How Dumb is Senator Jeff Flake?

 
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Che looks on proudly, his victory complete at last

Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona and the Gang of Eight is one of two Republican senators accompanying President Obama to the socialist gulag of Cuba. (The other is Nevada’s Dean Heller.) Here’s Senator Flake’s explanation:

“We’re not embracing Cuba,” he said. “We’re actually, finally, imposing a get tough policy, because we’re going to expose them to American values and commerce.”

Flake said he hopes the Cuban trip will inspire the country’s leaders to adopt policies that help it move closer to a more capitalist society and help Arizonans realize what a Communist country is truly like.

“(They can see) what happens when the government controls not just the commanding heights of the economy, but the entire economy,” he said. “It’s a pretty sobering thought. For those who value socialism, or want to move closer to socialism, that’s a pretty good deterrent.”

Does he really think his visit is going to reveal the evils of socialism instead of being portrayed as a propaganda victory for the Castro regime?

And these “get tough” policies on Cuba, are they anything like the “Get tough” border security policies in the Gang of Eight bill that amounted to nothing more than politely requesting that Obama Administration prepare a border security plan and promising to spend a lot of money?

Update: The Marriott Corporation is one of Jeff Flake’s largest corporate donors. Also on the guest list for Obama’s Cuba trip … the CEO of the Marriott Corporation.

Published in Foreign Policy, General
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  1. Guruforhire Inactive
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Yes.

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    This is such a ridiculous and meaningless effort. I was just working out at the gym, saw a press conference with Obama and Castro, and Raul is declaring that all we need to do is provide a list of all these political prisoners we say they have, he just needs a list, and he will release them. Oh sure, we have that list in our back pocket and he just seemed so sincere . . .

    • #2
  3. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    What Guru said.   Box of rocks vrs Flake, put your money on the Box.

    • #3
  4. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    V,

    You know why Cuba is so poor and broken down. Once you’ve murdered and enslaved everyone, you run out of other people’s money to spend.

    Never has a Senator (Flake) been so aptly named.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #4
  5. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    Low IQ Republicans are easily manipulated by the Democrats with messages of “Say this and it will show how much smarter and more moral you are than other Republicans!” Got that #NeverTrump-types?

    • #5
  6. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    V the K: Update: The Marriott Corporation is one of Jeff Flake’s largest corporate donors. Also on the guest list for Obama’s Cuba trip… the CEO of the Marriott Corporation.

    I can’t wait for President Tru..Hill..uh, the next President to deal with this kind of crony capitalism!

    • #6
  7. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    Did he get a ride on AF 1? That’s probably worth making up the stupid statement. That’s probably all it is. Is he that shallow? I don’t know him but as Jim says, “Never has a Senator (Flake) been so aptly named.”

    • #7
  8. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    This was what the Nobel Committee was seeing in their crystal ball and why they gave him the Nobel Prize earlier. They knew (like all of us conservatives had also predicted) that he would do something for the Castro heroes. Obama is just the latest in a VERY LONG list of useful idiots.

    And useful for what, you may ask? For condoning and covering up murder and murderers.

    • #8
  9. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Regarding Marriott, note that, coincident with Flake’s trip, the company has just merged with Starwood Hotels, a very major player in the Havana market.  Follow the money.

    “Starwood Hotels and Resorts is poised to play a significant role in Cuba, having received authorization from the U.S Treasury Department to operate existing hotels on the island. Marriott also received the necessary permission from the Treasury Department, but hasn’t announced any deals.”

    • #9
  10. Jordan Inactive
    Jordan
    @Jordan

    V the K: Update: The Marriott Corporation is one of Jeff Flake’s largest corporate donors. Also on the guest list for Obama’s Cuba trip… the CEO of the Marriott Corporation.

    We should start branding our elected representatives with the logos of their largest donors.  I think there’s a market to be made here, especially for the candidate’s election campaign funds.  They could offer to legally change their middle names or maybe wear one of those suits the NASCAR drivers wear to Congress for a sizable contribution.

    I await the day when we’ll just have the Pepsi Senator, the American Express Caucus of the House of Representatives, the Microsoft Select Committee on H1B Visa Expansion, and the Goldman-Sachs Insider Trading Oversight Council.

    • #10
  11. MLH Inactive
    MLH
    @MLH

    Jordan:

    V the K: Update: The Marriott Corporation is one of Jeff Flake’s largest corporate donors. Also on the guest list for Obama’s Cuba trip… the CEO of the Marriott Corporation.

    We should start branding our elected representatives with the logos of their largest donors. I think there’s a market to be made here, especially for the candidate’s election campaign funds. They could offer to legally change their middle names or maybe wear one of those suits the NASCAR drivers wear to Congress for a sizable contribution.

    I await the day when we’ll just have the Pepsi Senator, the American Express Caucus of the House of Representatives, the Microsoft Select Committee on H1B Visa Expansion, and the Goldman-Sachs Insider Trading Oversight Council.

    Like!

    • #11
  12. Stoicous Inactive
    Stoicous
    @Stoicous

    The notion that Jeff Flake has been exposed as Establishment is absurd. An Establishment figure sticks with the party line an avoids criticism from the Establishment. Breaking with the party line to not just support, but to actively push for something off the party line is the very definition of being anti-establishment. Yet a further example of how the terms “Anti-Establishment” and “Establishment” have come to mean “us” and “them”.

    In fact, the new Cuba policy is probably the first truly good thing to come out of the Obama Administration. Cuba has no nuclear weapons, no chance of invading anything, and nothing to threaten the United States. So there is no reason to sanction Americans for associating the island; there are a lot of countries in the world that don’t get sanctioned that are far worse than Cuba.

    Furthermore, the notion that isolating a country will lead to the collapse of the nation’s authoritarian system is frankly backwards. The Castro regime has been isolated for over 1/2 a century, and hasn’t collapsed from starvation yet; North Korea is the most isolated dictatorship on the planet, and the most authoritarian state in the world. (There is a reason NK chooses to be isolated., it cements the Kim’s power.) Meanwhile the Communist nations which the US has opened up to include China and Vietnam. Not Liberal Democracies, but much preferable to Cuba or North Korea.

    Conservatives are trapped in the Tyranny of the Status Quo.

    • #12
  13. Stoicous Inactive
    Stoicous
    @Stoicous

    Lech Walesa once said with regards to Cuba

    “you have a museum of socialism just off the coast of Florida, yet you don’t let your people visit it.”

    • #13
  14. V the K Member
    V the K
    @VtheK

    Detroit is also a “Museum of Socialism.” America has learned nothing from its example.

    • #14
  15. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Stoicous:In fact, the new Cuba policy is probably the first truly good thing to come out of the Obama Administration. Cuba has no nuclear weapons, no chance of invading anything, and nothing to threaten the United States. So there is no reason to sanction Americans for associating the island; there are a lot of countries in the world that don’t get sanctioned that are far worse than Cuba.

    We gave something and got nothing.  Correct?  Do you believe in leverage?

    • #15
  16. V the K Member
    V the K
    @VtheK

    Given Senator Flake’a amnesty support, maybe he sees Cuba as a new source of cheap labor.

    • #16
  17. Stoicous Inactive
    Stoicous
    @Stoicous

    Hoyacon:

    Stoicous:In fact, the new Cuba policy is probably the first truly good thing to come out of the Obama Administration. Cuba has no nuclear weapons, no chance of invading anything, and nothing to threaten the United States. So there is no reason to sanction Americans for associating the island; there are a lot of countries in the world that don’t get sanctioned that are far worse than Cuba.

    We gave something and got nothing. Correct? Do you believe in leverage?

    What did we give? We are simply allowing Americans to interact with Cuba in a way they weren’t able to before. Should we have demanded they give us cigars first? It helps the Cuban people because they can buy and sell in American markets, and it helps Americans because they can buy and sell in Cuban markets. The purpose of the embargo was not to extort Cuba, it was to prevent a legitimate threat to the United States; a threat that dissipated decades ago.

    Conservatism has become caught in the tyranny of the status quo. If the sanctions on Cuba had expired, or were not currently in place for what ever reason; we would not seriously entertain the idea of putting sanctions on Cuba; and the next President, no matter who they are, is not going to reverse Pres. Obama’s decision.

    V the K:

    I would say Jeff Flake is the most Anti-Establishment Republican in the Senate. You just dislike these antiestablishment positions.

    • #17
  18. V the K Member
    V the K
    @VtheK

    “It helps the Cuban people because they can buy and sell in American markets, and it helps Americans because they can buy and sell in Cuban markets. ”

    By “the Cuban people” you mean the Communist oligarchs like Fidel Castro (net worth $900 million) and his brother Raul (net worth $100 million). Only Bernie Sanders has a poorer grasp of how economics works in socialist countries.

    • #18
  19. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Stoicous:

    We gave something and got nothing. Correct? Do you believe in leverage?

    What did we give? We are simply allowing Americans to interact with Cuba in a way they weren’t able to before. Should we have demanded they give us cigars first? It helps the Cuban people because they can buy and sell in American markets, and it helps Americans because they can buy and sell in Cuban markets. The purpose of the embargo was not to extort Cuba, it was to prevent a legitimate threat to the United States; a threat that dissipated decades ago.

    OK, so I’ll take that as a “yes” to my question about giving something and getting nothing, which is the opposite of what diplomacy is about.  Cuba is a police state with political prisoners.  It is in every way antithetical to what we stand for.  In fact, those “Cuban people” to which you allude barely exist.  They are instruments of the state.  To exact no trade-offs for cozying up to the regime is not only immoral, but bad foreign policy.  Oh yeah, but we can now fly to Cuba instead of having to route through Toronto.  Forgot that.

    Conservatism has become caught in the tyranny of the status quo.

    Yes, got that the first time.

    If the sanctions on Cuba had expired, or were not currently in place for what ever reason; we would not seriously entertain the idea of putting sanctions on Cuba.

    That’s not relevant.

    • #19
  20. Stoicous Inactive
    Stoicous
    @Stoicous

    V the K:“It helps the Cuban people because they can buy and sell in American markets, and it helps Americans because they can buy and sell in Cuban markets. ”

    By “the Cuban people” you mean the Communist oligarchs like Fidel Castro (net worth $900 million) and his brother Raul (net worth $100 million). Only Bernie Sanders has a poorer grasp of how economics works in socialist countries.

    North Korea is a starving nation, the people are gotten almost a foot shorter and everyone is dying. Kim Jong-Un has a net worth of 5 Billion dollars. Starving the people to starve the government clearly isn’t a reasonable approach.

    Will the Castro’s get richer? Yes.

    Will the people of Cuba live better? Yes, they will have more private sector opportunities; and more independence from the Castro regime.

    Will the Castro’s getting richer pose a threat to the US? No.

    Also, your theory that Jeff Flake is a RINO squish influenced by democrats is also false. He has a history going back to the 1980’s of opposing US Sanctions that aimed to help local populations. He opposed US Sanctions on South Africa, believing that they would hurt black South Africans the most. He was Executive Director of the Goldwater Institute at the time.

    • #20
  21. Stoicous Inactive
    Stoicous
    @Stoicous

    Hoyacon:

    Stoicous:

    We gave something and got nothing. Correct? Do you believe in leverage?

    What did we give? We are simply allowing Americans to interact with Cuba in a way they weren’t able to before. Should we have demanded they give us cigars first? It helps the Cuban people because they can buy and sell in American markets, and it helps Americans because they can buy and sell in Cuban markets. The purpose of the embargo was not to extort Cuba, it was to prevent a legitimate threat to the United States; a threat that dissipated decades ago.

    How does sanctioning help the Cuban people? If it hurts the Cuban people, it is immoral (and stupid) to just keep them because Cuba is Communist. Sanctioning hasn’t brought the Castro regime down in the past half century, and there is no reason to believe another half century will do the trick. The sanctions were never even intended to overthrow the Castro Regime, they were intended to handicap Cuba because of the Soviet threat. The Soviet threat is now gone, and so is any threat from Cuba.

    It is entirely relevant to consider what we would do if the sanctions weren’t there now. If we wouldn’t consider putting on sanctions were they not in place now, why should we be beholden to keep them because they are there? There is nothing sacred or special about the status quo, except that it is politically expedient to maintain it.

    • #21
  22. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Stoicous:

    How does sanctioning help the Cuban people? If it hurts the Cuban people, it is immoral (and stupid) to just keep them because Cuba is Communist. Sanctioning hasn’t brought the Castro regime down in the past half century, and there is no reason to believe another half century will do the trick. The sanctions were never even intended to overthrow the Castro Regime, they were intended to handicap Cuba because of the Soviet threat. The Soviet threat is now gone, and so is any threat from Cuba.

    Your failure to directly address what I said is frustrating, but I’ll try again only shorter.  We are talking about diplomacy.  I did not say a thing about lifting the sanctions.  I said that, if we were intent on doing so, we should have gotten something in return in terms of human rights.  Sorry, but you appear rather uninformed about living and working conditions there.

    It is entirely relevant to consider what we would do if the sanctions weren’t there now. If we wouldn’t consider putting on sanctions were they not in place now, why should we be beholden to keep them because they are there?

    Again, it’s irrelevant because they are there, and because they are a bargaining chip.  You don’t appear to grasp what recognition means to the dictatorship, and you are living in a fantasy if you think that the benefits of that recognition are going to flow to “the people.”

    • #22
  23. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Stoicous:

    Also, your theory that Jeff Flake is a RINO squish influenced by democrats is also false. He has a history going back to the 1980’s of opposing US Sanctions that aimed to help local populations. He opposed US Sanctions on South Africa, believing that they would hurt black South Africans the most. He was Executive Director of the Goldwater Institute at the time.

    I realize that you didn’t address this to me, but is your justification for this horrible diplomatic episode really about defending Senator Flake?  If so, maybe we could dig a little deeper.  Marriott contributes to the Senator.  Marriott merges with a company that has significant business interests in Cuba.  The Senator, arguably a conservative Republican, decides to make a trip to Cuba with the President, lending an air of bipartisanship.   Am I on the right track?

     

    • #23
  24. Stoicous Inactive
    Stoicous
    @Stoicous

    Hoyacon:

    Stoicous:

    Again, it’s irrelevant because they are there, and because they are a bargaining chip. You don’t appear to grasp what recognition means to the dictatorship, and you are living in a fantasy if you think that the benefits of that recognition are going to flow to “the people.”

    Please explain, what does recognition mean to the Castro regime? Will they get some more money, yes. What will they be able to do with this money? Nothing they aren’t able to do now, and in fact less. They are never going to be able to threaten the US; and they are not going to be able to become more authoritarian, because the people of Cuba will be less dependent on the State as they once were.

    With the bargaining chips deal, demanding Human Rights guarantees from the Castro’s would make the process necessarily take years longer. The marginal improvements we could have eeked out of the regime in those would have been less than the improvements that would have occurred over that same amount of time had relations been thawed.

    Could we have embarrassed the Castro Regime? Yes, but we don’t have to embarrass the Castro Regime. They are not a threat to anybody outside of Cuba; and the best way to qwell their authority in Cuba is to open Cuba to opportunities independent of the Castro Regime.

    Getting a Token Gesture out of the Castro Regime would have been a foolish time waste.

    • #24
  25. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    Stoicous: Furthermore, the notion that isolating a country will lead to the collapse of the nation’s authoritarian system is frankly backwards.

    Did it work in South Africa?

    You know, the place where the whole world came down on them like a ton of bricks? And the place that was 10 times better (still in the negative, though) than Cuba.

    • #25
  26. Stoicous Inactive
    Stoicous
    @Stoicous

    Hoyacon:

    Stoicous:

    Also, your theory that Jeff Flake is a RINO squish influenced by democrats is also false. He has a history going back to the 1980’s of opposing US Sanctions that aimed to help local populations. He opposed US Sanctions on South Africa, believing that they would hurt black South Africans the most. He was Executive Director of the Goldwater Institute at the time.

    I realize that you didn’t address this to me, but is your justification for this horrible diplomatic episode really about defending Senator Flake? If so, maybe we could dig a little deeper. Marriott contributes to the Senator. Marriott merges with a company that has significant business interests in Cuba. The Senator, arguably a conservative Republican, decides to make a trip to Cuba with the President, lending an air of bipartisanship. Am I on the right track?

    Except that Jeff Flake is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has been advocating an end to sanctions for a long time. He was also the only Republican to travel with President Obama to Africa last summer.

    So unless he has been conspiring with Marriott Hotels for three decades to just make it look like he legitimately cares; I am going to call your theory dead in the water.

    • #26
  27. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Stoicous:

    So unless he has been conspiring with Marriott Hotels for three decades to just make it look like he legitimately cares; I am going to call your theory dead in the water.

    I don’t really have a theory.  I merely listed a series of events that bear some relation to one another. What’s this about three decades anyway?  He’s been a Senator for, what, four years?  When did Marriott become such a large contributor?

    • #27
  28. Stoicous Inactive
    Stoicous
    @Stoicous

    Larry Koler:

    Stoicous: Furthermore, the notion that isolating a country will lead to the collapse of the nation’s authoritarian system is frankly backwards.

    Did it work in South Africa?

    You know, the place where the whole world came down on them like a ton of bricks? And the place that was 10 times better (still in the negative, though) than Cuba.

    No, most accounts say that sanctions exacerbated apartheid. And examples like North Korea show further evidence that isolating and starving a nation don’t lead to the nation over throwing its dictator. The dictator is much weaker, this is true, but the people are even weaker. It is the nature of socialist economies for the state to plunder the people for what it needs, and so when the economic damage hits, the state increases its plunder of its people to compensate. Leaving the people too emaciated to overthrow the dictatorship. The North Korean state is extremely fragile, they remain in power because the North Korean people are even more fragile.

    • #28
  29. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    Stoicous: Also, your theory that Jeff Flake is a RINO squish influenced by democrats is also false. He has a history going back to the 1980’s of opposing US Sanctions that aimed to help local populations. He opposed US Sanctions on South Africa, believing that they would hurt black South Africans the most. He was Executive Director of the Goldwater Institute at the time.

    Totally dissimilar.

    In South Africa, Americans would have been allowed to trade with South African blacks, employ them, educate them, and otherwise improve their lives. The left did not want this. To the left (still under the control of the Soviet Union), punishing South Africa’s whites and causing chaos (to ultimately create an impverished Soviet client) was preferable to any peaceful improvement in the status of blacks.

    In Cuba, Castro would give us no ability to deal with individual Cubans and improve their lives in the ways we could have with South Africa’s blacks.

    • #29
  30. V the K Member
    V the K
    @VtheK

    I think history pretty much demonstrates that when you trade with despotic regimes that don’t respect human rights… you create wealthy despotic regimes that don’t respect human rights: China, Saudi Arabia, Germany in the 1930’s, Saddam-Era Iraq…

    Also, it’s not like Cuba has been isolated this whole time. Cuba trades with every country in Latin America, as well as Canada, and the European Union, and Scandinavia. And it’s still a despotic socialist s-hole.

    • #30
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