Fidel thinks Americans should vote for a robot over Obama

First Fidel Castro came out against fracking. Now, only days later, he's come out against Barack Obama. In his latest "reflection" in state-run media on Monday, the former Cuban leader declared that a "robot" would do a better job governing the United States and preventing "a war that would end the life of our species" than President Obama, "for whom, in his desperate quest for reelection, the dreams of [Martin] Luther King are more light years away than earth is from the nearest habitable planet."

It's biting stuff from a man who in 2008 described Obama as "more intelligent, refined, and even-handed" than his Republican challenger John McCain, whom Castro labeled "old, belligerent, uncultivated, unintelligent, and in poor health" (the Comandante, no spring chicken, doesn't mince words, does he?). In 2009, Castro expressed faith in Obama's "honesty" about wanting to reach out to Cuban leaders and surprise that Obama's popularity was declining, blaming the phenomenon on "traditional racism" in America (during the 2008 campaign, he argued that millions of white Americans "cannot reconcile themselves to the idea that a black person ... could occupy the White House, which is called just that: white"). A year later, Castro praised Obama's health care reform, though he tweaked the U.S. leader on climate change and immigration reform.

In fact, Castro has been growing disillusioned with Obama for some time. In September, Castro condemned the NATO intervention in Libya, declaring that Obama, the "yankee president," had served up "gibberish" during an address at the U.N. General Assembly and committed "monstrous crimes" in Libya. A few days later, Castro scoffed at Obama's suggestion that the United States would consider softening its stance toward Cuba if the Cuban government made a serious effort to "provide liberty for its people," and called Obama "stupid" in reference to the case of five Cuban agents imprisoned in the United States for spying.

But, lest recent headlines like "CANDIDATE-BOT 3000 Model 'Mitt Romney' Being Glitchy Today" and "I Think Mitt Romney Is a Shape-Shifting Robot" confuse you, Castro does not appear to be endorsing the Republican frontrunner. In his op-ed, Castro added that the Republicans were worse still -- carrying "more nuclear arms on their backs than ideas for peace in their heads."

And as pundits lavish their attention today on the latest polling out of New Hampshire, Castro likes the robot's chances. "I'm sure 90 percent of voting Americans, especially Hispanics, blacks, and the growing number of impoverished middle class, would vote for the robot," he declared. Anyone want to go out on a limb and predict a robot write-in victory in the Granite State?

Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images


Will Assad's supporters flee to Israel?

Reuters has a small, strange story today about Israeli preparations to offer refuge to members of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's sect in the event that his regime falls. "We are preparing to take in Alawite refugees on the Golan Heights," said Israel Defense Forces chief Benny Gantz to a Knesset committee on Tuesday.

There's only one problem with that offer: There aren't many Alawites on the Golan Heights. The region is overwhelmingly Sunni and Druze -- communities that would likely come out on top in a post-Assad Syria. Ghajar, a disputed village of a couple thousand along the Syrian-Lebanese border, appears to be the last Alawite community in the region.

So to flee to Israel in any significant numbers, Alawites living in Damascus or Syria's northwestern mountains would have two options: They could brave the journey across the presumably hostile Golan Heights, or they could travel into Lebanon and cross along its southeastern border, presumably at Ghajar. Why these Alawites would prefer Israel over south Lebanon -- home of the Assad's longtime ally, Hezbollah -- is a mystery.

Given the improbability of this scenario, the most likely explanation is that Gantz was trying to tweak Assad -- saying, in effect, that Israel would offer relief to his people once he no longer could. But the premise of his remarks -- that Alawites would be forced to flee for their lives after Assad fell -- isn't a sentiment that Syria's opposition will welcome. Gantz's statements may have been anti-Assad, but they weren't pro-revolution.