Kettle calls the teapot black: Bush calls Cuba “criminal”

Yesterday, U.S. President George W. Bush took Orwellian audacity to a new level by calling the Cuban government “criminal.”

In a speech, Bush stated that “America will have no part in giving oxygen to a criminal regime victimizing its own people…. The operative word in our future dealings with Cuba is not ‘stability’. The operative word is ‘freedom’.” (source)

To the surprise of no one, the fact that this statement was akin to the kettle calling the teapot black was lost on the members of both the United States and the Canadian press.

So, just to re-cap:

U.S.: One of the few countries left in the world which still executes children. Moreover, “The country which has carried out more documented executions of child offenders than any other since 1990 is the USA.” (source)
Cuba: Has executed zero children. Official government policy believes executing children to be not only illegal but also offensive. (ibid)

U.S.: Engaged in two wars of aggression in the past 6 years (Afghanistan offered to give up Osama bin Laden, but the U.S. refused, saying that war was preferable – source). Moreover, the U.S. has historically either directly or indirectly overthrown democratically-elected governments or given material support to brutal dictators in: Guatemala, Cuba, Chile, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Indonesia, Pakistan, Columbia, Panama, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, The Philippines, South Africa and Democratic Republic of Congo just to name a few.
Cuba: Engaged in zero wars of aggression. Ever. (But did try unsuccessfully to overthrow the U.S.-backed Congolese dictatorship over 40 years ago).

U.S.: Has imposed crushing economic sanctions on the people of Cuba since the 1960s which Amnesty international notes has greatly contributed to the suffering of the Cuban people and economy (source).
Cuba: Was the first country to offer medical aid to the United States following the Katrina disaster in New Orleans. Cuba offered more than 1000 doctors and over 26 tons of medical supplies (source). Incidentally, the U.S. government refused the assistance because FEMA was doing a “heck of a job”.

U.S.: Prison system widely considered to be in violation of singed international treaties on basic human rights of dignity. Also imprisons prisoners of conscience. (source)
Cuba: No “supermax” facilities. Extremely ill and infirm criminals permitted to leave prison for house arrest on humanitarian grounds. Cuba also imprisons prisoners of conscience similar to the United States’s practice. (source)criminal-us-colonies-1775-a.png

Just about the only thing Cuba can be accused of is overthrowing the U.S.-backed dictator Batista in 1959.

But then again, if violent revolution is grounds for being labelled a “criminal” then the British would have a fair case for imposing a “freedom fund” on the United States until it overthrows the “criminal” U.S. government which, after all, arose out of the “criminal” government set up by the 13 Colonies.

Now THAT I’d pay to see (that is, of course, assuming U.K. Prime Minister Brown could first extricate himself from his predecessor’s position firmly inside George W. Bush’s colon. A big assumption, I know).

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20 Responses to “Kettle calls the teapot black: Bush calls Cuba “criminal””


  1. 1 Jamie 26 October, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    The Cuban government is criminal in how they treat commoners! Paul, as a socialist, certainly you would (or at least should) agree!

  2. 2 paulitics 26 October, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    Jamie – “The Cuban government is criminal in how they treat commoners!”

    What does that even mean????

    Jamie, do you understand the structure of an argument?

    If you plan to continue writing one line, nonsensical or non-sequitur comments on my blog en masse, then I will have to moderate your comments.

    I have never once had to moderate a non-spam comment, so please don’t try to break new grounds by being the first.

  3. 3 RPJ 26 October, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    Boy, when Jamie drank the Kool-aid he drank several glasses. Definitely one of the sheeple people. Too bad he has discovered your blog.

  4. 4 rabbit 26 October, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    The U.S.A. is a human rights catastrophe compared to Cuba, which is why thousands upon thousands of Americans attempt to escape to Cuba every year.

    The sincerest vote is the one you make with your feet. If you want to know where the criminal nations are, you need only check to see which ones prevent their citizens from emmigrating.

    Your analysis is a triumph of political ideology over common sense.

  5. 5 paulitics 27 October, 2007 at 8:54 am

    Rabbit – I back up everything I wrote with facts and stats which, I think, are probably slightly more important that your postulate. I noticed that a) you don’t refute any of the facts I present and b) that you’re only (unsupported) point is that perhapse Cuba has a higher rate of emigration than America — yet the Cuban government also forbits its citizens to emigrate.

    Incidentally, the second half of your point is patently false (that the Cuban government bans emigration) and had you even bothered to do some rudimentary research, you’d have uncovered this fact. But, I understand that you don’t want the facts to change your mind, so that particular fact — along with all the ones that I present — are inconvenient for you to acknowledge.

    Moreover, I suggest you go to Cuba and ask Cubans if they’d rather have Castro — who has reduced gross wealth inequality despite a crushing U.S. sanction — or you government’s favoured dictator Batista. If you are so certain that you’re telling the truth, then a little light research on the preference of the majority of Cubans shouldn’t frighten you.

    So, allow me to ask you, since you’ve presented only two arguments: one of which may be true (emigration rates) and the other of which is something which you simply made up. Who do you think is really blinded by ideology: person a) who cites all his sources through the most reliable international NGOs or person b) who makes up stuff to suit their government-funded view of the world?

  6. 6 martinp 28 October, 2007 at 9:48 am

    It’s also a false tautology. Just because a country allows or doesn’t allow emigration has no bearing on whether it is a ‘criminal nation’. If you have two countries and one is making the other poor, then quite obviously people would want to leave the one that is poor, regardless of the reasons for the conditions.

    Of course Cuba is not perfect and Castro is not perfect, and it is certainly not ‘socialism’ in the ‘truest’ sense of socialism. To many people, unfortunately, socialism simply means ‘state ownership and control’, as when americans say canada is ‘socialist’ just because it is a ‘state run’ medical system (sort of).

    However, by that reasoning, the US is the most socialist nation in the world as its government ultimately controls virtually every aspect of its economy, and society, at a level far higher than most others-either by omission or preclusion (protecting a monopoly by not enforcing competition laws for example is government control). Currently it is providing a 100 billion bailout to some of its richest investment firms.

    Anyway, thats a huge ideological argument and virtually everybody in the world sees that for what it is, however, lots of americans, and increasingly canadians are similar brainwashed. But the jury is long out that the world by far sees the US as the most criminal nation on earth, and far more people talk about fear of the US than any terrorist organization.

    NOW, anyway, why I wanted to post is that I cant’ get your stupid podcast to work. I’m not very smart, and when I follow the instructions I don’t get the picture that shows up. And I”m fairly techie minded! Just a thought if you want to save money and make it easier, or just for backups, check out http://www.archive.org and you can just link to the audio right from your site. I use itunes but I almost never subscribe to podcasts, I prefer to pick individual episodes I like. It’s an interesting blog and I’d like to check out your podcast though, but can’t seem to, and can’t find it in the itunes store. Perhaps its because I”m using firefox?

  7. 7 paulitics 28 October, 2007 at 10:47 am

    Martinp, I agree fully with what you wrote. I think you’re quite good to remind us on the left (because espcially we North American leftists really do need reminding) that what we’re saying about the U.S. really isn’t that outrageous of a position — in fact, it’s the most popular position globally. I also think you’re quite right to point out that Castro’s no angel, either. The fact of the matter is that he does hold prisoners of conscience just like the U.S. does. So, while he may not be worse than the U.S. on that front, it is a bit hard to defend him on this matter just by saying that he isn’t as bad as the other guys.

    As for the podcasting stuff, I’ll just e-mail you as I think that’s probably easier.

    Anyway, thanks for the kind words.
    Cheers.

  8. 8 paulitics 28 October, 2007 at 11:10 am

    Martinp,

    Okay, scratch that. I just tried e-mailing you but my e-mail bounced, so I’ll just copy and paste it here.

    ————————————-

    Martin, I think I know why you haven’t been able to subscribe to the podcast. I use firefox as well and I couldn’t subscribe to the podcast by clicking on the iTunes button, I had to do it manually.

    Fortunately, it’s extremely easy to do it manually.

    All you do is copy this:

    http://paulitics.mypodcast.com/rss.xml

    And then open up your iTunes. At the top menu, you’ll see a bunch of options. From left to right, they are:

    “File” “Edit” “Controls” “View” “Store” “Advanced” and then “Help”

    Go into the “Advanced” drop down menu and then click “Subscribe to podcast…”. Then just paste the RSS feed URL you just copied into the white box that pops up and click “OK”.

    It’ll start downloading the first episode (which, for now, is all that’s available) right away.

    If you still have any problems, feel free to contact me.

    Cheers,

    Paul

  9. 9 rabbit 29 October, 2007 at 9:20 am

    You like NGO’s? Great! Let me quote from Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_emigration#Cuba


    The Cuban government currently forbids its citizens from leaving or returning to Cuba without first obtaining permission from the government. In a translation byHuman Rights Watch, under Cuba’s criminal code, individuals who, “without completing legal formalities, leave or take actions in preparation for leaving the national territory” can face prison sentences of one to three years in prison.[12] From 1985 to 1994 the number of illegal emigrants is estimated to 82,500, with an additional 7,500 up to the mid-2000.[13] Cubans who reach US soil by air, sea or ground are allowed to stay and work; Cuba says this practice encourages dangerous illegal emigration attempts.

    Here is another quote from Human Rights Watch from 2001:

    http://www.hrw.org/wr2k1/americas/cuba.html


    Despite a few positive developments over the course of the year, the Cuban government’s human rights practices were generally arbitrary and repressive.

    And this from HRW:


    Cuba’s repressive human rights practices were undergirded by the country’s legal and institutional structure. The rights to freedom of expression, association, assembly, movement, and of the press remained restricted under Cuban law. By criminalizing enemy propaganda, the spreading of “unauthorized news,” and the insulting of patriotic symbols, the government effectively denied freedom of speech under the guise of protecting state security. The authorities also imprisoned or ordered the surveillance of individuals who had committed no illegal act, relying upon laws penalizing “dangerousness” (estado peligroso) and allowing for “official warning” (advertencia oficial). The government-controlled courts undermined the right to a fair trial by restricting the right to a defense, and frequently failed to observe the few due process rights available to defendants under the law.

    and this:


    The government recognized only one labor union, the Worker’s Central of Cuba (Central de Trabajadores de Cuba, CTC), and restricted labor rights by banning independent labor groups and harassing individuals attempting to form them.

    I’m surprrized you would support a government which forbids all but one labour union, but hey, I’m sure you’ve got your reasons.
    [edit]

  10. 10 paulitics 29 October, 2007 at 9:34 am

    Rabbit, first off I’d like to apologize to you for your comment getting held up. WordPress automatically holds for moderation any comment with two or more URLs because it assumes them to be spam.

    Now, on to the substantive portion of my reply.

    There are three items I’d like to address with your comment.

    First, you originally wrote that Cuba “prevent[s] their citizens from emmigrating [sic].” I pointed out to you that this was demonstrably untrue and, ironically enough, you do a good job explaining yourself why it is untrue in your very next comment.

    In your very next comment, you wrote that “The Cuban government currently forbids its citizens from leaving or returning to Cuba without first obtaining permission from the government.” The fact of the matter is that the Cuban government regularly and famously does give permission for its citizens to leave Cuba, return to Cuba or emigrate from Cuba. Also, it is worth asking yourself if you as an American (I’m presuming you’re an American, if you’re not, then simply insert your nationality here) have the right to leave America to visit Europe without obtaining some manner of paperwork authorizing you to leave. Obviously, even Americans (and we Canadians) require a government-issued and government-approved passport to leave the country (even if nominally, the country has no restrictions on departures, this constitutes in essence a de facto restriction).

    Now this isn’t my primary critique of your comment, but I did feel it was something worth mentioning.

    The most important critique of your comment is this second matter I wanted to address and that pertains namely to the issue of criminality. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with international law or with how the international system works, but since the Peace of Westphalia which ended the Thirty Years’ War, the nation-state system has existed in what’s commonly called the Westphalian model. This refers to the fact that every state has the monopoly on the legitimate use of force within a given territory delineated by a contiguous border.

    This is the principle of state sovereignty which the entire world operates under (and, if you’re interested, since I oppose the state entirely, I oppose this principle on a very fundamental level, but it is still nevertheless the foundation of the international order). The only crimes which CAN be committed under the Westphalian system are a) the violation or breaching of a nation’s sovereignty by another nation either through direct aggression or through the violation of their contiguous border. Or b) a popular uprising against one’s own nation and thus the internal violation of a given nation’s sovereignty through the popular, revolutionary overthrow of the state.

    This is why it was important that I wrote that Cuba has engaged in zero wars of aggression — unlike the U.S. — and that Cuba’s only crime under international law is quite technically their overthrowing of the brutal U.S.-backed Batista dictatorship. However, since you’re obviously unfamiliar with international law, I guess I should mention that the remainder of my post about the U.S. being criminal because of their overthrow of the British was intentionally glib. Many people may argue that the U.S. is criminal because of its violation of other states’ sovereignties. But in international law, the principle of utis possidetis and the so-called ‘principle of effectiveness’ states that over time, a criminally revolutionary regime (like the 13 American colonies or Cuba) can in fact become a legitimate state. Thus while overthrowing the British (or Batista) WAS a criminal act, I don’t know anybody who would argue that the U.S. is illegitimate anymore because of it. Thus, if we’re being honest and consistent, we would have to conclude the same for Cuba.

    Therefore, everything you mentioned is, quite obviously, neither illegal nor criminal. To be generous, everything you’ve written is, at best, a red herring.

    The third item I wanted to address is your seeming mis-characterization of my position on Cuba on a more general level. You seem to assume that I am ignorant of Cuba’s human rights abuses when, on the contrary, I actually point out that Cuba holds prisoners of conscience and that they retain the death penalty (although rarely use it). I strongly oppose both of these policies and I’ve never written anything that could even be construed as supporting them. So please tell me where you get the evidence that I support such policies in my writing.

    The problem is that you’ve been brought up to believe that Cuba = bad and USA = good. However just because that is erroneous (and quite obviously so) does not make it any more true to attribute to me (or for me to argue) the position that Cuba = good, USA = bad. Your construal of my position into this simplistic Cuba = good, USA = bad dichotomy remains trapped in what S.I. Hayakawa called “the two-valued orientation”.

    I will leave you with a passage from Hayakawa because, without appreciating this passage, I imagine that you will continue on your current argument’s strategy. Since I am advocating Cuba in this discussion, this means that you will probably forever see me and the Cuba issue in binary terms which, in the end, are both infantile and useless.

    Thus, I conclude with Hayakawa;

    “[W]hen children are taught English history, for example, the first thing they want to know about every ruler is whether he was a ‘good king’ or a ‘bad king.’ Much popular political thought, like the plots of television westerns, views the world as divided into ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guy’… This penchant to divide the world into two opposing forces — ‘right’ versus ‘wrong,’ ‘good’ versus evil’ — and to ignore or deny the existence of any middle ground, may be termed the two-valued orientation…. [This] orientation never permitted a relaxation of the two-valued conviction that nothing is too good for the ‘good,’ and nothing is too bad for the ‘bad,’ and that there is no middle ground. ‘Whoever is not for us is against us!’ This is the cry of intolerance armed with certainty.” (Language in Thought and Action, p. 113-117)

  11. 11 martinp 29 October, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    It might also be beneficial to examine WHY a country like Cuba might have harsher dictatorial policies. For example, when you are up against the most powerful nation in the world, a country with military and financial might that cannot be remotely countered, then obviously ‘you’ have to have stronger control measures.

    For example, if you had ‘freedom of speech’ with its bizarre constructions in the US and Canada which means government sponsored monopolies on media, then in a state which does not have the same values you have to either control that ‘freedom of speech’, or else face the inevitable 60 newspapers that will be published (at a loss by some corporation) that daily fixates on social problems from a very right wing perspective. Such a predominant ‘perspective’ is called ‘freedom of speech’ in Canada and the US and the government does little to counter it.

    Such a regime may very well have to put up more of a block on emigration because if a country like US forces an international embargo and makes such a state poor, then obviously the people would want to leave. So, yes, from ‘our’ point of view, that can be said to be ‘bad’ and we can boo hoo about it and call that state all kinds of bad names. However, what we fail to talk about is the REASON that such policies exist in the first place. Face it, we KNOW of literally dozens of assassination attempts by the US government, so we can’t be especially surprised-and would be foolish to condemn-any policies that Castro may enforce that protects his safety. Such a leader MAY want to live very humbly in a small house with no security-such a leader also would have been dead long ago. That goes double for the system itself. I don’t know much about Castro, if I were him, at his age, I’d be ‘enshrining’ their health care and educational system into a constitution so that even if there are elections after he’s gone, some well financed american puppet party cant’ get elected and simply dismantle them.

    So like I said up higher, Cuba is by no means perfect, but if you’ve ever been to the island you will see that its imperfections pale in comparison with the US, where you have the freedom to say what you want-there is just nowhere public that you can say it and be heard.

    But the podcast was a good intro with a speech from Noam Chomsky which was, ironically, all about the repercussions of ‘free speech’ in the US. Sure, you can SAY stuff publicly, and then you can watch your job go out the window. It’s not actually ‘free speech’ if you provide some of the mechanisms, but then don’t protect the rights-you can give every person ‘the right’ to write the front page of the most popular newspaper, but if people are AFRAID to actually say what they are thinking, that’s hardly ‘free speech’. The US and Canada are perfect examples of how ‘norms’ can be much stronger than laws. Remember all the hubbub when the Dixie Chicks said something at a concert that probably three quarters of americans know to be true, and what happened when Cat Stevens made a comment that was taken out of context. Corporations then fan the flames of popular outrest, much like radio stations did at Oka which resulted in massive violence against the native demonstration.

    So in an ‘ideal world’ Cuba may look much like the US, but with Venezuela or Norway’s control of its resources, and much wealth for its small population which lets an egalitarian educational and health system flourish, but also possess free elections and be a champion of human rights. It COULD do all those things if it wasn’t living in a state of near paranoia which is more than justified.

  12. 12 paulitics 29 October, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    Martinp, well put. Just one minor point though which actually further reinforces what you’re saying. You wrote that we know of “literally dozens of assassination attempts by the US government [against Castro].” In actuality, we know of 368 distinct plans, directives or attempts to assassinate Castro. Many of these never made it out of the planning stages into full-fledged attempts, but nevertheless, there have been 368 of them, not dozens. :)

    If you’re interested, my girlfriend recently bought me an absolutely magnificent documentary entitled “368 Ways to Kill Castro” and, judging from what you’ve written, I’d guess that you’d greatly enjoy it. You should really pick yourself up a copy.

    Cheers.

    Paul

    P.S. I presume that my instructions worked and you were able to subscribe to the podcast?

  13. 13 martinp 30 October, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    BUY a documentary? Whats that mean? What kind of socialist revolutionaries are yas?:) I wanted to keep it in the ‘concrete’ and inarguable stage of ACTUAL attempts, not just those ‘planned’-just to avoid any controversy.

    People also should keep in mind that the ‘good-bad’ dichotomy isn’t restricted to countries-there is a HUGE population in the US that thinks Bush should be strung up and there are increasing calls to have him impeached and tried for war crimes. While those are still at the grassroots stages and the democratic party executive is shrugging them off, that was also true during Nixon’s reign and it was grassroots that ultimately pushed enough to see him resign before being impeached.

    As mentioned above, this is not good vs. bad, hell, even Jimmy Carter raves about Cuba, even though many of the attempts were under his watch (not nearly as many as under republicans though-interesting). I mean, you simply can’t ignore a tiny ‘socialist’ country that is marginalized and yet has one of the best medical systems in the world and virtually zero illiteracy. Compare that with here in Canada or the US. There is just no comparison. But as mentioned above, the US is by far the ‘freest’ country in the world, though that is beginning to change. Countries are not absolutes. If you actually look at Cuban policies, they are shared by the vast majority of americans who simply have no political power to enforce their wishes (much like Canada).

    But the podcast was pretty good, though your voice was a little tinny, a new microphone may be in order, Sony has a good one for $15 and you can get a splitter for $25 which means you can have debates or interviews, it will be interesting to hear some ‘original’ programming. I still think you should use archive.org, its’ so much easier and not everybody will mess around to get a podcast to work-there are lots out there already.

  14. 14 eimaJ 2 November, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    To Paul (and minions – martinp and RPJ),

    Paul, you state “If you plan to continue writing one line, nonsensical or non-sequitur comments on my blog then I will have to moderate your comments” however, you do not seem to apply this same rule to yourself nor to those whom support you. For example, RPJ posted a one-line, nonsensical and non-sequitur comment about me “drinking the kool-aid”, being a “sheeple” and suggested it was too bad that I found your blog. No moderation or threat to moderate his post! At least your position is consistent with how communist dictators behave!

    Also, if I was “drinking the kool-aid and “sheeple”, then, I would be on board with all the elitist Canadians (like you and Pierre Trudeau) that have a love affair with Cuba, however, the reality is that I’m not drinking the kool-aid and I see Cuba for what it really is, as stated in my original post – the Communist regime is criminal in their treatment of commoners (“commoners” would be the non-elites; Castro and the ruling Communist Party would be the elites – they are rich and the poverty is spread evenly amongst the commoners, at least Castro has that part right of Communism right – he knows how to spread poverty equally!)

    In your reply to Rabbit’s post you state that it is false that the Cuban government bans emigration. I contend that what Cuba states they do and what they actually do are different things. This is similar to your criticism that the U.S. says they allow freedom of speech but they don’t actually do it. If your position can be that the U.S. does not actually allow freedom of speech (even though they say they do), then Rabbit’s position can be that Cuba does not allow emigration even though they say they do!

    You also suggest to Rabbit that it is inconvenient for him to acknowledge facts. Speaking of kettles calling teapots black, you also seem to ignore the inconvenient fact that even though the U.S. has a trade embargo with Cuba, Cuba is free to trade with the rest of the world yet they still remain poor and live in ruin. Were you aware that the U.S. is the largest food exporter to Cuba?

    Then you suggest to Rabbit to go ask Cubans if they’d rather have Castro. Have you done this yourself? Why is the burden of proof on Rabbit? It is your blog and you are promoting that Cubans would rather have Castro so you prove it! In fact, you do not even need to go to Cuba, rather you could ask the MULTITUDE of people that have fled Cuba! Ask the best and brilliant Cuban writers what they think. A little light research on their opinions should enlighten you!

    I have friends in the Latino community who disagree with your position based on their first-hand experiences! I have other friends who are forced to smuggle literature into Cuba since most books are banned by the Cuban government. And don’t waste my time by replying that this is not Cuba’s policy. The sources I have are much more reliable and are based on reality.

    You go on to say that Rabbit’s opinions are made up to suit his government funded view of the world. This comes across as a blanket statement that anyone with an opposing view is making it up to suit their government funded view of the world. In Canada, I’d argue that YOUR view is the government funded view since left wing ideology controls most of the information especially on Canadian University Campuses.

    martinp states that “the US is the most socialist nation in the world as its government ultimately controls virtually every aspect of its economy, and society, at a level far higher than most others-either by omission or preclusion (protecting a monopoly by not enforcing competition laws for example is government control).” Paul, you say that you agree fully with EVERYTHING that martinp wrote, therefore you agree that the US is the most socialist nation in the world, YET, you are full of contempt for the US! Why is this? I thought you supported Socialist ideology?

    Paul, you also state that “what we’re saying about the U.S. really isn’t that outrageous of a position – in fact, it’s the most popular position globally” YET, I’m the one drinking the kool-aid and am sheeple. Seems a tad contradictory.

    Rabbit pointed out that according the HRW, Cuba denies freedom of speech under the guise of protecting state security and they order surveillance of individuals who had committed no illegal act. You gloss over this while complaining in other areas of your blog about the U.S. doing the same thing! Please, at least be consistent – are you for or against this behaviour?

    You also presume that Rabbit is an American. I’ve seen you make many such assumptions on your blog in other places (especially towards those that disagree with you) yet you become very indignant when the shoe is on the other foot! How black is that teapot now?

    And, right after (possibly) misrepresenting Rabbit, you state that he is misrepresenting you then you go on to misrepresent him again when you say that he has been brought up to believe that Cuba = bad and USA = good! You are being a hypocrite!

    Then you state that Rabbit will probably forever see you and the Cuba issue in binary terms which is another arbitrary assumption about rabbit when throughout your post (and your blog in general) you criticize him (and others on your blog) for doing the same thing!

    martinp posts again – and Paul, you say “very well put” to his post – and states that there are “60 newspapers published that daily fixates on social problems from a very right wing perspective”. Two things – one, name said papers (by the way, this is another example of a nonsensical and non-sequitur comment which went unmoderated / no threat to moderate) and two, in Canada, there are a number of papers that fixate on social problems from only a left wing perspective. Is it OK for the left to do it but not the right? The Toronto Star’s corporate charter mandates the paper to support ONLY left-wing views.

    martinp then states he does not know much about Castro YET he speaks as if he is an expert on the issue. Seems contradictory and has gone unchallenged.

    martinp says that we do not actually have free speech because people are afraid to actually say what they are thinking. But, in Cuba people can say what they are actually thinking??

    martinp brings Venezuela into the discussion but they are experiencing similar problems as Cuba even with all the wealth flowing into government coffers. That Cuba is how it is because it is living in a state of near paranoia is a cop-out.

    Paul, you said that you agree with everything martinp says and this is your blog therefore you have the right to defend not only your positions but the things martinp stated as well.

    Oh, and by the way, check out this website for the real Cuba:

    http://www.therealcuba.com

    P.S. It was also stated that the U.S. has made over 378 assassination attempts. Simply because Castro blocks free speech and access to information into his own activities does not mean that he has not made assassination attempts himself. I’m not a big fan of the U.S. myself, but, I choose to be honest and consistent about my positions on what they do good and what they do poorly.

    The true horrors of the Soviet Union were not realized until it’s collapse and access was gained to their records. We certainly do not know the full story of Castro’s activities. That being said, I’d like to clarify that even though I have great misgivings about the Cuba leadership, I recognize there are some good policies in that country, such as the sustainable agricultural programs.

  15. 15 martinp 2 November, 2007 at 11:25 pm

    Since I was dragged into that little tirade then I’d like to reply, partly because I’m bored and waiting for the bathroom to free up. I can’t judge about the hypocritical stuff, I’ve been a victim of that at other sites where if the blogger agrees with certain opinions then some behaviours will be tolerated, whereas if you disagree then lots of ‘moderation’ comes out.

    However, I’m not interested in the petty asides, I’m only interested in the debate and actually understanding what is going on. First, keep in mind that virtually every complaint mentioned about Cuba can be mentioned as well about the US, and to a little lesser extent Canada.

    I have no idea what country the poster if from, but that they think canadian university campuses are hotbeds of ‘left wing’ activity shows they either aren’t from the country, or at least haven’t been to a canadian university in a long time. Universities haven’t been hotbeds of left wing activity for at least ten years, perhaps with a couple of exceptions in Toronto.

    However, you can read at this site the ‘propaganda study’ about various issues and they show quite clearly that the Toronto Star is NOT a ‘left wing’ paper. That’s like saying democrats are left wing, simply because they aren’t as right wing as the republicans. But again, that comes down to semantics and defining exactly what is meant by the terms since they can vary widely. The fact that the Toronto Star has a CORPORATE charter shows just how far from left wing they are. Left wing would AT LEAST be something like labour news, and there ins’t a single one in Canada at a national level. Go do a search of canadian newspapers and count them-there’s your sixty. Go to New Brunswick, where the ONLY newspaper publishers are the IRVING family, a giant family conglomeration which owns over 300 companies in the tiny province of only 750,000 people. Again, there IS no ‘left wing’ media in canada, even the CBC has dropped that part of their mandate. They are a ‘little better’ at covering some stories over others, but still is far from left wing.

    Most of the stuff I say is pretty common sense, I didn’t say anything specific about Castro because I don’t KNOW anything about Castro and so didn’t lecture anybody ‘like an expert’. If you don’t like the way I type, well, I’m not crazy about yours either.

    The real issue here is Cuba, and again, the comments stear away from the main blog, that Bush is being hypocritical in calling Cuba criminal. That’s a no brainer. However, the ‘US is socialist’ was being facetious, it was meant to show that NOBODY is actually socialist. The US is the most socialist IF what is commonly ascribed to other places as being socialist (usually by americans) is actually what it is-namely, state run of society. Canada is called ‘socialist’ because we have universal medicare, however, being state run only means being state run, it doesnt mean socialist. In Canada we have zero say in how medicare functions. Thats NOT socialism.

    As for Cuba itself, as we’ve said, its not perfect. But let’s look at the big issues. Cuba is called a ‘dictatorship’, fair enough, but how much different is it when there is choice between two dictators? In Canada it is far far worse than the states, fortunately we have a minority government, but the power of the PM is far more dictatorial than the Presidents. However, the President has found numerous ways around such problems. So ask people which type of ‘dictatorship’ the prefer. In the US barely half the population even bother to vote because they know its a complete joke. Canada isn’t much better, in fact the political system in Canada is far worse.

    However, again, Cuba blocks internet traffic and jails reporters, no doubt about it. Nobody ever defended it, and nobody said it was wonderful. But again, it would hardly be necessary if the US weren’t so intent on destabilizing it. The US is a perfect example, with so many mainstream media getting on board its almost a given that the most ludicrous lies become the common beliefs of people. Most americans in polls thought Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. Fox is quite literally a propaganda arm, and cries of ‘freedome of the press’ shouldn’t even be granted to such an institution.

    One more point is on poverty. Cuba’s poverty is not that much different than the US’. I don’t know if the above is american, but just a visit to most american cities shows the extend of poverty in the US. Canada has been adopting many of those policies and poverty is drastically increasing in Canada. THe ‘real cuba’ site posts many pictures, but pictures don’t tell the whole story.

    Ironically, the UN states that poverty has enabled Cubans to surpass the US in terms of longevity. When the USSR fell, food aid stopped, and Cubans stopped eating as much and had to walk or bike. Coincidentally, thats exactly what has been recommended to most populations.

    Here in North America we are ‘free’ to eat as much as we want, although there is also some evidence that fast food contains addictive ingredients, but thats a separate issue. So its ‘nice’ to have the ‘freedom’ to eat more, so long as we can afford it, even though it will kill us far sooner.

    The site also gripes about their educational system, one with has almost 100% literacy rates. The cheif gripe there was the kids also have to do ‘social activities’, which of course aren’t that much different than the same ones done in just about every country, basically indoctrinating on how their country is the best.

    As for Venezuela, I’m not sure what ‘problems’ are being referred to. Its true that there is less foreign investment, thats usual when the state takes over, but if the state gets more of the profit, then it doesn’t NEED the foreign investment. As for trading, Cuba is a small island, so cutting off a trading partner literally offshore is a big problem. A small island simply doesn’t have that much to offer. Take a look at Prince Edward Island, they have nothing but potatoes and without being part of Canada they would be far more destitute than Cubans.

    But in Venezueala, the ‘problems’ seem pretty minor to me. That country has managed within the last decade to halve poverty down to 35%. Meanwhile, the latest statistics here in Canada show that poverty is up to at least 20%. We could use some of their ‘problems’.

    Finally, ‘poverty’ to some people means ‘lack of stuff’, whereas for others it is a lack of resources. So poverty in a place where the state pays for your education, food, and housing, is far different than in a place like the US and Canada where you have to beg and die on the street. Again, nobody is saying Cuba is perfect, but the US acts just as ‘criminally’ as Cuba, in fact far more seriously, which was the main point of the blog.

  16. 16 mark santos 11 November, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    The Criminals of the Bible!!! (Mark Jones)
    1. Martin Luther`s Bible
    2. Immanuel Kant`s Bible
    3. Adolf Hitler`s Bible
    4. George W. Bush`s Bible
    5. Barack Obama`s Bible
    6. Martin Luther King`s Bible
    7. The Bible?
    8. Exterminationswar (Genocid`s)
    9. Racism (Martin Luther King: “I have one Dream” But wich Dream? Slavery)
    10. Slavery
    11. Vandalism
    12. Cannibalism
    13. Vandalism
    14. Holocaust+Deuteronomium

    Thank You! A T H E I S T !

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