It is Easter weekend, a metaphor for the rebirth of new life arising from death. It is a good time to reflect upon our lives and upon how we live. It is also the six month anniversary for the Occupy movement. I saw this article posted by ABC News correspondent Christine Amanpour the other day entitled, "The Next Cuban Revolution?"
"As the winds of change swirled during the Arab Spring over the past year, many began to wonder whether there might be a similar movement in Cuba -- a "Cuban Spring.""
Many began to wonder as in, whom Christine? The same cast of neo-liberal characters which have hovered with envious eyes desiring to return Capitalism into Cuba. Many, as in, Exxon -- Mobil, BP, Caterpillar, many as in United Fruit or AT&T?
"While visiting Cuba to cover the visit of Pope Benedict, we spent time with students at a University cafeteria, and in speaking with them it was clear that they know they want a better, different life, but they're isolated to what's happening off their shores."
Amanpour's story is little more than propaganda, arguing that because American's have broadband Internet and Android phones we have it so much better than the average Cuban. It is little more than a continuation of the America's fifty year war against Cuba specifically and against Socialism in general in this hemisphere. The success or failure of what the Cuban government has achieved should be viewed in the light of having accomplished it a mere ninety miles from an intensely hostile superpower.
This same hostile superpower which has over the past fifty plus years committed acts of international terrorism, including the blowing up civilian airliners. It has supported terrorist groups desiring to overthrow the lawful and internationally recognized government of Cuba while financing and participating in assassination attempts of Cuban leadership. A government which has over the years, supported a criminal and unlawful invasion of Cuban territory simply because we do not approve of their economic system.
We claim our hostility to Cuba is due to Cuba being a Communist country. Vietnam is a Communist country where we once fought a war for over a decade and lost 58,000 service men to Vietnamese arms and yet, we gladly do business with the nation of Vietnam and invite them to join into our Free Trade Agreements with their workers earning from $67 to $94 per month.
The largest trading partner of the United States is The People's Republic of China which is also a Communist country where industrial workers earn around $80.00 per month. These Communist countries control their citizen's access to outside information and to technology. They use surveillance methods to watch their people and do not allow ideas unpopular to the ruling clique to take root. They will crush all opposition to their rule with violence and will jail any who dare to tell the truth with trumped up charges. Oh, and by the way, a retired US Navel officer, Leah Bolger faces twenty years in prison for disrupting a public hearing of the Deficit Reduction Committee for less than a minute before she was handcuffed and dragged away by police. Of course, it is different because this is a free country, not like say Cuba or China.
So it would seem the only appreciable difference in the Cuban model seems to be an unwillingness to allow their workers to be exploited by neo-Liberal Capitalists.
This morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly jobs report and it was a real barn burner. The corporate, complicit, contrived media will report the following,
"Payroll Employment Rises 120,000 in March; unemployment rate changes little (8.2%)
Only, there are a few other things which won't be reported;
Civilian noninstitutional population, +169,000
Civilian labor force, -164,000
Participation rate, -0.1%
Number Employed, -31,000
Number Unemployed, -133,000
Not in labor force, +333,000
An agency of the Federal government declares "unemployment rate changes little" as it disappears 333,000 American workers. These are the unemployed Americans who have expended their unemployment benefits and as far as their government is concerned have ceased to exist.
Look at the difference year to date;
Not in labor force, March 2011, 85,608,000
Not in labor force, March 2012, 87,897,000
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a chart which they call, Alternative measures of labor utilization (A-15). These are the categories which are used to determine the (official) unemployment rate.
U-1 Persons unemployed 15 weeks or longer, as a percent of the civilian labor force.
March 2011, 5.3%
March 2012, 4.6%
U-2 Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, as a percent of the civilian labor force.
March 2011, 5.4%
March 2012, 4.5%
U-3 Total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (official unemployment rate)
March 2011, 8.7%
March 2012, 8.2%
U-4 Total unemployed plus discouraged workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus discouraged workers
March 2011, 9.3%
March 2012, 8.7%
U-5 Total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other persons marginally attached to the labor force, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force.
March 2011, 10.3%
March 2012, 9.6%
U-6 Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force.
March 2011, 15.7%
March 2012, 14.5%
States with Highest Unemployment
District of Columbia, 9.9%
North Carolina, 9.9%
Rhode Island, 11%
It gives one pause if only we were to imagine what these rates would look like if the more accurate, but less politically palatable (U-6) numbers were used. But buried on the 15th page of the unemployment report is the admission by the Federal government that nearly 15 percent of the American workforce remains unemployed. That over the last twelve months unemployment for Americans has dropped a miserable 1.2 percent.
Wages for the average American worker rose only .47 cents per hour during a year which saw inflation rise 2.5 percent and fuel prices nearly double.
RealtyTrac- "February's (foreclosure) numbers point to a gradually rising foreclosure tide as some of the barriers that have been holding back foreclosures are removed," said Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac. "Although national foreclosure activity was pushed lower by decreases in a handful of larger states, 21 states posted annual increases in foreclosure activity, the most states with annual increases since November 2010."
Number of foreclosures in 2011, 1.2 million and now thanks to a settlement of the Robo signing scandal ending favorably to the banks home foreclosures filings rose 28 percent in January.
Michael Redman, founder of 4closurefraud.org. said, "The subprime stuff is long gone, now the folks being affected are hardworking, everyday Americans struggling because of the economy."
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released research in January estimating 3.6 million new home foreclosures should be expected in 2012-13. The numbers are staggering, only they aren't numbers, they are people. They are real flesh and blood human beings, our people, men, women and children. They are people suffering in record numbers and yet, their government ignores them as they wear their crown of thorns and their government tells lies to them and looks away as they drag their cross on the road to crucifixion, paying for the sins of others.
It is clear to those us living under the bridges and the hard rains of reality that Jesus ain't coming. We who are dead in the eyes of our government must rise and roll away our own stone. We must roll away all of the obstacles which lay in our path. My eyes weary of the visions of boarded homes, my ears ache from the lies told as my mind reels with the constant liturgy of this faith based recovery while government takes an atheistic approach towards the suffering of its own people.
"While visiting Cuba to cover the visit of Pope Benedict, we spent time with students at a University cafeteria, and in speaking with them it was clear that they know they want a better, different life, but they're isolated to what's happening off their shores."- Christine Amanpour
Yeah, me too Christine, I want a better life, but if you want to see someone who is really isolated and who doesn't know what's going on, then simply find a mirror.
Number of Cubans unable to afford health care, "0"
Number of Cubans foreclosed upon by banks, "0"
Number of Cubans with student loans debts, "0"