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Jim Washburn has the wrong idea about Cuba. It's not all that he makes it out to be. He has depicted one great society that gets off on sharing, where things seem like they are cheap because they are rationed. He criticizes U.S. markets because a pound of oranges costs $1. He makes no mention of the fact that blue jeans that cost $10 in the U.S. cost close to $200 on the Cuban black market. He criticizes the U.S. because of its gap between rich and poor. Well, it is true that Cuba does not have a large gap between rich and poor. This is not because Cuban society is more equitable; it is because everyone is poor as a result of wage limits placed on salaries. Most people can only make a maximum of $30 per month—and that doesn't even come close to covering the costs of living in Cuba.
Before one goes crusading against the U.S. and criticizing it for something it hasn't even done, maybe Mr. Washburn should take the time to look at things from another perspective. Furthermore, if he will show me where the official U.S. policy for acting like "we are the cat's meow" is written, I will be silenced. But as we all know, there is no such policy. People perpetuating such notions are obviously clueless in the ways (and I am not referring to Washburn) of international relations. This notion of superiority is held by only the very few, and therefore an article of this magnitude should not be based upon it.
If Mr. Washburn wants to write an article degrading the U.S., that's fine; it's his constitutional right. But leave innocent children out of it. This article had very little to do with Elian Gonzalez other than his use of it as a lead-in.
via e-mailJim Washburn responds:Dear Shana, our "cat's meowness" is engrained in our policy makers. How else do we explain the hypocrisy of the Republican congressmen who are now howling about "the pre-dawn raid of jack-booted storm troopers like you'd expect to see in Cuba, not the United States" when these legislators are the exact same "law and order" sons of bitches who have been passing laws shredding the Bill of Rights over the past two decades, making such raids commonplace in the U.S. now? Did they complain about the pre-dawn raids a couple of weeks ago on a Santa Ana community, or the one in LA last year in which police shot an innocent grandfather? Did they think it was Cuba where cops on both coasts have been shooting unarmed black men? These guys have been working overtime to create a police state here, and they complain about Castro? They rail against sending a little boy back to Cuba's "Godless communism" when they're the same ilk who were sending U.S. funds to the Salvadoran death squads who murdered nuns and an arch-bishop, and who supported the Argentinean military junta that did a brisk commerce in the babies of the political prisoners they killed. It is not my intent to degrade the U.S. I love it and the ideals we espouse. But when our leaders pervert those ideals and when we are blind to how others in the world are struggling for those same ideals, it is not the time to be smug and satisfied and point at the faults of others.
In Buddy Seigal's Creedence Revisited article ("Visiting With Buddy!" April 21), he gave a very edited version of the shit-flinging feud that has become the sad story of Creedence. Seigal fails to mention John Fogerty's orchestrated and brutal humiliation of former band mates Stu Cook and Doug Clifford at the 1993 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame event—among other things. This is a very complex story and is difficult to understand. I believe your cut-and-dried version does two decent fellas a disservice. It's a very dangerous thing to say John Fogerty was the band. It's Doug, Stu and Tom that you hear on those records doing an equally terrific job of backing up the talents of John Fogerty. Don't discount that.
Perhaps Revisited is a bad name for this outfit, and, yes, two of the other three guys are poseurs. But Cook and Clifford just want to play some good-time music and try as best as they can to do it justice. Fans have enjoyed them as much as Fogerty the past four years.
via e-mailBuddy Seigal responds:Your points are well-taken, and I didn't mean to paint Fogerty as a saint, which by many accounts he is not. But he has been wronged by Cook and Clifford's decision to play in an impostor band. The plain fact remains that Fogerty wrote, sang and played lead on virtually everything Creedence ever recorded of merit. To present a group as Creedence in any form without Fogerty's involvement is a cynical, dishonest rip-off—of Fogerty, but more pointedly of the public.