Sunday, March 29, 2020

Fwd: Laugh it up

Hi ANS group.  We laughed at this so I hope you will too.  We need some humor in these trying times.  

---------- Forwarded message ---------
Date: Sun, Mar 29, 2020 at 4:08 PM
Subject: Laugh it up
To: Kim Cooper <>



Sent from Mail for Windows 10


Saturday, March 28, 2020

ANS -- Coronavirus and the Fable of the Bees

I don't like this one, but it is worth thinking about.  The truth is, we don't yet have a solution to this question, and neither does anyone else.  The closest I've seen is the novel Walkaway by Cory Doctorow.  I recommend you read it -- after reading this article from Benjamin Studebaker.  Let me know what you think -- this one is pretty big.  


Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Coronavirus and the Fable of the Bees

by Benjamin Studebaker

Coronavirus puts elected governments in a sticky situation. If they appear to fail to solve the public health crisis, they will lose the next election. If, in the process of solving the public health crisis, they create an economic crisis, they will also lose the next election. They're stuck between a rock and a hard place. It all reminds me of Bernard Mandeville's "Fable of the Bees". Mandeville's bees live luxurious, decadent lives, and their drive for ever greater pleasures pushes them to build an extraordinarily elaborate economy to keep up with their excesses. One day, a divine intervention rids the bees of their vices, leaving them full of modesty and virtue. But this collapses demand and destroys the bees' economy, annihilating their living standards. The fable serves to highlight one of the paradoxes of capitalism–the welfare of the poor becomes dependent on the vices of the rich. If the rich stop spending money on frivolous nonsense, the poor lose their jobs and go hungry.

The Fable of the Bees Tells the Story of Society - Foundation for ...

Mandeville's fable is often taken to be a straightforward defence of vice, but that's not the most interesting reading. This is a real paradox–our system needs to produce genuinely bad behavior to function. We have built an economy that works by making us into bad people. Our economy constantly produces advertising and popular culture which pushes us to indulge our desires ravenously. The economy even exploits any guilt or shame we may feel about our behavior, pushing "ethical" consumer goods and "sustainable" lifestyle choices on those who find these things attractive. Of course, even "ethical" consumption is consumption–it leaves a carbon footprint, it requires the labor of many poorly compensated workers, and it feeds into and exacerbates our individualistic grasping. No one is immune to this. The system exploits every opportunity to make us feel insecure, to make us feel as if we lack something, and it is constantly looking to sell us ephemeral, transitory remedies. It makes us feel bad about ourselves, and then it pretends the useless garbage it creates will make us feel better. We stay on an amusement treadmill, hiding from our perceived inadequacies, drowning out negative thoughts with fanciful experiences.

If we want to be better people, we'd need a different system. The trouble is that we can't seem to think of one that feels realistic to enough of us. Even Bernie Sanders can't convince people he's realistic, and all he tried to do was give us the same kind of healthcare and education systems which already exist abroad. Mandeville couldn't think of a realistic path to something else either, and in the fable of the bees he uses divine intervention as a device to get from the sinful hive to the virtuous one.

We seem to have stumbled on a substitute for divine intervention–coronavirus. But coronavirus has not completely purged our hive of sin. It has instead thrown up a sharp distinction between two groups:

  1. The Vulgar Rich, who fear for their stock portfolios and access to luxuries. They want to preserve the economy for largely egoistic reasons, even at a significant cost to human life.
  2. The Virtuous Rich, who position themselves as valiantly sacrificing these things to save ordinary people from the rampaging virus.

In these two groups, I would include not just the billionaires and millionaires, but also professionals who can easily telecommute and are unlikely to experience any economic hardship due to the virus. To put it another way, all of these people are "rich" insofar as they can stay at home indefinitely without losing their homes. They will be able to pay the bills regardless of how long this crisis continues. The people who are paid to write and talk about politics are in this group, because can easily write their think pieces and record their podcasts at home while continuing to cash checks.

These two groups have given us a very shallow public debate, in which the virtuous rich accuse the vulgar rich of being selfish, and the vulgar rich pretend that their concern for the economy is really a concern for the public good rather than for their own. Because there are lives at stake, the virtuous rich blame and shame the vulgar rich very aggressively. The virtuous rich feel especially justified, because they believe the vulgar rich want to kill millions of people for private gain. And because the vulgar rich feel attacked, they go to great pains to emphasise how willing they themselves are to lay down their lives and die for the economy. Of course, no one believes them.

But there is a third group that is not meaningfully involved in the public debate–the ordinary person who needs to earn a living to pay the bills, to take care of children, to sustain a functional family unit. These people fall into two groups:

  1. The essential people, who will continue working and will probably get the virus regardless of what rich people do.
  2. The non-essential people, who will be fired and plunged into poverty precisely because so many virtuous rich people are staying home, not spending money.

In the case of these non-essential people, the virtuous rich have effectively decided that it is better for these people to be subjected to a depression than it is for them to get the virus. The rich–who are largely insulated from the consequences of a depression–feel better about impoverishing tens of millions of people than they do about killing a few million. That, at the end of the day, is what is driving our policy–what makes virtuous rich people feel good about themselves.

They justify this position by arguing that those who argue for prioritising the economy are just the vulgar rich, that defending the economy can only be about propping up the stock market. Their argument presumes that the primary victim in a depression is the rich guy who sees his stock portfolio implode rather than the poor guy who loses his job. It's a bizarre premise. Why make it? Because the virtuous rich are constantly thinking about the noble sacrifices they themselves are making–they are letting their own assets fall in value, they are giving up outings to fancy coffee shops and craft breweries. They don't think about what depressions do to ordinary folks.

Many of the virtuous rich have even begun to enjoy staying home–because when you are rich, staying home and ordering everything off of Amazon isn't a bad life. A world where we don't have to leave the house, where we are in charge of our schedules, where we get to spend lots of extra time with family, all of that sounds perfectly lovely to many of them. They think of their time at home as a time for self-improvement.

That is not how it will be experienced for the many. The school closures alone have already sent millions of children back to broken homes. The stay-at-home order traps them in abusive situations. The economic fallout yet to come will make couples fight about money and break millions of families that would have otherwise held together. New abusive dynamics will be created, and many people will eventually be pushed into addiction and crime. Young adults, just starting careers, will see their lifetime earnings slashed. They'll delay having kids, or never have them, or have them and struggle to bring them up well. $1,200 from the government won't cut it. The economy will one day recover, but many people never will. For too many, this will be the turning point, where things could have worked out and could have been okay, but they won't be okay. They'll never be okay again.

The virus primarily targets the old. A depression primarily targets children and young families. By the time the November election comes, it will be too late for any of them to have a say. The important decisions will be taken now, by rich people, behind keyboards in well-furnished homes.

The vulgar rich don't care about the poor, but ordinary people may be forced to align with them to avoid the carnage the virtuous rich would inflict upon them. The coming cleavage seems clear–the right is going to argue for prioritising the economy. Its motivations will be vulgar, but many poor and vulnerable people will prefer to brave the virus and keep their jobs, especially after the economic crisis takes hold, especially if the stimulus money runs out. The centrists will argue for prioritising defending life, at unlimited economic cost, come what may.

What about the left? Can it do anything? The left wants this to be the moment when we all realise this system–which forces us to submit ourselves and our loved ones to the virus to avoid an economic apocalypse–is rotten to the core. On Twitter, you can find activists trying to popularise #NotDying4WallStreet and #GeneralStrike. But it's not going to happen. Our economy threatens people's homes, their children, their marriages. They are not in position to refuse work, to risk the abyss. Who is? The rich, of course. And with Bernie Sanders leaving the stage, this is what the left has once again become–the idle dreams of the virtuous rich.

It was Karl Marx who sought to make it something more. Marx is the one who rejected the utopian socialists, because they didn't have a theory of change that was embedded in conditions. The utopians wanted capitalism to give way in a moment of transcendence in which our virtues defeated our vices once and for all. That was not Marx's future–his was a future in which capitalism would create so much abundance that employment would become a pointless relic of a bygone age. Now today's left wishes to shrink the economy rather than grow it, by moral crusade rather than proletarian revolution.

The virtuous rich mean well. They want to save lives. But there's more to life than living. Depressions are torture for the vulnerable, and if this goes on for long enough, many will beg for death before the end. This is the contradiction we are stuck in, as long as this system persists–we need the vulgar to save us from the virtuous. The end of capitalism will come not from those who are free to make moral choices about whether or not to stay home, but from those who have no choice at all but to continue going out and selling their labor until no one is left willing to buy it. That day is yet to come.

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Friday, March 27, 2020

ANS -- Behind Trump’s Decisions, Unfathomable to the Left, Lies a Deep Reserve of Tribute on the Right

This is about how Trump's followers think and what they are thinking.  We had better convince everyone who doesn't want to vote for Trump to get out and vote in November, or he might get a second term.  

Behind Trump's Decisions, Unfathomable to the Left, Lies a Deep Reserve of Tribute on the Right

Suiting up to deal with a pandemic. (Photo/U.S. Army)

Three days ago, March 23, President Trump signaled his intent to relax guidelines on self-quarantining, saying "the cure can't be worse than the disease." Health authorities and citizens all over the country (including me) reacted with profound dismay at such a precipitous and apparently dangerous decision.

But across a separate civic and political landscape — call it The Great Divide — the president's decision to open the economy and tilt away from public safety is evidence of why Trump is revered. His public opinion poll numbers on performance are inching up and Gallup this week said that 60 percent of Americans they polled give him high marks for managing the crisis.

I spent several days this week trying to understand that surprising finding by studying reporting and commentary across the Trump-supporting on-line media community. I wanted to develop a deeper understanding of why the president was so confident about the March 23 announcement.

I occasionally read and view popular arch-conservative media, and have a working knowledge of its message and rancor. But following what looks to be the most consequential presidential decision of our lifetimes, I wanted to know more about what led to it.

Some of this may be familiar to you in the abstract. A good bit was new to me. My conclusion is that even if the virus really gets out of hand and kills thousands more Americans, Trump could win the 2020 election. His supporters are mobilized and energized to vote in droves. The lapses and insults and erratic behavior that make Trump a loathed figure on the left are precisely the personality traits that solidify his popularity on the right. Democrats are going to need to get 'way down in the muck and fight as never before to inspire and motivate their supporters to turn out in record numbers to beat him.

One reason, according to billions of words written and hours of video broadcast by Trump-supporting media, is that in their eyes, and through their eyes to the hearts and minds of their faithful audiences, Donald Trump can do no wrong. The president's supporters, roughly half of voting age Americans, adore him. Not only is he seen as a once-in-a-generation leader, he is superbly adept at commanding the moment just the way they think it ought to be dominated. His supporters see Trump as prepared and capable of not only making the right decisions, but also doing so with joyful acid attacks on people and institutions they loathe – Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, the New York Times and Washington Post, CNN, Democrats, liberals, and most especially Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Drive through Covid-19 testing. (Photo: National Guard)

A second reason for Trump's staying power is that his supporters see an attack on him as an insult to them, a hostile misguided rocket strike on their principles and values. Criticism of Trump produces measures of angry, stinging bitterness I've never before encountered when reporting on political figures.

"These globalist vultures hate the American worker more than anyone," Wayne Dupree, a columnist widely distributed on Trump-supporting blogs and web sites, wrote on March 23. "That's why these ghouls want open borders, migrants, illegal aliens, and things like NAFTA—all of the things that have put us in this vulnerable place with the coronavirus. Globalism kills, and Pelosi and Schumer are the faces of it."

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, added this the same day: "One of the responses he shut down is another deep state attempted coup, coordinated with their international puppet partners to attack the economy in grand scale of illusion, counting on The People not to look at comparative statistics (tested negative, positive, recovered, dead, total population)."

Like Trump, his supporters identify and close on events and ideas they view as left-leaning abuses. During the debate over the new stimulus proposal, wind and solar industries and their allies among Democratic and Republican lawmakers, wanted to extend tax credits for solar and wind development. The clean energy industry, they argued, was getting hammered by the virus as much as any other sector.

President Trump with Vice President Pence and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin (White House photo)

Conservative Trump-favoring media, which supported assistance to Boeing, airlines, and big oil, ridiculed the idea, which they blamed for delaying Congressional voting. "The evil anti-American globalist Democrats have overplayed their hand," wrote Political Insider, a well-read website. "They have decided to make this virus pandemic political and, in the process, they are stomping on the backs of the American workers who are scared, unsure, and struggling, all so Democrats can try and weasel out some 'solar tax credits'. My God, these people are monsters."

When the pandemic is over, Congress is sure to hold hearings and the government is likely to convene a Covid-19 Commission, much like the Warren Commission (Kennedy Assassination) and the 9/11 Commission, to investigate what happened. From my perspective, Trump dithered and obfuscated and deflected and lied about the risks of the fast-developing epidemic…until he abruptly and wisely declared a national emergency. He and his governmental departments, rife with empty seats and "acting supervisors" in critical agency leadership positions, have been dangerously slow and clumsy in managing this crisis.

The millions of Americans in Trump's army, though, see only clear, decisive, effective management, and lies by his opponents that are meant to help beat him in November. "The open borders crowd would NEVER have done what Trump did immediately to control the spread," wrote No Bull Cause, a Facebook page. "As soon as he limited travel, all they did was complain that he was "xenophobic"! Now they want you to believe they would have been MORE decisive. Come on! They have no credibility left. They'd rather scare the country into hating Trump.

"That's always been their only goal. Get rid of Trump…at ANY cost. Behind the scenes, they consider the danger to your health and to the economy to be just their latest opportunity for political gain. The consequences for the nation are simply collateral damage in their war on Donald Trump."

Trump and his supporters do not recognize the evidence of delayed, then precipitous and malignant decision-making that his opponents condemn. Trump and his supporters apparently have no concept of the potential for much more widespread disease and mortality. Science and safety be damned.

His base is powerful and mobilized to vote. Will Democrats be as inspired and more mobilized to beat him?

I live in Trump country. I know and see the pride people take in displaying MAGA hats and bumper stickers. I also know that Incumbents are hard to beat.

Out of 11 presidents in my lifetime only three were beaten for a second term — Ford, Carter, and Bush. I'm not as confident as I want to be that Trump is a one-termer. So many of his supporters back the president and delight in his tirades against the 'libtards', snowflakes, mainstream media, and the educated, whom they think of as elitists.

Will losing a child or a grandparent in this pandemic change that? Likely not. Trump is turning to his very big base for support in making stupendously important and premature decisions about withdrawing freedom of movement restrictions. It's a perilous turning point for those of us making informed decisions. But for Trump's admirers it's a courageous move to Make America Great Again.


2 Replies to "Behind Trump's Decisions, Unfathomable to the Left, Lies a Deep Reserve of Tribute on the Right"

  1. Good but frightening analysis. He borders on a veritable modern day Jim Jones in his utter disregard for the lives of his disciples and his deep-seated fear of intellect. He is, unfortunately, a textbook case of many mental and emotional conditions.

  2. This was accurate five years ago and it is, unfortunately, still valid.

    October 7, 2015—Results from the continuing survey conducted via the website ( are beginning to verify the weakness of the "polling" numbers for Donald Trump, who is running as a brand and not a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.

    This according to Gary Tobin (, who established the site "Our polling is rigorous and not influenced by any candidate, party or political pundit," said Tobin. "You can trust me on this."

    Tobin said that the results of his first survey press release in September received more than 20,000 hits, citing results from Business Wire (over which the release was distributed) as well as "votes" directed to the site from the Internet, Facebook, Linked and Twitter. Business Wire is owned by Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway. "You can't do better than that," said Tobin.

    To invoke statistical verification techniques championed by Trump, Tobin said, "Our results are the most scientific and accurate anywhere in the world."

    Tobin said there was a marked increase in the number of voters who claimed to be "billionaires" and "who noted the attendance of Hillary Clinton" at their wedding. "Who am I to doubt these claims," said Tobin. "If you trust Don's claims about his wealth despite evidence to the contrary, you have to believe my numbers."

    People continue to be most troubled his proclivity for personal insult and his stand on immigration issues. They also find him "bombastic" and "egotistical."

    Tobin said he continued to keep personal tabs on the results. "I am taking my cues from Donnie regarding the provision of substance to support claims."

    The site has added a comment section and several new categories for responses. "We are providing our constituency with an alternative place to express their opinions and to voice their concerns," he said.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

ANS -- Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents

Here's a link to some scientific info about the novel corona virus and how to kill it.  Jack posted it on FaceBook with his summary, which I copy here:
Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents


Jack Owicki 

Here's a meta-analysis, just published, that concludes that a cationic detergent like benzalkonium chloride is less effective against human coronaviruses in general than ethanol, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide; it doesn't discuss household soap or detergent:

The analysis of 22 studies reveals that human coronaviruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus or endemic human coronaviruses (HCoV) can persist on inanimate surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to 9 days, but can be efficiently inactivated by surface disinfection procedures with 62–71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite within 1 minute. Other biocidal agents such as 0.05–0.2% benzalkonium chloride or 0.02% chlorhexidine digluconate are less effective.


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Fwd: Fwd: Excellent Explanation

Hello ANS group  -- Here is a reply from another of our readers saying the explanation I sent out earlier was wrong.  I was thinking it was metaphorical, but apparently it wasn't even that.  Just goes to show that there's lots of misinformation going around.  
I apologize.  

---------- Forwarded message ---------
Date: Mon, Mar 23, 2020 at 11:36 PM
Subject: Re: Fwd: Excellent Explanation
To: Kim Cooper <>

See snopes:

You should pass this along to whoever you sent the original to.

On 3/23/20 3:35 PM, Michael Eager wrote:
> There are a few problems with this "explanation".
> First, there are not different kinds of DNA/RNA, with one kind
> recognized by humans and the other kind by other animals.  There is only
> one kind.  Coronaviruses (an RNA virus) infect many animals, including
> humans.  Viruses encode proteins which attach to receptors on cell
> walls.  Different animals have different receptors.  A mutation
> (possibly in a snake or bat) resulted in a coronavirus which could
> attach to receptors on certain human cells, where previously it could not.
> Second, there are no "all human viruses" like seasonal flu.  Seasonal
> flu infects birds (often ducks) and pigs.  There are many variants and
> flu mutates frequently.  Some versions infect humans, some don't.
> Occasionally, one variant, like H1N1 or H5N1 (also called bird flu) is
> transmitted to humans.  Some can only be transmitted from animal to
> human, some have the ability to be transmitted between humans.
> Third, like other viruses, the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 which causes
> Covid-19 is continually mutating.  A study in Wuhan claims to have
> identified two strains, S and L types.  Epidemiologists say that the
> very slight mutations would not have a major impact on the virus, since
> it does not change the virus' proteins. Further, minor mutations (or
> even some major mutations) may have no affect on developing a vaccine,
> since these are based on getting the immune system to recognize foreign
> proteins.
> Fourth, there is no evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 initially could only be
> transmitted from animals to humans and later mutated to be able to
> transmit between humans.  Determining whether community transmission was
> possible was the major issue in the early days of the outbreak.
> I cannot imagine an immunologist at Johns Hopkins saying that a mutating
> virus is scary.  Or that it is slippery.  No scientist would engage in
> fear-mongering or dissemination of mis-information like this.
> See:
> On 3/23/20 2:20 PM, Kim Cooper wrote:
>> Dear ANS group -- this was sent to me from one of our readers.  He
>> mentions that it will mutate again -- I believe it has mutated to
>> attack younger people, which it is now doing a lot more than it did in
>> the beginning.
>> Keep safe,
>> --Kim
>> ---------- Forwarded message ---------
>> From:
>> Date: Wed, Mar 18, 2020 at 2:03 PM
>> Subject: Fwd: Excellent Explanation
>> To: Joyce Patterson-Rogers <
>> <>>
>>> Begin forwarded message:
>>> This a very, very excellent explanation. I'm passing this along.
>>> Take care and be well.
>>> Love,
>>> Here is a little more information on the virus that may help explain
>>> a few things that people don't understand. This is from an
>>> immunologist at Johns Hopkins University.
>>> 🧐🧐🧐
>>> Feeling confused as to why Coronavirus is a bigger deal than Seasonal
>>> flu? Here it is in a nutshell. I hope this helps. Feel free to share
>>> this to others who don't understand...
>>> It has to do with RNA sequencing.... I.e. genetics.
>>> Seasonal flu is an "all human virus". The DNA/RNA chains that make up
>>> the virus are recognized by the human immune system. This means that
>>> your body has some immunity to it before it comes around each year...
>>> you get immunity two ways...through exposure to a virus, or by
>>> getting a flu shot.
>>> Novel viruses, come from animals.... the WHO tracks novel viruses in
>>> animals, (sometimes for years watching for mutations). Usually these
>>> viruses only transfer from animal to animal (pigs in the case of
>>> H1N1) (birds in the case of the Spanish flu). But once, one of these
>>> animal viruses mutates, and starts to transfer from animals to
>>> humans... then it's a problem, Why? Because we have no natural or
>>> acquired immunity.. the RNA sequencing of the genes inside the virus
>>> isn't human, and the human immune system doesn't recognize it so, we
>>> can't fight it off.
>>> Now.... sometimes, the mutation only allows transfer from animal to
>>> human, for years it's only transmission is from an infected animal to
>>> a human before it finally mutates so that it can now transfer human
>>> to human... once that happens..we have a new contagion phase. And
>>> depending on the fashion of this new mutation, thats what decides how
>>> contagious, or how deadly it's gonna be..
>>> H1N1 was deadly....but it did not mutate in a way that was as deadly
>>> as the Spanish flu. It's RNA was slower to mutate and it attacked its
>>> host differently, too.
>>> Fast forward.
>>> Now, here comes this Coronavirus... it existed in animals only, for
>>> nobody knows how long...but one day, at an animal market, in Wuhan
>>> China, in December 2019, it mutated and made the jump from animal to
>>> people. At first, only animals could give it to a person... But here
>>> is the scary part.... in just TWO WEEKS it mutated again and gained
>>> the ability to jump from human to human. Scientists call this quick
>>> ability, "slippery"
>>> This Coronavirus, not being in any form a "human" virus (whereas we
>>> would all have some natural or acquired immunity). Took off like a
>>> rocket. And this was because, Humans have no known immunity...doctors
>>> have no known medicines for it.
>>> And it just so happens that this particular mutated animal virus,
>>> changed itself in such a way the way that it causes great damage to
>>> human lungs..
>>> That's why Coronavirus is different from seasonal flu, or H1N1 or any
>>> other type of influenza.... this one is slippery AF. And it's a lung
>>> eater...And, it's already mutated AGAIN, so that we now have two
>>> strains to deal with, strain s, and strain L....which makes it twice
>>> as hard to develop a vaccine.
>>> We really have no tools in our shed, with this. History has shown
>>> that fast and immediate closings of public places has helped in the
>>> past pandemics. Philadelphia and Baltimore were reluctant to close
>>> events in 1918 and they were the hardest hit in the US during the
>>> Spanish Flu.
>>> Factoid: Henry VIII stayed in his room and allowed no one near him,
>>> till the Black Plague passed...(honestly...I understand him so much
>>> better now). Just like us, he had no tools in his shed, except social
>>> isolation...
>>> And let me end by saying....right now it's hitting older folks
>>> harder... but this genome is so slippery...if it mutates again (and
>>> it will). Who is to say, what it will do next.
>>> Be smart folks... acting like you're unafraid is so not sexy right now.
>>> #flattenthecurve
>>> <>.
>>> Stay home folks... and share this to those that just are not catching
>>> on. 🤓

Michael Eager
1960 Park Blvd., Palo Alto, CA 94306

Monday, March 23, 2020

ANS -- Marco Rubio seems to forget how Castro came to power.

Here is some history that you don't usually hear with respect to Cuba.  There is some discussion afterward, but the article seems to be about right according to what we know about Cuban history. 

Bernie Sanders made the claim in the 1980s that the reason the Cuban people didn't help overthrow Castro's government was that he educated the people, and gave them other socialized concessions, like healthcare. Rubio fired back, stating that the real reason they didn't help overthrow Fidel's government was that he "jailed, murdered or exiled dissidents."

This statement is something a historical revisionist might tell you. The question here isn't about whether or not the Cuban government jailed or executed dissidents, it's about whether or not that sort of governing would work to maintain power, in the instance of Cuba.

Before Fidel Castro, Cuba was ruled by a pro-U.S, pro-capitalist dictator by the name of Fulgencio Batista. During his first term, he was a more moderate president, with backings from labour unions, and even the very small at the time communist party. After his term ended, he moved to the U.S, only to return about half a decade later to run again. With his electorate chances very slim, he decided to jump the gun and seize power through military force.

Batista had a secret police organization. It went by the name of "Bureau for the Repression of Communist Activities" or BRAC. This was an organization that, with both intelligence and financial support from the United States, brutalized anti-Batista dissidents. There was tight media censorship, public executions, arrests, and torture, and other forms of thuggish government control.

Despite Batista jailing, exiling, and executing dissidents, Fidel Castro still managed to overthrow his government. The argument that repression is all it takes to maintain power is an unsubstantiated notion. This paints a picture that the Communist government of Cuba is unpopular, and maintains power simply through repression. Castro managed to overthrow a U.S backed dictator with less than 500 people.

There isn't something magical about Fidel Castro's repression that makes it impossible for an unpopular government to be overthrown. If we compare Castro's government to Batista's, and U.S support to Soviet support, there's no reason that Castro couldn't be overthrown just the same as Batista. Except for one stark difference; Fidel Castro was immensely popular and beloved by his people. The Communist party remains popular as well. This popularity is why it was possible for Batista to be ousted, but not Castro. It's not too often that a "dictatorship" goes through three head of state changes within the same ruling party, with an allegedly unpopular government, without some event causing the state to crumble. That is a sign of a stable country.

If the conditions people like Marco Rubio described actually existed in Cuba, there would be widespread civil unrest, and possibly a civil war. The proof of the stability of Cuba lies in its status as a somewhat popular tourist destination. Even the U.S travel advisory only rates Cuba a 2, whereas a country like Syria, which has widespread civil unrest is rated a 4, the highest rating, urging against travel. And Cuba's 2 rating is mostly related to medical reasons, not political ones.

Now things have changed a lot since Castro was in power, but the argument isn't that Cuba stopped being a brutal dictatorship after Castro, the argument is that it is still one. But, dictatorship or not, the Communist party has had widespread support from the people of Cuba since Batista began attempts to repress it. And if it didn't have that, the Bay of Pigs invasion, the failed attempt at Cuban exiles overthrowing Castro, might have gone very differently.

I urge Marco Rubio, and others, to hear some opinions from people outside of the U.S, rather than projecting their beliefs onto entire populaces. Rubio has made it very clear he doesn't like the Cuban government. These feelings he has have made it very difficult for him to comprehend that not everyone feels the same way he does. Listening to more Cubans in Havana, instead of just the ones in Miami, will help create a more holistic picture of how Cubans feel regarding the legacy of Fidel Castro.