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President Bush and Thanksgiving in Iraq

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Several years ago, I became fascinated with presidential proclamations, from President Washington in 1789, President Lincoln during the Civil War, and President Reagan in 1988.  

So let’s remember one presidnet who spent Thanksgiving in a very unique way.

We’ve had some talk lately about President Bush and the decision to take out Saddam Hussein.  I continue to support the action. 

North Korea is what happens when you leave people in power who have or look to have weapons of mass destruction. The Middle East would look a lot different today if Iraq was conducting nuclear tests or threatening to hit Israel or others.

Back in 2003, President Bush showed up in Iraq for Thanksgiving. It was a great story and must have been quite a treat for the soldiers enjoying some turkey: 


Mr. Bush sneaked out of Crawford on Wednesday in an unmarked car, then flew to Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, where a few advisers and a small number of reporters sworn to secrecy joined him. They then flew on to Baghdad International Airport, arriving around dusk.

He spent 2 hours 32 minutes in the country, dining with the chief United States administrator there, L. Paul Bremer III, and sharing Thanksgiving wishes with about 600 troops at an airport hangar. Mr. Bush actually helped serve dinner to the troops, who had been told they would be dining with Mr. Bremer and with Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of coalition forces in Iraq.

He also met with four members of the Iraqi Governing Council.

The trip must have raised enormous concerns for the president’s security team. A DHL cargo plane using the same airport Saturday was struck in the wing by a shoulder-fired missile, forcing it to make an emergency landing. Such missiles, reliant on visual contact with their targets, are considered ineffective after dark, however.

For security reasons, the President’s trip was such a secret that even First Lady Laura Bush and his parents were not told about it. It must have been quite a surprise when plans changed from Crawford to Iraq.

Fourteen years later, I say thanks that President Bush took out Saddam Hussein and prevented Iraq from turning into North Korea.   

My guess is that Iraq’s neighbors share my sentiments.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.



Written by scantojr

November 23, 2017 at 4:17 am

Trump & Alabama, JFK 1963, Bush Iraq 2003 & Happy Thanksgiving thoughts

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We will look at the election in Alabama…has Moore turned the corner? The media now under fire for sexual misconduct……the hypocrisy overflows…….President Bush in Iraq 2003……the father of the young man released from China is just a publicity seeker…….JFK Dallas 1963………plus other stories of the day…………

click to listen:


Written by scantojr

November 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm

A year later, and the jeep is probably still in the shop

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Fidel Castro died a year ago. It was not a shock because there were serious rumors about his health all the time. Almost weekly there was a flash out of Miami that the old man had died.
During his funeral, a military vehicle (some sort of Soviet Jeep) took his remains to their final resting place.    
Then the jeep broke down and several soldiers had to push it.   
The “malfunctioning jeep” photo was so amazing that I had to triple check it to believe it.
And so Raul Castro was left all alone in power with a country that resembled that broken down jeep!
My friend Carlos Alberto Montaner, one of the best Cuban analysts around, looks ahead to Raul Castro’s Cuba and some of the challenges ahead:   
Raúl is president because that’s what Fidel decided. 
He may have seemed a mediocre person to Fidel, without savvy and without charisma, but he was absolutely loyal, a virtue that paranoid people value far above all the others, so Fidel fabricated a biography for him to turn him into his shield bearer. 
He dragged him into the revolution. Made him commander. Made him defense minister. Made him vice president, and finally bequeathed to him the power, initiating the Castro dynasty.
Since then, Raúl has governed with his familial retinue. 
With his daughter Mariela, a restless and plain-speaking sexologist. 
With his son, Col. Alejandro Castro Espín, educated in the KGB’s intelligence schools. 
With his grandson and bodyguard Raúl Guillermo Rodríguez Castro, son of Deborah. 
With his son-in-law or former son-in-law (nobody knows if he’s still married to Deborah or if they divorced), Gen. Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja, head of GAESA, the main holding of the Cuban chiefs of staff.
Those are the people who govern with Raúl, but they have three very serious problems. 
The most important is that very few believers in the system remain in Cuba. Sixty years of disaster are too many to stay faithful to that folly. Raúl himself lost his confidence in the system in the 1980s, when he sent many army officers to European centers to learn management and marketing techniques.
Raul himself promised to leave in 2018 and has designated First Vice President Miguel Díaz Canel to formally take over.  However, don’t bet on that because an internal struggle is coming.
The first problem, as Carlos points out and everyone who goes to Cuba confirms, is that nobody believes in communism anymore in Cuba.  Everyone sees the failure, but a lot of people did not want to admit it when Fidel was around and probably fear saying it during Raul’s tenure.  As I heard a Cuban say, the only people who believe in communism in Cuba are the ones who are paid to read the news.
The second problem is that the post-Castro leaders will realize that there is no money, nor anyone willing to lend them any.  Yes, the Russians will help with debt structure but that’s in exchange for reopening an intelligence base near Havana. As for China, they want minerals or other resources and that’s the extent of their interest.
So I agree with Carlos that the new leadership faces two bad options:   
1) a true political opening or multiparty elections that will dismantle the system in hopefully peaceful fashion; or;
2) holding on to a failed system that everybody knows does not work and may threaten the power structure.    
The first option will bring the U.S. into the game and end the embargo. It will also encourage Cuban-Americans like me to play a part in reconstructing the country that the Castros wrecked. The second option is unsustainable because even the Russians and Chinese are not about to bail out Cuba.
It was customary for many of our parents to close their eyes around the Christmas dinner table and say something like “next year in Cuba”. I feel that 2018 may just be that year!
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.


Written by scantojr

November 22, 2017 at 7:24 am

Posted in US politics

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Sexual misconduct hits media personalities and a few other thoughts of the day

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We will look at the new sexual misconduct allegations against big names in the media…..didn’t these people criticize President Trump last October when that tape was released……..who shot JR 1980……Lincoln and Mrs. Bixby…….JFK Dallas 1963………plus other stories of the day……………

click to listen:


Written by scantojr

November 21, 2017 at 3:00 pm

The NFL Players Union needs some leadership too

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On any given Sunday, there are a few thousand people who get a paycheck directly or indirectly from the NFL. Every team has 40-plus players, coaches, and office staff on the payroll. Every city has people who work full or part time at the stadium or activities related to the game. Let’s not forget the sports media who exist because people follow the game.

Despite the size of the business, and the great salaries of players, it’s amazing to me that the NFL Players Union is so weak when players act stupid.

Let’s talk about Marshawn Lynch, the Raiders’ running back, who did something totally indefensible in Mexico City:    

President Donald Trump took to Twitter to criticize Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch early Monday morning.

After photographs surfaced showing Lynch standing during the Mexican national anthem and sitting during the US national anthem at a game against the New England Patriots in Mexico City on Sunday, Trump called for his suspension. 

“Marshawn Lynch of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders stands for the Mexican Anthem and sits down to boos for our National Anthem. Great disrespect! Next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down,” he tweeted.

My guess is that most Americans agree with President Trump’s testament. Lynch just handed the international anti-U.S. left a photo for them to spread around and talk about racism.

Where is the players’ union? Don’t they see what this very small group of players is doing to their business? I would think that union leaders would draw the line when a player shows disrespect in a game in London or Mexico City.

The NFL stands for No “You know what” leadership these days! Very sad!

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.


Written by scantojr

November 21, 2017 at 7:36 am

Tax reform, the NFL without leadership plus getting ready for Thanksgiving

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We will look at tax reform in the hands of the GOP Senate…..the NFL has huge problems but no leadership………the father of a UCLA player in prison in China can not say thank you to President Trump……..getting ready for Thanksgiving………plus other stories of the day…………

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Written by scantojr

November 20, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Chicago? Baltimore? How about Rio?

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Chicago has the weekend shootings. Baltimore is one of the closest things to a failed city in North America.   

Let’s look south to Rio de Janeiro, a city that most Americans identify with carnivals and girls in bikinis.   

Violence in Rio is now at historic levels and not getting any better, according to this report from Ernesto Londono:     

For teachers in this seaside megacity, Rio de Janeiro’s surge in violence has meant making a life-or-death judgment call with unnerving frequency: deciding whether to cancel classes because of nearby shootouts.

For police officers, it has meant burying 119 of their own so far this year and surrendering ever more territory to drug gangs that have resumed open-air sales in teeming communities that had been declared “pacified” just a few years ago. 

Many ordinary residents of this city of about 6.5 million start the day scanning mobile apps that track live reports of gunfire before planning their commutes.

A little more than a year since Rio de Janeiro hosted a largely successful Summer Olympics, Brazil’s showcase city is plagued by a rise in lawlessness reminiscent of its darkest periods in the 1980s and 1990s. There were 4,974 people killed in Rio de Janeiro State, with a population of about 16.5 million, during the first nine months of this year, up 11 percent from last year, according to state government statistics.

The rise in violent crime here is part of a nationwide trend that experts say has been exacerbated by Brazil’s economic recession, by corruption that has hollowed out government coffers and by fierce competition between drug trafficking organizations.

Last year, there were 61,619 people killed across Brazil, according to data compiled by Brazilian Forum on Public Security, making it the deadliest year on record.

Facing a budget deficit and increasingly well-armed and organized drug cartels, officials in Rio de Janeiro have turned to the federal government for a bailout and to the military for backup.

Not a pretty situation, as they say!

Like Mexico recently and Colombia in the 1980s, the driving force behind the violence is cartels fighting for territory.   

I’ve heard from friends in South America that Brazil has become the distribution center for illegal drugs going to Europe, Argentina, and elsewhere.    

Adding to the problem is that Brazil has very porous borders with Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Paraguay.   It’s easy for illegal drugs, cartels, and cash to cross borders.

Cocaine, in particular, goes to Europe via Africa and is also consumed domestically.    

It is believed to be worth $4.5 billion a year, or a huge incentive for lots of unemployed young men to join the business!

Is there any hope of Rio returning to a more stable past?   

Not really.   

You have a perfect storm of a huge illegal drug business and rather incompetent national leadership that has lost control of the country. 

I would not be surprised if there is a hard line military coup sometime soon. My guess is that they will be welcomed by a middle class struggling economically and scared to death of violence everywhere.   

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.


Written by scantojr

November 20, 2017 at 7:07 am