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  • File Under the Heading W-T-F

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on February 26th, 2012 (All posts by )

    As I was working over a hot computer this afternoon, with the local classical music station on, I heard a reader for this little excursion. Oh, my – I wondered if Texas Public Radio just wants us to get a good look at what happens when a prosperous state undergoes a revolution of the proletariat, and have received a full ration of social justice, as well as management by the modern version of the philosopher kings … yep, get a good long hard look at the itinerary. It includes a stop at the Bay of Pigs Museum. Lots of lovely pre-revolution buildings – at least, that is what the TPR website page about the tour displays.
    Gee, I guess they couldn’t wrangle a tour to Syria – I gather that it’s lovely, this time of year. Or maybe to another civil-rights hellhole like Burma, or Iran; so many lovely historic buildings and pleasing vistas, for the delectation of the culturally-sensitive and well-heeled visitors. I am just gob-smacked by this – and the timing for this particular tour offering, as well as the community that it has been offered to. San Antonio is a fairly conservative town, full of former military – and many of whom are sponsors and contributors to public radio – or at least, we were, back in the day.
    I used to work at this place, as a part-time announcer; until they decided to let all the local part-timers go, and manage the station with a combination of full-time professionals and automation. I used to think that TPR was one of those intersections where a lot of different circles in San Antonio intersected. Now, my daughter is wondering – Did Sean Penn and Michael Moore go halfsies on corporate-sponsoring Texas Public Radio?

     

    43 Responses to “File Under the Heading W-T-F”

    1. Bill Brandt Says:

      Wonder if this is on the itinerary….

      http://www2.fiu.edu/~fcf/estoria.presidio.html

    2. Robert Schwartz Says:

      “Did Sean Penn and Michael Moore go halfsies on corporate-sponsoring Texas Public Radio?”

      No, it was the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.

    3. Jonathan Says:

      It’s typical. NPR affiliates and other groups that offer packaged tours for their members do this kind of thing all the time. See the quaint old buildings and charming antique cars. See the pristine countryside. Everything is so unspoiled. See the prison now before the inmates are freed and everything gets developed like the horrible American suburbs. The U. of Chicago alumni association once offered a tour like this. Maybe it still does.

      Jay Nordlinger at NR has discussed this kind of Cuba tourism many times over the years.

    4. Dan from Madison Says:

      Only five grand, such a deal.

    5. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

      The administration has stretched the “educational” exception to the travel ban recently and added some more tour operators. This is heavily marketed now to the NPR type audience. The appeal is a little exotica and minor risk with an exclusivity factor. Sure to appeal to your NPR listener. I’ve had business associates from Europe as me if I’d ever gone on ‘holiday’ to Cuba. I reminded them of some history and suggested that supporting the Castro’s is not a wise thing. THen Europeans have little or no compunction about traveling to cheap beaches anywhere in the world regardless of the local tyranny.

    6. Bill Brandt Says:

      “Ten Europeans have little or no compunction about traveling to cheap beaches anywhere in the world regardless of the local tyranny.”

      @DirtyJobsGuy:

      That is the take home quote

    7. David Foster Says:

      Note that the selling point for Leftism was once that it created societies *more advanced* than our own…viz “Change trains for the future” about a trip to the Soviet Union.

      Now, the selling point is that it preserves societies in their “unspoiled” aka *primitive* state.

    8. Bill Brandt Says:

      I think the native Indians lived far better than the average Cuban today.

      And noting my editing prowess, noticed I changed Dirtyjobsguy’s typo “Then” Europeans to ‘Ten” – just didn’t want anyone to think I hadn’t noticed.

      But then upon reflection I realize he probably really meant ‘Then” instead of “The” and I screwed up his perfectly good sentence.

      Oh well, it is Monday morning.

      If we ever sway into a subject on meddling bureaucracies I will tell about my Saturday trip to Bodega bay, a family who owns 1,000 acres of coastline and how our own Coastal Commission is taking their means of earning any money on it (while still demanding taxes, of course)

    9. Sgt. Mom Says:

      My first thought on hearing about the Cuba excursion is that maybe they wanted us to see what our future could be … and my second was that it might not go over real well in San Antonio as a whole. San Antonio is pretty conservative, with so many military and retired military living in it – and many of the founding members and supporters – and some of the employees and volunteers – are or were military. It wasn’t your usual public radio type in management, either … although it might have morphed into it by now.
      They did have an excursion to China a while ago. But that tour just didn’t strike me as being in the same league as this.
      The last couple of pledge drives, I don’t think they have made their goals, either.

    10. Michael Kennedy Says:

      My middle daughter traveled to Cuba a few years ago. She had the usual student-leftist reasons “To see that Socialism works !” Once she got there, being the intelligent girl she is and with her Spanish skills, she quickly figured out the place. I overheard her talking to a friend on her cell phone. She looked into the eyes of the Cubans while she talked to them and quickly realized she was in a prison.

      She also speaks Arabic and has been to Morocco, the only Muslim country I would allow without an escort. She has it pretty well figured out although still a bit too far left for me.

    11. pst314 Says:

      From TPR’s description of the tour:

      “In order to fulfill OFAC’s licensing requirements on this tour,”

      Translation: “In order to conform to the requirements of the Stalinist regime,”

      “you will have a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities that will result in a meaningful interaction between the traveler, you, and individuals in Cuba.”

      Translation: “Everything you do will be controlled by the State.”

      “The itinerary has been designed with these requirements in mind and there will be no leisure time on this program as on other Collette tours.”

      Translation: “Don’t even THINK of wandering off on your own.”

      “The days and order of sightseeing may change to best utilize your time on tour and to better facilitate meaningful educational exchanges.”

      Translation: “George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth wrote this document.”

    12. pst314 Says:

      Michael Kennedy “She looked into the eyes of the Cubans while she talked to them and quickly realized she was in a prison.”

      That is precisely why your typical NPR apparatchik likes Cuba so much.

    13. PenGun Says:

      Castro booted your puppet dictator. Get over it. ;)

    14. Bill Brandt Says:

      Years ago my parents went to what was the USSR under the Brezhnev regime. For those old enough to remember the state run Intourist was your only contact.

      Guides were carefully screened.

      However if they trusted you after awhile they would open up telling you things they weren’t supposed to say in the worker’s paradise.

      Michael – at least your daughter has an open mind.

      Remember the Venceremos Brigade?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venceremos_Brigade

      I am sure there are still some True Believers.

    15. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      Bill Brandt @ February 27th, 2012 at 3:24 pm

      However if they trusted you after awhile they would open up telling you things they weren’t supposed to say in the worker’s paradise.

      I think you are being a bit charitable to the INTOURIST guides. Every one of them was employed by the 7th Directorate [“Surveillance of Soviet nationals and foreigners”] of the KGB. The “slips” were planned and scripted to evaluate foreign visitors for possible recruitment as intelligence agents or “agents of influence” and their transfer to control of the First Chief Directorate [“Foreign Operations”]. Incidentally, everyplace they stayed was bugged, some with video. Such was their Tradecraft.

      Sgt. Mom

      There is a definite ideological bias involved. The Cubans need foreign exchange to try to survive. Tourists bring that in plenty. Look at the foundations that provide most of the non-governmental funding of the national operations of NPR. Their bias’ are wide open. Combine that with the stand of the current Administration that every Leftist or Islamist regime must be propped up and preserved, while any opposition to such must be squelched; and I am surprised that trips to Cuba are not mandatory under the “Commerce Clause” by executive order.

      I stopped contributing to NPR’s Public TV affiliate here long ago. Both for ideological reasons, and an impolitic public insistence by the local manager that Public TV should have first call on Federal tax funds above everything else.

      Subotai Bahadur

    16. Bill Brandt Says:

      @ Subotai Bahadur

      That is a bit of distressing news. My mother said too you NEVER exchanged money with someone outside the hotel – for the same reasons – a lot of those people were KGB plants – hard to distinguish with the poor people just wanting some western currency to get some unobtanium.

      Havana is the same way I am told – but the hotel areas are surrounded by prostitutes – I suppose, an easy way to get western currency.

    17. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      Bill Brandt @ February 27th, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      Havana is the same way I am told – but the hotel areas are surrounded by prostitutes – I suppose, an easy way to get western currency.

      While there are more than a few “freelancers”, the more attractive of the “ladies of negotiable virtue” are probably state employees who turn over their earnings to the state. For those foreigners of possible intelligence/political utility, the risk of a “honey trap” must be considered.

      It is not a nice world.

      Subotai Bahadur

    18. David Foster Says:

      Arthur Koestler wrote about a trip he took to the Soviet Union when he was still a believing Marxist, and the way his ideologically-programmed mind processed the evidence of his eyes to avoid understanding what he was seeing.

      Koestler on Closed Systems

    19. wbco@sbcglobal.net Says:

      David – Natan Sharansky wrote a book – The Case For Democracy that is supposed to be right on this subject. It too is on my reading list ;-)

      He spent years in the Gulags.

      http://www.amazon.com/Case-Democracy-Freedom-Overcome-Tyranny/dp/1586483544/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1330382419&sr=8-2

    20. Mockingbird Says:

      It seems kind of expensive for a trip of dubious value. It would be more authentic if the passengers could pay $100 each, tie some old tires together and paddle like heck across the Gulf Stream. Just think of the fabulous sharks they would view! Learn to castnet for bait and catch huge billfish with just a rope and flying fish-just like Ernest! Upon arrival, it’s exercise time! Learn to outrun the Cuban State Police. Polish up your Spanish talking with the Authorities who know the most of what goes on in Cuba. Take a course on rolling cigars for no pesos. Lose a quick 20 lbs. on the flat bread and seawater diet. At the end of this wonderful tour, ask the “guide” if you can phone home to tell your family that you have decided to stay on there for 7 years…or so.

    21. ErisGuy Says:

      “Castro booted your puppet dictator. Get over it. ;)”

      Americans should prefer their own puppet dictators over EUropean puppet dictators. American ones are nicer, for one thing, less given to mass murder, slavery and concentration camps, you know, typical EUropean solutions to problems.

      With any luck, the brutal repression that EUropeans have visited on colonies like Cuba will visit them at home. I can’t wait to see Paris, for example (and from afar), treated as Castro treated Havana.

    22. Bill Brandt Says:

      Mockingbird – I sense a new Cuban Olympics!

    23. PenGun Says:

      “Americans should prefer their own puppet dictators over EUropean puppet dictators. American ones are nicer, for one thing, less given to mass murder, slavery and concentration camps, you know, typical EUropean solutions to problems.

      With any luck, the brutal repression that EUropeans have visited on colonies like Cuba will visit them at home. I can’t wait to see Paris, for example (and from afar), treated as Castro treated Havana.”

      Wow. Not the same planet I live on but not uncommon in your country. I hope there is sarcasm buried here but I sorta doubt it.

      Batista was not only an American puppet he was one of the main Mafia assets. He ran Cuba for the US and the Mafia.

      Castro was really a hero, an actual one not like the ones you call heroes. Freed his county from foreign oppression and tossed out the crooks. You never forgave him. Says a lot about your country. You did similar things in Iran and they tossed out your puppet. You never forgave them either.

      You will get what you deserve. Have a close look. It is not pretty. Good luck eh’,.

    24. Jonathan Says:

      Castro was really a hero, an actual one not like the ones you call heroes. Freed his county from foreign oppression and tossed out the crooks.

      1959 Cuba was one of the freest, most prosperous countries in Latin America. 2012 Cuba is a totalitarian basket case. Your hero murdered tens of thousands of people, imprisoned tens of thousands of others and drove hundreds of thousands into exile. Good to know where you stand on that, not that it comes as a surprise.

    25. Lexington Green Says:

      Castro drove out a dictator, who was propped up by the mafia. He looked like a hero at the time, and maybe he even was a hero, for a while. But then he became an even worse and even more destructive dictator. Batista was mostly simply venal, and thuggish. But Castro was ideologically motivated. It has caused him and his rule in Cuba to be more destructive than Batista was. This happened a lot in the era of decolonization. The freedom fighters won, they looked young and dashing, and they raised high hopes. All too often, they ended up being as bad or worse than what they displaced. The worst thing was that decolonization got mixed up with communism, especially Soviet communism. Everyone was worse off as a result. The entire era was tragic.

    26. PenGun Says:

      You have been pounding Cuba economically and politically since Castro tossed Batista. It’s not surprising they have had a difficult time since. You have done your level best to make it that way.

    27. tdaxp Says:

      Our approach to Cuba seems identical to our approach to China during the Hua era: increasing ‘educationa’ and ‘cultural’ contacts, trust building over minor issues with no real consequences, all in prep for later and more serious negotiations. Seems like a very good thing.

    28. pst314 Says:

      “Your hero murdered tens of thousands of people, imprisoned tens of thousands of others and drove hundreds of thousands into exile.”

      That’s why he loves him.

    29. PenGun Says:

      “1959 Cuba was one of the freest, most prosperous countries in Latin America. 2012 Cuba is a totalitarian basket case. Your hero murdered tens of thousands of people, imprisoned tens of thousands of others and drove hundreds of thousands into exile. Good to know where you stand on that, not that it comes as a surprise.”

      OK so basically you agree with ErisGuy.

    30. Jonathan Says:

      Batista was a corrupt dictator but Cubans lived far better lives under his authority than they have under the Castro tyranny. As for Castro, he was always essentially a gangster and was committing mass-murder very soon after taking power. But he knew how to market himself to gullible foreigners.

      The notion that Cuba suffers because we don’t trade with it has always been silly. Most other countries trade with Cuba. Cuba’s problems are self-imposed.

      Note BTW the contradiction between the initially positive American reaction to Castro and the leftist assertion that Batista was our puppet.

      Communist Cuba is one of the great tragedies of the post-war period. Absent the Castro putsch the country might have evolved into some form of representative govt and several generations of Cubans wouldn’t have had their lives destroyed.

    31. Jonathan Says:

      OK so basically you agree with ErisGuy.

      I made a series of easily verifiable assertions that you quote and then ignore. Does this mean that you agree with my assertions? Or do you actually think that the Castros aren’t murderers and that Cubans are better off than they would have been without the communist regime?

    32. renminbi Says:

      Don’t feed the troll. Once you pay the Danegeld,you’re stuck with the Dane.

    33. Jonathan Says:

      I know, that’s what you wrote before. I’m not convinced in this case. The troll is pitching softballs that we can hit into the stands. Our responses are archived for future readers. That’s worth something.

    34. Dan from Madison Says:

      “Don’t feed the troll. Once you pay the Danegeld,you’re stuck with the Dane.” I thought at first that said the DANGERFIELD, as in Rodney – it is definitely Monday.

    35. Verity Says:

      I didn’t realise that the term “gob-smacked” had crossed the Atlantic!

    36. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Well … since three of my four grandparents were British immigrants, and they carried on with their own idiom for decades … certain phrases can be said to have crossed the Atlantic.
      You should have seen the expressions of bafflement on the faces of our elementary-school friends, when my brother and I used such phrases as ‘knock it off!’ in casual playground conversation.

    37. PenGun Says:

      If all this continues, as it is going, Cuba will be in a better position to serve it’s citizens than the USA.

      They do have one of the world’s most admired medical systems and supply doctors to many poor countries. You can barely look after your own people.

    38. renminbi Says:

      Sorry,but I can resist anything but temptation.

      http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/004070.php

    39. Bill Brandt Says:

      Jonathon – if I remember my history right – during the Eisenhower administration – while Castro was in the hills with his guerrilla Army he was passing himself off as an “agrarian reformer” until he was able to seize power. That’s of course when he starting killing his opponents.

      Can you imagine a society so poor that they know that a piston from a certain model of Soviet tractor will fit into a ’54 Chevy 235?

      It is odd that the Left so idolizes this society when so many have fled the country – and the medical system that they revere – why don’t any of them go there to sample it’s benefits? ;-)

      From what I have read of Cuba and Havana particularly time stopped there in 1959.

      I remember taking a Holland America Cruise a few years ago – and we were off the northern Cuban coast – you could not see but 1 or 2 lights for miles – imagine – 20-30 miles and 2 lights along the coast at dusk…

    40. Jonathan Says:

      Cuban medical care.

    41. Dan from Madison Says:

      “If all this continues, as it is going, Cuba will be in a better position to serve it’s citizens than the USA.

      They do have one of the world’s most admired medical systems and supply doctors to many poor countries. You can barely look after your own people.”

      What a howler.

    42. jfm Says:

      The US presence in Cuba was so terrible that Cuba been unable to have any elections since 1959.

    43. jfm Says:

      The previous post should read:
      “The US presence in Cuba was so terrible that Cuba has been unable to have any elections since 1959.”