21 September 2010

Multiple Choice

I’m probably the only Volvo-driving, France-loving , latte-sucking, tofu-chomping holistic-wacko, neurotic vegan weenie anti-Castro Cuban blogger. Maybe not, I prefer café con leche to latte.

As a Democrat, I have philosophical differences on the size and scope of government with most of my fellow Cuban bloggers. But we do agree that in civil, economic and political life should all be based on free exchange of ideas.

A government by the people and for the people can be a proactive and positive force in society.

We all know what happens when government isn’t for the people.

In recent years, government has grown so that it seems that it doesn’t exist for the governed but for the governors. The governed have become the masses to be lead to wherever the governing class sees fit.

And that is tyranny.

Side-stepping the democratic process in order to exercise a party’s political will against the will of the people as was done when the National Healthcare bill was passed is not government for the people. It is government in spite of the people.

And in spite of the out of control governing class dictating how we live our lives, I figured the “masses” had pretty much given up and were more concerned with Dancing With the Stars and American Idol than with their elected officials

Lo and behold, though, came the tea party. Out of nowhere. And they are mocked, even by the sitting president, as “tea baggers.” Sad.

And I’m watching the news last night and hear the very same President say:

"So the challenge, I think, for the Tea Party movement is to identify, specifically, what would you do?" he added. "It's not enough just to say get control of spending. I think it's important for you to say, I'm willing to cut veterans' benefits or I'm willing to cut Medicare or Social Security benefits or I'm willing to see these taxes go up. What you can't do, which is what I've been hearing a lot from the other side, is we're going to control government spending, we're going to propose $4 trillion of additional tax cuts, and that magically somehow things are going to work. Now, some of these are very difficult choices."

Now, for starters, if you accept President Obama’s premise that’s it’s up to the citizens, because after all, the tea party is just that, a bunch of concerned citizens, why should it be their responsibility to come up with the $4 trillion he and the current congress has put us in the hole for? Isn’t that what elected leaders are for? to solve or problems? That’s like blaming the crime victim for the crime.

But no, I do not accept his premise that it’s up to the tea partiers, or citizens, to come up with a plan to fix his mess.

I don’t really think he President Obama gets it. I know he’s a constitutional professor and all, but really. The above quote, to me is mind boggling.

In a democracy, we have elections. Elections are tests, multiple choice tests. A, B or C. They are not essay questions.

If the law professor doesn’t realize this soon, the next few elections may very well turn out to be even simpler-a true and false test, yes or no. And the citizens will say no to his premise that its their responsibility to come up with solution for their leader’s messes and kick him and his like – minded elitists out.

14 September 2010


I’ve pretty much given up reading “news” on Cuba. It pretty much all boils down to some “reporter” parroting the regime’s lies. This guy here, Marc Frank, apparently likes parroting the party line since before becoming Reuter’s man in Havana he wrote for the People’s Daily World, a Communist Party USA publication. Heh.

Frankly, I didn’t realize that Frank had written this piece for the Financial Times that I linked into from Drudge, so I started reading and (screaming at my screen).

So, as a therapeutic exercise, I have copied that article here along with my expletive deleted comments.

I don’t feel better now.

Financial Times
Economy & Trade

Cuba to cut 500,000 from state payroll
By Marc Frank in Havana

Published: September 13 2010

Communist Cuba will shift (shift?)hundreds of thousands of state employees to the private sector (what private sector?) in 2011 as the government prunes more than 500,000 workers from its payroll.

The official trade union federation (the regime) said on Monday that eventually more than a million jobs would be cut. (Is it still going to be illegal not to have a job in Cuba?)

“Job options will be increased and broadened with new forms of non-state employment, among them leasing land, co-operatives and self-employment absorbing hundreds of thousands of workers in the coming years,” (in the coming …years!…hmm…does the socialist paradise have unemployment insurance?) the union statement said.

According to a document circulating within the higher ranks of the Communist party in preparation for the “reorganisation of the labour force” announced on Monday, 465,000 non-state jobs would be created in 2011, of which some 250,000 would fall under the category of new licences for self-employment. (ha I see the regime controlled “private sector”)

Self-employment, begun in the 1990s, (wow, Fidel invented self-employment in the 1990’s..wasn’t his mother self employed in the world’s oldest form of self employment?) covers everything from family-run restaurants to car repair shops, construction and artisans. Non-state jobs included workers hired by the self-employed, ex-state employees such as taxi drivers who would move to a leasing arrangement, and employees of small state businesses that went over to a co-operative form of administration, said sources who have seen the plan. (sounds like a well centrally planned private sector)

The plan represents the most important reform undertaken by President Raúl Castro since he took over from his brother Fidel in early 2008, and the biggest shift to private enterprise since all 58,000 small! businesses were nationalised in 1968.( in 1968 ?!?! 9 years after Fidel & co. turned the place into a concentration camp? How about all the businesses confiscated from 1959 to 1968?!?!? BUT in one year they will create 250,000 jobs….hmmm….so between 1959 and 1968…never mind…in 1968, Cuban exiles owned more than 58,000 small businesses in the US)

Raúl Castro has fostered discussion in the media (lies) and grassroots meetings (more lies) on the problems afflicting the socialist economy, (an oxymoron) but he has made mostly minor changes up till now. The exception has been agriculture, where Mr Castro has leased state lands to 100,000 farmers and loosened the state straitjacket on sale of farm inputs and produce. (some private sector, they get to work the government’s land…more like the feudal sector, really)

The government reported ( and I parrot without question) more than 85 per cent of the Cuban labour force, or about 5m people, worked for the state at the close of 2009. There were 591,000 workers in the private sector, with most of those being farmers (serfs) and 143,000 self-employed. (slaves) The massive layoff of 10 per cent of the state labour force is scheduled to begin in October and stretch through March. New licences for self-employment would be issued beginning in October , the sources said.

Geographical limitations on self-employment and prohibitions on obtaining bank credits, doing business with state entities or hiring labour outside the family, would be eliminated. (not to mention what criteria will be used to issue these licenses? Will Yoani Sanchez or Darsi Ferrer be issued licenses? Who needs to get bribed to get a “license”, Antonio Castro?....please!)

Better accounting would be demanded of businesses, and the way they were taxed would be changed. As well as taxes on income, the self-employed would pay a sales tax and 25 per cent social security tax for themselves and each employee, the sources said, while co-operatives would pay a tax on profits and social security.(wonder if they’re issuing any licenses for tax attorneys?)

The state expected tax revenue from the self-employed to jump from 250m pesos ($9.4m) this year to about a billion pesos in 2011, the sources said. (or else…you don’t want to have to get audited by state security)

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2010. Print a single copy of this article for personal use. Contact us if you wish to print more to distribute to others.

11 May 2010

Blue Movies

OK, so I don’t go to the movies.

I haven’t been to a movie theater in years.

For a while there, every time I went to the movies I would regret it. I’ve had the cell phone talker, the narrator, the chatter all sitting near me. Hell, I’ve even had the snorer and the soundtrack singer. So eventually I gave up and just wait for the movies to come out on DVD.

This weekend a friend got “Avatar” in Blue Ray and invited me over. He takes pity on me because I still watch a 27 inch analog tube TV.

Oh boy. Great effects. After a while you swear those cartoons are real.

However…what about the plot?…unreal.

After the movie was over, I proceeded to explain to everyone why they had just sat through communist propaganda. Laughter ensued.

People just can’t believe that I just can’t sit there and enjoy a movie without looking for the subliminal red flags of communist propaganda. I don’t know, maybe I’m just gifted or cursed.

Avatar, of course, pins the noble savages against the capitalist profit seeking military-industrial complex.

The blue “aboriginals”, (really, red would have been more original), of course, live as one with Mother Nature in a communal egalitarian Utopia. They are so communal that they even connect to the planet, Pandora, and every living thing on it through some tentacle-like appendages. They are like “the Borg” only nicer.

These folks don’t have material possessions, or clothes and they don’t need them because since they understand that they are part of the collective whole. All they need to do to be happy is to be one with each other. Awe.

Their memories are collective. They are ruled by a wise old leader who has inherited his position. No need for elections or debate here. He makes all the decisions.

In the Pandoran jungle Utopia, they are all equal and call each other brother or sister, depending on their genitals. And they refer to themselves as “The People.” (The People’s Republic of the Na’vi, anyone?)

Now, of course, this sounds a lot like John Lennon’s candy coated communist manifesto, “Imagine,” except for the “no religion” part because Na’vi worship a tree or something. (not too sure on that). Maybe they should have been green instead of blue, but green or red people are not as stylish as blue people and the left is all about style.

But it also sounds a lot like Castro’s idea of a perfect society. Or a leftist Hollywood wet drem. Oh wait, Castro is leftists Hollywood’s wet dream.

And the answer to the question of whether I can enjoy a movie for “just” entertainment is yes.

But, Avatar, is a movie with a message. It is a morality tale and as such you are supposed to “get something out of it.” And I did. A bunch of collective, communist propaganda.

Really, I don’t know see how you can get anything else out of it. You have the individualists who are out for themselves on one side and the collectivists who sacrifice their individuality on the other and the whole point is to show the viewer how suppressing their individuality for the good of the whole is the way to roll.

Unfortunately, us humans are not built to roll that way and the only way to make humans roll that way is for heads to roll because we have to be forced, or coerced …or brainwashed…err…educated by cool, friendly cartoon characters.

God, isn’t that just what the evil capitalists do when they advertise?

06 May 2010

And A Little Birdie Told Me...

I was a mischievous child. Always up to some secretive mischief.

I thought I could get away with anything.

A psychologists would probably say I was “Acting out,” but it was rebellion. Totalitarian society encourages small individual acts of rebellion, I think.

And I was thinking about my “acting out” and I though of my grandmother, Ramona.

That old woman loved me more than anything. And I knew it. And I would take advantage of it.

I remember playing with the veins in her wrinkly hands. I don’t know why I remember that, but I do. And I remember her telling me about all the bad things that I thought I had done secretly and I would ask her how she knew and I remember her telling me a little birdie told her and I would be furious at the little, big mouthed bird.

And I think back in amazement of how such a young child would know about the evils and dangers of communism and know enough to keep his mouth shut yet he believed that some little bird was ratting him out. I guess it kind of made sense that in a place where everybody was ratting everybody else out, even their own family, and all the walls had ears that birdies would tell all. But, still, the cynicism mixed with innocence is mind-blowing in retrospect.

And so I think of Ramona, and the little birdies that talk to her. They told her Fidel was a devil when they perched on his shoulder in that now infamous “sign”

And I remember watching the tattle taling, gusano eating, chivato birds flying freely around while we were trapped in the world/s biggest bird cage. The birds, they were free. Free to fly to Florida and eat Ham and chew chiclets and play with Rosie.

And I also remember the time I freed the “azulejos” by opening their cage door, but I don’t remember if I did it because I hated them because they told on me or because I wanted them to fly North. I just remember getting in trouble for it.

And I was reading Yoani’s blog the other day and she had a post about a “Wild Beast” and it was about “Twitter”. Twitter’s logo is a blue bird and the whole purpose of “tweeting” is to tell everybody what you’re doing,(sometimes to annoying detail).

And Yoani was talking about how equipped with a cell phone, dissidents can tell a little blue birdie called “Twitter” what’s going on in the Cuban cage in “ 140 character fragments” so the little birdie can tell all

He didn’t know that our tweets travel to cyberspace through the rough sending of
text-only messages by way of cellphones. Nor could he imagine that instead of
ending up in the hands of a member of the British intelligence services, our
brief texts go to this blue bird that makes them fly through cyberspace.

And I though of how the birdies are signing and a different tune and how its being heard all over the world…

…a little birdie told me.

19 April 2010

And the hits keep coming...

And so in the last post I explained why I find it offensive to call the tea party people “tea baggers”

But it gets much worse than that.

Now we have the president of the US mocking concerned American citizens because they don’t share his world view.

Being a life long Democrat, I’m not all too thrilled about has happened to the Democratic party in the last 20 years, It has been high jacked by the left-over left of the sixties, by a bunch of now over the hill clueless hippies.

So I was, unlike some of my friends, a bit pleased to see that someone was making an attempt to lure the president back from the left edge of radical foreign policy by dangling some green in front of him.

Of course, I’m talking about the Estefans.

In reality, politics is about influence and influence is about money and Obama proved that it’s pretty easy to buy his influence even if it’s by one of the only minorities that don’t march lock and step with the Democratic party-The Cubans.

Sorry, I’m not a fan of one-party systems.

Now, in a candy coated way, the ever “diplomatic” and “politically correct” Gloria said as much:

The beauty of this amazing nation is that anything is possible! Even hosting a very political evening to get the “ear” of my President

And in a not so diplomatic way, Estefan warned the president that the considerable sum she helped raise for his party came with some strings attached by quoting
Dr. Lawrence J. Peter:

“Democracy is a process by which the people are free to choose the man who will get the blame.”

Unfortunately, while he was in Miami the president decided to do to the American people the very thing that the Estefans were lobbying him to put pressure on the Castro regime to stop doing to the Cuban people.

See, the Castros, through their sate – run media ridicule and mock any opposition in order to marginalize it and that is exactly what president Obama did. During the fundraiser, the president had this to say about the tea partiers who were protesting on tax day:

`You'd think they would be saying thank you,''

As far as I know past presidents have always shrugged off protesters and critics rather than to try to mock and ridicule them.

At least he didn’t call them tea baggers or terrorists.

The latter fell to former president Bill Clinton who warned that those angry tea partiers could incite home grown terror a la Oklahoma City bombing:

"But when you get mad, sometimes you wind up producing exactly the reverse result of what you say you are for."

Sure... Timothy McVeigh was home watching “I Love Lucy” re-runs and tuned into some anti-Clinton protest on TV and decided to kill a bunch a people.

If you listen to these two presidents, you get the impression that they would have sided with the tax loving King George instead of with the American patriots.

But that’s not the point. One can shrug off their point of view.

It’s much harder to understand why these two can’t just shrug of the respectful and sincere criticism of many taxpayers who don’t agree with them and try to blame the people rather than realize that ultimately, in a democracy it is the people who choose who's to blame.

17 April 2010


I haven’t been writing lately. Frankly, the run-up to the 2008 election and the election of a President who thinks that the US constitution is flawed shook me to the core. The cult of then candidate and now president Obama’s personality, all hinging on vague concepts like hope and change and Marxist inspired posters as well as the inability of the opposition to mount a coherent defense of the core American value of a constitutionally limited government, brought back such horrible memories of the Cuban tragedy, that I resorted to burying my head in the sand for over a year, playing ostrich, barely sticking it out on occasion to mutter “I’ve seen this movie before.”

At times, I’ve threatened, in desperate jest, to go back to Cuba. I tell my life partner that I already rode the runaway train of socialism down once and have no desire to do it again. At least Cuba has already hit rock bottom.

And so here I am today, writing. Head out of the sand and squinting. Grimacing at all that my senses are taking in. Surrounded by an all too familiar ugly, foul smelling, painful reality that’s leaving a bitter taste in my mouth.

I was watching TV and they were talking about the tea party activists. Whatever. They wear t-shirts and hats, make signs, wave them at the TV cameras, pat themselves on the back and tell each other what great Americans they are and then they go home and nothing changes. A stupid waste of time, really. Kind of like going to a Star Trek convention.

And they were referring to these folks as “tea baggers.” Apparently this is offensive.

Sheesh! Everyone is way too sensitive these days.

Then, I read on a blog that “tea bagging” was a “sexually” offensive epithet and Hah! that made me interested enough to Google “tea bagger” on my miraculous 3G smart phone and Oh My God!, or OMG in 2010 text lingo. Who knew?!? I certainly didn’t. Wow, right there on Wikipedia! It takes a lot to make this old “gusano” blush.

Oh, pardon my spanglish. Lemme esplain what a gusano is…

Ah yes, “gusano”, Spanish for worm, a lowly, belly crawling creature that feeds off rotting carcasses and refuse. That’s what I was called in Cuba when I was a kid. That’s what all of us who didn’t think Fidel Castro had all the answers or was the only one with the right to ask questions were called.

I mean if you didn’t think that government, Fidel’s or Batista’s or Pepito’s, could abolish the constitution, or had the right to force you to do things you didn’t want to do, like “volunteer”, or that it had no right to take your property and give it to someone else, you were a “gusano.” You were a “counter revolutionary”- against the party, against Fidel. So you were ridiculed and shamed with an insulting moniker made to conjure up a disgusting image...a “gusano.”

Some of “gusanos” were lucky enough to escape Castro’s totalitarian amusement park to a place where you could, if you wanted, wear funny t-shirts and hats and wave signs that mostly say hooray for our side and we cherished this more than anyone will ever know. Being allowed to do so, really, even in this day and age, is a rare gift…an unalienable gift endowed by our creator…that’s denied to so many.

And the best thing about this country was that its constitution was so respected that whenever harmless kooks carrying signs and screaming at the tops of their lungs for whatever reason got together and demonstrated, everyone just shrugged.

Imagine that.

Some nut standing in the middle of the street screaming the total opposite of what you believe in and you just shrug.


And why? because of the flawed, according to our president, piece of a paper that founded our government.

Really amazing.

And so I shrugged, starting in November of last year. Because I believe in the constitution and its “negative powers.” I believe in elections.

But when I see celebrities, folks in the media and some elected officials calling these tea party nuts an offensive name like “tea bagger” just because they’re carrying signs and wearing funny t-shirts and hats and patting themselves on the back for being patriots. Damn-it it breaks my heart because it hits way too close to home for this old “gusano.”

These folks aren’t doing anything more than a Trekie does at a Star Trek convention, really. Then, they go home and pay their taxes. I mean, most people shrug off the Trekies (ok some do give understandably quizzical looks), but these tea party folks get called names-a hideous, insulting, sexually charged epithet just because they have a different concept of the role of government.

And really, that you just can’t shrug off.