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)

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