of the old remnants of Battista’s henchmen who once terrorized the country.  Many of these opponents of normalizing relations are descendants of landowners who hope to gain financially if the current regime fails.  The last thing they want is a peaceful and prosperous Cuba.

(9) Trump nixed Obama’s US-Cuba deal, returning to an outdated and failed Cold War mentality where the island nation is forcibly isolated from travel and tourism and investment. Although other island nations remain economic basket cases (Dominican Republic, Jamaica, etc.) while Cuba maintains a strong sense of pride and national identity, Trump now throws us back to a counterproductive Reagan era policy that will only harm ordinary Cubans and keep families divided.

(10) Parroting “human rights violations,” Trump rails against Cuba in a speech today in Miami, just a few weeks after praising an 11th Century regime which CRUSHES all dissent, which imprisons all protesters, which cuts off heads and limbs, which supports global terrorism more than any nation in the world, and which makes women third-class citizens with the same rights as slaves. Oh, and Trump also signs a $150 billion arms deal with these Saudi fucks, while at the same time blasting the Cubans.

Absolutely disgusting.

 

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Posted by on Apr 10, 2017 in Blog, Essays, Rants and Raves | 14 comments

An Alternative Opinion of Doctor Drama Queen Forcibly Dragged Off United Airlines


 

We criticize airlines for overbooking practices.  We blast them when they occasionally run into problems, like when too many passengers show up.  Yet, most doctors do exactly the same thing.  However, no doctor has ever offered me a $400 voucher and a free lunch for making me wait too long.

 

By now, you’ve probably seen the shaky cell phone footage showing a screaming United Airlines passenger dragged down mid aisle and forcibly removed from a flight yesterday.

The passenger, claiming to be a doctor, was asked to give up his seat by the airline’s staff after it was discovered the short flight was overbooked.  There are some additional background details pertaining to this incident, but I won’t get into them here.  [OPTION:  READ MORE]

After watching the video, the popular reaction has been scathing criticism targeted at United Airlines for the way they handled this matter.  Sure, airlines are giant fuck buses with wings.  It’s easy to understand why so many people sympathize with a fellow passenger, versus the big bad airline doing mean stuff to a helpless man simply wanting to fly back home.  Indeed, air travel has become an agonizing experience.  Airline service sucks.  When we fly, we’re treated like helpless pawns being run though a cattle chute.

Nonetheless, let’s also agree that none of this would have happened if Doctor Drama Queen would simply have behaved like a grown up instead of throwing a temper tantrum like a 2-year-old child.

Hey, Doc — this isn’t a Vietnam War protest.  Your resistance isn’t an act of valor.  Being forcibly dragged away isn’t heroic civil disobedience.  It’s stupidity.  It’s selfishness.  It’s a petty display of entitlement and exaggerated self-importance made considerably worse by rampant conceit that doctors are somehow entitled to special privileges whereecer they go.  Well, I have news for you, Doc.

Who knows if Doctor Drama Queen really had patients waiting back in Louisville?  No one has confirmed yet if his claims about having medical patients are really true.  And even if they are true, most doctors sure as hell don’t care about our valuable time, not when patients are often crammed into waiting rooms and forced to stare at the walls for an hour or more after our scheduled appointment time.  Sure, doctors provide us while entertainment while we’re waiting.  Last time I had a medical check up, I read two entire years worth of Highlights for Children magazines.  Hey Doc, let’s learn a lesson together.  Gallant cooperates with airline security.  Gufus thinks he’s more important than everyone else and goes bat-shit crazy when he doesn’t get his way.

[Update:  “Dr. David Dao lied to the airline crew.  He’s a bold-faced liar.  “Dr. Dao” had no patients waiting for him the next morning back in Louisville, since his medical licence was suspended in January.  He’s currently under indictment for peddling opiods.  So — pending a conviction — he’s probably a dope peddler]

So, we criticize airlines for their overbooking practices and blast them when they occasionally run into problems when too many passengers show up.   Yet, most doctors do exactly the same thing.  However, no doctor has ever offered me a $400 voucher and a free lunch for making me wait too long.

Oh, and by the way — he must not be much of a doctor if he’s flying coach.   But I digress.

United Airlines might get sued over this and be tempted to settle.  Let’s hope not.  Instead, Doctor Drama Queen should be criminally prosecuted to the full extent of the law for interfering with the operation of an aircraft.  He not only caused a scene.  His actions also created a needless delay for everyone else on that flight.  How selfish of him.  He certainly wouldn’t have protested someone else getting plucked from the flight for many of the reasons people travel — including families reuniting, a prospective job interview, or a funeral.  No, this was all about him.

Admittedly, this is a case of very bad timing for United Airlines, particularly after the embarrassing (overtly sexist) dress code incident a few weeks ago.  However, one miscue doesn’t entail perpetual and comprehensive guilt across an entire industry when it comes to dealing with passengers.  Sometimes the airline is wrong.  Other times the passenger is wrong.  In this case, Doctor Drama Queen was wrong.

Lock him up.

 

NOTE:  FOLLOW THE DISCUSSION HERE ON FACEBOOK

 

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Posted by on Mar 17, 2017 in Blog, Essays, General Poker, Las Vegas, Rants and Raves | 5 comments

Video Poker Vasectomy

 

 

You can find video poker machines at some mighty strange places here in Las Vegas.

Video poker can be played at local bars and restaurants.  You can also try your luck at grocery stores and even gas stations.  Only in Las Vegas might a loaf of bread and gallon of milk end up costing $500.

Now, add hospitals to the list of predators.

Not content with bankrupting sick patients, overcharging insurance companies, and ripping off the government, at least one major Las Vegas hospital is about to plunge full steam ahead into the casino business.

Oh shit, I missed my straight flush draw.  Code Blue in the waiting room!

The hospital even paraded out a mental health “expert” to the curious media, who defended the unusual practice of installing video poker machines inside the facility’s rehab center.  Despite video poker having all the health benefits of watching television while scarfing down a bag of Ruffles, the “expert” professed that playing video poker stimulates the brain’s prefrontal cortex.

See you later — I’m off to get my prefrontal cortex stimulated.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m all for legalized gambling.  I even support some forms of so-called convenience gambling, which means offering easier public access to various forms of wagering — particularly live poker and sports wagering.

However, shouldn’t we be drawing the lines somewhere?  What next — craps tables at the funeral parlor?  Come to think of it, those padded wooden caskets might serve a remarkable duel function.  Seven out!  Line away!

At a time when just about every big casino on the Las Vegas Strip is grabbing gamblers by the ankles, turning us upside down, and shaking us like wilted rag dolls until every last nickel has spilled out onto the floor, the very last thing this town needs is another rigged game with a 10 percent house advantage.  Everyone’s involved in larceny now.  Even the Mormons, who own many of the supermarket chains with the worst video poker payouts on the planet, are in on the heist.  Why would we expect anything less from greedy hospitals who basically wrote the “how to” book on fleecing?

So, how did your annual physical go?  Well, there’s bad news and good news:  I just got diagnosed with herpes.  But I hit a royal flush!

With all the talk about Trumpcare recently, the notion of video poker machines flashing and ringing inside hospitals does give an entirely new meaning to reaching one’s deductible.  Gee, I wonder if I go on tilt and blow a grand in the Deuces Wild machine — will that apply to my annual out-of-pocket?  Can I get my 80-20 co-pay reimbursement on that brutal session of Double-Double Bonus?

That machine next to the urology center doesn’t pay out worth a damn!

Unfazed by criticism, one therapist at the local hospital which is scheduled to introduce Clark County’s first video poker machine offered up a novel idea as to how gamblers might multi-task during a playing session.  By the way, my dear readers — I’m not making this up.  The therapist really suggested this.  And I quote:

“We can also have them put wrist weights on, and they’re playing for a whole 15 minutes (a session),” she said.  “It can get you tired after doing it for 15 minutes.”

What?  Huh?  Seriously?  Weights on wrists while playing video poker?  Those hospital patients are going to come out of therapy looking like The Rock on steroids.

Since the cat’s now out of the money bag when it comes to unbridled greed, pretty soon hospitals are likely be looking for even more creative ways to expand their video poker profits.  Just think of the possibilities:  Hospital rooms.  Diagnostic centers.  Ambulances.

[Siren at traffic intersection] Watch out for that ambulance with the flashing red and blue lights!  Ahh, everything’s fine — the guy in back on the stretcher just hit a progressive.

Paging Dr. Bob Dancer.  Paging Dr. Bob Dancer.  Please pick up the white courtesy phone.  Your services are needed in the waiting room immediately!  We need to know — should the patient hold Jacks and Tens on a 9/6 machine?

 

Update and Correction:  At least two articles have appeared on the local press on this subject.  The article in the Las Vegas Sun noted that the video poker machines will not be for cash play, but for amusement only.

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